After 40 days of non-upgrading I came back from a trip and I decided to dist-upgrade my Debian Sid box. Everything went fine but after rebooting I noticed that the temperature was 15°C over its average. There isn't any process eating more CPU than normal but something is clearly going on. Seeing my system monitor applet for Processor load, when the machine is idle, I can see little blue peaks from time to time which I don't remember having them, maybe that could be a clue. Anyway, I cannot see anything strange in my top command output.

So, how can I trace the origin of this heater process?

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    Maybe those blue peaks were there from the beginning, and you just didn't pay attention? That you also went on a trip, maybe your system collected dust, meaning maybe your fans are clogged or somesuch. – tshepang Dec 7 '10 at 17:39
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    Maybe it's just your CPU fan getting old. Do you have any hardware sensors for your fan enabled? – penguin359 May 3 '11 at 0:12

I belive atop allows to monitor even short programs. Powertop allows to monitor states of processor. However if the peaks are hardly noticable it is unlikely that it caused this problem.

There are however few possible causes:

  • Corrected ACPI handling. For some reasons the temperature in ACPI was read incorrectly and the correct temperature was always 15°C highier (or incorrect). Does the computer feels warmer
  • The newer kernel may have worst temperature management (like lacking p4-clockmod etc.) - it may be bug in kernel.
  • Previously mentioned dust.
  • atop also keeps historical data as well, if you like: then you can step through atop screens and watch what happened in the past. – Mei Jan 13 '11 at 23:33

ptop (top for power consumption) and iotop (top for i/o operations) might be able to help you.


If the problem was some short lived process being launched over and over again then px / ptop would have found it.

It (among other things) lists all processes started while it runs, which might have helped here, see bottom of this screenshot:


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