My personal top #1 tip for using the ubiquitous command line utility
top is to press
i when you have launched it. It will help you to see much more than before by eliminating idle processes.
i helps a lot, because most of the time you start top to monitor processes which are putting (a lot) of load on your system and not for watching idle processes doing nothing.
It is also useful to dig into top and learn more about it! It is much nicer than you may have thought.
For example: It can print the full commandlines of the software you're running by hitting
c. It can also show you the activity of all your CPU cores by pressing
1 and you can instantly see if a process claims only one of them or if it is taking advantage of multiple cores. It can also show you a “forrest view” by pressing
V including all parent and child processes nicely visualized.
Top has a text configuration file
.toprc which can persist every interactive change you did. This allows you to set your personal prefered view by pressing
W after some filtering. The next time you start top, it will remember you and present all the filters and formattings you have been adding in the last session.
I hope this was helpful.