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Stuttering when streaming (not Demigrator)

    Question

  • Hello.

    I have read as much as I could in order to solve this problem.
    I have a WHS PC, a Win7 client PC and a NMT (PCH C-200), all connected to a Gbit switch. A wirless router is also connected to this switch. When I stream from my Win7 PC (with SMB) to the NMT I have no problems. But when I use the WHS PC to stream, I get stuttering which happens randomly, sometimes at the first 20-30 minutes of the movie, sometimes after 1 hour...

    When I noticed that the Storage Balance causes stuttering I just disabled the Demigrator service, hoping that it will fix this problem. Unfortunately it didn't! It just reduced the frequency of the stutter...

    When I stream to the NMT (from WHS) I get random stutterings.
    When I stream to the client PC (again from WHS) I don't experience stutter but a complete stop (the player freezes). When the client PC is the player problems happen less often than NMT. Sometimes I can watch a movie without problems but usually it stops completely (Windows Media Player freezes) after 60-90 minutes of video.

    I have tried all possible solutions without success:
    I turned off Media Sharing, Duplication, Backups, Demigrator service...
    I also tried NFS to stream from WHS to NMT. I did see an improvement using NFS (rather than SMB) but still not good movie flow.

    When stutterings begin I look at the Task Manager of WHS and I cannot see anything unusual. CPU and memory usage is low. Network utilization is also low but I can see variations in the diagram when the problem starts. For example Network utilization is 0,5% - 1,5% during normal streaming and when the stutterings begin is 4 - 5%.
    At the same time I also look at the Disk Management add-in that shows high disk activity (around 5000kb/s) in the system drive (not the other drive that I stream from). I forgot to say that I have 2x wd green drives 1,5Tb.

    There is something going on in my WHS PC but I can't find it. Is there a tool that would help me monitor and narrow down this problem when it appears?

    I really need your help because I tried every possible fix and I still cannot find what is causing this. I suspect it's a WHS issue and not a network issue since I can stream fine from the client PC to the NMT (WHS not involved).

    Thank you.
    Saturday, March 13, 2010 2:49 PM

All replies

  • What's the bandwidth of the video you are trying to play?  

    Also if disk manager reports that there is some disk activity on the system drive when streaming then this is where your data is stored.  Remember the data partition (D:) spans all drives that are added to the pool including the remaining space on the System Disk which is not occupied by the System Partition.

    What happens if you connect your PC and windows home server directly (you may need a cross over cable depending on the network cards you have in thre machine.

    I think that all your traffic is being routed through your home broadband router (did you mention it?).  Can we see the network settings for your WHS, Win7PC and Popcorn Hour
    --
    Saturday, March 13, 2010 4:16 PM
  • Thanks Al. This is happening regardless of the video bitrate/bandwidth.

    Disk Management (add-in) always reports disk ativity on the drive that I stream from. But when stuttering begins, it also reports disk activity on the other drive as well!
    Let me clarify:

    I have two drives in my pool: Disk0 (System) and Disk1. Since I have duplication and backups turned off, Disk0 uses only 20 GB. The other drive (Disk1) is where all my data is stored (686 GB, 50% used). As you understand, streaming is always from Disk1. So, Disk Management reports:

    Normal streaming (for a typical .mkv)
    Disk0 ---> 0 KB/s   (not actually 0 all the time, sometimes it peaks at 1500 but it drops quickly back to near 0)
    Disk1 ---> 2-5000 KB/s

    Stuttering
    Disk0 ---> 2-5000 KB/s 
    Disk1 ---> 2-5000 KB/s

    As I said, I cannot locate the process (or whatever) that causes this disk activity in my System drive (Disk0), that also causes the stuttering (I think). Is there a tool that I can use?

    Unfortunately I cannot connect the client and the WHS directly.
    All (including the router) are connected to a Gbit switch.
    NIC settings are:
    Jumbo Frame and Flow control are Off, also I changed the speed to 1.0 gbps instead of auto negotiate.
    In NMT I set 10/100 (I have a lot of problems if it's Auto).

    • Proposed as answer by BigRizz Tuesday, April 06, 2010 4:07 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Tuesday, April 06, 2010 5:02 AM
    Saturday, March 13, 2010 5:55 PM
  • Sorry, pushed the wrong button. I wasn't proposing your last post as the answer. What I was going to ask is whether your disks are the new WD advanced format EARS drives. If so, have you done a WD Align on them for use in your WHS? I inadvertently purchased one of these drives last week and it took me days to realise that the horrendously poor performance on my machine was actually due to the drive. See here http://www.wdc.com/en/products/advancedformat/ for more info. I downloaded and ran the WD Align application and it improved performance by a factor of 50.

    It is of course possible that I'm the only idiot on the block not realising this but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    Having said this, I'm still having problems with some high bit rate videos that I wasn't having before but that is another story and will feature in another post.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2010 4:36 AM
  • BigRizz

    I'm dealing with the same issue, and did not know I needed to run WD Align. I downloaded ED Align and burned it to a CD, but when I boot to the CD the program says none of the partitions are able to be worked on. Do you mind posting the steps you took to run the utility?

     

    thanks!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:40 AM
  • Start here for information on how to use the WD Align utility. If you have problems with that, perhaps you don't have an advanced format drive, or you've already aligned the partitions.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:27 PM