Root app spotlight: SetCPU

setcpu - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Today I want to spotlight another root only app, SetCPU. SetCPU is an app that is made to either underclock or overclock your CPU. Now right off the bat I need to put a warning out there that overclocking your CPU can cause problems to your device, so if you are wanting to use this app, please be  careful.

Now you may be wondering what the benefits of either over or underclicking are. The biggest benefit to overclocking is performance. By pushing your CPU a little faster than maybe the maker wanted you can see speed gains and better response times. Your tablet should feel quicker, and programs should run better. By underclocking the biggest benefit you will see is battery life. By making sure that your CPU isn’t running faster than you want it too, you can extend your battery life.

You can tell SetCPU to handle your clocking needs a couple different ways. The easiest way is to take a little time and setup profiles. I usually only run with three profiles, and they are when my battery is less that 19%, when the screen is off, and when my tablet is charging. When my battery is almost dead or the screen is off I have my CPU set to about 30% max power to save on battery. This also stops apps from draining your battery when your screen is off, but the app is still running. The third profile for when it is charging is just set to max usage because obviously with it charging I’m not worried about the battery.

If you don’t want to setup your own profiles, there are some built into the app. You can pick from conservative, ondemand, userspace, powersave, interactive, or performance. You can play around with them and see which one works best for you. SetCPU is capable of handling all cores if you have a multi-core CPU. If you happen to have a device with a kernel that supports under-volting, SetCPU can handle that as well to give you even better battery life. If you are rooted, using SetCPU allows you to control your device how you want, which is the main reason most people root to begin, to be able to use it how they want to. SetCPU costs $1.99 and is well worth every penny.


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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

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One thought on “Root app spotlight: SetCPU

  • Is there a place to see what the various profiles mean? Some are obvious (ondemand, powersave, etc) but others like userspace or interactive make no sense. But yeah, overclocking is nice. My CM7 nook color is running at an ondemand setting of 300-1.2Ghz. Pretty poor by today’s standards, but when I need some extra power it’s better than the native 800Mhz. And ondemand seems to be good about keeping the processor underclocked when I’m not doing any cpu intensive tasks.


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