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How to Overclock the GPU & CPU of a Raspberry Pi 3
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How to Overclock the GPU & CPU of a Raspberry Pi 3

If you are a performance freak, it is only understandable that you are considering how to overclock Raspberry Pi 3. The main idea is to improve performance while ensuring optimal stability. Take a look at our tutorial if you want to find out more about how the process works.

What You Need to Know Before Overclocking

The purpose of overclocking is to boost CPU speed to the maximum available value. By default, the CPU will implement scaling, but overclocking can force it to ignore that. As a result, you can enhance performance and reduce lag issues by using the maximum potential of the CPU by default.

Please note that you will need an adequate supply of power for overclocking. We would recommend going with at least 2.5Amps. Additionally, keep in mind that there are supplies specifically made for Raspberry Pi 3.

How to Overclock Raspberry Pi 3

If you take a look at the configuration file, you will discover the default setting for your board. Even if these config files are txt files we recommend you to use Sublime Text Editor. Now, somewhere in the “config.txt” file, you will find these lines:

core_freq=250
arm_freq=600

Here is how you can void these settings and order the board to go to the max:

force turbo=1
Boot delay=1

Keep in mind that you will void your Raspberry Pi 3 warranty as soon as you do this. The reason why you are adding the boot delay is to reduce the chances of corrupting your SD card when running the turbo mode.

The above is the simplest and safest way to maximize the performance of your CPU. If you ask us, you can keep things completely safe as long as your “core_freq” remains below 400, and “arm_freq” under 1200.

However, if you have expert knowledge and are in the mood to experiment, you can further enhance the performance of your CPU.

Go ahead and make the following changes to the “config.txt” file:

core_freq=500
arm_freq-1350
over_voltage=4
disable_splash=1
force_turbo=1
boot_delay=1

GPU Memory Allocation on Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3 allows you to set the GPU memory, and it is a way to regulate how you want to split the memory between GPU and CPU.

It works like this – you set the GPU allocation, and the rest is used by CPU. You can use the following line to adjust the desired memory allocation:

gpu_mem 256

A few things to keep in mind include:

  • You always set the value of GPU memory in megabytes.
  • The value has to be at least 16.
  • If you use a desktop environment, plan to watch videos or play games, you should use at least 256MB of memory on GPU.

Additional Options

Apart from what we mentioned in this article, there are other functions you can use during overclocking:

  • Temp_limit – a temperature restriction that offers protection against overheating.
  • Sdram_freq – you can use this function to adjust the SD-RAM It is always in Mhz.
  • Initial_turbo – start turbo mode from the boot until cpufreq has a frequency or for the set value from 0 to 60 seconds.
  • Sdram_freq_min – when dynamic clocking, you can set the minimum value of the SD-RAM frequency. You can use the same “min” suffix for GPU and ARM frequencies.

Wrap Up

It is crucial to emphasize that you need to be extremely careful when trying to overclock Raspberry Pi 3. The moment you start overclocking it, it will void your warranty. That is why you need to be cautious and make sure to double-check everything so that you do not do anything wrong. On the plus side, enhanced performance of the CPU is worth it, which is why you can consider giving it a shot. When a successful overclock you might want to check out this list containing the best Raspberry Pi projects in order to put that extra power to good use.

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1 Comment

  1. g00sifer

    I am normally not one to complain but when you are writing an article that by your own admission will void the warranty on your hardware and could damage your device it is crucial that the CLI commands you give are accurate. You bounce around between using [Boot delay=1] and [boot_delay=1] instead of [gpu_mem=256] you have [gpu_mem 256]. [force turbo=1] instead of [force_turbo=1]… I have not tried the commands without the underscores or ‘equals’ sign and I’m somewhat reluctant to try it, when all the other commands in the config.txt file follow the underscored/equals command convention.

    If both sets of commands work, you should clarify it in your article, because it is a somewhat peculiar feature. On the other hand, if the commands you have provided are not functional as written then you should correct this immediately, as you could cause someone to corrupt their files by having them unsuccessfully set their boot delay or damage their device due to an improperly configured ‘config.txt’. I can’t believe this has been posted online for so long without someone mentioning it.

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