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Old 08-26-2017, 02:41 PM   #1
julianvb
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Intel Atom N270 Processor: High %CPU Usage


2017-08-26

Yesterday someone introduced me to a new Linux CPU monitoring graphic program on my Intel Atom N270-based Linux Mint 18.2 system. It indicated two CPUs (due to hyperthreading), both of which were 95% busy most of the time while the machine was connected to the Internet. When I subsequently ran the top and htop command, I found that the sum of all %CPU entries was typically between 20% and 15% on all my Linux Mint systems including this LM18.2 machine.
C
Thanks very much for your help in advance.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
**** 2017-08-27 ****
My important conclusive lesson: Accurate, meaningful measurement of CPU usage is best done with nmon and htop together on the same screen. Otherwise, data can be misleading when not cross-checked or interpreted properly. .
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Julianvb

Last edited by julianvb; 08-27-2017 at 11:10 AM.
 
Old 08-26-2017, 02:59 PM   #2
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianvb View Post
2017-08-26

Yesterday someone introduced me to a new Linux CPU monitoring graphic program on my Intel Atom N270-based Linux Mint 18.2 system. It indicated two CPUs (due to hyperthreading), both of which were 95% busy most of the time while the machine was connected to the Internet. When I subsequently ran the top command, I found that the sum of all %CPU entries was typically between 20% and 15% on all my Linux Mint systems including this LM18.2 machine.

While I firmly believe in the top command's %CPU output data, I fail to understand why this graphic program's output differs so drastically from that of the top command. Thanks very much for your help in advance.

Julianvb
Can you post the output of the top command?
 
Old 08-26-2017, 03:32 PM   #3
julianvb
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jsbjsb101,

Thanks very much for you quick response. I revisited the top command again a few minutes again with my LM18.2 online and offline. To my utter surprise, the online data from top agrees now with the graphic monitor's last night's output. I am attaching both inline and offline image files.

Julianvb
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	online-cpu-usage.jpg
Views:	119
Size:	116.8 KB
ID:	25784   Click image for larger version

Name:	offline-cpu-usage.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	106.8 KB
ID:	25785  

Last edited by julianvb; 08-26-2017 at 03:41 PM.
 
Old 08-26-2017, 03:48 PM   #4
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianvb View Post
jsbjsb101,

Thanks very much for you quick response. I revisited the top command again a few minutes again with my LM18.2 online and offline. To my utter surprise, the online data from top agrees now with the graphic monitor's last night's output. I am attaching both inline and offline image files.

Julianvb
Your first top output (attached image) show that a process called 'Web Content' is using a LOT of CPU time, as well as firefox and the main cinnamon desktop environment processes, are your running any kind of server?
 
Old 08-26-2017, 05:22 PM   #5
ondoho
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"Web Content" is firefox, i'm pretty sure.
make sure to completely close the browser, it should go away.

some animated web pages do that.
 
Old 08-26-2017, 06:00 PM   #6
julianvb
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Hi, ondoho and jsbjsb001,

Since I need the browser as long as I remain online, does it in turn imply that high CPU usage is a natural consequence? I don't know if I'm using a server or not. Thanks very much.

Julianvb
 
Old 08-26-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianvb View Post
Since I need the browser as long as I remain online, does it in turn imply that high CPU usage is a natural consequence?
As far as I know it is. It is the price what you pay in 2017 for complete applications implemented in web pages and running in a web browser.
I used to have a fanless Atoms as desktop machines as well, but I stopped using them because of this. Linux and lightweight desktops easily run on atom machines, and just because of web contents I had to dump that idea.
My sun had a fanfull Atom with temperature controlled fan. As soon as he started browsing his favorite sites his computer would sound as a vacuum cleaner -- the fan trying desperately to cool off the CPU cycles induced heat.

jlinkels

Last edited by jlinkels; 08-26-2017 at 06:08 PM.
 
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:24 PM   #8
julianvb
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Quote:
As far as I know it is. It is the price what you pay in 2017 for a complete application running in a web browser.
I used to have a fanless atoms as desktop machines as well, but I stopped using them because of this. Linux and lightweight desktops easily run on atom machines, and just because of web contents I had to dump that idea.
My sun had a funfull atom with temperature controlled fan. As soon as he started browsing his favorite sites his computers would sound as a vacuum cleaner -- the fan trying desperately to cool off the CPU cycles induced heat.

jlinkels
Hi, jlinkels,

Thanks very much for a clear-cut answer. I bought several $10 fanless Atom N270-based Jetway workstations with Linux Mint 18 pre-installed last year and was fairly happy with them. They are also known as mini-motherboard tabletops and weigh 5 lb each. I gave one to my nephew a few months ago and last night he pointed out this problem to me when he came to visit. I guess his complaint is justified as he is used to the latest stuff and has more needs than a retiree like myself. On the other hand, I find these year-2013 fanless machines cool and quiet. As a matter of fact, my good old 2004 Compaq desktop running LM17.1 is also showing heavy CPU usage. I was unaware of this common fact until my nephew brought it up after he came home for the summer.

Perhaps I'll find a happy medium compromise somehow? Your feedback will be much appreciated.

Julianvb

Last edited by julianvb; 08-26-2017 at 06:36 PM.
 
Old 08-26-2017, 06:51 PM   #9
Shadow_7
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NOT installing flash and NOT installing java can make your browser less CPU hungry. But installed by default on a lot of desktop orientated installs.

Using older things like xload to check the CPU usage is more entertaining than informative on modern multiple core machines. Using htop might prove less confusing. CPUs ramp up and down a lot these days to save power. Some of which is hardware based and hard to monitor in software. Even the output of /proc/cpuinfo changes depending on if your CPU is under load. Perhaps your seeing the trend to run near 90% of your current CPU speed which changes speeds to maintain that number. And is otherwise not representative of the usage relative to the max capabilities of the hardware. Using nmon might also prove less confusing.

$ nmon
"l" (lower case L) for cpu meter.
 
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianvb View Post
Perhaps I'll find a happy medium compromise somehow? Your feedback will be much appreciated.
Julianvb
I gave up. I purchased i7 fanless desktops for my wife and me, and an i5 fanless desktop for my son. They are definitely out of your $10 range.
https://www.atlastsolutions.com/fanless/

The Atoms I use now as thin clients, or machines which have to run a task without GUI involved. Like monitoring and logging, backup server, whatever. My main file server is still an Atom.

it is a shame that scripted web applications void the efforts of hundreds of open source developers who try to write lean and efficient software. (I learned software development on PDP11, IBM370 and HP1000. One knew better than writing inefficient scripts)

jlinkels
 
Old 08-26-2017, 09:39 PM   #11
julianvb
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Shadow 7,

Thanks for suggesting nmon as a very good CPU-usage monitor. Indeed, it conveys more accurate and useful info as it is far more dynamic and less confusing than other similar tools. I'll repeat my CPU-usage testing on my various computers.

Julianvb

Last edited by julianvb; 08-26-2017 at 10:03 PM.
 
Old 08-26-2017, 10:24 PM   #12
syg00
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Check your plugins - I installed googles "don't auto-play HTML5" (some name like that) and Chrome went nuts on Web content, just like yours.
All was good after I removed the plugin again.
 
Old 08-27-2017, 11:26 AM   #13
julianvb
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syg00,

Thanks very much for your useful input. Running nmon and htop together on the same screen gives me a meaningful, concise report on any Linux system's CPU usage. The continuously reported data I see now is not as bad as in all previous cases. Besides it's the long haul and not a few snapshots that matter.

Julianvb
 
Old 08-27-2017, 03:20 PM   #14
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianvb View Post
Since I need the browser as long as I remain online, does it in turn imply that high CPU usage is a natural consequence?
no.
it depends on the web pages you visit.
not all of them are so laden with javascript and CSS animation and sh!t.

a good way to lighten the load is to install the noscript addon.
for some sites you don't have to do anything, but for some you need to allow scripts (hit and miss) until the site becomes usable. then you tell noscript to remember that.

you also need to clear cookies & offline data after you close the browser.

[ you can also install the request policy addon, it works similarly to noscript. ]

and of course you must have an adblocker; they also lighten the load.
 
  


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