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Find out the true limits of your CPU with the Stress-Terminal user interface

Everyone is familiar with the experience of buying high performance hardware only to get it home and realize it’s not quite what you thought.

Discover the true potential of your CPU by running stress tests in the Linux terminal using the Stress-Terminal user interface.

What is the Stress-Terminal UI and why use it?

There is no shortage of system monitors for Linux. These are usually terminal applications such as top, htop, btop, and bpytop, which can give you an easily digestible overview of your system resources and their usage.

System monitors are great if all you want is a summary of processes, memory, and CPU usage, and they range from super-simple basic monitors like top to sophisticated eye candy you’ll be proud of.

Modern system monitors will show you each processor core or thread along with temperature and load, but sometimes you need to view more detailed information about your processor.

Stress-Terminal UI is a complete terminal user interface (TUI) that monitors temperature, frequency, power and CPU usage and displays them in real time in an understandable way. You can see performance drops caused by thermal throttling and even stress test your processor with a range of built-in tools.

How to Install the Stress-Terminal User Interface on Linux

You can install the latest version of the Stress-Terminal UI from PIP. Check if you have PIP installed by typing this command in a terminal:


The output of the above command should show you your PIP version and location. If you get a “command ‘pip’ not found” message, install PIP on Debian or Ubuntu by doing the following:

sudo apt install python3-pip

On Arch or related distributions with:

sudo pacman -S python-pip

For Fedora-based distributions:

sudo dnf install python3-pip python3-wheel

Once PIP is installed, use it to install the Stress-Terminal UI for all users by running:

sudo pip install s-tui

Or for your user with:

pip install s-tui 

If you prefer not to use PIP, the Stress-Terminal user interface is available in the standard repositories of most distributions, although the version you install is unlikely to be the latest:

To install on Arch and Manjaro:

sudo pacman -S s-tui

On Fedora:

sudo dnf install s-tui

On Ubuntu 18.10 or later:

sudo apt install s-tui

If you are using an Ubuntu system older than 18.10, you should upgrade. If you plan to stick with 18.04 or 16.04, add the repository first:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:amanusk/python-s-tui

Update installed packages:

sudo apt-get update

Now you can install Stress-Terminal UI with:

sudo apt-get install python3-s-tui

Use the Stress-Terminal user interface to monitor and stress test your CPU

Using the user interface of Stress-Terminal is simple. To open TUI in any terminal, type:


As you can see in the image above, the screen is divided into two parts by default, with the main part on the right split horizontally. The top part shows the frequency of all the CPU cores in your machine, and the bottom part shows the load or usage of each core.

You can navigate through the menus on the right side of the screen with the arrow keys on your keyboard and make your selections with Enter.

Useful visual options include changing the refresh rate and character set.

In the Control Options section, the Graphs and Summaries sections allow you to choose which cores you want to see visualization for, while Reset, About, and Save Settings perform the stated functions. Help contains a helpful list of functions and shortcuts in case you don’t have this helpful MUO article handy.

Before you can use the Stress-Terminal user interface to render stress tests that will push your CPU to the limit, you first need to install Stress. On Debian or Ubuntu, you can install Stress with:

sudo apt install stress

You should now be able to use the Stress option in the TUI Stress-Terminal. Click “Stress” to see CPU usage and temperatures rise, and hear the roar of your fans’ jet engines. When you notice your usage graphs dropping, you’ve reached a temperature where your CPU is throttling.

Stress-Terminal UI helps you monitor CPU load from your terminal

The ability to visualize CPU usage statistics in your terminal is useful, and the ability to stress test your CPU helps you allocate resources and plan to optimize your hardware.

If your processor isn’t performing as well as you’d like, or is having trouble performing resource-intensive tasks, it’s likely time to upgrade.

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