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Thread: How to enable PowerPlay for underclocking?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    6

    Default How to enable PowerPlay for underclocking?

    I am entering the realm of Linux (and Unix) for the very first time.

    I live on an HP nc8430 notebook with ATI x1600 mobile Radeon (RV 530) graphics card. As I am a non-gamer, 3D performance is not an issue, but the fan running continuously on my notebook due to GPU heat is a deal-breaker for using Linux.

    I need to be able to underclock the Core and Memory clocks.

    In Windows XP, my Core clock runs at 209 Mhz and the Memory clock at 135 Mhz in the PowerPlay/Optimal Battery Life mode.

    I tried the ATI 9.3 proprietary drivers for Linux directly from AMD in Ubuntu 8.10. These strangely install V.8.5 drivers (as I recall). However, to my deepest disappointment, the PowerPlay feature, the one feature I desperately need is absent in Catalyst Control Center.

    I've resorted to the default xf86-video-ati drivers as I've read PowerPlay is supported, but I am clueless on how to get this feature enabled to underclock my GPU.

    Specifically, I would like to know what version of what drivers I should use to get PowerPlay enabled with my video card, and what I need to do to enable it. Specific commands in detail are helpful as I don't (yet) understand Linux, its internals, or file structures, as someone who has worked with it for years.

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default

    Have you read the KMS power management instructions at :

    http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature ? Scroll down past the list of features, it's about half way down the page.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    If you want to use the proprietary drivers, the max version for your card with powerplay functioning is 9.1. Debian Lenny uses version 8.12 I think, but it works well, though Lenny's a bit outdated (but functional, and that's what matters to me). So no new kernels with proprietary drivers. Another option is PCLinuxOS 2009, it loads the correct drivers from the live CD!

    If you have time and interest, you could compare it to the newest open source drivers (with a more up to date linux) and post your experiences here (I have the same computer but no time to test )

    [If I someday have time I will test CentOS/Scientific Linux 5, they might also work with the proprietary driver. Someone please correct me if I assume wrong]

  4. #4
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Have you read the KMS power management instructions at :

    http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature ? Scroll down past the list of features, it's about half way down the page.
    Thank you kindly bridgman. Hopefully I can figure it out. I briefly tried to update the /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile from "default" to "low" but ran into the permissions issues on Ubuntu 11.04. As I mentioned, I'm new with Linux, and one obstacle after another is taking its toll.

  5. #5
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    May 2011
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    Thanks piete. I recently tried the lastest version of PCLOS but my Wireless intel 3945 adapter would not connect to any network. Similar wireless issue with Puppylinux. I've learned to stay away from any distro not using NetworkManager, but that is another subject.

    I might try to replace the ATI 9.3 proprietary driver with 9.1. I have located it online. How do I uninstall 9.3 it in Ubuntu 8.10, to then replace it with 9.1? The ATI 9.3 driver was way faster than the open source driver originally installed with 8.10. The only test I could make was via the 3D screensavers. If I recall right, there is one called tunnels(something). It was very slow with the open source driver, but very fast with the proprietary.

  6. #6
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Have you read the KMS power management instructions at :

    http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature ? Scroll down past the list of features, it's about half way down the page.
    Thanks bridgman!

    I tried to update the /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile from 'default' to 'low' but ran into the Ubuntu permissions issue. I'll eventually get there, but running into obstacle after obstacle with Linux is taking its toll. As earlier stated, I am completely new. Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dforionstar View Post
    Thanks bridgman!

    I tried to update the /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile from 'default' to 'low' but ran into the Ubuntu permissions issue. I'll eventually get there, but running into obstacle after obstacle with Linux is taking its toll. As earlier stated, I am completely new. Thanks again.
    sudo echo low > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile doesn't work.
    You should be root, not only sudouser
    do :
    sudo -s
    to change to root before type :
    echo low > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dforionstar View Post
    Thanks piete. I recently tried the lastest version of PCLOS but my Wireless intel 3945 adapter would not connect to any network. Similar wireless issue with Puppylinux. I've learned to stay away from any distro not using NetworkManager, but that is another subject.

    I might try to replace the ATI 9.3 proprietary driver with 9.1. I have located it online. How do I uninstall 9.3 it in Ubuntu 8.10, to then replace it with 9.1? The ATI 9.3 driver was way faster than the open source driver originally installed with 8.10. The only test I could make was via the 3D screensavers. If I recall right, there is one called tunnels(something). It was very slow with the open source driver, but very fast with the proprietary.
    I'm really short of time (three babies), but I'll try to dig up my PCLOS2009 cd and see if the wireless works or not (I'm not even using the NC8430 at the moment, but nevertheless I'm glad that there is someone else with the same computer facing the same challenges ).

    For reinstalling the proprietary driver, try this: http://www.logicalinsanity.net/?p=196

  9. #9
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    May 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Have you read the KMS power management instructions at :

    http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature ? Scroll down past the list of features, it's about half way down the page.
    Just a comment: I have managed to get decent temperatures (=fan speed, equal 55% to the proprietary driver) for my X1600 Mobility, although on a medium run they tend to recover the lowest speed slower (if at all) than the proprietary driver. The actual power management is still behind, the proprietary driver being more economic. I haven't tested again for a few months, but I also haven't read about any changes in PM for a while.

    Do we still get to expect more improvements for the R300 power management or is it as ready as it can get without ATI releasing some proprietary code?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Sweden
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    I have this in my /etc/rc.local:
    Code:
    echo low > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

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