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Having switched to linux(ubuntu studio) I gathered that there would not be something like the task manager on windows to watch in real time how much ram is consumed and what the cpu usage is. What is a GUI tool that would allow me to observe the amound of RAM and CPU usage in real time?

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Where did you "gather" this ? There are several programs for Ubuntu, some even preinstalled that are exactly doing this:

The default GUI app is called Gnome System Monitor.

Gnome System Monitor

For the terminal, there should be top preinstalled, but I prefer htop, that is a bit more fancy and has some nice extra features ....

sudo apt-get install htop

or glances

sudo apt-get install glances

There are also some Indicator applets: indicator-multiload or indicator-sysmonitor should work.

indicator-multiload

Install via the software center

See some reviews at OMG!Ubuntu.

Compare with this post at AskUbuntu.

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I like gkrellm for this.

CPU by core or all-total, i2c monitors for temperatures/fan speeds/voltage/etc, disk i/o by whole or partition or disk, network in/out with connect/disconnect buttons for dial up, RAM monitor and swap space monitor, date/time, uptime, monitor the /proc file system, and new mail message monitor, and more.

Lots of windowing options - always on top, always on bottom, etc. Can be started when desktop loads.

Daemon component to run on remote machines so you can watch via the local GUI client and monitor multiple servers, etc.

Here's a screenie of my current system and gkrellm

enter image description here

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