According to sensors, the critical temperature for my CPU cores is at 100°C. When using my laptop it never goes above 95°C (So either my sensor is defect or thermal throttling is set to a lower value for some reason, but this doesn't really matter). I have an Intel i7 and thermald.service is up and running and I'm on Arch Linux.

But 95°C is way too hot and I'd like to lower that value. I'd like to have thermal throttling at 75 or 80°C. I thought this would be simple, but apparently there is little information on Google and the configuration of thermald lacks documentation.

I tried

dbus-send --system --dest=org.freedesktop.thermald /org/freedesktop/thermald org.freedesktop.thermald.SetUserPassiveTemperature string:cpu uint32:80000

as the manpage suggests, but running stress still got the temperature up to 95.

So how do I lower the value at which thermal throttling happens?


1 Answer 1


There is a hack solution via shellscript: https://github.com/Sepero/temp-throttle/


# Usage: temp_throttle.sh max_temp
# version 2.20

cat << EOF
Author: Sepero 2016 (sepero 111 @ gmx . com)
URL: http://github.com/Sepero/temp-throttle/

# Additional Links
# http://seperohacker.blogspot.com/2012/10/linux-keep-your-cpu-cool-with-frequency.html

# Additional Credits
# Wolfgang Ocker <weo AT weo1 DOT de> - Patch for unspecified cpu frequencies.

# License: GNU GPL 2.0

# Generic  function for printing an error and exiting.
err_exit () {
    echo ""
    echo "Error: $@" 1>&2
    exit 128

if [ $# -ne 1 ]; then
    # If temperature wasn't given, then print a message and exit.
    echo "Please supply a maximum desired temperature in Celsius." 1>&2
    echo "For example:  ${0} 60" 1>&2
    exit 2
    #Set the first argument as the maximum desired temperature.

### START Initialize Global variables.

# The frequency will increase when low temperature is reached.

CORES=$(nproc) # Get number of CPU cores.
echo -e "Number of CPU cores detected: $CORES\n"
CORES=$((CORES - 1)) # Subtract 1 from $CORES for easier counting later.

# Temperatures internally are calculated to the thousandth.


# Store available cpu frequencies in a space separated string FREQ_LIST.
if [ -f $FREQ_FILE ]; then
    # If $FREQ_FILE exists, get frequencies from it.
    FREQ_LIST=$(cat $FREQ_FILE) || err_exit "Could not read available cpu frequencies from file $FREQ_FILE"
elif [ -f $FREQ_MIN -a -f $FREQ_MAX ]; then
    # Else if $FREQ_MIN and $FREQ_MAX exist, generate a list of frequencies between them.
    FREQ_LIST=$(seq $(cat $FREQ_MAX) -100000 $(cat $FREQ_MIN)) || err_exit "Could not compute available cpu frequencies"
    err_exit "Could not determine available cpu frequencies"

FREQ_LIST_LEN=$(echo $FREQ_LIST | wc -w)

# CURRENT_FREQ will save the index of the currently used frequency in FREQ_LIST.

# This is a list of possible locations to read the current system temperature.

# Store the first temperature location that exists in the variable TEMP_FILE.
# The location stored in $TEMP_FILE will be used for temperature readings.
for file in $TEMPERATURE_FILES; do
    [ -f $TEMP_FILE ] && break

[ $TEMP_FILE == "null" ] && err_exit "The location for temperature reading was not found."

### END Initialize Global variables.

### START define script functions.

# Set the maximum frequency for all cpu cores.
set_freq () {
    # From the string FREQ_LIST, we choose the item at index CURRENT_FREQ.
    FREQ_TO_SET=$(echo $FREQ_LIST | cut -d " " -f $CURRENT_FREQ)
    echo $FREQ_TO_SET
    for i in $(seq 0 $CORES); do
        # Try to set core frequency by writing to /sys/devices.
        { echo $FREQ_TO_SET 2> /dev/null > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu$i/cpufreq/scaling_max_freq; } ||
        # Else, try to set core frequency using command cpufreq-set.
        { cpufreq-set -c $i --max $FREQ_TO_SET > /dev/null; } ||
        # Else, return error message.
        { err_exit "Failed to set frequency CPU core$i. Run script as Root user. Some systems may require to install the package cpufrequtils."; }

# Will reduce the frequency of cpus if possible.
throttle () {
    if [ $CURRENT_FREQ -lt $FREQ_LIST_LEN ]; then
        echo -n "throttle "
        set_freq $CURRENT_FREQ

# Will increase the frequency of cpus if possible.
unthrottle () {
    if [ $CURRENT_FREQ -ne 1 ]; then
        echo -n "unthrottle "
        set_freq $CURRENT_FREQ

get_temp () {
    # Get the system temperature.

    TEMP=$(cat $TEMP_FILE)

### END define script functions.

echo "Initialize to max CPU frequency"

# Main loop
while true; do
    get_temp # Gets the current temperature and set it to the variable TEMP.
    if   [ $TEMP -gt $MAX_TEMP ]; then # Throttle if too hot.
    elif [ $TEMP -le $LOW_TEMP ]; then # Unthrottle if cool.
    sleep 3 # The amount of time between checking temperatures.
  • 3
    Please provide details about how the solution works. Link-only answers are discouraged. See unix.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer
    – phemmer
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 12:19
  • The post is nice and certainly interesting. It misses however instructions about how to use it or implement that solution.
    – BenjB
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 16:37
  • The shell script given in the answer may be run interactivelly. As long as the script is running it will throttle the CPU frequency. A lower CPU freq will produce less heat, and so the script will try to keep CPU temperature in the range of min_temp and max_temp given by the user. The script will not alter the kernel's idea of critical temperature though. Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:38
  • When i try to run the script it parses a error ... Error: The location for temperature reading was not found.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 20:22

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