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Sorry if this is a repost, my Google searches didn't turn up anything with an applicable solution to my issue, the closest I got was this one

When I posted my stats for the same question I was told not to ask the same question in a thread. So now I'm starting a new thread for the same question instead.

I have an old PC with the following specs:

  • 4GB of DDR2 RAM (4x1GB @ 1333MHz)
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+ ×2
  • Gigabyte GA-MA69VM-S2 Motherboard
  • 2x 256GB SSD in a softRAID1 via ubuntu's installer
  • 1TB HDD for extra space

Running:

  • Release 12.04 (precise) 64-bit (Server)
  • Kernel Linux 3.5.0-54-generic
  • GNOME 3.4.2

According to top my cores are running:

top - 14:47:56 up 8 days, 55 min,  4 users,  load average: 2.69, 3.13, 2.97
Tasks: 210 total,   4 running, 205 sleeping,   0 stopped,   1 zombie
Cpu(s): 13.8%us, 10.5%sy, 72.0%ni,  3.2%id,  0.3%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.2%si,  0.0%st
Mem:   3919760k total,  3461844k used,   457916k free,   164664k buffers
Swap: 19528700k total,  1062256k used, 18466444k free,   963632k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND            
28746 www-data  39  19  144m  40m 3412 R   21  1.0   0:00.63 gbrowse            
 7269 root      20   0  528m  24m 9408 R   12  0.6   1292:27 gnome-system-mo    
 1311 root      20   0  233m  63m 4164 S    8  1.6 778:52.73 Xorg               
28748 www-data  39  19 38080 8216 2076 R    3  0.2   0:00.10 gbrowse            
 1208 www-data  39  19  626m 120m 3884 S    1  3.1  50:32.07 /usr/sbin/apach    
 2944 root      20   0 1370m 430m  31m S    1 11.2  54:27.70 firefox            
17696 www-data  39  19  472m 103m 4040 S    1  2.7  13:17.29 /usr/sbin/apach    
    3 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   4:16.15 ksoftirqd/0        
  243 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0  17:38.27 md1_raid1          
 1344 mysql     20   0  481m 1996  512 S    0  0.1   8:40.40 mysqld             
22219 www-data  39  19  430m  80m 6456 S    0  2.1   3:15.41 /usr/sbin/apach    
28726 root      20   0 17456 1440 1008 R    0  0.0   0:00.03 top                
29976 www-data  39  19  493m 112m 3988 S    0  2.9  18:13.70 /usr/sbin/apach    
32406 root      20   0  761m  11m 5796 S    0  0.3   2:06.10 filezilla          
    1 root      20   0 24608 1924  896 S    0  0.0   0:01.22 init      

According to grep MHz /proc/cpuinfo they're running:

cpu MHz: 2200.000
cpu MHz: 2200.000

According to ps -eo pcpu,pid,args | sort -k 1 -r | head -15 (suggested here) they're running:|

%CPU   PID COMMAND
 6.7  1311 /usr/bin/X :0 -auth /var/run/lightdm/root/:0 -nolisten tcp vt7 -novtswitch -background none
 4.5  2944 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox
 1.7 29976 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.7 17696 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.7  1731 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.7  1208 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.7 10551 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.6 22219 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.6 22216 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.6 20784 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.6 20778 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
 1.6 20774 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
14.5  7269 gnome-system-monitor
 0.2  8011 pidgin

According to the Processes tab of the system monitor they're running:

enter image description here

And according to the Resources tab of the same system monitor they're running:

enter image description here

I never installed compiz, which is what most of the other people asking this question were pointed at as the culprit (e.g. here), and compiz doesn't show up in my processes list, so I don't think the issue is there (unless it's hidden from me for some reason). Any ideas as to why there is a discrepancy and how I can figure out just how much work I'm putting the old machine through?

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The snapshots that these tools give you are useful when you are monitoring them, but really you need something that tracks over a little more time. They are only taking time slices and will report spikes in applications (such as THEMSELVES) which are red herrings.

I notice you have a web server running, is the machine serving many users? Is it possible to start the machine without running any graphical programs and then just monitor 'top' via a tty (i.e. cntrl-alt-F10)? That might take the UI pieces out of the equation at least.

Alternatively you could try shutting down apache and seeing if the machine load is a little more stable.

I'd stick to 1 process monitoring tool (certainly at a time) so that you don't see them all reporting on each other.

  • This did it, I stopped apache and every one of the trackers showed ~20% CPU load and restarting apache brought the usage back up, so now I know what's causing it. Thanks for your help! – Seth_m55 Aug 1 '14 at 14:42
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I think that at least top and System Monitor are being consistent. Look at the load averages: they are consistently above 2, and given that you have a dual-core system, that means both of your CPU cores are being fully utilized over the past 1, 5 and 15 minutes respectively. This is also shown by the System Monitor CPU usage graph. As for the rest, the actual utilization of a CPU by a given set of processes is very, very volatile - they can differ from one instant to another unless there's something guiding the scheduler, like a hungry process with a high nice value.

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