GWKB1048 : Small-Talk Ultra Processor Throttling

Product: Small-Talk Ultra
Author: Aaron Smith
Date Added: 08/14/2006
Last Modified: 08/14/2006

The Small-Talk Ultra packs a lot of power into a very small space. Consequently, under heavy load, the processor has the potential to heat up, causing the Small-Talk Ultra’s performance to decrease in order to keep the processor from overheating. This feature (common in most laptop computers) is called processor throttling, and is controllable using built in features of Windows XP.

To Throttle or Not to Throttle

When processor throttling is enabled, a processor’s speed is decreased slightly in an attempt to lower both system temperature and battery usage. When a processor’s speed is lowered (for example, from 1.0 GHz to 933 MHz), application speeds and system performance will most likely degrade slightly. After all, processes are running at slower speeds. Once the processor has reached a minimal temperature, the speeds will increase until processor temperature requires them to be decreased again.

Disabling processor throttling while using DC/Battery power is strongly discouraged, as battery life has the potential to decrease rapidly. When using AC power, however, battery life is moot, and disabling processor throttling may increase the speeds of your applications and total system performance.

If you do decide to disable processor throttling, remove your Small-Talk Ultra from the custom carrying case, and keep it in an open area where the room temperature is appropriately regulated.

WARNING: Disabling processor throttling has the potential to cause processors to increase in heat. Processor throttling is enabled to prolong the life of a processor, and should only be disabled by advanced users who understand the consequences of tampering with this feature. GW MICRO IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY LOSS OF DATA OR DAMAGE OF HARDWARE. USE THE INFORMATION PRESENTED IN THIS KNOWLEDGEBASE ARTICLE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Controlling Processor Throttling

If you want to change the processor throttling feature of the Small-Talk Ultra, you can run the following commands either from the run dialog in the Start Menu, or via a Windows XP command prompt. Note that the following commands modify processor throttling only when AC power is enabled. In other words, when using DC/Battery power, these changes (if made) will not apply. Since disabling processor throttling while connected to DC/Battery power is discouraged, those commands will not be discussed in this article. If you want to know more about processor throttling, try performing a Google search using the phrase, “powercfg processor throttling.”

Fastest - No processor throttling will occur. The processor has the potential to increase in temperature.

        powercfg /x /processor-throttle-ac none

Coolest - Processor throttling will occur. Processor speeds will be lower, and the device should stay cooler:

        powercfg /x /processor-throttle-ac constant

Dynamic - Processor speed will increase when needed, and decrease when not needed. This is the default behavior:

        powercfg /x /processor-throttle-ac adaptive

Friendly Reminder

It is very important to understand the notion that disabling processor throttling will increase the processor temperature. Keeping your Small-Talk Ultra unit in a cool environment with proper air circulation when is strongly encouraged when processor throttling is disabled.