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Raspberry Pi gets 1GHz turbo mode upgrade

Users can overclock the device to squeeze out an extra 50 percent performance
Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:46
Raspberry Pi

THE TINY LOW-COST Raspberry Pi computer has been given a 1GHz "turbo mode" upgrade in its latest firmware update that allows users to overclock the device and squeeze out an extra 50 percent performance.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the changes in a blog post on its website on Wednesday.

"We've been doing a lot of work to understand the impact of voltage and temperature on lifetime, and are now able to offer a "turbo mode", which dynamically enables overclock and overvolt under the control of a cpufreq driver, without affecting your warranty," the statement read.

"We are happy that the combination of only applying turbo when busy, and limiting turbo when the BCM2835′s internal temperature reaches 85°C, means there will be no measurable reduction in the lifetime of your Raspberry Pi."

The upgrade allows users to choose from one of five overclock presets in raspi-config, the highest of which runs the ARM chip at 1GHz. The foundation said that the level of stable overclocking you can achieve will depend on your specific Raspberry Pi and the quality of your power supply.

The Quake 3 video game is apparently a good "stress test" for checking whether a particular overclocking level is completely stable, the foundation noted.

"If you choose too high an overclock, your Pi may fail to boot, in which case holding down the shift key during boot up will disable the overclock for that boot, allowing you to select a lower level," it said.

"Comparing the new image with 1GHz turbo enabled, against the previous image at 700MHz, nbench reports 52 percent faster on integer, 64 percent faster on floating point and 55 percent faster on memory."

The firmware upgrade also brings better analogue audio quality, WiFi support and some new additions including a Penguins Puzzle game. µ


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