How to Overclock Raspberry Pi 3

In this article, I’ll teach you how to overclock your Raspberry pi 3 – with the goal of improving its performance.

Why overclock your Raspberry Pi 3?

Despite Raspberry Pi 3 having an improved processor power, it’s still limited in some functions. For example, playing videos and games such as Minecraft require an improved fluidity.

You can achieve the extra fluidity by overclocking the Raspberry Pi 3. Overclocking the Raspberry Pi 3 can help you boost its processor performance from the basic 1.2 GHz to about 1.5 GHz.

Requirements

Despite that overclocking mainly happen on the software level, the changes will significantly affect the physical level too.

First, increasing the power of the Raspberry Pi 3 processor – through overclocking – may cause hazardous overheating of the Raspberry Pi and all the hardware components near it. Notably, the temperatures to reach highs of 100 ° C!

Next, an increase in the processor power creates a demand on the power consumption for the system. This might be dangerous when the power supply of your Raspberry Pi is not adequately upgraded.

Therefore, for the above challenges, you’ll require to arm, yourself with the vital accessories to overclock safely:

1. A quality cooling system – this will help reduce the temperature rise that comes due to overclocking. Therefore, you’ll require a cooling system that included active cooling (fan) and passive cooling (heatsink).

2. A great microSD Card for your Raspberry Pi 3. Most definitely, 32GB of micro-SD storage will be adequate but you can check the best SD Card for Raspberry Pi 3.

3. A great power supply – for this I advise that you take a 5v 3A power supply.

Modify the Raspberry Pi 3 configuration files.

Let’s dive right into the overclocking details.

For previous Raspberry Pi models, you only required to use the sudo raspi-config command. But now, you’ll have to modify the Raspberry Pi 3 configuration files.

  1. First, we’ll require modifying the /boot/config.txt files that hold different settings that are loading during Raspberry Pi startup. The settings mainly affect the processor use and Raspberry Pi behavior.

Therefore, begin a terminal window in the Raspberry Pi and input the command below:

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

The above command will launch the file named /boot/config.txt. Further, the command sudo and the text editor nano will request the system to undertake the function using the administrator account ( /boot/config.txt because this is a critical action.

  1. With the file being open, ready for modification, now edit it so that you input the below-outlined lines:

core_freq=500 # GPU Frequency

arm_freq=1300 # CPU Frequency

over_voltage=4 #Electric power sent to CPU / GPU (4 = 1.3V)

disable_splash=1 # Disables the display of the electric alert screen

However, note that the above lines might already be available in different lines. In such a case, you’ll only need to ensure that the lines are not commented on (this means that the lines of code must not begin with one #)

  1. Next, save all the changes through this shortcut Ctrl+o and finally exit from the file using this shortcut Ctrl+x.
  2. Finally, use the reboot command to restart your Raspberry Pi

Test whether the overclock is enabled

To check, just run this command lscpu, and it’ll show the processor details. Therefore, if the CPU max MHz values are 1500, then you’re on point – you’ve overclocked the Raspberry Pi 3!

Overclocking Raspberry Pi 2 or older models

Like I had noted above, overclocking the Raspberry Pi 2 and easier models is much easier. Therefore, the modification will be a lot easier as you’ll utilize the GUI raspi-config.

So, on the Raspberry Pi terminal, give the command below:

sudo raspi-config

Then, select the Overclock option. Click ok on the pop up that will be outlining the dangers of such overclocking actions.

Next, select the overclock option that you like, such as the 1000MHz. Finally, click the ok option for a list of the changes you’ve made.

Finally, hit Finish and when prompted whether to restart your Raspberry Pi, click ok. And…..that’s all, you Raspberry Pi is now overclocked.

Removing the overclocking?

So, to remove the Raspberry Pi overclocking, you’ll only require removing the changes you put above from the Raspberry Pi configuration file – /boot/config.txt.

However, if you’d created a backup file, simply copy it to the /boot directory to fully overwrite your config.txt file.

Further, on the /etc/rc.local file – remember to remove the line named /usr/bin/zram.sh &.

Finally, reboot the Raspberry Pi to fully disable all the overclocking configurations.

Conclusion

We’ve just outlined how to overclock your Raspberry Pi 3 – it’s time to enjoy the power boost! However, you may find detail on how else to configure the CPU usage.

Arthur

I am a 36-year-old trained audio engineer, music producer, and Guitar player; passionate about all things music.I can track bass, guitars, keyboards, and drums and can also program drums. I mix and master with high-end plugins such as Waves, Audiority, Blue Cat, HOFA, etc

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