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 View Poll Results: Is my mobile device CPU overclocked or undervolted

I don't want to or I cannot
19 Vote(s)
No because its potentially unstable but I would
66 Vote(s)
Yes but it's not 100% stable
94 Vote(s)
Yes and it's rock solid
200 Vote(s)

[FUTURE APP] Overclocking/Undervolting stability test & power efficiency optimizer

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Hi !
Here is the description of a potential app that might be developed under an open source license by united developers.

The app has several intents we may discuss:

1/ Validate the CPU stability

- Rare defective devices are not stable with manufacturer's Frequency, voltage and governor configuration.
- With overclocked devices, stability is far more challenging and as difficult to verify.

CPU stability is influenced by a lot of parameters, like
- Frequency table
- Voltage table
- Governor used
- Quality of the voltage regulation & switching implementation (hardware and software)
- Environmental heat, by other components (GPU, battery, screen) or the external temperature especially with black devices under the sun.

2/ Validate the GPU stability

Same thing here, most of our devices GPU can be overclocked but so far there is no good tool to validate its stability.

3/ Validate the system stability

Torture test: CPU + GPU + screen at 100% stability & charging at the same time
This is quite a common scenario when phone or tablets are used as gaming devices.

4/ Provide help to optimize the power efficiency

Today many OC users tend also to reduce the power efficiency of their device by setting inappropriate minimal and maximal frequencies (reduces efficiency) or by configuring too high voltages.

The best OC in general, or at least the most energy efficient consist of increasing the frequencies without changing the voltages.
Even if a higher frequency increases the power envelope, it only improve the power efficiency.
Also, undervolting for reduced frequency / power energy states improve power efficiency.

Future: automatic OC optimizer with profiles

- Best power efficiency without overclocking (undervolting only)
- Best power efficiency
- Balanced
- Max performance

With this feature, It could become the master of every OC tool.
Of course it will require the ability to speak to each existing sysfs controls formats, which is not such a big deal as most are quite cleanly implemented!
However it would make a few apps obsolete & also few people mad, which is definitely a negative point.

Another idea for this optimizer could be to allow for other OC apps to use the stability test engine and do the optimization themselves.

Implementation details

Good old stability stability test traditionally has been trying to make your CPU hot. As hot as possible, consume the most power, see if it crashes, and that's pretty much all.
While this approach could work with old PC CPU, it's now totally outdated.

Even if an excess of heat is still capable of making a CPU crash, modern CPU have quite complex usage behaviors like
- Switching Frequency and Voltage all the time.
- Entering and leaving sleep over and over, each time you lock/unlock your device, of the baseband wake it up by receiving a message, etc.

Like in every low level hardware stuff, the most delicate operations are switch of states, so, what a stress-test needs to do contains:

For me the reference test is "Intel Linpack" x86 implementation like you see in IntelBurnTest. I heard linpack binary is what they use in factory to determine which is the frequency rating of each CPU.
I don't know if it's true but I've always been impressed by the short time needed to detect an unstable PC system reliably where other tools like "prime95" could run for hours without giving usable result.

The ability to let the CPU (or GPU) switch frequencies
It can be done:
- by varying the CPU load. CPU governor will do its thing all alone.
- by "force" modifying the CPU frequency directly

Let the device enter sleep and wake it up

Many OC devices seems to work well but suffer from "sleep of death" issue. IE never wake up.
Sometimes even non-OC device have the same problem if you use ondemand governor instead of conservative.

I guess this is definitely something that can be implemented in the stability test

Detect non-fatal calculation errors

Like Intel Linpack test, errors detecting before a crash is smart and much safer.
It also allow to reduce dramatically the required test run time.

Existing apps

@SnakeHaveYou told me about the existing app named StabilityTest.
In the description the implementation looks very good, with the ability to detect non-crashing calculation errors.
However after about 20 minutes of test at a known unstable frequency on my phone, I get no error.
However if I keep the same OC'ed frequency, starting an OpenGL game, or let the phone enter sleep and waking it up a bit later leads to an unrecoverable freeze.

So, this app looks good but its implementation seems to lack the full stress ability required to simulate a real usage pattern.
Last edited by supercurio; 10th April 2011 at 03:12 AM.
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9th April 2011, 10:54 PM |#2  
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After running the app idea on twitter, several developers showed interest in the idea.
I have no plan to write or promote this application by myself.

However I'm interested into acting as a host, incubator or something like that, and also contributor.

Who showed interest right away (developers)


And also a few people before the the the idea was described publicly.

I guess this app can have a very large user base quite fast, especially since it will be promoted by about every kernel developer here on XDA.


I propose a shared git repository on with plenty of contributors with write access to the App SDK & NDK code.
Maybe forks all over the place could do also, but if it enhance freedom I'm not sure it would favor collaboration so much

Hey, your turn guys!
Last edited by supercurio; 9th April 2011 at 11:14 PM.
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9th April 2011, 11:19 PM |#3  
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This would be extremely useful. Hope it goes well!

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9th April 2011, 11:48 PM |#4  
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This is a really cool idea. I know enough XML to work on the UI, so I guess if I want to be involved, thats the way in

I won't be much help this week though.
10th April 2011, 12:17 AM |#5  
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nice posts bud-- good to see you starting the ball rolling from your idea on Twitter earlier. Just some quick info before I head out... more tonight probably

Some thoughts on the app:
  • the changing of states is definitely a huge thing to work into the tests, as this is where some of the more subtle problems between the voltage/freq steps seems to manifest themselves.
  • I have yet to find a synthetic test that can fail/detect problems as quickly as say launching a game like Cordy.., so there are ways to bash the system harder than the current tests it seems

what i can bring to the table
  • No experience with the NDK but pretty solid C experience for embedded systems
  • Can probably help the most on UI/metrics/feedback parts of the app. Creating views to reflect test status, sysfs state info, etc. Example of an app that shows time_in_state info i wrote a few weekends ago -> CPU Spy

my dev environment
  • Arch Linux
  • vim + android SDK command line tools
  • git for VCS (github for the few opensource projects I've done)

I'll be watching this thread to see what sort of dev activity we have going on over the next few days... looking forward to working with some of yall fellow XDA guys
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10th April 2011, 12:30 AM |#6  
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Do you have a twitter? It would be good if you made one for collaboration

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10th April 2011, 01:04 AM |#7  
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Originally Posted by ytt3r

Do you have a twitter? It would be good if you made one for collaboration

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10th April 2011, 02:46 AM |#8  
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I agree with supercurio on the Linpack, detecting errors part. My idea was something like Prime95. Have an array of known primes, first 1000, lets say, then start generating the first 1000 primes. After each division(inner loop), change the frequency max and min level to a random step. If the generated prime number ever fails the comparison to the known primes, you are unstable. Since a lot of the instability in mobile oc comes from the voltage switching, the frequency switching would stress that as well.

EDIT: Heh, we made front page.
Last edited by TheEscapist; 10th April 2011 at 05:03 PM.
10th April 2011, 06:56 PM |#9  
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Toastcfh and Decad3nce have given us HTC guys some incredible Kernels in the past. You might wanna run this past them if they haven't seen it already. I know zero about kernels or I would jump in this asap. There's nothing like flashing a kernel update script to find your device doesn't boot anymore :)
10th April 2011, 06:56 PM |#10  
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Alright let's create a repository to boot with then

Incoming here:
Last edited by supercurio; 10th April 2011 at 07:23 PM.
10th April 2011, 07:21 PM |#11  
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Could you add me as aa collaborator? We also need to brainstorm names.

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