One of the biggest aspects of Linux is its efficiency in terms of using system resources. However, there are often times when you tax your Linux system like compiling large code bases, running multiple virtual machines, playing intense video games, or editing 4K videos. In these situations, you may want to keep an eye on your system’s resources to make sure your processor is not getting too hot. Here are some of the best system monitors you can use to check your system resources in Linux.
1. System monitor
One of the easiest ways to examine your system’s resource usage is to use the built-in GUI System Monitor. Most desktop environments come with one, and they’re generally good at getting a decent overview of your resource usage. Most of them have multiple tabs, much like Windows Task Manager, which can make each given view easier and less overwhelming.
However, if you’re the type of person who wants to see everything on one screen, this is usually not for you. Also, they can tend to be inaccurate, so use them with caution and double check your information.
Top is a command line tool for monitoring system resources and comes pre-installed in almost all Linux distributions. However, it is a very basic tool. Ytop is a much better program than
top. It has an excellent CPU graphics at the top; an easy-to-read memory graph; reports file system usage, network usage, and processor temperature; and moves a list of running processes all the way to the bottom so that it doesn’t get in the way and distract you.
It refreshes quickly and allows a quick glance at your system’s resource usage while staying out of your way. It’s also very light on resources itself, so it’s a great candidate for an older or weaker system that needs to be careful about how it distributes its power.
Overall, ytop is one of the best system monitors on the list, and I highly recommend giving it a try.
We wrote an article on how to manage your Linux system using Cockpit before, but it’s such a great tool that it’s worth mentioning again. Cockpit is also a great web-based tool for managing remote systems, but when used on a local system, it gives you a very simple user interface to manage your systems.
On the main overview page, there is an option to display graphs of system resource usage. The graphics are pretty straightforward, but there are so many options available to dive deep into disk I / O, network usage, and more. It is also useful for managing things like virtual machines and containers.
Another web based system monitor for Linux, Netdata is an amazing tool. It’s easily the most granular of all the tools on the list, automatically pulling information about hardware usage on the machine as well as graphs of CPU usage by core, tracing network packets separated by IPv4 against to IPv6, and much more.
One of the advantages is that apart from the necessary dependencies, this is basically a command to install. Additionally, it can be installed as a container through Docker, so those who are interested are more than welcome to extract the container and run it with a simple command. Netdata is an amazing tool that gives you very accurate resource usage statistics with the ability to configure alerts as well.
These are great tools that weren’t quite on the list for one reason or another.
Htop is a tool which relies a little on
top without complicating matters. It has become sort of a standard in the community as a performance demonstration on a system.
Looks is another tool which has a slightly complicated interface but gives a lot of information about your system. It’s supposed to be all ‘at a glance’, hence the name. It just reports usage, but it’s the easiest tool to track network sessions (here it’s reporting on TCP connections), which can be useful, depending on your usage.
Now that you know how to check system resource usage, be sure to check out our guides on how to find the cause of poor Linux system performance, how to improve Linux PC performance, and how to monitor your Nvidia GPU running. Linux.
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