The Raspberry Pi 3 is a great little computer, much more powerful than the models before it. But did you know that you can squeeze even more energy out of it? Here’s how to overclock your Raspberry Pi and take it further than you ever imagined!
Why overclock your Raspberry Pi?
The standard Raspberry Pi 3 boasts a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU as part of the Broadcom System on a Chip (SoC) BCM2837.
Overclocking the CPU will increase the Raspberry Pi’s default clock speed from 1.2GHz to 1.5GHz, depending on your cooling solution (such as a heatsink). Please note that since the Raspberry Pi uses an SoC, you will need to set up the RAM for overclocking.
What’s the point of overclocking a Raspberry Pi? Well, it’s simple: you want to get the most out of it. Several popular tools will perform better than intended when overclocked.
Kodi: Video streaming performance issues in Kodi can be overcome by overclocking your Raspberry Pi. If you’re also using a VPN, a higher clock speed will also help here.
Exagear: Trying run windows software on raspberry pi? Even with the right preparation, overclocking can help here.
Desktop: Raspberry Pi 3 can be used as a standard desktop. Who doesn’t need extra performance from an overclocked processor?
Overclocking is always risky
Overclocking your Raspberry Pi is easy, but not without risk.
Component failure. Excessive heat can also cause component failure.
Data corruption. Using a higher clock frequency often results in data corruption. If you are using a hard drive for your Pi’s operating system, this shouldn’t be a major issue. However, if your Raspberry Pi uses a microSD card (most do), you may find flash media becoming increasingly unreliable.
Reliable power supply: you should already be using a good quality Raspberry Pi power supply. Anything less than the recommended 2.5A power adapter is not suitable for overclocking. Data corruption will quickly occur with low power consumption.
At one point, overclocking your Raspberry Pi will void your warranty. However, as of September 19, 2012, this is not the case, thanks to built-in overclocking tools; however, there is one setting that will affect the device warranty, which we will discuss below.
How to overclock Raspberry Pi 3
Still want to overclock your Raspberry Pi? While you can overclock other distributions, we’ll cover the process on Raspbian Stretch. Start with a full refresh and update:
sudo apt update && sudo apt install upgrade
After that, install the sysbench tool:
sudo apt install sysbench
You will need this later to check how overclocking has improved performance. For now though, run sysbench to get a baseline:
sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=2000 --num-threads=4 run
Record the results or add a target file to output the results for later comparison.