I noticed that on all 6 cores on my processor my computer is using 20-60%. No windows were open aside from the system monitor. I ran the command "top" in terminal and found that compiz is using 60-130%, Xorg 15-70%, and at-spi2-register pretty consistently 16% (this all occurring with only Firefox and the askubuntu.com webpage open).
I have also noticed that when I click the dash button ("Search your computer and online resources") when the computer is initially starting up, it will boot me right back to the desktop for the first 2-3 minutes after starting up.
Things I've done that might contribute to some of my problems include installing java sdk 7u51, trying to use a proprietary driver for an amd radeon hd 7970, and trying to run BFGMiner on my computer for fun/learning/experimentation.
Any thoughts as to what I can do to get my cpu to calm down? It shouldn't be running this much hotter than my windows drive, in my opinion...