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The REASON that ACER = SLOW! Solution inside.

Discussion in 'Acer' started by c.hilding, Jun 1, 2006.

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  1. c.hilding

    c.hilding Notebook Enthusiast

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    June 4, 2006:
    I have contacted several Acer representatives, so we'll hopefully have an answer sometime during next week.




    =====================================================
    News: I've made a video demonstration for those that don't want to run Regmon themselves. The file was too big to post here (8Mb) so it's hosted at RapidShare instead. Just click the button named "Free" on the following page to start your download, then extract and open "Acer.htm" to see the video:

    http://rapidshare.de/files/22055037/Acer_Video.zip.html


    Best Regards,
    Christopher H.
    =====================================================
    Note: It has come to my attention that the "BUFFER OVERFLOW" that Regmon is seeing is actually mislabeled by Sysinternals and should be called "BUFFER OVERFLOW AVOIDED". This means that the event isn't dangerous, as it would have been if it were a real buffer overflow. Thanks to gweilo8888 for the report! Note that the buffer overflow was only a fraction of my findings and there are still bigger problems, read on below...
    =====================================================

    Hey,

    Due to an unrelated issue, I installed the two widely acclaimed system monitor tools by Sysinternals; Filemon and Regmon. To get their credibility out of the way before I start: Microsoft recommends these tools to serious system administrators in over 60 of their Knowledge Base articles. These tools are accurate!

    I was shocked to find out that, out of the box, Acer has installed utilities that are severely bugged, slowing down the system to a crawl. This is why people notice a performance boost after a clean reinstallation of Windows:

    Ati2evxx.exe = ATI hotkey manager. Enables the use of hotkeys, configurable through the ATI control panel. The hotkeys aren't used by default and so this process is unnecessary. Except for one thing, it also manages the PowerPlay feature of your graphics card to dynamically adjust its power and save battery. So if you need that, this program has to stay. Personally, I don't use PowerPlay since I've always got the power plugged in and want my graphics card to work to the max. This process accesses the registry about 200 times per second.

    AGRSMMSG.exe = Agere Soft Modem. Only necessary if you are going to use the built-in 56k modem, and shouldn't be running if you don't need it. This process accesses the registry about 500 times per second.

    ePower_DMC.exe = Acer ePower Management. Very useful utility, but extremely buggy. This is the worst piece of coding that I have ever seen. This process accesses the registry a whopping 4000 times per second! It also uses between 1 and 15% of CPU! This program is pummeling your computer, making it beg for its life. It is merciless, and no doubt the crappiest piece of excrement ever produced. We should demand that Acer fix this utility immediately!


    On average, a normal program accesses the registry about 50 times when it's first started, then an average of 100 times if you change a setting (then the program will open+read+save registry values), and about 50 times as it's closed. That's 200 access requests for the entire run of a normal program. By comparison, if I let ePower_DMC.exe run for an hour, it will have accessed the registry 15 million times so far. Whereas every other program you have, combined, would only amount to about 200 thousand times.

    I'll attach a regmon log for further study. The second row in the log shows the time in seconds, all the way down to milliseconds. So you can verify how badly these programs behave. Note that there are no entries of Ati2evxx.exe in the log, because I turned that program off!

    By now you probably realize what a serious issue this is? This thread needs a sticky, so that it's not hidden from peoples view until Acer fixes it!


    - Christopher H.

    These tests were run on an Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi, using Sysinternals Regmon.
    Feel free to download the program to see the problem first-hand.
     

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  2. c.hilding

    c.hilding Notebook Enthusiast

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    Solutions

    ATI Hotkey Manager: To disable it, enter the ATI Control Panel (right click on desktop). Go under the "Hotkey" menu and deselect "Enable Hotkeys". Then go to Start -> Run -> services.msc, and double-click on "ATI HotKey Poller". Change the startup type from "Automatic" to "Disabled".

    Agere Soft Modem Driver: To disable it, enter the Device Manager by right-clicking the "My Computer" icon on the desktop and selecting "Manage", then click "Device Manager" in the "Computer Management" menu. In the Device Manager, drill down to Modems -> "Agere Systems HDA Modem", and right-click it. Select "Disable". That's it for the driver. Next, we disable the program by going to Start -> Run -> msconfig, and going to the "Startup" tab. Untick the checkbox next to "AGRSMMSG". Click OK. The next time you start the computer, the software modem driver won't be loaded.

    Acer ePower Management: I don't recommend that you disable this until we find a utility that provides the same functionality. Acer ePower Management is there to help your computer save power by turning on/off system features, throttling CPU, lowering/raising brightness etc, to get the most out of your battery as the battery power decreases. It is also there to manage such power features as turning off the laptop when the lid is closed, and as far as I know it's also responsible for the function keys on your laptop.

    Although I'm starting to think that ePower could actually be a huge battery drainer, since it accesses the registry about 4000 times per second, and uses up to 15% CPU. :eek: We'll have to investigate this one together, either for alternatives or preferrably a fix from Acer.


    Best Regards,
    Christopher H.
     
  3. sionyboy

    sionyboy Notebook Evangelist

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    Don't use MSconfig, use services.msc

    Start>Run>services.msc
    Its listed as ATI Hotkey Poller. Just double click and select to disabled.

    Its quite safe to disable, its only used if you use the ATI hotkeys. I never even knew abou them! I have them disabled here and my laptop hasn't exploded.

    As for the modem, if you don't use your 56k modem then disable it within the Device Manager. The laptop won't load drivers for it in startup. In fact, any hardware you don't use on your laptop disable in Device Manager. I have disabled my PCMCIA slot, Wi-Fi and the modem. Why let Windows load drivers and software for it if you don't use them?

    Epower management is also a waste of resources. First it won't let you disable hibernation properly, so you will have the 1gb hiberfil.sys file on your hard drive (which messes up defragging attempts) I got rid of it, and I don't miss it at all.
     
  4. msnealo

    msnealo Notebook Enthusiast

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    This is a great find! I will be watching this thread closely.

    Sticky! Sticky! Sticky! Oi! Oi! Oi!
     
  5. s4e8

    s4e8 Newbie

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    Disable ATI Hotkey Poller will disable the PowerPlay too!!!
     
  6. Last_Frontier

    Last_Frontier Notebook Enthusiast

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    I think u can resolve this two problems with Notebok Hardware Control, it controls the cpu multiplier ( like Epower Management) and controls ati core/mem speed, but this option allows to underclock(like powerplay), check this forum thread and overclock the GPU, and thats a great bonus. I'm going to try over the weekend cause I'm kinda of busy. bye;)
     
  7. speedfrk

    speedfrk Notebook Geek

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    The latest ATI drivers lets you disable hotkeys in the control center. You can also disable the infrared in device manager if you don't use it.
     
  8. Drio

    Drio Notebook Geek

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    Before you sort out the problem first check if it exists!

    It's some time ago that I ran Regmon, Filemon and Diskmon, but I didn't get results as bad as indicated by c.hilding.
    Note that I have a different machine (TM8106).

    Wonder if it could relate to driver or version issues (including .NET version issues; they are .NET thingies).
    In principle the e-thingies are customised by series, so using one with a seemingly more recent version from another model may cause problems.

    Anyway, just speculations,... I will see what regmon tells me of the Agere Modem (don't use the other stuff mentoned anymore).


    Cheers

    Drio

    BTW thanks for sharing this investigative knowledge, c.hilding!
     
  9. c.hilding

    c.hilding Notebook Enthusiast

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    Then you'll be happy to know that I've updated both the information and the solution post with more details on program functionality and how to disable them. :)

    These abusive programs definitely exist on the TM8204WLMi, and since it's not that different from the 8106 I'd be surprised if it's not there too. Too bad that you've already removed these programs as I'd like to know the answer.

    I'd be thankful if someone with an 8106 would run the tests and share their results.
     
  10. Drio

    Drio Notebook Geek

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    Look at http://www.pbus-167.com/chc.htm Notebook Hardware control. In combination wit windows' own power management it delivers more than ePower (you don't need the disabling of BT/cardbus/etc.since windows shuts these of anyway when not in use)

    ePower wired itself deep into the system,so if you uninstall it, after restart look in device manager (show hidden devices) und non plugand play devices and see if the two Acer EPM devices are still there. If so, kick them out.

    Cheers

    Drio
     
  11. Drio

    Drio Notebook Geek

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    c.hilding
    In atleast one other thread (here or www.notebookforums.com) someone mentions 8204 .NET problems with Gravisense. So have a look at that one too. (it's specific 8204 and some newer Aspires).
     
  12. Drio

    Drio Notebook Geek

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    Hi

    The results don't amaze me anymore.
    I guess it's normal.
    Just use Regmon to catch everything for a couple of minutes and save the file.
    Open it in a Db or editor (capable of handling big files) and look at all the other 'monitoring' processes.
    Just about every process has a wopping lot of registry accesses per second. I guess that's where they store their stats. And a registry access is recorded as a mulitude of events anyway (e.g. RegOpen and RegClose)

    So my first impression NOW is: nothing to worry about.

    But still, it doesn't hurt to disable what you don't need/use


    HTH

    Drio
     
  13. ben1000

    ben1000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Anyone else have this issue: I've run NHC on the system, but even when set to full power, it says it's running at 1ghz, not 2ghz like it should. If I change to battery and then back to AC, it switches to 2ghz for a minute, then back to one, even though I have it set for 'max performance'.

    Also, occasionally, the ghz goes up to some absurd number (like 65343ghz) for 2 or 3 seconds, then back to 1ghz. This, of course, completely messes up the scale of the graph, which graphics from 0 to 65343. All reasonable numbers become so low as to be invisible on the graph...

    Any ideas.. (I'd love to overclock to 65343ghz, but I imagine it'd be about the heat of the sun at that speed :)...

    Best,

    Benjamin


    ----------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.neo-fight.tv [The "Techno-Debate" Video Podcast]
     
  14. Yellow11

    Yellow11 Notebook Consultant

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    I found that NHC on my 8204 to be quite problematic. It couldn't seem to sense properly if i was running on battery or AC and would severly hinder my performance in AC mode. I could never tell it to operate at maximin speed when i needed it. My system and apps ran slower most of the time. I needed to reboot whie running on AC to get it to run at maximim perfromance. Neat idea, buggy implimentation. I uninstalled it and am back to ePower mgmt. Any othere solutions. THere was another that was named on these forums, tried it, didn't like it either.
     
  15. c.hilding

    c.hilding Notebook Enthusiast

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    This is not normal, programs don't operate by reading the same registry entries over and over, accessing the registry thousands of times per second. Normal programs access the registry at startup, when changing settings, and when the program exits. This kind of continuous access is not registry use, it's registry ABuse. I'm going to make a flash video to show you what it's doing. I've already recorded it, but it takes a while to convert. Then I have to find some hosting. I will update this post when the video is online.


    Best Regards,
    Christopher H.
     
  16. sibelius

    sibelius Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hey ben1000 and Yellow11, I started a thread about my CPU speed varying between 1.0GHz and 1.66GHz on my 5670 http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=54858&highlight=cpu+fluctuates. It does it with CPU-Z too. I contacted Acer Panam's technical support but the guy misread my email and thought I was talking about speed changes while being on battery. My theory is that it's Intel SpeedStep trying to keep our CPUs cooler.

    If anyone knows anything more about this, please weigh in!

    Thanks for your research Christopher.

    sibelius
     
  17. c.hilding

    c.hilding Notebook Enthusiast

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    The video is now complete!

    I don't expect many people to watch it, but it's here as a demonstration if you don't want to run Regmon yourself. The file was too big to post here (8Mb) so it's hosted at RapidShare instead. Just click the button named "Free" on the following page to start your download, then extract and open "Acer.htm" to see the video:

    http://rapidshare.de/files/22055037/Acer_Video.zip.html


    Best Regards,
    Christopher H.
     
  18. sionyboy

    sionyboy Notebook Evangelist

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    Sibelius
    That is normal for Intel processors in laptops, the speed will change depending on the load on the processor. As you stated in the other thread, this is Intel's speedstep kicking in. If you want it to run at max speed all the time then use Epower management software, but personally I would not want my laptop CPU to run at full speed all the time as this is when it creates most heat, which will inevitably shorten the life of the CPU. When the system needs it the system will run at full speed, unless the processor is producing too much heat, then it will throttle and operate at a lower speed to counter the heat.
     
  19. c.hilding

    c.hilding Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure why you don't see a difference in performance. Whenever I remove ePower from startup it will decrease startup time by over a minute. The probable reason being that since ePower is pummeling the registry, other programs have to wait for their registry call to connect during a "gap" in the ePower bursts.

    And ePower will continue to pummel the registry and take up to 15% CPU after the computer is finished booting, so turning it off improves performance everywhere. Videos used to occasionally stutter and that's all gone.

    I've made a [thread=57064]video of the registry abuse[/thread], it shows how ePower and the Agere modem drivers are spamming the registry and slowing down the system. The link to the video is in the first post of this thread.


    Best Regards,
    Christopher H.
     
  20. gweilo8888

    gweilo8888 Notebook Consultant

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    You do realise that the very first page at your Google search link quoted above says:

    You might want to read this page from SysInternals, the very folks whose program you're using:

    http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/05/buffer-overflows.html

    This seems to me to nicely demonstrate the danger of giving sophisticated tools to somebody who doesn't understand what they mean and how to use them. You're posting wild claims that are based on a total misunderstanding of the data at your fingertips.
     
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