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Semi-OT: How to throttle a AMD Turion?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, May 2, 2007.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Folks,

    Has anyone succeeded in reducing the power consumption of the "AMD
    Turion 64 Mobile" processor? I've got one in a laptop and it gets hot
    even when the computer does nothing. Not only does this consume battery
    juice but most annoying is that the rather loud fan comes on all the
    time. In meetings people turn around to see whether some microscopic
    Learjet has landed.

    I was hoping that this "AMD PowerNow!" scheme would at least come close
    to what my old early 90's laptop had. That one offered three user
    selectable clock speeds. Full blast, half, and next to nothing. Not so
    here in the oh so modern world of 2007. Looked up and down the web and
    usenet. All one can get is a kind of meter applet from AMD that shows
    voltage and speed. But I'd like some handles and buttons here ;-)
  2. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

  3. Crazy, innit? My wife's laptop now starts shutting itself off because
    of overheating while doing nothing (like waiting, in a CPU's timeframe,
    eons for keystrokes during word processing). Need to get that dust out of
    there, but all laptops are design nightmares in this regard. What became
    of micropower or at least power-aware design? These things are mobile,
    battery operated devices for christ's sake!

  4. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    You already have the PowerNow software V3.04 ?

    It looks like you may need a driver for some CPUs too.

  5. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yes, fully agree. IMHO the design engineers on those teams are not ....
    no, no, I am not going to say it. <biting tongue>

    Anyhow, I do a lot of micropower designs and my clients would have me
    flogged if I delivered a "performance" like "modern" laptops. Heck, why
    can't they cajole some of the old Compaq engineers out of retirement?
    They know how to do it. I have an idea: Why don't we start an assisted
    living place for engineers? Nicely decked out with a CAD room, bingo
    games, a small lab, big screen TVs, Weller solder irons etc. When I see
    what comes out of universities these days I bet we'll need that.
  6. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I'll have to check into that. The PowerNow downloads I've come across
    were all just for looking at power consumption. That would only be
    rubbing it in, seeing the leaks. The laptop's manufacturer (Twinhead)
    told me that the CPU clock speed cannot be lowered. But that may not be
    the last word.
  7. SioL

    SioL Guest

    Last time I installed the one from AMD I almost had to reinstall xp.
    It would not boot and it took a lot of tinkering with registry to bring it
    back to life. On the bright side, IE was partly broken in the process and
    I'm now using firefox, much better.

    Stay away from AMD CPU driver, I say.

  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    That's exactly why I am a bit skittish here. I don't want to wreck the
    PC and have to spend hours to resurrect it. Sounds like muscle car
    tuning. Another quarter turn and poof, gone is the engine.
  9. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    You mean your laptop does not have the clock slow-down feature

    ...Jim Thompson
  10. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    No idea. According to the mfg it's "automatic", whatever that means, and
    there is no user interaction possible. The docs with laptops these days
    are so skimpy. Just a wee PDF file. Lots of pages of legalese (don't
    swallow the USB stick or whatever), another few pages of glitz. My first
    laptop even had the BIOS explained in great detail. A whole big chapter.

    Other than that this machine is great. Tons of RAM, beat all the other
    more expensive ones in compile speed at the Cypress PSoC seminar, metal
    case. Really nice, I can go to a client this afternoon yet still keep up
    the back and forth chats with my layouter while there. Battery life is
    better than I thought, north of 2.5hrs.
  11. SioL

    SioL Guest

    Just found this:
    It seems its automatic and can be adjusted via "power options properties".

    Another reference:
    This article suggests that the driver installs automatically with windows update
    so you must have it already.

    I also found my problem driver, it was amd dual core optimizer.
    Here's a reference to this problem:
    It may have been fixed in the mean time, but I'm not going to try, it was
    a major headache to get rid of it.

  12. jasen

    jasen Guest

    It seems that people want AMD and iNTEL inside their laptops.
    VIA does some nice little GHz X86 processors that run with Vcore below 1V
    and only need a few watts, but I've never seen one in a laptop. Can't
    run the lastest Microsoft "productivity" suite with acceptable speed I

  13. SioL

    SioL Guest

    I've got one VIA cpu here for assembler / win98 / dos tasks, its slow like
    hell, but quiet and does the trick for these simple tasts.... just barely.

  14. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Ah, this might explain what's going on. It seems that the clock cannot
    or at least does not drop below 800MHz. That's still a whole lot of MHz
    when doing mundane things such as layout checks. This is what I use my
    laptop for most. There, I can't see much difference between the old
    Compaq throttled to 25MHz or so and the new screaming fast laptops.
    Except that the old Compaq's enclosure crumbled and I can no longer
    enjoy 6hr runtimes because "modern" design don't deliver that :-(

    Why don't they allow a drop to, say, 100MHz or less? Many laptops are
    routinely used as document displays during meetings. That requires close
    to zilch in horsepower.

    Thanks. According to driver info in their first source link
    "12-Feb-02 18:42 5.1.2600.28 32,896 Amdk7.sys"
    I must have it. But I'll check.

    I bought this laptop on purpose just a month before Vista rolled out,
    being a bit worried that mfgs might be "discouraged" to sell XP after
    that. Worries that, as it has turned out, were not unfounded after all.

    I'd rather stay away from messing with processor drivers. I was hoping
    there was an easy trick. A hidden routine or something. But if 800MHz is
    really the minimum for the AMD Turion then there isn't much that can be
    done anyhow. That's a wee bit disappointing.

    Now imagine me the next time when buying a laptop. After garnering
    disbelief when asking whether an older OS was still available the next
    question would be "Do you have a model with a slower processor clock rate?".
  15. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    I get about 4-1/2 hours on my 2-1/2 year old Thinkpad T42P, and you can
    get second batteries that go into the DVD drive slot that will give
    another 2 hours or so, so that would get you back up there. You have to
    get the 9-cell battery and not the 6-cell one--the good ones stick out
    the back of the machine by an inch or so.


    Phil Hobbs
  16. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Maybe this mfg (Twinhead) has those, too. But it's weird. Instead of
    making machines more efficient or at least as efficient as those from
    the early 90's it's like this: We've bloated our OSes and programs,
    therefore you need 1GB of RAM and 1GHz of clock to write "Hello World",
    and the solution is to just buy bigger batteries.

    I still don't see any reason why the processor should run anywhere
    above, say, 10MHz while I am staring at Gerber files. It just doesn't
    make any sense to me.
  17. SioL

    SioL Guest

    Well, competition is forcing AMD/Intel to roll-out one racing engine
    after the other. The question is, how do you go shopping or take kids
    to school etc (in fact what you do 90% of the time) with, say, Porsche 911?

    Good well-kept old laptops with decent displays are well worth keeping and
    downright precious sometimes.

  18. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    That might be the case. My 2nd laptop had a 486 and that must have been
    static. AFAIR the lowest clock speed it could do was 1MHz. Absolutely
    great if you had to write a lengthy module spec in MS-Word. I sat there
    typing away on a transatlantic flight and the old NiCd in there was
    still cranking after 5 hours. The guy next to me with his fancy Thinkpad
    was in utter disbelief because his had quit two hours before that.
  19. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Perhaps you might keep an eye open for something like these:

    Or the old Tandy T100 & T200 series. Battery lasts quite a while if you just
    want to write on a long trip.

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