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I use raw mplayer to play video, DeaDBeeF to play audio and Skype for VoIP. Heavy CPU-consuming processes (like rendering a website in Firefox, redrawing a Java IDE window or compilation) cause disturbances in multimedia playback processes. How to overcome this? I'd agree to those CPU-consuming processes to be a bit slower if it won't disturb multimedia playback.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

to change a running process (as mentioned above : renice -n -20 <pid>

or viva GUI

gnome-system-monitor => Processes => RightClick => ChangePriority

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Try playing with the nice command on a console (hint: man nice)

sudo nice foo –15 &

Will start application foo at an "elevated" priority of -15 (less is more :D)


Not exactly what you ask for, but try using the a realtime kernel, it's more responsive and the apps "seems to hang less".

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Thanks. Then would you be so kind to look at this question? :-) – Ivan Sep 26 '10 at 0:43
I'm not sure a realtime kernel would help : if the CPU is overloaded, a realtime kernel will be overloaded as well... And you will still have to play with the priorities to tell the kernel what applications are more important to you. Of course, you will know for sure only if you try, but I'm certain that managing your processes priority with your existing kernel should give you the right behavior without playing with the kernel itself. – Little Jawa Sep 26 '10 at 6:11

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