TL;DR - Watching Youtube videos on Brave browser freezes my computer.
I’ve been having persistent problems with my computer freezing while watching Youtube videos. My usual (and favorite) browser is Brave (currently installed Version 1.17.75 Chromium: 87.0.4280.88 (Official Build) (64-bit)) and I’m running Linux Mint 20.04 (previously Ubuntu 18.04). The behavior is not like many of the other like problems with Youtube as once the video freezes, the mouse will move for a bit but neither the mouse nor the keyboard will accept inputs before the screen eventually goes blank, requiring a hard reset. Most of the other problems I’ve seen have the video freezing while sound continues, then closing Brave; my problem is the opposite … the sound stops, the video continues for a few seconds, then a hard reset. Once the sound stops, nothing will accept input.
I had previously used Pale Moon because I couldn’t get Brave to function well on Ubuntu 16.04, but upon upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 I installed and started using Brave browser.
My computer is a self-built Ryzen 5 3400G (an upgrade from a Ryzen 5 2400G w/ 8G of memory)) on an AsRock x370 Killer SLI/ac, with 16G of QVL memory for Raven Ridge processors … no graphics card (hence the Ryzen APU, I’m not a gamer).
When I built the computer (roughly 3 years ago) I immediately started having the video instability that the Ryzen APU’s became famous for. By a combination of BIOS and kernel upgrades I eventually achieved some stability. After the APU/memory upgrade, I maintained a mostly stable system.
Around 6 months ago (after the APU/memory upgrade and the switch to Brave), my computer started behaving the same as my original configuration … namely, Youtube freezing the computer randomly, and the frequency has gotten steadily worse (operating times as short as 30 minutes before hard reset is required). I initially searched for hardware bugs and found that Windows on Haswell processors were suceptible to a low current bug at idle. The ‘fix’ for this was to tweak C-states, which I did, with no effect.
Further BIOS upgrades for my mobo are not recommended by AsRock for AMD Raven Ridge processors (what I have). But I’m not sure it’s a hardware problem.
Last week, I opened up the default Firefox installation in Mint and imported bookmarks and passwords from Brave. So far, I have not had not had any freezes while watching Youtube videos (sometime multiple videos playing, with sound turned off).
I also use Chromium, only to keep up with my daughters’ online academy (during the Covid madness) as it’s the most reliable browser I’ve found that will handle the academy’s insistence on basing most of its’ curriculum presentations on Flash. I’ve also imported bookmarks and passwords to Chrome.
I’ve ‘tested’ all three browsers by using each of them exclusively for my daily computer activities; typically I have an email client, a terminal, file browser, and a web browser open at all times. Here are the results:
Firefox - ran freeze-free just under 2 days and 15 hours before I shut the computer down. The only extensions are ad blockers. At least one Youtube video was playing the whole time (a Youtube mix of 12hrs of Christmas music).
Chromium (no extensions) - Froze after 11 hrs; again after 12.5 hrs; again after 13.5 hrs; and again after just under 15 hrs.
Brave (no extensions) - Froze at just over 3 hrs; again after roughly 13 hrs (was overnight); again after just over 21 hrs ((again, overnight); again after 6.5 hrs; again after just under an hour; again after 10 hrs; again after 5 hrs, again after just under 5 hrs, again after an hour, and again after only 3 mins (a new record).
The two Chromium-based browsers in general (Brave in particular) don’t do well, Firefox appears to be stable.
The log viewers in Ubuntu and Mint don’t tell me anything … the most common last error in Ubuntu was an NXDOMAIN error about which no help was found. I’m not fluent enough in Linux to know which actual log files to look at nor what to look for.
Obviously I want Brave to work, and I’ll help do that as well as I can. What I need is some guidance about where to look to find out what the problem might be. Is there a debugging mode I need to enable? Which log files do I look in and where are they? What information do I need to report?
If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!
Addendum: Since I’ve finished writing this post, Firefox has been running for over 3 days and 20 hrs.