Recognizing and preventing thermal throttling
- Live Versions: All
- Operating System: All
Running CPU-intensive software on a modern laptop in a hot environment can force the machine to enter a thermally throttled state. In this state, the CPU runs at a slower rate to prevent overheating which causes reduced performance in applications like Ableton Live. Therefore, it is important to recognize when your laptop is thermally throttled and to know how to prevent it to get the best application performance.
How to tell if your laptop is thermally throttled
Mac: Open the Activity Monitor and search for a task called
kernel_task that is consuming a large amount of CPU.
Windows: Open Task Manager -> Details in order to enable the column Power Throttling and see if it indicates Enabled:
Instead of using the Task Manager and in case you are interested in more detailed information, you can download Intel® Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel® XTU) for supported Intel CPUs that helps displaying and monitoring various throttling of the CPU:
How to prevent thermal throttling
Once you are aware that your laptop is thermally throttled, you can apply the following steps in order to prevent the machine from entering the thermally throttled state:
- Reduce the temperature in your environment
- Ensure that your laptop has adequate ventilation by ensuring there is enough space around it
- Make sure that the laptop fan is not covered in dust
- Consider using a laptop cooling pad
- Test charging your MacBook from a USB port on the right side instead of the left side