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OS X and Processor C-state management?

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On XP/Vista, the OS interacts with the ACPI BIOS to put the processor in lower C-states during idle periods. This is distinct from the clock throttling done by apps like CoolBook. On Vista for example, depending on the model processor, on a mobile platform, the CPU can spend 90+% of its time in the C3 (or lower) state, where clocks are gated, caches powered down, etc.


Here's a brief overview (from http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.a...tno=420&pgno=5)


C0 State (Active)


* This is the CPU's maximum working state, where it is actively accepting instructions and processing data.

* Power saving is virtually zero, unless the CPU has P-state power management enabled.


C1 State (Halt)


* It is simply done by executing the assembly instruction “HLT” (Halt).

* This will stop the instruction pipeline within the CPU from executing any instructions.

* Wake-up time is ultra fast (only about 10 nano seconds).

* The CPU is able to save up to 70% of its maximum power consumption.

* All modern processors must support this power state.


C2 State (Stop Grant)


* The processor core clock and platform I/O buffers are gated.

* In other words, the clock does not exist in the processor execution engines and I/O buffers.

* The benefit over C1 is that the C2 state is able to save 70% of the CPU's maximum power plus some platform power.

* However, the transition time from C2 to C0 is 10 times more (~100 nano seconds).


C3 State (Deep Sleep)


* The bus clock and PLLs are gated.

* In a multi-processor system, the processors no longer handle FSB snoops to maintain cache coherency. Cache contents are invalidated.

* In a single-processor system, memory transactions are prohibited but cache contents are not invalidated.

* CPU still saves around 70% power, but the platform power will be reduced even more than C2.

* Wake up time is 500 times longer than C2 (about 50 micro seconds).


C4 State (Deeper Sleep)


* It is similar to the C3 state, but with two main differences.

* First, the core voltage is reduced to a very low level (less than 1.0V) to decrease current leakage.

* Second, data stored in the L2 cache will be reduced bit by bit over time.

* The CPU can save around 98% of its maximum power.

* Wake-up time is slower, but still much lower than 1 second (~160 micro seconds).


C5 State


* When the data in the L2 cache is reduced to zero.

* Wake-up time is more than 200 micro seconds.


C6 State


* New power management feature in Penryn.

* When the L2 cache contents are shrunk to zero, the CPU will go into an even lower core voltage.

* CPU context is no longer preserved.

* Power consumption is currently unknown. Should be near zero.

* Wake-up time is currently unknown.



Processor C-state occupancy is easily monitored in XP/Vista using the Performance counters, but I have yet to find an easy way to do this on OSX, would really like to know what is going on with the Wind. I'm curious if this has something to do with the delta between battery life running XP vs. OSX.


According to the Atom N270 spec, it is supposed to support C0-C4, so there should be substantial opportunity for power savings


Anyone know of an Mac app that can show processor C-state occupancy or exactly how C-state is handled by OSX running on a MSI Wind?





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