Linux and the Desktop Pentium M: Uncommon Performanceby Kristopher Kubicki on December 24, 2004 12:00 PM EST
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A bit about Speed Step, Thermals, Power and NoiseAlthough this is not the first time that we have looked at Dothan, the exciting bit about the technology is that it requires so little power and thus, so little cooling. The only active cooling required in our Pentium M setup was a 40mm fan on the processor heatsink; the Northbridge is cooled passively.
Another reason why we selected the DFI motherboard for this roundup was the fact that it uses such elegant cooling. The HSF combo is proprietary to this motherboard, but it will fit easily in a 1U or SFF case with plenty of clearance and low noise. When we had our test rig setup in an aluminum Hornet Pro SFF chassis from Monarch Computers, we only needed a single, low RPM 80mm fan and the 40mm CPU HSF to cool the rig. At full operation, the Dothan desktop system ran at less than 30 dBA, too low for our Extech devices to even get a measurement at 12".
After a full hour of operation, our BIOS reported the Dothan at a "cool" 98 degrees Fahrenheit. The 40mm fan above is clearly ample enough for our purposes, but we did a little overclocking up to 2.4GHz and the same HSF combo held up fine. More importantly, the combo came free with the motherboard. What interests us even more is that this configuration is not even running Enhanced Speed Step! The 2.6 Linux kernel provides us with an excellent method of adjusting the CPU clock, dubbed "CPU Frequency Scaling". Unfortunately, this option is not enabled by default in most kernel configurations and requires a recompile.
In the .config file of a 2.6.x kernel build directory, we have to change the following lines:
CONFIG_X86_ACPI_CPUFREQ=y CONFIG_CPU_FREQ_GOV_USERSPACE=yBoth lines should now read "y" for yes. After restarting the computer, setting the processor clock speed is as easy as this:
echo 600000 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_setspeedThe sys daemons now will read the scaling file and dynamically clock the processor to 600,000 KHz. Although this amount of control is great for us right now, running a real time daemon to monitor CPU usage would probably be a little more beneficial to us. "cpufreqd" and "speedfreqd" both take control of the CPU scaling and work the same, if not arguably better than the Windows driver that does the same thing. For the tests in this analysis, both daemons were disabled; although, if you plan on getting the most out of your laptop or Dothan desktop, you should run a daemon for the best thermals and power usage.