Lately, my boyfriend has been incredibly excited about using PowerTOP to decrease power usage for his Dell XPS running Arch. It’s a fantastic utility that displays a minimalist monitor for background activity in the terminal, but unfortunately it only exists for Linux systems.
I’ve regularly used Activity Monitor for monitoring my CPU and memory usage, but I was beginning to wonder if it might be possible to have a non-GUI assistant for Mac systems.
A thread on Stack Exchange recommended powermetrics, a command-line utility designed specifically for Mac usage. It offers several uses, including sampling groups (interrupt sources, CPU power, device power states, battery and backlight info, thermal pressure notifications, and more).
You can also save samples to buffers, order processes, and display wakeup costs and power use averages over specified sample periods. Feel free to visit the OS X official documentation for more on how to customize commands.
Another utility I found was top, which has its own set of man pages for OS X. The utility contains stats on power and processes, with a more streamlined output depending on your format of the command.
Under usr/bin, there’s a nice bash script called power_report.sh that essentially uses powermetrics to write a power report on timer analysis, CPU profile, IO report, and Exec report on power usage.
I have yet to find an easy power management tool, although it likely wouldn’t be difficult to give admin privileges to stop background processes that are drawing too much power. Anyway, I hope this was an informative primer to some of the many command-line utilities for power management for OS X!
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