X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

X230 - X270 series specific matters only
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katzinator
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X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

#1 Post by katzinator » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:44 pm

I've come across various conflicting opinions regarding power consumption and/or battery performance with Coreboot. Can anyone comment or provide insight as to whether or not Coreboot impacts battery life? If so, to what degree and why?

I've asked this same question on /r/thinkpad and still wasn't able to reach a firm conclusion. Ideally, I'd like to hear from someone who has personally compared performance of Coreboot with the original Thinkpad BIOS.

w0qj
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Re: X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

#2 Post by w0qj » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:19 am

Hey katzinator,

Welcome to the ThinkPads forum!

Wow, you have a very product specific question, not sure if anyone else has the experience in this...

Admin strike: ***But our understanding is that non-OEM BIOS discussions are prohibited on this forum unfortunately...
We do however NOT allow supervisor password removal discussions.

On the bright side, you may talk about almost anything else around here!
Daily Driver: X1 Carbon 4th Gen (X1C4): i7-6600U 2.6GHz; 16GB DDR3 1866 MHz; 1TB PCIe-NVMe SSD; 14" WQHD 2560x1440; LTE EM7455 Mobile Broadband; Win7 Pro 64bit
Current Thinkpads: X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

plus
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Re: X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

#3 Post by plus » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:52 pm

Hi katzinator!

I flashed coreboot and applied me_cleaner at the same time, both possibly have an impact on power consumption.
Measured at the wall plug without battery attached, but on-battery mode engaged for testing, my X230 now idles between 9.7 W and 15.2 W while typing.
Sensors, fancontrol and tlp needed adjustments. /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/power_now has vanished.
The same system drew 2-3 W less before.

Possible reasons, some specific to my setup:
* First of all me_cleaner. Some of ME's functions were saving power.
* DDR3L @1866 memory. A fresh build would initialize at 1.5V @1600 MHz or drop bank1 at all. Not yet there.
* ACPI tables changed, some of the changes still need finer tuning.
* Some predefined strings used by drivers are not in place.
* GRUB2 payload directly boots Linux, maybe some legacy BIOS calls are missing?

So battery performance went down a bit on mine, less than by 20 % on everyday usage.

ThinkRob
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Re: X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

#4 Post by ThinkRob » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:47 pm

* First of all me_cleaner. Some of ME's functions were saving power.
I don't think that's the case. IIRC once the ME is out of BUP, it's not doing anything that should affect the power consumption.

Did you neuter it by setting the HAP bit, or did you just remove modules?
Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? Catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.

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Current laptop: X230, running coreboot
Current workstation: owned by my employer ;)
Current toy: Miata!

plus
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Re: X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

#5 Post by plus » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:28 pm

Did you neuter it by setting the HAP bit, or did you just remove modules?
Both. Only FTPR with HAP bit set, ROMP, BUP and RSA signature are left. ME size is now down to 98kB, mostly 0xFF.
lspci still shows MEI, but it can be hidden via `echo 1 >/sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:00:16.0/remove`.

ThinkRob
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Re: X230 Power Consumption with Coreboot

#6 Post by ThinkRob » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:39 pm

lspci still shows MEI, but it can be hidden via `echo 1 >/sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:00:16.0/remove`.
IIRC the MEI controller will always show up. It's just that you can't actually talk to the ME once neutered.

After BUP, the ME should be basically sitting there crashed.

Now regarding power consumption, I think what might happen with coreboot is that the hardware init is different from the stock BIOS, and so there are probably some hitherto-unknown "magic pokes" for maximum efficiency that coreboot is missing. Not sure how one would go about figuring that out, short of some *really* good logic debugging gear.
* GRUB2 payload directly boots Linux, maybe some legacy BIOS calls are missing?
I doubt it's this. I'm running coreboot + SeaBIOS, and I'm about 1-1.5W over stock on identical HW.
Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? Catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.

Code: Select all

Current laptop: X230, running coreboot
Current workstation: owned by my employer ;)
Current toy: Miata!

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