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Monday
Apr192004

Underclocking My Tungsten E

MoleskineRecently I had an idea for increasing the battery life on my Tungsten E — using a clock-speed changing utility to reduce the clock-speed of my TE from 126 to say, 66MHz. After some research, I found there were no clock utilities for the Tungsten E and its OMAP processor — only the Tungsten T3's Intel processor or for older Motorola 68k devices. Bummer.

This weekend I came across a tidbit on Palm Addict about a beta of the Lightspeed over/underclocking utility becoming available for more OS 5 ARM processors. I had a peek at Clievideo.com's Lightspeed page and found that the Texas Instruments OMAP processor in my Tungsten E was supported in the new public beta — so I grabbed a copy and installed it.

After initial installation, I was concerned that my Palm had locked up (darn beta!) I had a white screen for over 30 seconds, so I assumed the worst and did a soft reset. I then deleted and re-installed the Lightspeed beta to give it another shot.

After the second install and run, the app did the same thing, but this time I decided to leave the TE run, and do something else to see what would happen. When I came back 2 minutes later, the screen had shut off. I turned it on and found the Lightspeed app running with a list of all my apps. I think I'm now so used to apps appearing nearly immediately, that the long processing delay (over 30 secs) threw me off.

FYI to Lightspeed: it might be wise to mention this potential long delay at startup clearly in the download documentation. I can see others assuming the worst (as I did) and doing soft reset when they don't need to. Worse than that, they might simply delete Lightspeed and never give it a second shot.

Update: Got a reply back from the Clievideo.com guys, and it appears the beta TE version of Lightspeed may have some issues at startup, causing the appearance of a blank white screen. In short, shutting the device off then on again seems to display the Lightspeed app listing as intended. I'm currently working with the Clievideo.com guys to help sort out the problem.

Anyway, once the listing of apps came up, I selected them all and set the clock speed back to 66MHz from 126MHz. What's nice about Lightspeed is, you can also set clock speed per application. This is a good feature, because an app like Documents to Go might need more processor speed, while stock apps and the MP3 player can do quite well at slow speeds.

So far, battery life seems to be quite good and I can't really see a huge difference in speed. But then I've not tested every application, nor have I performed a full-burn usage test. When I do, it should be interesting to see if I can get my TE to match the wonderful battery life (5-6 hours) of my former Clié N610C. We'll see.

Lightspeed costs $20, but if it can offer significant extension of my TE battery life, I'd be willing to pony up the cash. It depends on how much my battery life can be extended. Now, if someone could just hack the TE's display control so I can dim the TE screen, I'd be all set. ;-)

Reader Comments (1)

AutoDimmer works fine on my TE and is freeware :)

Bye,Gnam
April 20, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterGnam

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