Yet another top-friend: irqtop

Some time ago I wrote an article about top-tools. Today I’d like to add another one to the list, that is, irqtop which is very useful for performance measurements and investigations. I may be biased a little bit because I have contributed to that project but the tool has given me help in many cases so I have no doubt about its value. Let me show you what’s that.


irqtop is a simple tool; presents statistics in realtime about interrupts which are processed by your Linux. You can download irqtop from my github repository. Let’s see irqtop in action:

$ ./

It’s simple, first column shows interrupt numbers, then we can see irqs/s per CPU core, then summary and last column contains device names. Self explanatory.

Non interactive mode

Except standard mode (realtime) which is common for every top-like tool, there is a possibility to run this tool in non-interactive mode. This is a very useful option as it allows to combine irqtop together with some automation like bash scripting or any other monitoring tool. For example, you may be interested in one particular period happening randomly and you don’t want to spend a few days staring at the screen. The easiest way is to leverage -b and -n options:

$ ./ -b -n 1

irqtop will wait one second to gather all data and print them to the standard output, -n 1 means do it only once. Simple as that. It’s up to you how those data will be processed. You can use grep-like tools to select data of interest or, for example, you may want to log it to a disk file:

$ while true; do date >> log1.log; ./ -b -n 1 >> irq_out.log;test $? -gt 0 && break; done

…and easily Ctrl-C when necessary. That’s it:)

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