Battery drain from sound card and network card

Hi guys, I have noticed with powertop that the network card and the sound card use more power than the display so it raised some questions

Inxi -Fx
System:    Host: manjaro Kernel: 5.4.34-1-MANJARO x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 9.3.0 Desktop: i3 4.18 
           Distro: Manjaro Linux 
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: Micro-Star product: GS65 Stealth Thin 8RF v: REV:1.0 serial: <root required> 
           Mobo: Micro-Star model: MS-16Q2 v: REV:1.0 serial: <root required> UEFI: American Megatrends v: E16Q2IMS.10B 
           date: 05/14/2018 
Battery:   ID-1: BAT1 charge: 41.2 Wh condition: 73.9/80.3 Wh (92%) model: MSI BIF0_9 status: Discharging 
CPU:       Topology: 6-Core model: Intel Core i7-8750H bits: 64 type: MT MCP arch: Kaby Lake rev: A L2 cache: 9216 KiB 
           flags: avx avx2 lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 52815 
           Speed: 800 MHz min/max: 800/4100 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 800 2: 801 3: 800 4: 800 5: 800 6: 801 7: 800 8: 800 
           9: 800 10: 801 11: 800 12: 800 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel UHD Graphics 630 vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.8 driver: intel resolution: 1920x1080~144Hz 
           OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel UHD Graphics 630 (CFL GT2) v: 4.6 Mesa 20.0.4 direct render: Yes 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel Cannon Lake PCH cAVS vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus ID: 00:1f.3 
           Device-2: NVIDIA GP104 High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus ID: 01:00.1 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.4.34-1-MANJARO 
Network:   Device-1: Intel Wireless-AC 9560 [Jefferson Peak] vendor: Bigfoot Networks driver: iwlwifi v: kernel port: 5000 
           bus ID: 00:14.3 
           IF: wlo1 state: up mac: 0c:54:15:43:d8:8e 
           Device-2: Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: alx v: kernel port: 3000 
           bus ID: 3d:00.0 
           IF: enp61s0 state: down mac: 30:9c:23:91:d4:fd 
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 465.76 GiB used: 70.07 GiB (15.0%) 
           ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: Crucial model: CT500P1SSD8 size: 465.76 GiB 
           ID-2: /dev/nvme1n1 vendor: Samsung model: MZVLB512HAJQ-00000 size: 476.94 GiB 
Partition: ID-1: / size: 467.96 GiB used: 32.75 GiB (7.0%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/nvme1n1p2 
           ID-2: /boot size: 511.0 MiB used: 72.0 MiB (14.1%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/nvme1n1p1 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 54.0 C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:      Processes: 228 Uptime: 24m Memory: 15.48 GiB used: 1.15 GiB (7.4%) Init: systemd Compilers: gcc: 9.3.0 
           clang: 10.0.0 Shell: zsh v: 5.8 inxi: 3.0.37

I recently switched to manjaro, I'm using alsa for audio and tlp for power management.
Here is the usage output reported by powertop

the fact is that the power usage is the same even if I mute every device in alsamixer or if I disable the network card, if I need to give more information tell me and I will provide them, I really want to know what's the cause behind this
EDIT: I have now switched to pulseaudio because discord doesn't work with alsa only but nothing has changed, same power drain

UPDATE: I tried different settings in tlp and now the devices suspend when not in use, but is the power consuption realistic here? how can the audio device use almost double the power as the display

  1. You're running on the 5.4 line of the kernel. I would first try out the 4.19 LTS and 5.6 kernels and see if the code is better optimised there:

    • Log off

    • Switch to TTY2 by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2

    • Log in there

    • Execute:

      sudo mhwd-kernel --install linux419
      sudo mhwd-kernel --install linux56
      sudo reboot
    • Choose these kernels one by one in the advanced options of grub.

  2. The other way (if the above would fail) is to unload the offending Kernel modules if you don't need them:

    • No code = no power consumption...


at first it seemed something was working but now it went back to normal, I still don't get why the audio card is using 10W of power

Why, oh why, you ask???

Inefficient code = Lots of power consumption.

As you didn't provide an inxi --full --verbosity=7 --filter --no-host I can only guess that you have a very new system where the (new) code hasn't been optimised for power consumption (yet). and why I asked you to try the latest and greatest kernels...


MSI specifications say:

  • 2x 2W Speaker
  • 1x Mic-in
  • 1x Headphone-out (HiFi) Audio Jack

2x2W = 4W for speakers could be average power rather than peak power
and 0.5-1W for headphone jack
and some power for the audio codec

so it may not be unrealistic for the audio codec to be using that amount of power

if you do add kernel v5.6 as suggested, usually need to add package sof-firmware
for Intel Cannon Lake PCH
Sound Open Firmware devices are said to have onboard digital signal processing, but i am not sure it is supported yet as the project is still quite new

suggest try using very low audio levels and see if it has an effect on power

1 Like

Thanks, my problem was that the audio card will stay powered on and consume battery even if not in use, I added the package you said and now the audio card doesn't use power when not in use,


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