Raspberry Pi gets turbo-charged with overclocking update

A firmware upgrade to the Raspberry Pi will now support overclocking of the processor, gaining a 50-percent performance boost, the Raspberry Pi Foudation has said.
Written by Jon Yeomans, Contributor

Owners of the Raspberry Pi mini-computer are now able to get a roughly 50 percent performance improvement  by overclocking the processor, the creator of the device announced on Wednesday.

Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi Image: Raspberry Pi

A firmware upgrade to the popular Debian Linux-based device means that users can now choose one of five overclock presets in the system's configuration, without voiding their warranty. Previously, such tinkering was possible but invalidated the Raspberry Pi's warranty over fears it might decrease the lifetime of the BCM2835 chip.

"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," Eben Upton, the Raspberry Pi's designer, wrote in a blog post.

According to Upton, running the Pi with 1GHz turbo enabled results in 52 percent faster performance on integer, 64 percent faster on floating point and 55 percent faster on memory.

Other new features in the firmware upgrade include a widget to tell users how close their device is getting to 85°C, Wi-Fi support out of the box, and improved analogue audio.

The new features were given thumbs up by Raspberry Pi fans. "This is really awesome news. So much stuff to test and report back on!" said forum member Steve.

The Raspberry Pi has caught computing fans' imaginations since its launch in February. Recent creations based on the £25 device include a supercomputer-like cluster and a voice-controlled robot arm.

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