How to save power on Linux Ubuntu/Debian using cpufreq

Computers nowadays are packed with powerful processors and graphics cards in order to cater for the demanding computations and big screens. This however has some consequences on the hardware: heat . Overheating at times can cause damage and hardware failure although this can be prevented by fail safe algorithms.

As we all know, computer processors have a clock speed as their main product feature. For instance, a processor has a clock speed of 2.1 Ghz.
As the number of threads and operations grows, the processor will have to perform more work in order to manage the increasing number of tasks. This will make the processor’s frequency go up generating therefore more heat and thus consuming more power.

As you may have noticed in your computer, the fans are not always rotating at their maximum speed in order to vent away the heat generated by the processor. This is because the CPU does not operate at its highest frequency at all times.

If your fans are running at their maximum speed most of the time however, it could signal an overheating . This might lead to a degradation in performance.

Depending on the current load, power consumption and heat, current processors have smart algorithms which help tweak the clock frequency on the fly. This will prevent computers from constantly heating up.

Cpufreq, a lightweight daemon, allows users to adjust these algorithms which might help extend the lifespan of your hardware and improve its performance.


Cpufreq is a tiny CPU frequency indicator daemon which is used to display the cpu frequency on Ubuntu. You can install it much like an applet indicator and you will be able to use it from your main panel. Cpufreq indicator allows to :

  • Save power
  • Increase battery life time
  • Reduce the processor heat
  • Reduce overheating of computers
  • Extend hardware lifespace
  • Improve performance

Read: How to extend your laptop battery lifespan on Linux Ubuntu/Debian

How to install cpufreq ?

You can install cpufreq as an applet indicator on Ubuntu by running the apt command :

sudo apt install indicator-cpufreq

cpufreq install 

Once this is done, go to Unity dash, and look up cpufreq . Once the icon pops up, launch the indicator. In the top panel, set your cpu to Power save mode :

powersave mode

How to uninstall cpufreq ?

In order to uninstall cpufreq, run the following command:

sudo apt-get remove indicator-cpufreq

cpufreq remove

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amin nahdy

Amin Nahdy, an aspiring software engineer and a computer geek by nature as well as an avid Ubuntu and open source user. He is interested in information technology especially Linux based ecosystem as well as Windows and MacOS. He loves to share and disseminate knowledge to others in a transparent and responsible way.

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