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I installed BOINC on my Huawei P9 lite.

  • model VNS-L31
  • build VNS-L31C432B414
  • Android 7.0 (stock)
  • CPU Kirin 650
  • RAM 3 GiB

I want the phone to run BOINC applications, when fully charged and connected to a wall outlet or PC. However it seems, that BOINC has no means to acquire all computing resources on that device. Antutu Benchmark shows no more than 68% CPU load and when inspecting the actual CPU load only four of the 8 cores are showing full CPU load the others exhibit half load and lower CPU clocking. Battery temperature doesn't exceed 29°C, which is fairly low. (I'm not living in Siberia)

Computing performance seems to be low, too, when compared to an old Samsung Galaxy S5 with lineageOS installed. I tried to find all settings concerning power usage and so on, but there are virtually none execept power saving mode and ultra power saving mode.

When I start the stress test of AnTuTu Benchmark, the battery temperature rises to 37°C, soon. All cores show nearly full load then.

Now what bugs me is:

  • Is the CPU usage for background processes limited by some means?
  • Is it possible that BOINC applications are so inefficiently programmed, that they can't acquire enough computing resources to create full CPU load?
  • Can this be circumvented by rooting the phone and/or installing third party apps / non-stock ROM?

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to wear down my phone intentionally (in fact, on my old phones I don't give a s*** on that). But I want to have control over what I do on my devices.

Update

Did a test run with CPU-Z. It clearly shows, that the overall CPU-load is just 30% while Boinc running in the background. So the device must be throttled somehow.

CPU-Z Test screen

** Update ** I added the thermal measurements from CPU-Z. [Thermal Data from CPU-Z[2]

It is rather obvious, that the temperatures can't be the cause for the throttled CPU. Anyone more clues why and how BOINC is kept from using the resources and how I can influence that behaviour?

1 Answer 1

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Yes it is true, the Huawei P9 lite has a Octa core CPU, however not all 8 cores are the same. Instead it follows the ARM BIG-little concept:

The 4 "BIG" cores (2.0GHz) are dedicated for maximum CPU speed. They are optimized for maximum performance (at cost of power consumption).

The 4 "little" cores (1.7GHz) are optimized for minimum power consumption. They are pretty slow compared to the BIG cpu cores (more than the 15% the cpu speed comparison indicates) as they are mostly used when the phone is in stand-by mode and does not have to compute much.

Therefore it is not unusual that only 4 of 8 cores are used. You should use a system info app that displays the current (not the maximum) CPU clock speed of all 8 cores. You should see that 4 cores work at 2.0 GHz - so the BIG cores are used. For my device the app CPU-Z works and displays the clock speed (the refresh speed is not very high so you have to wait some seconds).

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  • Hello, did a test run with CPU-Z, showing that even the strong cores are throttled.
    – Ariser
    Feb 28, 2019 at 20:54
  • @Ariser Throttling is a different thing, likely caused by thermal restrictions.
    – Andy Yan
    Mar 1, 2019 at 1:12
  • @AndyYan I don't think it is a thermal issue, because all temperatures are around 30°C +-3° according to CPU-Z. If thermal throttling was active in this region, the device would be unusable in a lot of regions around the globe.
    – Ariser
    Mar 1, 2019 at 7:10

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