CPUs running at 100% (Hardy Heron, Dell XPS M1330)

Joep L. Blom jlblom at neuroweave.nl
Thu Apr 1 18:57:36 UTC 2010

Quin Wills wrote:
> Hi
> I've one of the Dell XPS M1330 machines that come shipped with Hardy LTS 
> (Dual Core T7300 2GHz/800Mhz 4MB Cache, 2GB RAM). I've had it for a year 
> and use it for scientific computing.
> As of about 2 weeks ago I notice that the my youtube and BBC iplayer 
> playback started becoming jerky after a few minutes into any video. I've 
> not made any software changes recently. I ran the usual DELL hardware 
> checks and reinstalled my flash plugins, without improvement. My laptop 
> began freezing, including with standard applications like openoffice or 
> when running a CPU intensive job during analysis (I code in R). So the 
> problem appears to be my CPUs and I've confirmed, using the system 
> monitor, that they rapidly hit 100% before my laptop freezes.
> I see there are some CPU tests out there, but have never tinkered/tested 
> with any CPUs before. I prize this machine (a lot) and have heard horror 
> stories around naive CPU testing. This has become a real problem for me 
> - I use this machine 10+ hours a day - so any advice on what I should do 
> next (explained to me like I'm an idiot) and what the problem is likely 
> to be would be very, very, very welcome!
> Thanks a stack,
> Quin
As you didn't follow my suggestion of installing gkrellm it is difficult 
to pinpoint the offending software. If you install it correctly, you can 
see a continuous graph of cpu use (per processor) and the number of 
active processes (I normally look at the 3 most active). Top is much too 
heavy and difficult to inspect. The suggestion of Java instances 
occupying much resources is very plausible as is any other firefox 
plugin (e.g. flash). With gkrellm you can immediately see the effect of 
closure of presumably offending programs.
But it's onlt my €  0,05

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