Is there a command I can use from the Terminal on OS X to get the usage percentage per CPU/core in numerical format on my dual-core iMac?

I'm going to need to grab this every 5/10 seconds so I'm looking for something "low-cost" - that isn't going to hit the CPU too hard. Maybe something like top, but which shows both CPU/cores, that I can parse and then display in GeekTool;

Core 1: 11%
Core 2: 7%

There is a wonderful extension to top, called htop, which shows real-time graphs per CPU in the top-left of the display, as well as many other controls and great customisability:


You can install it with any of the following:

There is a tutorial on how to get an htop port built for OS X:




Top shows individual cores, you only have to press '1'. I think there's also an option to change the refresh rate.

  • 2
    OS X's top doesn't have this nice Linux-y feature. – guns Sep 9 '09 at 22:35
  • 1
    didn't know that, I expected it to be a standard feature – bandi Sep 10 '09 at 10:42

There's an updated htop project at Github by Hisham Muhammad , who has more info on his site.

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