EDIT : I have been able to to determine that the problem is not compiz, but is actually Xorg. I don't know why, but by quickly maximizing terminal and taking a screenshot with top running before the problem went away I am able to see xorg takes up 72% of cpu, with bamfdaemon taking up 18%, and compiz taking up 14%. Seems the nvidia drivers are to blame, will play more with settings and perhaps do a clean nvidia-current install to try to fix the problem.

Having a very annoying problem with high CPU usage. Running 12.04 with latest drivers and nvidia-current installed. Have not had any issues for days, now I have a strange problem.

Unity 3d runs great most of the time, 1-2% CPU usage with only transmission running in background. Windows open and close smoothly.

However,no matter what programs are open, if I minimize all open programs to the unity bar on the left, my CPU jumps to about 80% and slows down all maximize and minimize effects. Mouse movement stays smooth the whole time, but unity becomes unresponsive for up to 30 seconds at times. Hitting alt + tab to bring up even a single window fixes the problem. The window I bring back up doesn't even have to be maximized to solve the problem. Hitting the super button to bring up the dash makes CPU drop back to idle until I close it, then high CPU usage resumes.

Believe the problem is compiz, but even just having only terminal running "top", I have to minimize it to the tray for the problem to show, so I can't see the problem process. I can only tell about the high CPU usage using indicator-sysmonitor. Even tried quitting the indicator, but I can still tell very poor performance with all applications when minimized.

Reset compiz back to defaults, tried going to the post-release update nvidia drivers, played with vsync settings in both the nvidia settings and compiz. Even forced refresh rate, but cannot solve the problem. The problem does NOT occur in Unity 2D.

Specs are core 2 duo 2.0ghz, 4GB ddr2 ram, 2x 320's HDD in RAID 0, and Nvidia GTX 260M graphics card.

  • 1
    Remove the NVIDIA proprietary driver. I find that on all my 3 machines with NVIDIA graphics cards, the latest NVIDIA proprietary driver behaves horribly slow in Unity. It also produces such high CPU usage as you mention. Using the open source Nouveau driver resolves these issues. Unfortunately, framerates in games are much lower with it. Jul 26, 2012 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


First of all run top in your terminal which process using your CPU:


Check the PID and then try to debug the process by strace:

sudo apt-get install strace
sudo strace -fp PID

Then you'll see what it's doing exactly.

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