I have a load of 3.0+, less than 90 processes, and 90%+ idle. Nothing like a runaway cgi processes or a stuck VIM happening. In fact, Top says Top is using the most resources at the moment. Any ideas why the high load but what appears to be little system usage? This happens occasionally but always settles down after a while. I'm just curious as to what would be causing this. On a daily basis my system load averages around .15. Thank you.
You can have a completely idle processor and still have a high cpu load. It just means that three programs are currently being processed by the cpu. If those programs want to wait on something (not the cpu) before they can be completed, then you'll get this behavior.
It would be hard to determine what processes might be waiting, without knowing what you're running. You may need to determine this on your own, unless you are going to provide a lot more information.
It seems the most often cause on this forum is with people not allowing their apache to spawn enough children.
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