Take the 2-minute tour ×
Sound Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for sound engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

By default most Linux distributions have the cpuscaling service on by default. In principle, it should "get out of the way" and run the processor at full speed once there is significant load. However, it seems plausible that that it could get in the way, possibly intermittently.

Has anyone measured any significant impact of this feature, with respect to real-time audio recording/production/processing?

What would be a good approach to try to detect/measure whether this service has any effect on my system's performance?

share|improve this question

migrated from avp.stackexchange.com Jan 24 at 12:01

This question came from our site for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of video, and media creation.

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about general computing and is only tangentially related to audio production. You could substitute any other high performance activity for real-time audio production and the answer would be the same. –  AJ Henderson Sep 6 '13 at 16:18
I do not agree. There has always been an active discussion related to what chipset/CPU/OS/etc.. is better for audio production in terms of performance/stability/etc.. And I think this question is perfectly valid. It is true though, that the answer might be very similar for general performance issues but audio has its own specifics which could be addressed separately. –  Eugene S Sep 7 '13 at 1:29
This isn't actually so much about general high-performance computing, but you could argue it is about general low-latency computing. –  leftaroundabout Oct 9 '13 at 12:58
definitely the latency. can it be configured to ramp up quickly and let go slowly? –  georgi Feb 5 at 9:30

2 Answers 2

The easiest way would probably be to check the speed at which the CPU is running. Just about any performance monitor should be able to tell you this. If the CPU isn't being scaled up when running a CPU intensive program, then it would be having an impact, but generally such system automatically increase CPU speed as soon as the system is using more than a certain % of CPU time, so it's doubtful that it should cause a significant issue.

share|improve this answer
What are useful Linux tools to "check the speed at which the CPU is running"? –  Dave Sep 6 '13 at 18:57
@Dave - I'd ask about performance monitor tools on the Linux SE. I honestly don't use Linux, so I don't know personally. I just know the basis behind cpu scaling in general. –  AJ Henderson Sep 6 '13 at 19:05

Scaling the frequency for example down to half means the data rate is halved for the audio. However, audio data has very low bandwidth requirements in modern computers so the real-world effect of this will be minimal.

It would only be under very high load (or if you use a high number of channels) this may have an actual effect. If you use your system mainly for audio production you probably want to turn off this service as you want actual frequencies for your audio monitoring.

I believe the main purpose for this service is a more generic use where you may run Linux on a laptop and batteries, and can therefor contribute to "save" a little bit of energy.

share|improve this answer
Once again, the issue with (professional) audio is indeed seldom total bandwidth, but what's absolutely crucial is latency. –  leftaroundabout Dec 7 '13 at 13:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.