Linux 5.13 Adds An Intel Cooling Driver To Downclock Your CPU At A Lower Threshold

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 5 May 2021 at 07:18 AM EDT. 13 Comments
Linux 5.13 is introducing the "intel_tcc_cooling" driver for helping to cool newer Intel mobile/desktop CPUs by down-clocking the processor cores when crossing a lower threshold than is set by default.

This new driver for Linux 5.13 allows setting a lower threshold / offset for the Thermal Control Circuit (TCC) activation temperature. Rather than waiting until the default TCC activation temperature is reached, Intel CPUs support applying an offset (the "TCC Offset") via an MSR if wanting to set the down-clocking to occur at a lower temperature over the default system critical temperature.

It still depends upon the particular Intel platform/CPU for how quickly and how aggressively the down-clocking occurs with this intel_tcc_cooling driver simply used for setting the TCC Offset MSR.

This new driver can be enabled with the INTEL_TCC_COOLING Kconfig build switch. The driver in its current form currently supports Skylake through Comet Lake and Tiger Lake processors.

You may recall a few years ago Intel added TCC thermal activation offset functionality to the kernel at that time for the int340x driver while now this TCC offset handling is with its own driver for Linux 5.13.

This Intel cooling driver was sent in today as part of the thermal updates for the ongoing Linux 5.13 merge window.
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