There are tools, like TLP, Laptop Mode Tools and powertop, helps reduce power consumption and improves overall Laptop battery life on Linux. Another way to reduce power consumption is to limit the frequency of your CPU. While this is something that has always been doable, it generally requires complicated terminal commands, making it inconvenient. But fortunately, there’s a gnome extension that helps you easily set and manage your CPU’s frequency - CPU Power Manager. CPU Power Manager uses the intel_pstate frequency scaling driver (supported by almost every Intel CPU) to control and manage CPU frequency in your GNOME desktop.
Another reason to use this extension is to reduce heating in your system. There are many systems out there which can get uncomfortably hot in normal usage. Limiting your CPU’s frequency could reduce heating. It will also decrease the wear and tear on your CPU and other components.
Installing CPU Power Manager
First, go to the extension’s page, and install the extension.
Once the extension has installed, you’ll get a CPU icon at the right side of the Gnome top bar. Click the icon, and you get an option to install the extension:
If you click “Attempt Installation”, you’ll get a password prompt. The extension needs root privileges to add policykit rule for controlling CPU frequency. This is what the prompt looks like:
Type in your password and Click “Authenticate”, and that finishes installation. The last action adds a policykit file - mko.cpupower.setcpufreq.policy at /usr/share/polkit-1/actions.
After installation is complete, if you click the CPU icon at the top right, you’ll get something like this:
- See the current CPU frequency: Obviously, you can use this window to see the frequency that your CPU is running at.
- Set maximum and minimum frequency: With this extension, you can set maximum and minimum frequency limits in terms of percentage of max frequency. Once these limits are set, the CPU will operate only in this range of frequencies.
- Turn Turbo Boost On and Off: This is my favorite feature. Most Intel CPU’s have “Turbo Boost” feature, whereby the one of the cores of the CPU is boosted past the normal maximum frequency for extra performance. While this can make your system more performant, it also increases power consumption a lot. So if you aren’t doing anything intensive, it’s nice to be able to turn off Turbo Boost and save power. In fact, in my case, I have Turbo Boost turned off most of the time.
- Make Profiles: You can make profiles with max and min frequency that you can turn on/off easily instead of fiddling with max and frequencies.
You can also customize the extension via the preferences window:
As you can see, you can set whether CPU frequency is to be displayed, and whether to display it in Mhz or Ghz.
You can also edit and create/delete profiles:
You can set maximum and minimum frequencies, and turbo boost for each profile.
Power management on Linux is not the best compared to Windows and Mac OS, and many people are always looking for an easy way to improve battery performance on their Linux laptop. If you are one of those, check out this extension. This is a unconventional method to save power, but it does work. I certainly love this extension, and have been using it for a few months now.
What do you think about this extension? Put your thoughts in the comments below!