How can this 'top' command output make sense? Load over 7 and total CPU use ~5%

Wojciech Puchar wojtek at
Mon May 25 19:24:56 UTC 2009

> The CPU will perform the same, whether at 10% utilization, or at 100% 
> utilization, the system however won't.
> That's the difference between load and utilization.

still don't understand you.

CPU will not perform the same at 10% utilization, it will perform 10 times 
less than at 100% utilization.

CPU load == CPU utilization == how big percentage of time CPU (or CPUs by 
average) are doing anything except being in idle loop or hlt/waiting for 
it's exactly the same words in that context.

load average is how much processes (by average) is not doing calculations 
because something is not yet available and depends of computer 
resources(*) - like CPU time, disk I/O results etc..

(*) - for example waiting on tty read is not calculated to load average as 
it's depends on human not computer.

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list