CPU Usage thread

  • Hi there, I would like assistance with identifying the average CPU usage of pfSense across platforms.

    I have pfSense 2.0 installed in an ESXi VM, with one physical NIC for my WAN, and the other physical NIC is connected to the vSwitch to my LAN.

    Issue is, I am seeing high CPU usage, and I don't know if this is normal, as I am a new pfSense user.

    On a 16Mbit download, I am seeing around 800Mhz CPU usage of a Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz. This seems high as my old 400Mhz router running DD-WRT handled the same speed downloads at around 80% load. There are 5 connections open to a usenet server, this isnt hundreds of connections like a torrent.

    Can others please post their CPU usage by bandwidth? I would like to get an idea of what to expect from different CPU architectures. Also, is virtualization being used?


    Here is the system activity output

    last pid:  5242;  load averages:  0.02,  0.02,  0.00  up 1+07:02:39    18:30:50
    90 processes:  2 running, 72 sleeping, 16 waiting
    Mem: 42M Active, 14M Inact, 40M Wired, 1032K Cache, 23M Buf, 134M Free
    Swap: 256M Total, 256M Free
       11 root     171 ki31     0K     8K RUN     30.7H 92.97% idle
       12 root     -68    -     0K   128K WAIT     7:13 10.99% {irq18: em0 rl0}
        0 root     -68    0     0K    56K -        1:08  1.95% {em0 taskq}
        0 root      47    0     0K    56K sched  909:15  0.00% {swapper}
       12 root     -32    -     0K   128K WAIT     3:34  0.00% {swi4: clock}
    48254 root      64   20  3316K  1356K select   0:36  0.00% apinger
    54994 root      76   20  3656K  1492K wait     0:19  0.00% sh
       14 root     -16    -     0K     8K -        0:16  0.00% yarrow
    40014 dhcpd     44    0  8436K  5168K select   0:06  0.00% dhcpd
       23 root      44    -     0K     8K syncer   0:04  0.00% syncer
    29427 root      44    0  6588K  3524K kqread   0:04  0.00% lighttpd
        2 root      -8    -     0K     8K -        0:04  0.00% g_event
    23883 root      44    0  7688K  3592K bpf      0:03  0.00% bandwidthd
    23300 root      44    0  7688K  3592K bpf      0:03  0.00% bandwidthd
        4 root      -8    -     0K     8K -        0:02  0.00% g_down
    18408 root      44    0  5912K  2456K bpf      0:02  0.00% tcpdump
    44463 nobody    44    0  5556K  2588K select   0:02  0.00% dnsmasq
    25837 root      44    0  7688K  3832K bpf      0:02  0.00% bandwidthd

    Attached is a pic of CPU usage

  • Core 2 Duo @3.06 GHz w/ 4GB.
    ESXi 5.0 Free (Build 469512).  
    1 Intel 82567LM-3 on M/B
    2 Intel 82572EI-based cards
    1 Intel 82541PI-based card.
    pfSense 2.0 + OpenVM tools and pfBlocker

    EDIT:  I had a strange issue today with a Windows VM that had failed to load a USB driver.  The vSphere client showed it as maxing out a 3.0 GHz processor but Task Manager showed it as using 2% CPU.  (Yeah, I know, some of my VMs don't work too hard!)

    ![pfSense Util.jpg](/public/imported_attachments/1/pfSense Util.jpg)
    ![pfSense Util.jpg_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/pfSense Util.jpg_thumb)

  • Netgate Administrator

    I'm running on real hardware so I would expect to have slightly better figures than you as there's no overhead.
    It's hard to get an acurate figure as both cpu usage and throughput are constantly changing. However I would say that I am seeing aroung 12-16% cpu use with a 16-18Mbps download. I'm running a 1.2GHz P4-M so that would equate to something like 150MHz for a 16Mbps throughput.
    In reality that figure is very hard to compare in a meaningful way. Modern CPUs can do a lot more per MHz.


  • biggsy can you tell me the CPU usage of your pfsense VM when downloading a file, and also provide the download rate?

  • Here you go.  Started out fairly quick (maybe 2 MB/s) but slowed right down to about 800 KB/s.


  • Ok so you saw about 700Mhz CPU usage at 2MB/s (16Mbps) too on the same architecture (Core 2) and VMWare.

    Perhaps VMWare just has a large overhead.

    Anyone running pfSense natively that can chime in on CPU use?

  • Dual WAN on a Celeron 700 with 256MiB RAM. I ran a few speedtests with both WANs (30Mbs+15Mbs), then just 30Mbs, and finally 15Mbs. First peak (~100%) is @ 45Mbs, next 3 (~40%) is single WAN @ 30Mbs, next 100% peak is the pfsense control panel rendering  ;) final peaks at 20-30% cpu is with 15Mbs WAN only.