Torture Testing Video Presentation

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RPT Digital Signage Methodology to test video and CPU Throttling for Rise Players on Windows

Here's a link to the simple Rise Presentation that we use to Torture Test Video and CPU Throttling on Rise Vision Windows 10 Players:

https://apps.risevision.com/editor/workspace/70366769-b89c-4ba9-bb81-77988442ca09/?cid=6a49b6d2-1682...

It is a modified Rise Video WIdget demo presentation , we added two more identical placeholders playing the same HD video list but scaled at 80% and 60% so they overlap. This is very intensive compared to most actual requirements and it's easy to simply eliminate one or two of the scaled placeholders to test  different video challenges on a player or add another one.

We use a freeware CPU temperature monitoring program  called CoreTemp  see: http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/ and Windows Task Manager. We set CoreTemp to "Always on Top" mode and place a shortcut on the desktop so we can easily start it on reboot before Rise Player gets started. So, install CoreTemp and get it ready to run, restart the player and quickly start CoreTemp on top before RisePlayer takes over.  

We start WIndows Task Manager at any time with Ctrl-Alt-Delete and again set it to "Always on top", so we can do that after RisePlayer starts up. 

The performance tab on Windows Task Manager is a good indicator of Disk and WiFi activity but it drastically under reports CPU load when CPU Throttling happens due to heat. Example, when an Atom CPU gets throttled to 33% of nominal speed and the CPU is loaded to 100% of capacity Task Manager will report 33% Load, but Coretest will report current CPU Speed and properly report as 100% how much of that CPU capacity is being used. It seems Task Manager is CPU load locked as a percentage of the nominal clock speed rather than the available clock speed. 

The Video Torture test overlaid videos will start in relative sync and it's quite noticeable when the loop falls out of sync. When a Video Widget placeholder locks up totally it will go black, but in our testing the latest version of the Rise Video Widget no longer crashes to black.

The videos will get visibly choppy if there is CPU throttling.

We often set a loop in where we run  the Video Torture Test with a couple of presentations with static images, it gives us a chance to reset the videos to sync and also to watch temperature drops versus intensive video processing and scaling.

CoreTemp will show a Temperature and a CPU load for each core, wattage for the CPU and Mi-Max temperatures for each core. It will also report current CPU clock speed. 

We've found that Atom processors common in passively cooled Sticks are very aggressively throttled and that often impacts the ability of the player to run challenging presentations. Worse in hot environments or when the player is mounted in a tight space behind a hot monitor.

Our i3 NUC in our demo shop has a fan on the CPU and  is much less prone to throttling, so it lows through the Torture Test without problems 

We typically point the finger at software, but in many cases what seems like a software glitch is actually a Player Hardware limitation caused by a BIOS reaction to heat that Throttles the CPU to avoid smoke and flames.  Low CPU speeds and the effects of throttling can cause WiFi stuttering as well.

So if you've got any doubts about a player and installation run CoreTemp and check how hot the CPU runs.

Our initial testing of the new Rise Video Widget is very positive, so far we've had no drops to black on the Video Torture Test presentation. That said, it appears more CPU intensive and that might make borderline hot systems start to exhibit problems.

If you install the new Video Widget and it doesn't work better than the old one, try checking the temperature of the CPU in the player with this method.

I'll try to answer questions you may have. I have not tested this on any Sticks yet so I'd be curious to know how they fare under this test. I'd bet they hit and stay at heavy throttling within a few minutes of starting
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  • Hot and sluggish

Posted 2 years ago

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Here's a photo of a typical test in progress 

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Shea, Official Rep

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Hey RPT,

I just set this up on an Intel Compute Stick running a slight variation of your presentation. Mine includes the newly released Spreadsheet Widget.  You can see a preview of it here: 

http://preview.risevision.com/?type=presentation&id=13e2b7b6-2e4c-4b2b-a2ce-11257a0a231d

I will report back later today with what I find. 

Thanks!
Shea

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Hi Shea,
You're welcome Shea,

That was fast and it's still a cool CPU in your picture so it can still hit peak CPU speeds.

If it hits CPU throttling the CoreTemp CPU usage will bump up to 100% and the video may get sluggish.

Have fun,
Peter
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I am also doing the similar test with our multi-content presentation on one of our Intel Stix. I am also seeing the similar load/temp results, little lower. I am not running videos, though... sort of. It will be playing scheduled YouTube playlist from 12 to 2 PM. Also, just to stress the device, I have it concealed inside the little cardbox over the display exhausting some warm air just to simulate the situation when the device would be placed somewhere inside the closed space behind the display. It has been doing OK so far.
(Edited)
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I think single video streams will not be a problem in most cases, we saw very little throttling on single Video Widget, so we went to 2 then 3 Video Widgets.

The first signs of throttling will be if one core goes past 70C and then aggressive throttling happens after 80C on Atoms and after 83-84C you'll see clock rates drop as low as 33% of nominal and bumps as the throttling kicks in and out.

Better to know you've got power to spare and headroom on heat.
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I see some constant & rapid dips from 75% to 35% @ 65-68C. Not sure if this is throttling, though. That has no impact in the static content.
(Edited)
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Darius, Probably just peaks and valleys in needed CPU time, if it's throttling you'll notice the speed in TaskManager and CoreTemp drop for a minute or two at a time.

You're confirming what you've said many times before that the Stick is fine for basically static simple content, let me know how it does on a couple of hours of YouTube video. There's more work for CPU and Graphics, which are same chip in Atom based players. If it's a single stream it will probably get hot but might not throttle much.
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Update:

After almost an hour of YouTube stream and other static content the load went up to 75-90% and temps raised to ~75C on all the cores. Yet it was very stable and i noticed only few dips to 40% of load. No real impact on the content observed, but, to be honest, the streamed video quality was low, so it is hard to tell. At this point I took it out of the cardbox and pushed it away from the raising warm air off the monitor below. The temps gradually went down  to 65C and I am not observing any dips in CPU load. So, it is acting pretty much the way we discussed before. It is clear now how tight enclosure and demanding content has an obvious negative impact on the performance of this little guy. And as I am wringing this I can see occasional dips is CPU speed from 1.57 GHz to 0.4-0.8 GHz. Not that it is impacting the playback in any noticeable way, but it is happening and it is something to keep in mind.
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Even under light loads and no throttling it is common for CPU speeds to dip, I think it's a "cool off while you can" function. Depends on the BIOS and Intel seems to have done a great job on the latest Stick to minimize the impact of throttling.

Heat will also affect life and reliability, so keeping hardware cool is always a great idea.
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Also something to keep in mind is the weather. I hate AC and prefer not to turn it on at home if I can take the heat. Over the weekend we had temps all the way up to 90F & sunny. My living room is facing south. I have Android Minix Neo X5 for my media player ON in my living room, on the shelf, at all times. It is a bigger device then a stick, but has no vents or fan to keep it cool. So it crashed while streaming YouTube last weekend... not typical for it. Today I will hook up one of the Intel Sticks to see how it would do as a media player in more demanding environment. It will get to stream YouTube and local network videos a lot.
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Update from my tests: 

After a few hours of testing the three videos and new Spreadsheet Widget here is what I see. 







The videos are pretty much all out of sync and the back one has just been a black placeholder for a while. The Spreadsheet Widget has become jittery but has continued to scroll without issue.  

Overall I would say this stick is more than capable of running most content (Image slideshows, one video placeholder, RSS, etc..). And it has surprised me how well it performed with this intensive presentation running, as I was expecting it to crash out completely. 

Thanks!
Shea
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No, they can handle moderately demanding content just fine. Mine has been running for 3 weeks with 0 failures, but I was restarting it manually from time to time and it also is set to restart at night.
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Darius and Shea:
Can you advise which model Intel Stick you're running? I think the latest versions have CPU fans, actually visible through the cooling holes.
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I tried both older and newer. I was torturing the older today. But both models have visible tiny intake fans at the top (towards HDMI port) and exhaust vents at the bottom (the other end; visible heat sink). This is also something to keep in mind when you are planning ventilation for this little sucker.
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I am using the model that is sold through our store here.
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The booting up time for the newer is noticeably faster than the old one. It also feels like it is running a bit cooler too.
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These numbers from Shea and Darius are really good news for the newer Intel Sticks being good solid players with reasonable throughput and minimal CPU throttling at moderate loads.

Thanks for the input. 
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Perhaps I was not clear enough :) This is the OLDER model stick I was torturing. The newer was performing better, so I did not even bother anymore. I will throw at the newer model more demanding duties later today at home.
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To fully understand CPU Throttling and its effect on Rise Vision, I have run my Torture Tests on the Kangaroo PC, an Atom X8500 based Tiny PC that on paper makes a superb Player and costs $100US with WIndows 10 Home Installed. It's got a 2.24 GHz burst mode available, and it feels as fast or faster at Rise Vision than an i3 NUC when cold. Snappy video windows and no stuttering.

EXCEPT it is passively cooled (no CPU fan). This little unit works perfectly except it quickly gets close to throttling on simple presentations or single video. Anything more complex and a bit of ambient heat and it winds up throttled to between 33-48% of nominal clock speed and drops to sludge and stuttering or black failed placeholders withing 10-20 minutes of torture.

If we place (casually) a small fan over the vent ports, we have a very speedy player, because burst mode is always available (literally 100% of the time) so it's about 50-60% faster than an Intel Atom Stick.

Make sure the Atom Player (Stick or small format)  you're using has a CPU fan, The Intel sticks all have small fans on the Atom processor and are a much better bet for staying out of throttling than a low cost silent passively cooled Stick small player or stick format. There are some high end silent units with complex passive cooling that break this rule, but we're usually talking low cost players when we talk sticks.

Because the Kangaroo PC has so many great features for a signage player, we here at RPT are building a mount and fan assembly for it so we can safely integrate it into future packaged products. The prototypes are being machined today and when I get it properly set up I'll plan on  posting some pictures and side by side test results.
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