Determining TSC Frequency on Linux

The Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is a hardware feature in modern processors that provides a high-resolution timestamp for measuring time intervals. On Linux systems, determining the TSC frequency can be useful for performance tuning, benchmarking, and ensuring accurate timing measurements. Here’s how you can determine the TSC frequency:

Using cpupower Utility

  1. Install cpupower: If cpupower is not already installed on your system, you can install it using the package manager for your Linux distribution:
   # For Debian/Ubuntu
   sudo apt-get install linux-tools-common linux-tools-generic

   # For CentOS/RHEL
   sudo yum install kernel-tools

   # For Fedora
   sudo dnf install kernel-tools
  1. Check TSC Information: Use cpupower to gather information about the TSC capabilities and frequency:
   sudo cpupower frequency-info

This command provides detailed information about the processor’s frequency scaling capabilities, including the TSC frequency.

Using rdmsr Command (Raw Model-Specific Register)

  1. Check TSC MSR (Model-Specific Register): You can also use the rdmsr command to read the TSC frequency directly from the processor’s MSR:
   sudo modprobe msr  # Ensure MSR kernel module is loaded
   sudo rdmsr -p 0 0x10
  • 0x10 is the MSR address for the TSC frequency.
  • -p 0 specifies the processor core (CPU package) to query. Replace 0 with the appropriate CPU core number if needed.

Using /proc/cpuinfo File

  1. Inspect /proc/cpuinfo: The /proc/cpuinfo file contains detailed information about each CPU core. You can grep for the TSC frequency information:
   grep "tsc" /proc/cpuinfo

This command displays lines in /proc/cpuinfo that mention the TSC frequency or capabilities.


Determining the TSC frequency on Linux provides insights into the hardware timing capabilities of your processor. Whether using cpupower, rdmsr, or examining /proc/cpuinfo, understanding TSC frequency helps in optimizing performance-sensitive applications, validating timing-sensitive operations, and ensuring accurate benchmarks in Linux environments. By leveraging these methods, you can effectively harness the capabilities of the Time Stamp Counter for precise time measurement and performance analysis tasks.