About me: My name is Solène Rapenne, pronouns she/her. I like learning and sharing knowledge. Hobbies: '(NixOS BSD OpenBSD Lisp cmdline gaming internet-stuff). I love percent and lambda characters. OpenBSD developer solene@.

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Keep your OpenBSD system cool with obsdfreqd

Written by Solène, on 21 March 2022.
Tags: #openbsd #power

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Introduction §

Last week I wrote a system daemon to manage the CPU frequency from userland, entirely bypassing the kernel automatic mode. While this was more of a toy at first because I only implemented the same automatic mode used in the kernel but with all the variables being easily changed, I found it valuable for many use case to improve battery life or even temperature.

The coolest feature I added today is to support a maximum temperature and let the program do its best to keep the CPU temperature below the limit.

obsdfreqd project page

Installation §

As said in the "Too Long Didn't Read" section of the project README, a simple `make install` as root and starting the service is enough.

Results §

A nice benchmark to run was to start the compilation of the rust package with all the four cores of my T470 laptop and run obsdfreqd with various temperature limits and see how it goes. The program did a good job at reducing the CPU frequency to keep the temperature around the threshold.

Diagram of benchmark results of various temperature limitation

Conclusion §

While this is ultimately not a replacement for the in-kernel frequency scheduler, it can be used to keep a computer a lot cooler or make a system comply with some specific requirements (performance for given battery life or maximum temperature).

The customization is so that you can have various settings depending if the system is running on battery or not, which can be tailored to suit every kind of user. The defaults are made to provide good performance when on AC, and provide a balanced performance/battery life mode when on battery.