Energy Efficient Smartphones: Minimizing the Energy Consumption of Smartphone GPUs using DVFS Governors

  • Enas M. Ahmad

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Modern smartphones are being designed with increasing processing power, memory capacity, network communication, and graphics performance. Although all of these features are enriching and expanding the experience of a smartphone user, they are significantly adding an overhead on the limited energy of the battery. This thesis aims at enhancing the energy efficiency of modern smartphones and increasing their battery life by minimizing the energy consumption of smartphones Graphical Processing Unit (GPU). Smartphone operating systems are becoming fully hardware-accelerated, which implies relying on the GPU power for rendering all application graphics. In addition, the GPUs installed in smartphones are becoming more and more powerful by the day. This raises an energy consumption concern. We present a novel implementation of GPU Scaling Governors, a Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) scheme implemented in the Android kernel to dynamically scale the GPU. The scheme includes four main governors: Performance, Powersave, Ondmand, and Conservative. Unlike previous studies which looked into the power efficiency of mobile GPUs only through simulation and power estimations, we have implemented our approach on a real modern smartphone GPU, and acquired actual energy measurements using an external power monitor. Our results show that the energy consumption of smartphones can be reduced up to 15% using the Conservative governor in 2D rendering mode, and up to 9% in 3D rendering mode, with minimal effect on the performance.
Date of AwardMay 15 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorBasem Shihada (Supervisor)


  • smart phone
  • energy
  • GPU
  • DVFS
  • Linux CPUFRQ
  • scaling

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