Quantcast Facts: Turbo Boost

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  1. #1
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    Default Facts: Turbo Boost

    I've been very happy with my newly purchased x201s for 2 weeks. Turbo boost is a cool feature on Intel's latest platform. (available only on core i5, i7)

    In this post, I'd like to share some tips about Power Manager settings and how these settings affect Turbo Boost. All facts are based on my experiences.

    1, How to tell if Turbo Boost is working properly?

    Power Manager status is the easiest way. If it's working properly, you'll find a green check mark sign, saying "Intel Turbo boost technology enabled" (Power Manager basic mode display)



    If you don't see this green check mark, that means something goes wrong with your settings and turbo boost is not working.


    Intel developed a desktop gadget "Intel® Turbo Boost Technology Monitor". This sidebar gadget shows when Intel® Turbo Boost Technology is active and your current CPU speed, graphically.

    2, How does Turbo Boost work?

    The purpose of Turbo boost is to "dig all your computing potential within the limit of power consumption and thermal control". The latest Intel platform combines CPU and GPU in a single unit. For example, the TDP of my core i7 640LM is 25W, meaning that CPU and GPU share this 25W power. The original speed is 2.13G, Turbo boost can overlock the CPU dynamically in 6 levels:2.26g, 2.4g, 2.53g, 2.66g, 2.8g, 2.93g.

    Power consumption and thermal control are the constraints. It has to make sure that your CPU+GPU will not consume too much power (below 25w) or overheat. If either constraint is met, Turbo boost will lower the speed or stop working.

    Turbo boost works in these three scenarios:

    a, Your current task only utilizes one CPU unit. Turbo boost will shut down the other core, and drive the working unit to its highest possible speed, all the way up to 2.93G.

    b, Your current tasks utilize two CPU cores, but there's still some headroom within the constraints. But you cannot get 2.93g the highest speed.
    (i tested wPrime many times. the default settings is 4 thread, CPU works at 2.26g and 2.4g; i manually set it to single thread and got 2.93g)

    c, Your CPU works at full load but GPU is empty. In this scenario GPU consumes very little power, turbo boost will assign most of the TDP to CPU.
    If both CPU and GPU are fully load (for example, gaming), turbo boost can automatically figure out the optimized solution to make sure you get the best overall performance.

    3, What's the benefit and trade-off of Turbo Boost?
    wPrime is an extreme example. (CPU working at full speed, GPU is idle). Turbo boost enabled, i got 24s; without turbo boost the score is 28s. From my experiences, you'll get performance increase up to 10%, depends on your tasks. But actually you cannot feel it in most cases because the CPU is already too FAST. Can you tell the differences between 135mph and 150mph without the dashboard? But even you cannot feel it, it's still better than nothing, right?

    Turbo boost works automatically without users' intervention. The bad thing is, Turbo boost will generate more heat and consume more power. The best practice is to enable Turbo boost in AC mode and disable it in battery mode.

    4, Why turbo boost is not working?
    Under these situations, you cannot see the green check mark and turbo boost is not working properly.

    a), Your computer is working in the dock station, with external monitor, keyboard and mice, the lid is closed.

    The closed lid blocks the heat coming out from the keyboard. Turbo boost is disabled automatically to prevent overheat.

    b), Make sure you have the latest Intel chipset and display driver. (intel HD graphics driver is a combo driver, contains 3 modules: intel HD graphics,intel display audio, and "intel turbo boost technology driver")

    you'll find a new device called "Intel(R) Turbo Boost Technology Driver"


    c), 3 Power Manager settings affect turbo boost.

    Maximum CPU speed: "Highest" and "Adaptive" enable turbo boost, "Low" and "Lowest" disable turbo boost.

    Optimize Fan control: Only Maximum performance enables turbo boost. "Balanced" and "Reduce noise dynamically" disables turbo boost.
    The reason is, turbo boost generates extra heat, thus the fan will be more noisy.

    System cooling policy: you have to set it to "Active" not "Passive" to enable turbo boost.

    At last, I want to clear a misunderstood point:
    Turbo boost CAN work in battery mode, though in practice we don't want it in battery mode in order to increase battery life. If you set CPU to "adaptive" or "highest", fan control to "maximum performance", cooling policy to "active", turbo boost will work in both AC mode and battery mode.
    Last edited by wallmage; 1st May 2010 at 02:17 AM.
    2010: x201s i7-640lm 4g ram x25m80G2,4+6+9cell, ultrabase
    2009: x200
    2008: dell xps 1530 (the worst of my life...)
    2003: x31 (still working in good condition, home server)
    2001: acer
    1998: lenovo (was LEGEND at that time)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    Nice write-up!
    My Current Squeeze:
    ThinkPad T400 | Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 2.8GHz Processor | 8192MB Corsair PC3-8500 RAMs | ATI Mobility Radeon HD3470 (1440×900) | Intel X25-M G2 34nm 160GB SSD | Seagate Momentus 7200.4rpm 500GB HDD via UltraBay | Windows 7 Ultimate x64 | Ubuntu 9.10 x64 (Karmic Koala) via UltraBay

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    Great write up. +rep

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    I don't have that green mark in power manager, and there is no Intel TurboBoost Driver in device manager, but my turboboost seems working fine. Performance indicator in my task manager says often my CPU frequency is 114% of max frequency. Intel's TurboBoost monitor gadget says it's overclocked to 3.06GHz too. Wonder why there would be a difference from your case.
    ThinkPad T510: Core i7 620M, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3, Nvidia NVS 3100M 512MB, Intel X-25M G2 SSD 160GB, Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, 9-Cell battery

    ThinkPad T43p: Pentium M 1.86Ghz, 2GB DDR2 266MHz, ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB, Hitachi TravelStar 60GB 7200rpm, Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit. (My wife's primary system right now)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    I dont have that green mark in power manager also but i do have the turbobost driver in device manager. My driver version differs from yours, seems like mines is a older version but when i try and update it says it is up to date.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    This still makes me want to stick to Core 2's for the next couple years, at least Core 2 Quad's.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    Quote Originally Posted by thinkpad knows best View Post
    This still makes me want to stick to Core 2's for the next couple years, at least Core 2 Quad's.
    What does?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    Thanks for the Facts! +rep
    Main: "The Behemoth" AW18 - Dual 780M + Samsung EVO + 4700MQ | T440S i7,1080P, 8GB, 16GB+500GB HDD
    Soon to retire: M1330 - eXtreme X9000
    Other cool lappies: Asus Zenbook UX21, Asus Eee, 2 x ThinkPad X120e, Samsung ATIV 700T
    Retired: M17xR2 ( Best Ever )

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    Quote Originally Posted by mike5065 View Post
    What does?
    The whole article.. more trouble than Turbo Boost is worth if you ask me, more things to go awry too.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Facts: Turbo Boost

    Quote Originally Posted by thinkpad knows best View Post
    The whole article.. more trouble than Turbo Boost is worth if you ask me, more things to go awry too.
    I'm looking forward to when all the configuration tools are "unified" and not stepping on each other (BIOS, Windows7, PM). I wouldn't want to trouble shoot it for friends. Plus, there are bugs. But the boost on my i5-520 from 2.4 -> 2.93, on-demand, has been useful, so a good step in the right direction.

 

 
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