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Raspberry Pi patch adds warranty-safe overclocking

1GHz Turbo Mode debuts

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation has equipped its credit card-sized computer with an overclocking - and overvolting - mode that doesn't tear up your warranty when you activate it.

The organisation is pitching the update as the introduction of a "turbo mode" which dynamically ups the core voltage and frequency but only so long as the thermals allow it. Intel's Core i CPUs do something very similar, and it provides short but high speed bursts of processor performance.

In the Pi's case, the system will push the board's BCM2835 SoC's frequency as high as 1GHz as long as the chip's temperature doesn't rise above 85°C.

Different parts have slightly different thermal characteristic, so don't expect one board to show the same turbo speed as another. The quality of the connected power supply has an impact too.

Users can choose from one of five peak frequencies, running up to 1GHz. The advice is: see how high you can go until you find a setting that renders the board unstable.

Tests carried out by the Foundation show "52 per cent faster on integer, 64 per cent faster on floating point and 55 per cent faster on memory" between standard and 1GHz turbo-enabled Pis.

The turbo mode arrives with a new version of the Pi OS, which also includes a number of other tweaks, most notably a lowering of the USB interrupt rate, which boosts performance by ten per cent, and enabling wireless operating out of the box for supported Wi-Fi drivers. ®

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