Intel Uncore Frequency Scaling¶
© 2022-2023 Intel Corporation
Srinivas Pandruvada <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The uncore can consume significant amount of power in Intel's Xeon servers based on the workload characteristics. To optimize the total power and improve overall performance, SoCs have internal algorithms for scaling uncore frequency. These algorithms monitor workload usage of uncore and set a desirable frequency.
It is possible that users have different expectations of uncore performance and want to have control over it. The objective is similar to allowing users to set the scaling min/max frequencies via cpufreq sysfs to improve CPU performance. Users may have some latency sensitive workloads where they do not want any change to uncore frequency. Also, users may have workloads which require different core and uncore performance at distinct phases and they may want to use both cpufreq and the uncore scaling interface to distribute power and improve overall performance.
To control uncore frequency, a sysfs interface is provided in the directory: /sys/devices/system/cpu/intel_uncore_frequency/.
There is one directory for each package and die combination as the scope of uncore scaling control is per die in multiple die/package SoCs or per package for single die per package SoCs. The name represents the scope of control. For example: 'package_00_die_00' is for package id 0 and die 0.
Each package_*_die_* contains the following attributes:
Out of reset, this attribute represent the maximum possible frequency. This is a read-only attribute. If users adjust max_freq_khz, they can always go back to maximum using the value from this attribute.
Out of reset, this attribute represent the minimum possible frequency. This is a read-only attribute. If users adjust min_freq_khz, they can always go back to minimum using the value from this attribute.
This attribute is used to set the maximum uncore frequency.
This attribute is used to set the minimum uncore frequency.
This attribute is used to get the current uncore frequency.
SoCs with TPMI (Topology Aware Register and PM Capsule Interface)¶
An SoC can contain multiple power domains with individual or collection of mesh partitions. This partition is called fabric cluster.
Certain type of meshes will need to run at the same frequency, they will be placed in the same fabric cluster. Benefit of fabric cluster is that it offers a scalable mechanism to deal with partitioned fabrics in a SoC.
The current sysfs interface supports controls at package and die level. This interface is not enough to support more granular control at fabric cluster level.
SoCs with the support of TPMI (Topology Aware Register and PM Capsule Interface), can have multiple power domains. Each power domain can contain one or more fabric clusters.
To represent controls at fabric cluster level in addition to the controls at package and die level (like systems without TPMI support), sysfs is enhanced. This granular interface is presented in the sysfs with directories names prefixed with "uncore". For example: uncore00, uncore01 etc.
The scope of control is specified by attributes "package_id", "domain_id" and "fabric_cluster_id" in the directory.
Attributes in each directory:
This attribute is used to get the power domain id of this instance.
This attribute is used to get the fabric cluster id of this instance.
This attribute is used to get the package id of this instance.
The other attributes are same as presented at package_*_die_* level.
In most of current use cases, the "max_freq_khz" and "min_freq_khz" is updated at "package_*_die_*" level. This model will be still supported with the following approach:
When user uses controls at "package_*_die_*" level, then every fabric cluster is affected in that package and die. For example: user changes "max_freq_khz" in the package_00_die_00, then "max_freq_khz" for uncore* directory with the same package id will be updated. In this case user can still update "max_freq_khz" at each uncore* level, which is more restrictive. Similarly, user can update "min_freq_khz" at "package_*_die_*" level to apply at each uncore* level.
Support for "current_freq_khz" is available only at each fabric cluster level (i.e., in uncore* directory).