Checking CPU load on multi-processor machines

If your machine has more than 1 CPU, the “CPU states” shown by the top(1) command shows the states of all CPUs combined. Suppose your machine has 8 CPUs. A program is saturating 1 CPU and there is no other activity (besides top(1), which uses negligible CPU time). Then top(1) will show that program using about 12.5% (not 100%) CPU time and about 87.5% idle.