Sluggish performance with kernel 5.7 (and higher)

Symptoms: you have configured the powersave scaling governor for intel_pstate:


and tlp-stat -p displays

/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_driver    = intel_cpufreq
/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor  = powersave
/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_governors = conservative ondemand userspace powersave performance schedutil

Cause: starting with kernel 5.7, the intel_pstate scaling driver selects “passive mode” aka intel_cpufreq for CPUs that do not support hardware-managed P-states (HWP), i.e. Intel Core i 5th gen. or older. The governor powersave provided by intel_cpufreq works differently than the one provided by intel_pstate and produces the sluggish behaviour.

Solution: use the default governor – should be schedutil - by commenting above configuration lines or configure it explictly:


For details refer to CPU_SCALING_GOVERNOR_ON_AC/BAT.

Frequency scaling settings do not get applied

Symptom: tlp-stat -p shows values that do not reflect configuration.

There are several possible causes:

Invalid frequency settings

Solution: tlp-stat -p tells the possible frequencies for your CPU. Example:

/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_frequencies = 2400000 1600000 800000 [kHz]

No ondemand governor with intel_pstate

Symptom: tlp-stat -p displays

/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_driver = intel_pstate
/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor = powersave

Works as designed: since kernel 3.9 the new scaling driver intel_pstate is available and enabled by default on Intel Sandy Bridge (or newer) hardware. intel_pstate supports the governors powersave (recommended default) and performance only, ondemand is not available.

tlp-stat -p shows ‘x86_energy_perf_policy: program for your kernel not installed.’

Depending on the distribution your mileage may vary:

  • Ubuntu: install the metapackage linux-tools-generic or linux-tools-generic-lts-* for HWE stack kernels, no package is available for mainline kernels.

  • Debian: install the package linux-cpupower.

  • Arch: install the package x86_energy_perf_policy.

  • Fedora: install the package kernel-tools.