The Raspberry Pi Foundation has issued a new firmware SD card image that adds a “turbo mode” to boost the mini DIY computer’s performance.
In a post on the Raspberry Pi website, co-founder Eben Upton explained that: “Since launch, we’ve supported overclocking and overvolting your Raspberry Pi by editing config.txt. Overvolting provided more overclocking headroom, but voided your warranty because we were concerned it would decrease the lifetime of the SoC [system on chip]”
He adds, “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.”
Upton says that the combination of only applying the turbo mode when the PC is busy, and limiting it when the BCM2835′s internal temperature reaches 85°C, means there will be no measurable reduction in the product’s lifetime.
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The recommended Linux firmware now comes with five overclock presets to choose from (set with raspi-config commands). The highest runs the ARM processor at 1GHz. Upton goes on to say that the level of stable overclock performance you can achieve “depends on your specific Pi and on the quality of your power supply; we suggest that Quake 3 is a good stress test for checking if a particular level is completely stable.”
According to benchmarks shown on the website, using the new firmware with 1GHz turbo enabled, compared to the previous image at 700MHz, nbench reports that it’s 52 percent faster on integer, 64 percent faster on floating point calculations and 55 percent faster on memory.
The update also has a few other tweaks, including temperature and frequency widgets for monitoring performance, USB interrupt rate reduction (a fix that is said to improve general performance by about 10 percent), popular Wi-Fi drivers are now supported out of the box and there’s improved analogue audio.
The firmware update to the Raspbian “wheezy” Linux distribution (dated 18 September 2012) is available directly from the Raspberry Pi downloads page or by running the Raspberry Pi's own update procedure, as detailed in the weblink below.
Via Raspberry Pi