Windows application causes Mac usage meters to max out and not make sense

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by jimh, May 22, 2006.

  1. jimh

    jimh

    Messages:
    38
    I am getting behaviour from a single windows app that maxes out both my CPU actiivity meters when it didn't use too, even when I put power savings on. Also the readings aren't making sense as the meters show that the system is taking up most of the power, while Parallels is taking less. But the Mac activities monitor shows that Parallels is taking up to 158% of the CPU and practically no system activity is happening. Note that the application is an emulator and no input or output activity should be happening.

    Here are the results (approx) - typical snapshot. Both meters show pretty much the same reading levels in all cases when Parallels is running.

    Parallels, no windows apps running
    User 5%
    System 10%
    Nice 0%
    Parallels 13%
    Parallels, with problem application running in window
    user 30%
    System 48%
    Nice 0%
    Parallels 140%
    Parallels, with problem application shrunk to task bar
    User 5%
    System 24%
    Nice 0%
    Parallels 45%

    By the way, the over all performance of the RC version is excellent and the application that I am discussing runs extreemly fast. But is is killing battery life.

    jim
     
  2. jimh

    jimh

    Messages:
    38
    The problem apps developer has responded that the power management method that he uses is 'Issuing sleep(1) calls in the CPU emulation thread to give up the CPU for a short time. Works on all Windows versions so far.' I have seen the CPU usage drop in Virtual PC by 30-50% at least in this mode when sitting idle so know that it normally works.

    Hopefully this will help Parallels understand why it isn't helping here.
     
  3. drtimhill

    drtimhill

    Messages:
    85
    This may "work" on all Windows versions, but even on real Windows this is *not* the best way to do power management or cpu management. You are far better off doing a bigger chunk of work and then sleeping for a much longer period. Many power management states have much coarser granularity then the short sleep request he is making to the OS.

    --Tim
     
  4. jimh

    jimh

    Messages:
    38
    Unfortunately, this is actually an emulator so that it needs to sample input devices real time. Therefore there is a limit with just how big of chunck the application can do vs. how much sleep time it can allow.

    The interesting thing here is that, when the app runs, OS X is showing that both processors are doing 60+ percent system calls versus something specifically for Parallels.

    I am wondering how Parallels handles sleep (1) calls - since I am not seeing a real difference between having this turned on and off, was wondering if Parallels is doing something different with these?
     
  5. drtimhill

    drtimhill

    Messages:
    85
    I can't comment on how PW handles the sleep(1). If Windows has nothing better to do it will often fall into a HLT instruction, which PW can handle as a VM sleep.

    wrt the OSX cpu time, don't forget that much of the guts of PW is in one or more kernel extensions, which will appear as system call time to the counters in OSX.

    --Tim
     
  6. jimh

    jimh

    Messages:
    38
    Good point on the fact that PW activity could look like kernel extensions.

    With that said and the fact that both processors are getting nailed, I am suspecting that there is a windows call/timer type activity that is either handled to speed up performance or is not doing the time out period correctly. Am waiting for some additional clarification from the Apps author on the specific call being used.
     
  7. davert

    davert Bit Poster

    Messages:
    53
    On the light side, it does mean that Parallels is running faster than it would if restricted to a single processor.

    I have faith that these issues will be addressed after they have fixed all crashes, reboots, and kernel crashes, and then worked on shared folders. They really have a lot of things to work on and I'm sure they are just prioritizing. I am impressed with their speed!
     
  8. jimh

    jimh

    Messages:
    38
    I totally agree. I have have had a lot of fun showing people at the office how I can run their windows apps faster than they can on their Windows boxes. It is truely impressive.

    I have been in the business myself for many years so I have some understanding at the complexity and variety of issues that Parallels is having to tackle. They have done a fantastic job so far and I totally expect them to continue to do so.

    I can live with this problem as long as I stay away from long flights when I use this app (it drops my battery life down to 1-1.5 hours versus the 4-5 that I can get with other Windows or OSX apps. And I do fully expect them to get around to fix it when it shifts far enough up on their priority list.
     
  9. ekaram

    ekaram

    Messages:
    8
    Parallels Desktop slowing Mac

    Parallels Desktop is slowing down my Mac. Enclosed is a screenshot of Activity Monitor when Desktop starts, it uses 175 Mb of memory and it shows 80% of processor, and i have seen it sometimes going up to 130%. When windows has started, it uses less processor but still it takes 4 times more memory than entourage for example and the Mac runs slower. Could there be a problem with my configuration?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. ekaram

    ekaram

    Messages:
    8
    Still problems with slow Mac

    I have downloaded RC2 and the problems persist. Nobody from Parallels has answered me. i know they are busy but a small email could help. Is anybody else experiencing the same prolem?
     
  11. Andrew @ Parallels

    Andrew @ Parallels Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    1,507
    ekaram,

    Are you talking about CPU and memory usage by Parallels when VM running?
     
  12. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith

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    4
    Would you buy a Windows PC with 175MB of memory? That is basically what you are saying.
     
  13. jimh

    jimh

    Messages:
    38
    This is a good point. Windows will choke if it doesn't have enough memory. And if it starts thrashing with memory versus virtual memory to disk, this will in turn choke out OS X.

    Ekaram, what is your actually memory configuration that you are set up with for your Windows.

    For example, on my laptop with 1G memory, I gave my Windows XP machine 588 MB of memory (activity monitor shows it using about 430 MB of real memory with no apps running). Dropping it much below that stresses everything out.
     

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