‘W’ sits at 1.0 on idling system

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by JacekSD, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. JacekSD macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2017
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    San Diego, CA
    #1
    Hi All,

    On both my iMac and Mac Mini running 10.12.6 ’w’ sits at 1.0 or above. Do you know what mysterious process rises the load to 1.0, I cannot figure it out using ps. The CPU usage is low, the only abnormal thing is that launchd writes crazy amounts of data to disk.

    Thanks
     
  2. treekram macrumors 65816

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    Honolulu HI
    #2
    From the Terminal app, type in "ps -w -p #" where "#" is the process ID that you get either from ps or the PID column in the Activity Monitor app for "w" process. Hopefully, that will give more information on the location of the "w" program. If you already have that, post that because "w" is obviously difficult to search on.
     
  3. mfram macrumors 65816

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    Jan 23, 2010
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    San Diego, CA USA
    #3
    I agree that the "load average" on my laptop is always sitting at least 1. Mine actually lists 1.5. Maybe some idle process is left "running" if nothing else is. We'd never be able to see it, of course. Because in order to see it you'd need to run a program.
     
  4. treekram macrumors 65816

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    #4
    If "w" isn't the process name - sorry, I misunderstood the OP.
     
  5. JacekSD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 31, 2017
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    #5
    Thanks mfram,

    I just checked and on my very old MacBook running Lion the load is close to 0.0 as it should be. Do you know what is the best way to get an answer from Apple? On my new iMac the fan never spins down. It is barely audible but still… Maybe this is the cause.
     
  6. mfram macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I don't think the load average is really the issue. I don't notice anything weird on my rMBP. It stays cool and I don't notice a fan. Since an iMac is running a desktop-class processor I wouldn't expect the fan would ever turn completely off. I know on all the PCs I have, the CPU fan never turns completely off. You must be really sensitive to that sound.
     
  7. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #7
    Open Activity Monitor, on the CPU tab select the "w" process, select View->Run Spindump. This will give you information on the location of the process.
     
  8. mfram macrumors 65816

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    Jan 23, 2010
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    San Diego, CA USA
    #8
    Just to be clear to everyone reading this thread, what I believe the O.P. intended in the original post is that the "load average" is sitting at 1.0 or above. Running the 'w' command displays the load average. Traditionally on Unix systems, the load average is a number that represents the number of process either running or waiting to run on the CPU. What's strange is on my MacOS Sierra system the average is 1.5 even though the computer is essentially sitting idle. 'top' or Activity Manager doesn't show anything running other than top or Activity Manager itself. It sounds like older version of MacOS didn't have that behavior.
     
  9. JacekSD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 31, 2017
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    San Diego, CA
    #9
    Sorry, my fault. The thread should be called ‘w reports an average load of 1.0 on idling system’.
     
  10. Cycling Asia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    #10
    I was going to write up what I know about load averages, but the wikipedia article on the subject is much more informative:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Load_(computing)

    I think what would be more concerning is the cpu usage, if that is high when your computer is idle (you're not doing anything) you've got a problem.
     

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