High CPU usage since a few days

Hi all, lurker here only, so far, but now I’m having a problem I can’t figure out, so asking for help. Manjaro has always worked wonderfully for me, both on the laptop and the desktop. Since a few days ago (day before yesterday? Not sure…) the laptop (TP T440s, some Core i5, 8GB) is exhibiting awfully high loads with just a YouTube video playing and nothing else.

Unfortunately I’m not allowed to post either links or images. Otherwise I would have shown you a screenshot of top with “Web Content”, “firefox” and “Xorg” processes consuming various percentages of CPU and 1-minute loading sitting at 1.39.

At best it’s a waste of energy, but at worst, the audio begins to stutter so badly you can’t listen to it anymore. Girlfriend and I very annoyed. Is there something I could do to diagnose this? Or is it perhaps a known problem already?

Welcome here, @sixtyfive :tada:

In your case I would try to use cpupower command to change CPU governor from powersave to performance:

First check status:

cpupower frequency-info

Then check available governors by:

cpupower frequency-info -g

I guess, performance will be in the list being provided.

Then switch to performance governor:

sudo cpupower frequency-set -g performance

Hi Wollie

thank you for the prompt answer!


$ cpupower frequency-info | ack gov
  available cpufreq governors: performance schedutil
                  The governor "schedutil" may decide which speed to use

I do like my laptop to have some power saving enabled. No reason not to give your approach a try for some time. What worries me: why has that behaviour only begun to show up out of the blue? Have there been any updates that could have caused something like this? It’s not like

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo | ack 'model name' | head -n 1
model name      : Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-4210U CPU @ 1.70GHz

is particularly weak, especially relative to the requirements of playing back one single YouTube video…

So I’m wondering what experience or knowledge prompts the suggestion of messing with the scheduler?

So, just had the same situation again. Setting the governor to ‘performance’ didn’t change a thing. Load went up to 3.40, and that’s from trying to watch the fragging news. Something is wrong, and it’s not this, unfortunately.

By the way, it’s not just in-browser playback, but also MPV, Spotify, VLC, etc. And if there’s video with the audio, the video will be perfectly smooth. It’s only the audio that starts playing fine for a second or so, then stutters like there’s no tomorrow (slow stuttering, not fast, if that makes a difference).

Somehow I’m starting to suspect pulseaudio, perhaps just because if it’s Linux and it’s giving trouble, usually Lennart is to blame.

What has me puzzled the most, and what in 23 years of using Linux, I’ve never seen before, is such high loads without any processes showing up in the CPU usage column that appear to be doing much at all.

can you please elaborate on what trade-off/changes occurs when changing cpu governer?
in case some details are needed :))
> $ inxi

CPU: Quad Core AMD Ryzen 5 2500U with Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx (-MT MCP-) speed/min/max: 1368/1600/2000 MHz 
Kernel: 5.10.7-3-MANJARO x86_64 Up: 35m Mem: 2499.4/7566.3 MiB (33.0%) Storage: 931.51 GiB (8.0% used) Procs: 276 Shell: Zsh 
inxi: 3.2.02