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Extremely high CPU usage in PicoScope 6.11.13.2

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Extremely high CPU usage in PicoScope 6.11.13.2

Postby Stormy » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:28 pm

I have been considering buying one of the 2000A/B-series PicoScopes, so I downloaded the PicoScope 6 software to see how it ran on my MacBook Pro (mid-2009 17-inch 2.8 GHz Core2 Duo, 8 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 512 MB, OS X 10.11.6), as this is my primary computer at home, where I intend to use the scope most of the time. I installed Mono first, using the most recent version from their website (MonoFramework-MDK-4.6.2.7.macos10.xamarin.universal.pkg).

I chose to run with a demo device, as I obviously don't have a PicoScope yet. I noticed the fans start to spin up, so I checked Activity Monitor and found the CPU usage to be around 106%. Stopping the capture, it drops to around 1%. Restarting the capture it returned to the 105% mark, and after one press of the "Auto Setup" button, it shot up to 190% and stayed there, fans roaring. If I stop the capture after using the "Auto Setup" button, CPU usage remains at 190% indefinitely.

I imagine there is some overhead from emulating an attached scope and I appreciate that the software is still in beta, but this seemed ridiculous, so I installed version 6.11.12.1692 on my Windows 7 64-bit PC at work (Core i5 1.9/2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM), and this seems to run at a steady 30% CPU while capturing, regardless of what I do with the GUI.

Is my case unusual, or are you aware of any issues? I have used other Pico products at work under Windows without issue and was pleased that I might end up with a British product, where I had previously been looking at desktop oscilloscopes from the likes of Siglent and Rigol. If this behaviour is "normal" for your Mac software, or it won't be fixed in the near future, I will have to look elsewhere! :(

Many thanks for any information.
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Re: Extremely high CPU usage in PicoScope 6.11.13.2

Postby alan » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:04 pm

Hi,

Firstly PCs and Macs report CPU use differently - if you run a quad core CPU flat out a PC will report 100% whilst a Mac will report 400%.

Running in demo mode always uses more CPU resources than running with a PicoScope attached as the PC has to generate the waveform as well as display it.

Whether the fans will run when the scope is in use will depend a bit on the performance of the Macbook. We dont have one with your spec so can not comment but feel free to purchase knowing that there is a no quibble return period for Pico products to quote "We hope that you will be happy with your purchase from Pico Technology. In the event it does not prove suitable for your application you can return the product for an exchange or refund. For a valid claim, the product must be returned in good condition within 14 days."
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Re: Extremely high CPU usage in PicoScope 6.11.13.2

Postby Stormy » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:55 pm

Hi Alan,

Thank you for the reply. I did realise my apples/oranges CPU usage mistake shortly after I posted (no pun intended). The PC laptop was using 30% of 4 cores, which might equate to about 120% on the Mac, so I suppose the two figures could be considered comparable. I have managed to borrow an older PicoScope 3204A from work and tried it with my MacBook. The CPU usage is indeed a bit lower when not in demo mode, but still too high to be run alongside my other applications, so I will probably pursue the desktop scope route instead.

Again, thank you for your time.
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