I recently came across a blog post highlighting powertop for Linux (see: http://www.lesswatts.org/projects/powertop/). Based on the FAQ, powertop relies on the fact that the Linux kernel is now tickless. Given a specific Linux kernel requirement, I am doubtful that it will work with the Darwin kernel. Freshmeat also mentions powertop, but they have a tag suggesting that a POSIX compliant OS can use powertop. Since FreeBSD is POSIX compliant, I was wondering if anyone had tried powertop on Snow Leopard ?

If not, does anyone know of similar, power profiling tools for Snow Leopard ? Specifically, power profiling tools that highlight processes consuming power.



  • How is this different than "CPU Time" in top or Activity Monitor (assuming all apps are started at roughly the same wall-clock time)?
    – user588
    Feb 24, 2011 at 2:35
  • 1
    @mankoff - CPU time only shows the amount of time consumed by the process. This does not translate into the actual amount of power used by the process. Feb 24, 2011 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


Using dtrace and counting which processes wake and the reason and time, you might be able to get some of the information provided by powertop

  • Thanks for your reply! DTrace is of use from a sysadmin standpoint, not just as an instrumentation tool for application development ? May 25, 2011 at 5:22
  • DTrace can indeed be tremendeously useful for sysadmin purposes. It is a rather complex tool, however. And I find the lack of documentation for the OS X implementation frustrating. While the language itself is the same across operating systems, the set of available probes is quite different. May 25, 2011 at 6:39
  • Thanks Harald! I saw a book recently, just on DTrace that covered it on other UNIX's and Mac OS. I may pick it up - it included coverage of the D language. May 30, 2011 at 7:43
  • Could you add an example about how to do that?
    – Albert
    Sep 23, 2011 at 19:09

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