Clock Throttling

For those of you unaware of this, Intel has some circuitry built into some of its CPUs that essentially slows the chip down under certain circumstances.

There’s apparently two kinds of clock-throttling, software-based throttling (usually used to reduce power drain and extend useful life for, say, notebooks, and which can be modified or eliminated), and
hardware-based throttling (which kicks in whether you like it or not).

Nobody, not even Intel, is denying this exists. However, we’re getting two stories on this:

Intel is saying that “mandatory” clock-throttling kicks in only under fairly dire circumstances when the CPU is overheating.

Some others are saying it kicks in a lot more often than Intel says.

I think those saying the latter need to prove their case, and show just when and under what circumstances this happens, and just how often this is likely to happen while conducting reasonable computing activities.

Presumably, at least in desktops, this throttling kicks in due to temperature.

At what temperature does this happen? Just what are you running to get that temperature? What sort of cooling is being used? Is it particularly good cooling or not? Is this something that kicks in on just Intel motherboards, or on any P4 board?

So long as this phenomenon is being described so vaguely, our concern should be just as vague. Maybe there’s a real problem here. Maybe the testers just need a better heatsink/fan. The answer could be either.

But before those with an agenda try to persuade you that this is a reason to Never Ever Buy Intel, let them show that this happens regularly under reasonably normal conditions using reasonably decent cooling.

Email Ed

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply