Something you might want to try is to run GKrellM (it's included with Slackware). It's a display that shows your core(s) acttivity, processes, temperatures, disk activity, Ethernet/Wireless activity, memory, swap, email and uptime. If you laptop is capable, you can enable temperatures, fans and voltages.
To start it, simply execute gkrellm &, then right-click on the top of the displayed "stick" and configure it as you see fit. It's not an answer but it does provide a visual indication of what's going on that might be useful.
Hope this helps some.