The sys admin’s daily grind: PowerTOP


Article from Issue 87/2008

Beep and power off! Large displays and faster CPUs seemingly wipe out the benefits of advances in battery technology. PowerTOP helps power hogs keep their laptops running without mains power.

Linux introduced the tickless kernel in version 2.6.21 (or 2.6.23 for 64-bit machines); that is, the kernel does away with the legacy fixed 250Hz timer. Theoretically, this should increase the battery running time for laptops because the CPU can stay in power-saving mode longer. In reality, the kernel is not the only factor: drivers, daemons, and applications can also spoil your power-saving strategy, making the new kernel’s contribution virtually useless.

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