powertop: Not just a pretty name

There is no guarantee that suffixing the name of your program with “-top” will endear it to me.

On the other hand, I do like top. And even better is htop. And iftop. And iotop. And now powertop.


I’m not a power freak; I get no pleasure from tuning the power consumption on a 12-year-old laptop. But I do enjoy seeing what uses what, where the system priorities are, and — in a bit of a twist — to be able to toggle a few switches and adjust behavior.

That powertop does in its far right tab, the aptly-named “Tunables.” If you need to manhandle the settings on your machine, you could check out what’s available there. I’m afraid I have no advice in that respect.

But it is fun to poke around with them. 😉

6 thoughts on “powertop: Not just a pretty name

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  2. jonathan

    If you like your ‘top’s, check out atop. It’s like top but with much more information and uses process accounting to take 10 minute snapshots of the system state/active processes during that time. You can then replay this data later, which is perfect if say a machine dies and you need to look back at what suddenly consumed all the memory.

    Even better yet, there’s atopsar which is like sar but lets you pull historical metrics out of the system using the atop data – such as memory usage, disk io, network io, process count, system load, etc.

    I swear by it and install it on every server that comes through the door.

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