How do you view your CPU usage?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by regis169, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. regis169 macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2008
    Hi guys,

    I'd like to find out how much CPU usage is consumed when playing a 720p mkv file on my VMC player.

    I opened Activity Monitor and it's showing a lot of things,

    1. There's CPU usage right next to VLC program which is reading between 30 to 45.
    2. There's also CPU usage meter in the lower left corner in 4 different types; % User, % System, % Nice, % Idle


    Now, my question is,

    what is the difference between #1 and #2?

    And can you explain to me what % User, % System, % Nice, % Idle are in simple terms?
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    1 shows what a single process is using, 2 shows the whole system usage. User are user processes, System are system processes, Nice are processes that are set to relinquish CPU when there is heavy load and Idle is just that: Idle CPU cycles.
  3. Adamosaur macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2008
  4. regis169 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2008
    Thanks for your answer,

    It's a bit strange though, at one time, I had VLC player going 40% + firefox 6% + other stuffs 5%, however my system usage was reading like 80% idle, 17% system and 3% user. Why is it not equal?

    Shouldn't it be,

    40% + 6% + 5% = 51% (That means, my applications are currently using a total of 51% of the CPU load, right?

    In that case, my left lower CPU meter should show,

    51% System & User and 49% Idle

    Am I missing something?
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Make sure up at the top you have Shoe set to All processes.
  6. donuttakedonuts macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2009
    stuff doesn't equal because they update at different times. In fact, I've seen a a single process take up 117 % of cpu... activity monitor = buggy?
    Also: Do nice processes even EXIST? I've never seen one.
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    To monitor the CPU usage without having Activity Monitor and the video side by side, go to Activity Monitor and select View > Dock Icon > Show CPU Usage. Easier to roughly tell how much CPU is being used.
  8. rackalamb macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2009
  9. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    I think that on a quad core 400% would be the same as 100%. 200 on a dual.

    iStat Menus is the first thing I put on my Macs when I get them
  10. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    They are rare but they do. I don't remember exactly, but I believe using unrarx uses %nice.

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