PowerTOP – Monitors Power Usage and Improve Laptop Battery Life in Linux

We all know, we almost 80-90% migrated from PC (Desktop) to laptop.

But one thing we want from a laptop, it’s long battery life and we want to use every drop of power.

So it’s good to know where our power is going and getting waste.

You can use the powertop utility to see what’s drawing power when your system’s not plugged in.

You need to run the powertop utility in terminal with super user privilege.

It will access the hardware and measure power usage.

What is PowerTOP

PowerTOP is a Linux tool to diagnose issues with power consumption and power management.

It was developed by Intel to enable various power-saving modes in kernel, userspace, and hardware.

In addition to being a diagnostic tool, PowerTOP also has an interactive mode where the user can experiment various power management settings for cases where the Linux distribution has not enabled these settings.

It is possible to monitor processes and show which of them are utilizing the CPU and wake it from its Idle-States, allowing to identify applications with particular high power demands.

How to Install PowerTOP

PowerTOP package is available in most of the distributions official repository so, use the distributions Package Manager to install it.

For Fedora system, use DNF Command to install PowerTOP.

$ sudo dnf install powertop

For Debian/Ubuntu systems, use APT-GET Command or APT Command to install PowerTOP.

$ sudo apt install powertop

For Arch Linux based systems, use Pacman Command to install PowerTOP.

$ sudo pacman -S powertop

For RHEL/CentOS systems, use YUM Command to install PowerTOP.

$ sudo yum install powertop

For openSUSE Leap system, use Zypper Command to install PowerTOP.

$ sudo zypper install powertop

How To Access PowerTOP

PowerTOP requires super user privilege so, run as root to use PowerTOP utility on your Linux system.

By default it shows Overview tab where we can see the power usage consumption for all the devices. Also shows your system wakeups seconds.

$ sudo powertop

PowerTOP v2.9     Overview   Idle stats   Frequency stats   Device stats   Tunables                                     

The battery reports a discharge rate of 12.6 W
The power consumed was 259 J
The estimated remaining time is 1 hours, 52 minutes

Summary: 1692.9 wakeups/second,  0.0 GPU ops/seconds, 0.0 VFS ops/sec and 54.9% CPU use

                Usage       Events/s    Category       Description
              9.3 ms/s     529.4        Timer          tick_sched_timer
            378.5 ms/s     139.8        Process        [PID 2991] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 7 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 8314 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              7.5 ms/s     141.7        Timer          hrtimer_wakeup
              3.3 ms/s     102.7        Process        [PID 1527] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox --new-window
             11.6 ms/s      69.1        Process        [PID 1568] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 1 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 0001,
              6.2 ms/s      59.0        Process        [PID 1496] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox --new-window
              2.1 ms/s      59.6        Process        [PID 2466] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 3 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 5814 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              1.8 ms/s      52.3        Process        [PID 2052] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 4 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 5814 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              1.8 ms/s      50.8        Process        [PID 3034] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 7 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 8314 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              3.6 ms/s      48.4        Process        [PID 3009] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 7 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 8314 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              7.5 ms/s      46.2        Process        [PID 2996] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 7 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 8314 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
             25.2 ms/s      33.6        Process        [PID 1528] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox --new-window
              5.7 ms/s      32.2        Interrupt      [7] sched(softirq)
              2.1 ms/s      32.2        Process        [PID 1811] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 4 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 5814 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
             19.7 ms/s      25.0        Process        [PID 1794] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 4 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 5814 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              1.9 ms/s      31.5        Process        [PID 1596] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 1 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 0001,
              3.1 ms/s      29.9        Process        [PID 1535] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox --new-window
              7.1 ms/s      28.2        Process        [PID 1488] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox --new-window
              1.8 ms/s      29.5        Process        [PID 1762] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 3 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 5814 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              8.8 ms/s      23.3        Process        [PID 1121] /usr/bin/gnome-shell
              1.2 ms/s      21.8        Process        [PID 1657] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 2 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 920 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 000
             13.3 ms/s      13.9        Process        [PID 1746] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 3 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 5814 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 00
              2.7 ms/s      11.1        Process        [PID 3410] /usr/lib/gnome-terminal-server
              3.8 ms/s      10.8        Process        [PID 1057] /usr/lib/Xorg vt2 -displayfd 3 -auth /run/user/1000/gdm/Xauthority -nolisten tcp -background none -noreset -keeptty
              3.1 ms/s       9.8        Process        [PID 1629] /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 2 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 920 -prefMapSize 173895 -schedulerPrefs 000
              0.9 ms/s       6.7        Interrupt      [136] xhci_hcd
            278.0 us/s       6.4        Process        [PID 414] [irq/141-iwlwifi]
            128.7 us/s       5.7        Process        [PID 1] /sbin/init
            118.5 us/s       5.2        Process        [PID 10] [rcu_preempt]
             49.0 us/s       4.7        Interrupt      [0] HI_SOFTIRQ
            459.3 us/s       3.1        Interrupt      [142] i915
              2.1 ms/s       2.3        Process        [PID 3451] powertop
              8.4 us/s       2.7        kWork          intel_atomic_helper_free_state_
              1.2 ms/s       1.8        kWork          intel_atomic_commit_work
            374.2 us/s       2.1        Interrupt      [9] acpi
             42.1 us/s       1.8        kWork          intel_atomic_cleanup_work
              3.5 ms/s      0.25        kWork          delayed_fput
            238.0 us/s       1.5        Process        [PID 907] /usr/lib/upowerd
             17.7 us/s       1.5        Timer          intel_uncore_fw_release_timer
             26.4 us/s       1.4        Process        [PID 576] [i915/signal:0]
             19.8 us/s       1.3        Timer          watchdog_timer_fn
              1.1 ms/s      0.00        Process        [PID 206] [kworker/7:2]
              2.4 ms/s      0.00        Interrupt      [1] timer(softirq)
             13.4 us/s       0.9        Process        [PID 9] [ksoftirqd/0]

 Exit |  /  Navigate |

The powertop output looks similar to the above screenshot, it will be slightly different based on your hardware. This have many screen you can switch between screen the using Tab and Shift+Tab button.

Idle Stats Tab

It displays various information about the processor.

PowerTOP v2.9     Overview   Idle stats   Frequency stats   Device stats   Tunables                                     


          Package   |             Core    |            CPU 0       CPU 4
                    |                     | C0 active   6.7%        7.2%
                    |                     | POLL        0.0%    0.1 ms  0.0%    0.1 ms
                    |                     | C1E         1.2%    0.2 ms  1.6%    0.3 ms
C2 (pc2)    7.5%    |                     |
C3 (pc3)   25.2%    | C3 (cc3)    0.7%    | C3          0.5%    0.2 ms  0.6%    0.1 ms
C6 (pc6)    0.0%    | C6 (cc6)    7.1%    | C6          6.6%    0.5 ms  6.3%    0.5 ms
C7 (pc7)    0.0%    | C7 (cc7)   59.8%    | C7s         0.0%    0.0 ms  0.0%    0.0 ms
C8 (pc8)    0.0%    |                     | C8         33.9%    1.6 ms 32.3%    1.5 ms
C9 (pc9)    0.0%    |                     | C9          2.1%    3.4 ms  0.7%    2.8 ms
C10 (pc10)  0.0%    |                     | C10        39.5%    4.7 ms 41.4%    4.7 ms

                    |             Core    |            CPU 1       CPU 5
                    |                     | C0 active   8.3%        7.2%
                    |                     | POLL        0.0%    0.0 ms  0.0%    0.1 ms
                    |                     | C1E         1.3%    0.2 ms  1.4%    0.3 ms
                    |                     |
                    | C3 (cc3)    0.5%    | C3          0.5%    0.2 ms  0.4%    0.2 ms
                    | C6 (cc6)    6.0%    | C6          5.3%    0.5 ms  4.7%    0.5 ms
                    | C7 (cc7)   59.3%    | C7s         0.0%    0.8 ms  0.0%    1.0 ms
                    |                     | C8         27.2%    1.5 ms 23.8%    1.4 ms
                    |                     | C9          1.6%    3.0 ms  0.5%    3.0 ms
                    |                     | C10        44.5%    4.7 ms 52.2%    4.6 ms

                    |             Core    |            CPU 2       CPU 6
                    |                     | C0 active  11.2%        8.4%
                    |                     | POLL        0.0%    0.0 ms  0.0%    0.0 ms
                    |                     | C1E         1.4%    0.4 ms  1.3%    0.3 ms
                    |                     |
                    | C3 (cc3)    0.3%    | C3          0.2%    0.1 ms  0.4%    0.2 ms
                    | C6 (cc6)    4.0%    | C6          3.7%    0.5 ms  4.3%    0.5 ms
                    | C7 (cc7)   54.2%    | C7s         0.0%    0.0 ms  0.0%    1.0 ms
                    |                     | C8         20.0%    1.5 ms 20.7%    1.4 ms
                    |                     | C9          1.0%    3.4 ms  0.4%    3.8 ms
                    |                     | C10        48.8%    4.6 ms 52.3%    5.0 ms

                    |             Core    |            CPU 3       CPU 7
                    |                     | C0 active   8.8%        8.1%
                    |                     | POLL        0.0%    0.1 ms  0.0%    0.0 ms
                    |                     | C1E         1.2%    0.2 ms  1.2%    0.2 ms
                    |                     |
                    | C3 (cc3)    0.6%    | C3          0.6%    0.2 ms  0.4%    0.2 ms
                    | C6 (cc6)    7.0%    | C6          7.5%    0.5 ms  4.4%    0.5 ms
                    | C7 (cc7)   56.8%    | C7s         0.0%    0.0 ms  0.0%    0.9 ms
                    |                     | C8         29.4%    1.4 ms 23.8%    1.4 ms
                    |                     | C9          1.1%    2.7 ms  0.7%    3.9 ms
                    |                     | C10        41.0%    4.0 ms 50.0%    4.8 ms


 Exit |  /  Navigate |

Frequency Stats Tab

It displays the frequency of CPU.

PowerTOP v2.9     Overview   Idle stats   Frequency stats   Device stats   Tunables                                     


            Package |             Core    |            CPU 0       CPU 4
                    |                     | Average      930 MHz    1101 MHz
Idle                | Idle                | Idle

                    |             Core    |            CPU 1       CPU 5
                    |                     | Average     1063 MHz     979 MHz
                    | Idle                | Idle

                    |             Core    |            CPU 2       CPU 6
                    |                     | Average      976 MHz     942 MHz
                    | Idle                | Idle

                    |             Core    |            CPU 3       CPU 7
                    |                     | Average      924 MHz     957 MHz
                    | Idle                | Idle

Device Stats Tab

It displays power usage information against only devices.

PowerTOP v2.9     Overview   Idle stats   Frequency stats   Device stats   Tunables                                     


The battery reports a discharge rate of 13.8 W
The power consumed was 280 J

              Usage     Device name
             46.7%        CPU misc
             46.7%        DRAM
             46.7%        CPU core
             19.0%        Display backlight
              0.0%        Audio codec hwC0D0: Realtek
              0.0%        USB device: Lenovo EasyCamera (160709000341)
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 530
            100.0%        Radio device: iwlwifi
            100.0%        PCI Device: O2 Micro, Inc. SD/MMC Card Reader Controller
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers
            100.0%        USB device: Lenovo Wireless Optical Mouse N100
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation Wireless 8260
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation HM170/QM170 Chipset SATA Controller [AHCI Mode]
            100.0%        Radio device: btusb
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #4
            100.0%        USB device: xHCI Host Controller
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family USB 3.0 xHCI Controller
            100.0%        PCI Device: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #3
            100.0%        PCI Device: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM951/PM951
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #2
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #9
            100.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SMBus
             26.1 pkts/s  Network interface: wlp8s0 (iwlwifi)
              0.0%        USB device: usb-device-8087-0a2b
              0.0%        runtime-reg-dummy
              0.0%        Audio codec hwC0D2: Intel
              0.0 pkts/s  Network interface: enp9s0 (r8168)
              0.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family Power Management Controller
              0.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation HM170 Chipset LPC/eSPI Controller
              0.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x16)
              0.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1
              0.0%        PCI Device: NVIDIA Corporation GM107M [GeForce GTX 960M]
              0.0%        I2C Adapter (i2c-8): nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0005
              0.0%        runtime-PNP0C14:00
              0.0%        PCI Device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family HD Audio Controller
              0.0%        runtime-PNP0C0C:00
              0.0%        USB device: xHCI Host Controller
              0.0%        runtime-ACPI000C:00
              0.0%        runtime-regulatory.0
              0.0%        runtime-PNP0C14:01
              0.0%        runtime-vesa-framebuffer.0
              0.0%        runtime-coretemp.0
              0.0%        runtime-alarmtimer

 Exit |  /  Navigate |                                                                           

Tunables Stats Tab

This tab is important area that provides suggestions to optimize your laptop battery.

PowerTOP v2.9     Overview   Idle stats   Frequency stats   Device stats   Tunables                                     


>> Bad           Enable SATA link power management for host2                                                            
   Bad           Enable SATA link power management for host3
   Bad           Enable SATA link power management for host0
   Bad           Enable SATA link power management for host1
   Bad           VM writeback timeout
   Bad           Autosuspend for USB device Lenovo Wireless Optical Mouse N100 [1-2]
   Good          Bluetooth device interface status
   Good          Enable Audio codec power management
   Good          NMI watchdog should be turned off
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-7 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0002)
   Good          Autosuspend for unknown USB device 1-11 (8087:0a2b)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-3 (i915 gmbus dpd)
   Good          Autosuspend for USB device Lenovo EasyCamera [160709000341]
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-1 (i915 gmbus dpc)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-12 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0009)
   Good          Autosuspend for USB device xHCI Host Controller [usb1]
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-13 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-aux-000a)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-2 (i915 gmbus dpb)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-8 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0005)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-15 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-aux-000c)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-16 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-aux-000d)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-5 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0000)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-0 (SMBus I801 adapter at 6040)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-11 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0008)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-14 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-aux-000b)
   Good          Autosuspend for USB device xHCI Host Controller [usb2]
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-9 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0006)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-10 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0007)
   Good          Runtime PM for I2C Adapter i2c-6 (nvkm-0000:01:00.0-bus-0001)
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family HD Audio Controller
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family USB 3.0 xHCI Controller
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #9
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation HD Graphics 530
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #3
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device O2 Micro, Inc. SD/MMC Card Reader Controller
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation HM170 Chipset LPC/eSPI Controller
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM951/PM951
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation HM170/QM170 Chipset SATA Controller [AHCI Mode]
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family Power Management Controller
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #2
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation Wireless 8260
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x16)
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #4
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SMBus
   Good          Runtime PM for PCI Device NVIDIA Corporation GM107M [GeForce GTX 960M]

  Exit |  Toggle tunable |  Window refresh

How To Generate PowerTop HTML Report

Run the following command to generate the PowerTop HTML report.

$ sudo powertop --html=powertop.html
modprobe cpufreq_stats failedLoaded 100 prior measurements
Cannot load from file /var/cache/powertop/saved_parameters.powertop
File will be loaded after taking minimum number of measurement(s) with battery only 
RAPL device for cpu 0
RAPL Using PowerCap Sysfs : Domain Mask f
RAPL device for cpu 0
RAPL Using PowerCap Sysfs : Domain Mask f
Devfreq not enabled
glob returned GLOB_ABORTED
Cannot load from file /var/cache/powertop/saved_parameters.powertop
File will be loaded after taking minimum number of measurement(s) with battery only 
Preparing to take measurements
To show power estimates do 182 measurement(s) connected to battery only
Taking 1 measurement(s) for a duration of 20 second(s) each.
PowerTOP outputing using base filename powertop.html

Navigate to file:///home/daygeek/powertop.html file to access the generated PowerTOP HTML report.

Auto-Tune mode

This feature sets all tunable options from BAD to GOOD which increase the laptop battery life in Linux.

$ sudo powertop --auto-tune
modprobe cpufreq_stats failedLoaded 210 prior measurements
Cannot load from file /var/cache/powertop/saved_parameters.powertop
File will be loaded after taking minimum number of measurement(s) with battery only 
RAPL device for cpu 0
RAPL Using PowerCap Sysfs : Domain Mask f
RAPL device for cpu 0
RAPL Using PowerCap Sysfs : Domain Mask f
Devfreq not enabled
glob returned GLOB_ABORTED
Cannot load from file /var/cache/powertop/saved_parameters.powertop
File will be loaded after taking minimum number of measurement(s) with battery only 
To show power estimates do 72 measurement(s) connected to battery only
Leaving PowerTOP

Vinoth Kumar

Vinoth Kumar has 3.5+ years of experience in Linux server administration & RHEL certified professional. He is currently working as a Senior L2 Linux Server administrator.

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