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An Update On The Linux Power Situation In Ubuntu

Michael Larabel

Published on 7 October 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 6 of 6 - 13 Comments

Fortunately, the EPB MSR being in its normal mode rather than performance mode on these newer kernels didn't affect the OpenArena frame-rate.

With the compute-intensive C-Ray benchmark, the power consumption is up by two Watts on 3.0.1 and Oneiric's current kernel, but drops by two Watts when forcing PCI-E ASPM.

If you were hoping that the PCI Express Active State Power Management situation would be fixed up by the time of the Ubuntu 11.10 release -- considering this issue has been around before the release of Ubuntu 11.04 -- it's not going to happen. Upstream developers have yet to set the ASPM bits directly in more drivers or otherwise figure out how to be more like Windows in terms of how ASPM support is treated. For now, you need to make sure you set "pcie_aspm=force", if your hardware supports the mode. What Canonical's kernel team says is the "fix" to LP #760131 is an unrelated power fix done upstream to ensure that the MSR_IA32_ENERGY_PERF_BIAS register is set to "normal" rather than "performance" mode. The hardware in the original posting to the aforementioned bug report does not even support EPB and is about ASPM and other power changes causing the significantly higher power usage. As these latest tests from the Sandy Bridge notebook show, the 3.0.1+ kernels can improve the power efficiency without degrading the system performance, but will only help you if running the latest Intel hardware that supports the energy performance bias feature.

I'll have some more Linux power information coming soon...

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