I recently read that I can eke more performance out of my CPU by setting the governor to "performance" instead of "powersave". According to the Arch wiki, this will "run the CPU at the maximum frequency" instead of the "minimum frequency".
I found this wording confusing, so I also read the kernel documentation.
The CPUfreq governor "performance" sets the CPU statically to the highest frequency within the borders of scaling_min_freq and scaling_max_freq.
The CPUfreq governor "powersave" sets the CPU statically to the lowest frequency within the borders of scaling_min_freq and scaling_max_freq.
What does "statically" mean? To me, it contrasts with "dynamic", and implies frequency would never change, i.e. with powersave the CPU frequency would always be a single value, equal to
scaling_min_freq. However, this is clearly not the case. I am currently running "powersave" by default. I can monitor the CPU frequencies with
$ watch grep \"cpu MHz\" /proc/cpuinfo
and see them changing dynamically.
What does the kernel documentation mean by "statically"? What factors affect the CPU frequency, and how do these change with "powersave" and "performance"? Hence, what are the implications of changing from the former to the latter? Would a higher frequency be used? During what circumstances? Specifically, will this affect power draw, heat and lifespan of my CPU?