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Here is the top output which I gathered: top output

I noticed that top is showing vlc's cpu usage is > 100%.

Can anybody please justify me why it is showing like this, whether this is a bug in top application or something else.

  • It's not lying to you, because your load average is up over 4. That seems high - try restarting vlc, and do something to free up some memory first. – Paul Tomblin Mar 18 '12 at 11:43
  • Also, I see you're using compiz. Do you have a good 3d graphics card? If not, that's probably where all your CPU is going, trying to render a movie onto a 3d surface. – Paul Tomblin Mar 18 '12 at 11:45
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You are in a multi-core/multi-CPU environment and "top" is working in Irix mode. That means that your process (vlc) is performing a computation that keeps 1.2 CPUs/cores busy. That could mean 100%+20%, 60%+60%, etc.

Press 'I' to switch to Solaris mode. You get the same value divided by the number of cores/CPUs.

  • 2
    After you switch out of Irix mode by pressing I, you can press W to save that as the default configuration if you are root. – AKWF Oct 17 '12 at 13:37
  • 2
    Before you've pressed W to have saved those as def. config, you can also press 1 once or twice to get an idea of how exactly CPUs/cores are being loaded. ;) – poige Oct 20 '12 at 11:19
  • what should be concluded if we have a single core machine and top displays one of the process as 100% cpu usage. Does this means the machine is hung and no other process will get CPU time. – krishna_oza Jul 5 '18 at 12:20

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