Does loadavg affect the CPU usage?

Say I see a process consuming 60% of CPU time, both when loadavg (last minute) was 5 and 1, would it be the same?


Load average is a calculation of the average number of processes is the CPU's runnable queue. Having a high load average doesn't necessarily mean high CPU usage, since the processes could be waiting on I/O. Higher loads due require the CPU to do more context switching.

  • CPUs can be loaded w/o context switching actually. – poige Mar 7 '13 at 12:26
  • No... a process waiting on I/O is (by definition) not runnable. A high load average means that whenever the CPU finishes a job, other(s) are waiting, so the utilization will be high. It has nothing to do with the fraction of CPU time any particular process is using. – vonbrand Mar 7 '13 at 20:52

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