Overclocking is one of the major reason why anyone roots their android device. Overclocking basically means that you can run the CPU of your device at a higher clocking speed than that specified by the manufacturer. It basically means that the potential speed of the CPU increases. Mind the word potential because in Android the kernel doesn’t run the CPU at constant clocking speeds. That means it has a dynamic clocking speed. Suppose if you have a 1GHz processor, your device will not constantly run at 1GHz, that would be foolish because the battery drain will be tremendous. The dynamic scaling is controlled by governors. Governors are a set of rules that specify how the clocking speed should be set according to the need.
There are a variety of governors available on custom kernels. Each governor has its advantages and disadvantages and it will suite to each person’s need. Here is a list of governors that you can find in custom kernels. Each kernel doesn’t contain all the listed governors.
Now I will explain a few of the most popular governors.
- Ondemand: This governors is present in all stock kernels. Also is the default governor for most android devices. It does as it says. When the load on the CPU reaches a certain threshold level, it increases the CPU clocking speed and then gradually decreases it when not required.
- Conservative: This is a battery friendly version of Ondemand. The Scaling up of CPU is much slower to conserve battery.
- SmartassV2: Possibly the most widely acclaimed governor and included in almost all custom kernels. you will never find this on a stock kernel. It is a good balance between performance and battery life. Almost a perfect tradeoff between the two. It is basically an improved version of interactive but with deep sleep profile.
- Powersave: As the name suggests possible the best for battery life as it constantly runs at the lowest possible frequency.
- Performance: Again, like the name suggests best choice for performance. It constantly runs at the highest available frequency. However tremendous battery drain. Best used when playing a HD game. However use this governor with care as it can lead to the processor becoming really hot.
- Intellidemand: Intellidemand aka Intelligent Ondemand from is yet another governor that’s based on ondemand. The original intellidemand behaves differently according to GPU usage. When GPU is really busy (gaming, maps, benchmarking, etc) intellidemand behaves like ondemand. When GPU is ‘idling’ (or moderately busy), intellidemand limits max frequency to a step depending on frequencies available in your device/kernel for saving battery.
The Choice of choosing the appropriate governor of your choice takes some experimenting. You can select these governors from apps like NO-frills CPU Control. The trick is to find the perfect tradeoff between battery life and performance as per your own taste.