What is CPU Usage?

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What is CPU Usage?
CPU Usage is also known as CPU time or CPU process time. CPU stands for central processing unit, which acts as the brain of a computer. CPU usage refers to the amount of time consumed to process various instructions from running computer programs. To measure CPU usage, clock ticks are utilized. Clock ticks are measured in percentage and are utilized as tool for comparing program CPU time.

CPU usage along with input/output time and other computer communications is part of elapsed time. Elapsed time deals with the complete program execution from start to end. On the older systems, calculation of CPU usage is not too difficult. However, since the introduction of multi-core processors, CPU usage computation becomes a bit more complicated. CPU usage is measured as time, capacity of processor in percentage or in clock ticks.

It is typical to use the real-time CPU usage measurement when humans require it. However, computers think differently from humans and do not use traditional timeframes. As mentioned earlier, CPU usage is measured in percentage. This means the overall processing time utilized for an operation to finish. When percentage is used to determine the time, it represents the total load on a central processing unit. Such measurement is utilized a computer’s performance.

The most difficult measurement for CPU usage is the clock ticks. Humans will have difficulty following this time measurement for CPU usage. However, it is commonly the most functional time measurement for computer programs. Clock ticks are highly influenced by the speed of the processor. This means clock ticks as fast as the processor runs. Other programs help monitor the clock ticks thus preventing bottlenecks.

High CPU usage must be avoided at all cost as it slows down your computer system. There are various reasons why high CPU usage occurs. The most frequent reason is running several programs at the same time. Malicious programs such as spyware, adware and several types of viruses also put on a heavy load on your computer’s processing unit. Another reason may be a fragmented system registry.

Computers are made to be capable of multi-tasking. However, it depends on how fast and reliable is your computer system. If the user is multitasking and opens up too many programs at the same time, the CPU usage may be heavily loaded thus slowing down your system. Multitasking is not a problem if the computer system is equipped with multi-core CPU. Moreover, multitasking is also not a problem if the programs running are just light programs.

To avoid high CPU usage, a user must refrain from running too many programs at the same time. It is wise to open or run few programs at a time. If listening to music and scanning for viruses may be done one at a time, then do so. On the other hand, try to look for other programs running in the background that are not necessarily needed for your intended tasks. Making sure that your computer system is free from malicious programs is also a priority. Most of the time, such programs eat too much of your CPU time. You must always have updated antivirus programs to maintain your system free of malwares.


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