The Increasing Importance Of ACPI Platform Profiles With Today's Throttle-Happy Hardware

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 17 September 2021 at 08:58 AM EDT. 32 Comments
As covered several times going back to the end of last year, ACPI Platform Profile support has materialized in recent versions of the Linux kernel for the core infrastructure and implementations that work with the latest laptops from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, and HP. This platform profile support is becoming increasingly important with expressing your power/cooling/performance preference so that your laptop behaves as one would expect.

While it would be nice to have a modern, slim notebook that can run at full-speed without throttling so quickly, that unfortunately is increasingly rare with today's processors and vendors going for increasingly thin designs that means compromising thermals. Plus with today's increasingly complicated processors and Intel SoCs requiring Thermald and now with ACPI platform profiles becoming necessary, it has rather complicated the Linux support.

Longtime Linux kernel developer and block subsystem maintainer, Jens Axboe recently conveyed his frustrations with "stupid throttling" where his new Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen9 laptop is "unusable in certain scenarios" like compiling the Linux kernel while running on AC as it ends up throttling all the way down to 400MHz...

If you find yourself in a similar situation with very poor out-of-the-box/default laptop performance, it turned out at least with this recent Lenovo laptop the "performance" ACPI platform profile needs to be explicitly used to avoid this otherwise horrible performance.

Setting the platform profile preference can be done from the command-line via the /sys/firmware/acpi/platform_profile sysfs interface while forthcoming desktop updates from the likes of GNOME and KDE are also adding UI controls for more easily setting the ACPI Platform Profile.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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