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When playing a 720p video file, I can hear the laptop CPU fan kick in which after a few minutes causes the video file to play back in a very choppy manner. Is it possible to stop the CPU from slowing down like this?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

On Intel based systems, you can usually run the following as root

echo performance > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

If you have more then one core, which is likely the case on a contemporary machine, repeat the command for each. You can find out the number of cores with

ls /sys/devices/system/cpu/ | grep cpu[0-9].

To get back to the default poower level, run

echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor
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I'm getting a permisson denied when I try that first command, even with sudo infront. – oshirowanen Nov 4 '12 at 21:47
It seems to work with CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor, i.e. I can set it to performance, but that does not seem to make a difference. With CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor, I can also set it to 30% which really slows down the video, and I can set it to 75% which makes it smooth for a short while until the CPU fans kick in and the CPU probably slows down again even though CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor shows it at 100%. – oshirowanen Nov 4 '12 at 21:53
Run sudo -i to become root, and then the commands. Run exit when done. It would be best to put all of the commands into a script and then run it with sudo. If you need to run just one command with sudo, try this: echo performance | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor. – mikewhatever Nov 4 '12 at 21:58
OK, with that, the command worked, but the video still becomes choppy when the CPU fans kick in. I think I want to somehow disable to CPU slowing down feature altogether, what's that called, disabling CPU throttling/scalling? – oshirowanen Nov 4 '12 at 22:03
I've see a BIOS setting on an old computer, that scaled down the CPU at a given temperature. Could that be your case? – mikewhatever Nov 4 '12 at 22:22

sudo su

apt-get install cpufreqd cpufrequtils gnome-applets indicator-cpufreq

and then

indicator-cpufreq &


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