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My system has gotten sluggish lately

Hello everyone,

My install has gotten sluggish over the past week or so  and I don't know what to troubleshoot at this point but I think it's something within some software  and not a hardware issue.

Cycling through i3 workspaces, downloading and installing updates,  websurfing, ect. will arbitrarily hang my box for a few seconds to (rarely) minutes, then snap out of it . During hangs  music playing from mpd sometimes stalls. Oddly enough, if I play Steam games (Civ5 and L4D2) my computer doesn't stall while in game. This behavior is really inconsistant because I can go for hours with no issue.

My CPU monitoring  i3block tells me  the hangs cause a higher than normal CPU usage (30-60%), but occasionally I'll get a 98%  spike while the hangs occur. I tried htop but  I'm unable to get to the terminal it's running during the hangs  but  when I can see it, htop doesn't refresh until the hang stops.

I've ruled out faulty memory with memtest86+ and  I've also ruled out my HDD with smartmontools and btrfs-check. Booting into the Artix i3 live disc makes my computer run as expected.

My install uses the hardened kernel  and all software is up to date.

As I've said, I have no idea what to troubleshoot at this point to exorcise this ghost. Any suggestions?

Thanks, all!

Re: My system has gotten sluggish lately

Reply #1
Do you get any messages from the kernel (dmesg) when these hangs happen?

I can wildly guess at 2 things you should troubleshoot, given the live ISO works fine: 1st, try booting with a non-hardened kernel and, 2nd, inspect your video driver (compositors tend to cause such glitches): if on nvidia, switch to nouveau, if on radeon to amdgpu etc.

Re: My system has gotten sluggish lately

Reply #2
I don't see anything alarming in dmesg, but I did see that that I have HPET re-enabled. In the past I had an issue where HPET caused some problems with my board. I've disabled it to test if that's what  is  causing my sluggishness.

When you suggest  graphics drivers, do you mean to swap them out if I am using a compositor? I don't use one. Do you still reccomend the same in that case? For the record, I'm using nvidia-dkms.