Whether you’re resource-conscious, investigating a system slowdown, or, like me, plain nosey, Ubuntu makes it easy to keep an eye on CPU, RAM and other hardware information.
Below are five different ways to monitor system resource usage in Ubuntu – from indicator-applets to included applications…
Indicator-SysMonitor does a little, but does it well.
Once installed and run, it displays CPU and RAM usage on your top panel. Simple.
The applet sports a minimal amount of customisation options such as the order in which items appear on the panel and their refresh rate.
Conky Set up
Conky, aside from being a headache for many users, nevertheless offers up an almost endless variety of ways to display and view system resource usage.
We’ve shown off many slick set-ups in the past, just use our ‘conky‘ tag to browse through them.
I particularly like Reloj Conky as it’s small and to the point:-
The use of Screenlets – small desktop-based widgets – isn’t quite as high as it once was but there are still a number of good looking and useful widgets available that are worth making use of.
Amongst them are a bunch of differently styled CPU and RAM monitors: -
The above suggestions all assume that you want to see what’s eating your resources all the time. Chances are you just want to check in now and again when things feel a bit slow or when things go wrong.
The terminal is capable of showing you running processes via the ‘Top’ command.
All you need to do is open a terminal, whether on your desktop or, if things have frozen by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1 through F12, and entering the ‘top’ command.
You choose how many processes are displayed by pressing ‘n‘ (lowercase) and entering a number. 0 is the default; this fits as many processes as it can onto the screen – so the bigger the terminal the more processes you’ll see.
You can order the results, too: -
- P orders by CPU usage (default)
- T sorts by time
- A sorts by age (newest first)
- M orders items by RAM usage
Lastly, if nothing above tickles your fancy, you could also resort to the default System Monitor application
It displays a variety of easy-to-gauge overviews – from processes to resource usage – that make it the go-to tool for occasional resource-peeking.
And, unlike the rest of the options in this list, it’s the only one that offers up a direct way to kill/manage processes.