interpreting "top" output (computing n% cpu usage in actual megahertz)

Garrett Cooper youshi10 at
Fri Feb 2 07:34:30 UTC 2007

Mark Jayson Alvarez wrote:
> Hi,
> My goal is to find out how much CPU a program consumes  when I execute it.
> In the manual, it says I  can toggle from "raw cpu" mode to "weighted cpu".
> However, I can't still understand the difference between the two and how it
> has something to
> do with my goal. Suppose my computer has a 1.6Ghz pentium 4 processor.
> I want to know how much is already in use or what percent. I also want to
> know how much it has increased
> when I run a particular program so that I can decide if this I can install
> this program without affecting other
> existing critical programs. The same goes with memory usage.. "Free doesn't
> mean that that are all my
> memory left that is useable right?
> The "Description of Memory" section just says:
> Active: number of pages active
> Inactive: number of pages inactive
> and so on and so forth without telling what the heck does it mean when a
> page is inactive and just what does pages
> means..
> Buf, Free, Wired, Cache... don't know what are these either.. Perhaps I
> should consult wiki or google for this.
> That's all for now.
> Thanks.

Search for weighted in "". It gives a 
description of what "Weighted CPU" is vs raw (or unweighted) CPU.

AFAIK for memory, free = unallocated; active = in use; inactive = same 
as active, but not in use; wired = ?; cache = prefetched instructions?; 
buf = recently used memory?.


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