An issue with powerd..

Norberto Meijome beto at
Thu Jan 3 17:16:29 PST 2008

On Fri, 28 Dec 2007 13:38:13 +1100 (EST)
Ian Smith <smithi at> wrote:

> On Thu, 27 Dec 2007, John Baldwin wrote:

Hi there :)

>  > It was also far worse in console mode than in X.  In console mode I found that 
>  > sometimes the system would never "come back".
> Presumably X itself keeps it busy enough to keep cpu freq 'reasonable'?
> I use gkrellm to keep an eye on cpu freq, temp, load avg .. but my T23
> is only a two-speed, min 733MHZ, so I can't see what you're seeing (and
> that's my faster laptop :)

hmm not necessarily - all my problems I had with temperature going up and
powerd slowing down the CPU to 100 Mhz were under X. again, the heat issue may
had overriden the 'need for speed'....

>  > So I was running in console mode recently with my timing patches and noticed 
>  > that when it hung it started warning about GPE events taking several 
>  > _seconds_ to process, e.g. 2-3 seconds, or in some cases up to _30_ seconds.  
>  > So, my theory is that powerd has lowered my CPU all the way down to 100mhz 
>  > (easy to reproduce in non-X, just let the box sit with no apps running) and 
>  > that for some reason the machine ends up in a "GPE storm" where it is 
>  > spending all its time handling GPE's and never has any CPU left for userland 
>  > apps (due to being at 100mhz).  The problem then is that powerd never runs to 
>  > bump my CPU up to some reasonable speed.
> One workaround some have noted using is to set debug.cpufreq.lowest to
> some value considerably higher than 100MHz, say >500MHz to maintain
> reasonable responsiveness, at a cost of higher power use when idle.

yes - the only way I could get my machine to work OKish is to set
cpufreq.lowest to 932 Mhz.

>  > In fact, anytime a completely idle box suddently gets a lot of kernel work 
>  > (e.g. a sudden flow of packets) it could in theory end up trying to handle 
>  > all this work at the reduced speed since the work has a higher priority than 
>  > the powerd process.  To that end, I think that at least part of powerd needs 
>  > to be in the kernel, or at least that the kernel should be more proactive 
>  > about bumping the speed up when it resumes from Cx due to an interrupt.  A 
>  > simple policy would be to bump up to full speed for any non-clock interrupt 
>  > (possibly bumping up for a clock interrupt if we wake up softclock as well).
>  > 
>  > Thoughts?
> Just humble grasshopper droppings, master .. but the default powerd
> polling interval is 500ms, which is a really long time on a fast box, so
> -p 100 or even less might make a considerable difference?

giving -p 100 a try now.

> Can't comment on any in-kernel component, but responding per any sort of
> single interrupt/s sounds way too triggerhappy compared to monitoring
> load, assuming that such as vm.loadavg and kern.cp_time are themselves
> updated promptly in high-stress times?
> AU$0.02, which rounds down to 0 since we abandoned coins less than 5c ..

LOL  - good point! 


Norberto Meijome
Octantis Pty Ltd

Exhilaration is that feeling you get just after a great idea hits you,
and just before you realize what is wrong with it.

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