I just installed conky and recognized that my CPU-Frequency changes every second in steps of 10 to 100MHz and between 1000MHz - 2000MHz.

Just wondered if this is normal behavior?

1 Answer 1


This is normal behavior. This behavior is part of the system attempting to conserve power by constantly adjusting the system's CPU speed.

Take a look at my answer on this other U&L Q&A titled: How does CPU frequency work in conky?.

                                    Conky CPU info

                                    ss of conky

What's going on?

This feature is called a governor, and the system has various power profiles that it can follow. You're likely using the "powersave" one which will attempt to drive your CPU's speed down to a lower value when there isn't any load on your system. It may seem annoying but it's actually a good thing, it's save a fair amount of power when running Linux on a laptop.

Even on desktops that are mostly idle, it can save a fair amount of power over the life of your system, especially if you tend to leave it on most of the time.


CPU frequency scaling is implemented in Linux kernel, the infrastructure is called cpufreq. Since kernel 3.4 the necessary modules are loaded automatically and the recommended ondemand governor is enabled by default. However, userspace tools like cpupower, acpid, Laptop Mode Tools, or GUI tools provided for your desktop environment, may still be used for advanced configuration.

Source: ArchLinux Wiki - CPU Frequency Scaling

What governors are available?

Governor        Description
--------        -----------
ondemand        Dynamically switch between CPU(s) available if at 95% 
                    cpu load
performance     Run the cpu at max frequency
conservative    Dynamically switch between CPU(s) available if at 75% load
powersave       Run the cpu at the minimum frequency
userspace       Run the cpu at user specified frequencies


  • 1
    I would only add, if your app is "seeing" 10MHz shifts, it's a rounding error. GHz processors don't step that finely.
    – Ricky
    Feb 26, 2014 at 23:09

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