First: Thermal management is only available on ACPI systems.
Second: Thermal management is buggy on a lot of machines (mostly by BIOS, it's also possible that you hit a kernel bug, see Lists how to report a kernel bug to get it solved)
Examine the directory(ies) in /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/*/
Relevant configuration variables are in /etc/sysconfig/powersave/thermal and the scheme configuration files You may want to create e.g. a scheme cool/hot and activate it when you need a cool/fast system using the kpowersave front-end or the -x -e parameters of the powersave binary. (Only cooling mode is configurable through YAST (power-management module) for overridding your thermal trip points.)
_Relevant general configuration variables for each scheme: (/etc/sysconfig/powersave/scheme_*):
Activ - The hardware is preferably cooled by the fan. Passiv - The hardware is preferably cooled through This is rarely supported by HW. See /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/*/cooling_mode The cooling management is controlled by the kernel the powersaved has not much influence on this.
Use the variables to override the temperature trip point settings exported by BIOS (in degree Celcius). (see /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/*/trip_points) The number at the end of each variable defines the thermal zone for which the value should be active. Use the powersave -T command to find out supported thermal zones and their default trip point settings.
You might want to use the setDefaultTrippoints.sh script to fill your scheme_* conf files with your BIOS settings to easily override them.
The machine is switching on fans when active trip point temperature limits are reached.
When reaching the passive trip point, the kernel will lower the CPU's frequency (if CPU frequency switching is supported by your CPU) and throttle the CPU down when the passive trip point is exceeded.
By default the passive trip point (tp) is far above the active tps. For a cool and quiet system you may want to change this similar to above example settings. However these values are very HW dependant and you therefore have to fiddle around a bit to find out the best settings for your machine.
Try to find out which thermal zone directly refers to the processor as described above. A low value for passive should avoid fan activity but may slow down your machine if it exceeds the trip point's limit. The throttling is done by the kernel itself, the maximum throttling variable is not used in case of the passive limit is reached. Increase the active trip points values (if supported) to additionally avoid fan activity.
If a trip point is not supported by your BIOS (e.g. hot) you cannot use it -> write an email to your vendor he should support all of them, even you have a workstation.