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Dynamic frequency scaling

Dynamic frequency scaling (also known as CPU throttling) is a technique in computer architecture whereby the frequency of a
microprocessor can be automatically adjusted "on the fly" depending on the actual needs, to conserve power and reduce the amount
of heat generated by the chip. Dynamic frequency scaling helps preserve battery on mobile devices[1] and decrease cooling cost and
noise on quiet computing settings, or can be useful as a security measure for overheated systems (e.g. after poor overclocking).
Dynamic frequency scaling is used in all ranges of computing systems, ranging from mobile systems to data centers[2] to reduce the
power at the times of low workload.

Contents
Functioning
Performance impact
Implementations
See also
References

Functioning
The dynamic power (switching power) dissipated per unit of time by a chip isC·V2·A·f, where C is the capacitance being switched per
clock cycle, V is voltage, A is the Activity Factor[3] indicating the average number of switching events undergone by the transistors
.[4]
in the chip (as a unitless quantity) and f is the switching frequency

Voltage is therefore the main determinant of power usage and heating.[5] The voltage required for stable operation is determined by
the frequency at which the circuit is clocked, and can be reduced if the frequency is also reduced.[6] Dynamic power alone does not
account for the total power of the chip, however, as there is also static power, which is primarily because of various leakage currents.
Due to static power consumption and asymptotic execution time it has been shown that the ener
gy consumption of a piece of software
shows convex energy behavior, i.e., there exists an optimal CPU frequency at which energy consumption is minimal.[7] Leakage
current has become more and more important as transistor sizes have become smaller and threshold voltage levels lower. A decade
ago, dynamic power accounted for approximately two-thirds of the total chip power. The power loss due to leakage currents in
contemporary CPUs and SoCs tend to dominate the total power consumption. In the attempt to control the leakage power, high-k
metal-gates and power gating have been common methods.

Dynamic voltage scaling is another related power conservation technique that is often used in conjunction with frequency scaling, as
the frequency that a chip may run at is related to the operating voltage.

The efficiency of some electrical components, such as voltage regulators, decreases with increasing temperature, so the power usage
may increase with temperature. Since increasing power use may increase the temperature, increases in voltage or frequency may
[8][9]
increase system power demands even further than the CMOS formula indicates, and vice versa.

Performance impact
Dynamic frequency scaling reduces the number of instructions a processor can issue in a given amount of time, thus reducing
performance. Hence, it is generally used when the workload is not CPU-bound.
Dynamic frequency scaling by itself is rarely worthwhile as a way to conserve switching power. Saving the highest possible amount
of power requires dynamic voltage scaling too, because of the V2 component and the fact that modern CPUs are strongly optimized
for low power idle states. In most constant-voltage cases, it is more efficient to run briefly at peak speed and stay in a deep idle state
for longer time (called "race to idle" or computational sprinting), than it is to run at a reduced clock rate for a long time and only stay
briefly in a light idle state.However, reducing voltage along with clock rate can change those tradeof
fs.

A related-but-opposite technique is overclocking, whereby processor performance is increased by ramping the processor's (dynamic)
frequency beyond the manufacturer's design specifications.

One major difference between the two is that in modern PC systems overclocking is mostly done over the Front Side Bus (mainly
because the multiplier is normally locked), but dynamic frequency scaling is done with the multiplier. Moreover, overclocking is
often static, while dynamic frequency scaling is always dynamic. Software can often incorporate overclocked frequencies into the
frequency scaling algorithm, if the chip degradation risks are allowable.

Implementations
Intel's CPU throttling technology, SpeedStep, is used in its mobile and desktop CPU lines.

AMD employs two different CPU throttling technologies. AMD's Cool'n'Quiet technology is used on its desktop and server processor
lines. The aim of Cool'n'Quiet is not to save battery life, as it is not used in AMD's mobile processor line, but instead with the
purpose of producing less heat, which in turn allows the system fan to spin down to slower speeds, resulting in cooler and quieter
operation, hence the name of the technology. AMD's PowerNow! CPU throttling technology is used in its mobile processor line,
though some supporting CPUs like theAMD K6-2+ can be found in desktops as well.

VIA Technologies processors use a technology namedLongHaul (PowerSaver), while Transmeta's version was called LongRun.

The 36-processor AsAP 1 chip is among the first multi-core processor chips to support completely unconstrained clock operation
(requiring only that frequencies are below the maximum allowed) including arbitrary changes in frequency, starts, and stops. The
167-processor AsAP 2 chip is the first multi-core processor chip which enables individual processors to make fully unconstrained
changes to their own clock frequencies.

According to the ACPI Specs, the C0 working state of a modern-day CPU can be divided into the so-called "P"-states (performance
states) which allow clock rate reduction and "T"-states (throttling states) which will further throttle down a CPU (but not the actual
clock rate) by inserting STPCLK (stop clock) signals and thus omitting duty cycles.

AMD PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore Powerare dynamic frequency scaling technologies forGPUs.

See also
Dynamic voltage scaling
Clock gating
HLT (x86 instruction)
Power Saving Technologies:

AMD Cool'n'Quiet (desktop CPUs)


AMD PowerNow! (laptop CPUs)
AMD PowerTune/AMD PowerPlay (graphics)
Intel SpeedStep (CPUs)
Performance Boosting Technologies:

AMD Turbo Core (CPUs)


Intel Turbo Boost (CPUs)
References
1. "A survey of techniques for improving energy ef
ficiency in embedded computing systems(https://www.academia.ed
u/4186102/A_survey_of_techniques_for_improving_energy_ef ficiency_in_embedded_computing_systems)",
IJCAET, 2014
2. "Power Management Techniques for Data Centers: A Survey (https://www.academia.edu/6982393/Power_Managem
ent_Techniques_for_Data_Centers_A_Survey)", ORNL Technical Report, 2014
3. K. Moiseev, A. Kolodny and S. Wimer. "Timing-aware power-optimal ordering of signals".ACM Transactions on
Design Automation of Electronic Systems, Volume 13 Issue 4, September 2008.
4. Rabaey, J. M. (1996). Digital Integrated Circuits. Prentice Hall.
5. Victoria Zhislina (2014-02-19)."Why has CPU frequency ceased to grow?"(https://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/20
14/02/19/why-has-cpu-frequency-ceased-to-grow) . Intel.
6. https://www.usenix.org/legacy/events/hotpower/tech/full_papers/LeSueur.pdf
7. K. De Vogeleer; et al. (2014). "The Energy/Frequency Convexity Rule:Modeling and Experimental Validation on
Mobile Devices". arXiv:1401.4655 (https://arxiv.org/abs/1401.4655). Bibcode:2014arXiv1401.4655D (http://adsabs.h
arvard.edu/abs/2014arXiv1401.4655D).
8. Mike Chin. "Asus EN9600GT Silent Edition Graphics Card"(http://www.silentpcreview.com/article821-page5.html).
Silent PC Review. p. 5. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
9. MIke Chin. "80 Plus expands podium for Bronze, Silver & Gold"(http://www.silentpcreview.com/article814-page1.htm
l). Silent PC Review. Retrieved 21 April 2008.

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