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On CentOs, I have a task that converts files. It runs day and night and I want to ensure its using all 4 cores most of the time. In Windows I can just look at the performance histograms in Task Manager so see full utilisation, I love GUIs.

How do I do this in Linux?

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Do you want to monitor the current usage in realtime or get a graph of the usage over the last N hours? – terdon Jan 12 '13 at 17:44
Realtime will be enough, but if you can suggest a tool for n hours that'd be cool. SSH only. – Luke Puplett Jan 12 '13 at 18:17
up vote 2 down vote accepted

top was already mentioned, but I find htop is a very nice replacement for top. It also has a graphical (ncurses) display of the current CPU utilization, separate for all cores.

Edit: Also your Desktop environment probably already installed a task manager. For xfce it's called xfce4-taskmanager.

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I'm going to give you the answer and +1 the other response. htop sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. I'll have to get the sysops team to install it. Thanks for the prompt responses. – Luke Puplett Jan 12 '13 at 18:16

The 'uptime' command is the quickest way to get an idea. With 4 cores, and your task taking up all the available free capacity, it should be sitting somewhere around 4.0 on all the figures listed after "load averages". This shows you the average utilisation over the last minute, 5 minutes and 15 minutes. The 'top' command will give you an updating list of the processes using most system resources if you're worried another task is using up a lot of the resources (type 'q' to quit it) and if you think you need to mess with how important other tasks are, have a read through the manpage for the 'nice' command.

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I'm going to add my own answer.

Use the 'top' command but hit '1' when its running to bring up a list of cores and the utilisation breakdown.

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