Load average always above 1

This might be the wrong forum - I’m guessing there’s a hardware issue.

I just noticed on my laptop, that the load average is always above 1. Sometimes it is barely above 1. It never drops lower.

I ran “top”. It did not show anything that could account for the high load average. So I’m guessing that something is looping in the kernel or in a device driver.

The system has a 4 core processor, so I am not noticing any performance problem.

I tried rebooting. I tried switching to init level 3, with a command line login (to eliminate the GUI as a cause). But, not matter what I try, the load average settles to just above 1 when everything is idle.

I did run 11.3 on the system for around 3 months, before upgrading to 11.4. Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever checked the load average under 11.3, so I don’t know whether this is a new problem.

In contrast my desktop, with a 2 core processor, currently has a load average of 0.05, which is more reasonable for an essentially idle system.

The kernel loops, by definition, since when no user processes are running, it’s executing in the kernel, but of course the kernel knows how to sleep until an event happens. Device driver time isn’t counted in userspace load.

So something is running. Switch to process view with P in top and see what are the top processes. Or use htop. The definition of load average is the average number of process in the run queue.

I’m guessing some document indexing. Or some remote sync. For example, when I run rsync, I get load average > 1, but not much CPU because it’s waiting for I/O completion a lot of the time.

It shows knotify4 at the top of the list. But there is nothing showing to account for the load average of 1.

I have just freshly booted the machine, “prepare_preload” has finished, nothing else has been started. It is running only services that startup by default for a KDE system, with the exception of sshd which I did enable. But sshd is idle. The system is behind a router, so there is only minimal network traffic. I can’t see anything to account for the load average.

By contrast, my desktop (on which I am typing this reply), is also using KDE, is running firefox, is running sendmail and sshd both listening on the network (ports forwarded at router), but shows a load average currently of 0.05.