Overclock Raspberry Pi 4 Model B to 2.0GHz for Raspberry Pi OS

Introduction

With Movement Control Order (MCO) hits us again, forcing the entire world to just online and stay at home. The needs and demands for a computer have increased dramatically. 

Raspberry Pi is a Single Board Computer with a mission to enable everyone to involve in digital making. After many revisions of the Raspberry Pi mainboard, the latest Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and Raspberry Pi 400 is now as powerful as an entry-level desktop computer. Raspberry Pi 4 Model B comes with Quad-core 64-bit ARM cores and a variety of RAM sizes. 

In the case you want to get better performance, you can actually overclock the default clock of 1.5GHz, up to a maximum of 2.147GHz.  So in this tutorial, we will learn and do some customization to the Raspberry Pi in order to overclock the speed of the CPU.

Note: Higher clock speed will generate more heat during full load, so there should be a good cooling mechanism to keep the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B cool.

Hardware

Procedures

In this tutorial will show you two ways to overclock the Pi 4 Model B which the method procedures are totally different. However, the syntax and command still same. The first method is need to access nano boot, then configure it. This method required you to use hardware such as monitor, mouse, keyboard and cables where you need to open the Raspberry Pi and configure it through terminal. Second method is overclock by editing the configuration in SD card with laptop. With this method we do not need to setup the hardware for Pi. We just need a laptop and configure it through text file.  However both methods is just an option. You may choose either method that could ease you.

Overclocking Through Nano Boot

 

STEP 1: Update Firmware

In order to reach the overclocking capabilities on the Pi 4, always update the OS to the latest version. Below shows how we can update Pi 4 to the latest firmware. 

Open the serial terminal and enter the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
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Then just reboot by clicking logout or write the command in terminal:

sudo reboot

STEP 2: Checking the Default CPU Speed

Before overclocking the CPU, is always good to check the default clock speed in order to see the changeable value. We can do so by typing the command in the terminal. There are two ways to check :

lscpu

or

cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_cur_freq
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The CPU min MHz is 600.0000 while CPU max MHz is the current CPU speed which is 1500.0000 MHz or 1.5GHz.

STEP 3: Overclocking

To overclock the Pi 4, we will need to access the config.txt file under core configuration settings.

Open the terminal and enter the command: 

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Scroll down and search for:

#uncomment to overclock the arm. 700 MHz is
the default.
#arm_freq=800
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Then change the settings to :

#uncomment to overclock the arm. 700 MHz is
the default.
over_voltage=2
arm_freq=1750
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Save the file by press CTRL + O then ENTER and use CTRL + X to exit. Now reboot your Pi 4.

When Pi 4 boots up, we can see our new CPU speed by live watch or lscpu. To watch live we can use this command:

watch -n 1 vcgencmd measure_clock arm
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You can see the speed will max up to 1750 MHz by overloading it with full load by doing high load stuffs such as browsing or watching YouTube. That is one of the ways to check the maximum CPU clock speed.

STEP 4: Overclocking More, to 2.0GHz

How about we have little excitement by overclocking the Pi 4 to 2.0GHz! Just like the previous step, we just need to edit the config.txt by entering the command as below:

over_voltage=6
arm_freq=2000
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Save the config.txt and Reboot Pi and an run this code :

watch -n 1 vcgencmd measure_clock arm
lscpu
2021 02 15 105508 1920x1080 Scrot

STEP 5: Overclocking to the Max-2.147GHz

To overclock Pi 4 to 2.147GHz  max clock speed, needed for us to boost the gpu_freq by editing the config.txt file. It’s easy, just by entering this command and we are done:

over_voltage=6
arm_freq=2147
gpu_freq=750
2021 02 15 110453 1920x1080 Scrot 1024x576 1

Again, save the config.txt and exit by pressing CTRL+O, ENTER and CTRL+X. Reboot the Pi 4 and we should see that the maximum CPU speed is changed to 2.147GHz.

 

Note: Raspberry Pi will generate more heat if it is running at a higher clock speed, as it is more powerful. So a good heat dissipation heatsink (passive cooling) or fan (active cooling) should be installed. In the case where the CPU temperature reaches 80°C, the kernel will be throttled and the CPU clock speed will be reduced automatically.

Overclocking Through SD Card

Firstly, we use SD card with SD adapter to connect with laptop. I used this type of adapter which is SD to USB type. You may use any adapter as long as you able to transfer receive data between your SD and laptop. 

Dsc 0095 2

Plug the SD on to the laptop and it will detect. Go to My PC to access the file in the SD card. Enter the ‘D drive’ to search the file. The view will look like this.

Overclock1

Find the config.txt file and open it with notepad.

Overclock2

We can see the interface as in this picture. The text is a setting for Raspberry Pi. So we can configure it by changing the setting. 

Overclock3

From the file, find these lines as in the picture :

Overclock4

Once you found it, below those line write the overclock command in order for the system to set the clock speed of the CPU. The picture shows the command for the 2.0GHz overclocking :

Overclock5

Below show the commands that we can use to write for the CPU clock speed overclocking :

Overclock to 1.75GHz

over_voltage=2
arm_freq=1750

Overclock to 2.0GHz

over_voltage=6
arm_freq=2000

Overclock to 2.147GHz

over_voltage=6
arm_freq=2147
gpu_freq=750

After done wrote the line, save it by pressing CTRL + S then eject the SD card.

Next, in order for you to verify is the clock speed changed, insert the SD card in Pi 4 Model B then boot up it. Enter the following command to watch the CPU hover in live :

watch -n 1 vcgencmd measure_clock arm

You can see the clock speed goes to maximum speed like you set it. If the speed does not hover at maximum, you can open any application or browser in order for the CPU running more. The picture below show the output :

2021 02 19 124834 1920x1080 Scrot

Note: Raspberry Pi will generate more heat if it is running at a higher clock speed, as it is more powerful. So a good heat dissipation heatsink (passive cooling) or fan (active cooling) should be installed. In the case where the CPU temperature reaches 80°C, the kernel will be throttled and the CPU clock speed will be reduced automatically.

Conclusion

Congratulations! We did it. By overclocking the CPU, the Raspberry Pi should give us an extra performance. However, do check the warnings from Raspberry Pi too: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/warning-icons.md 

References

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr0WuRBpJyg

https://magpi.raspberrypi.org/articles/how-to-overclock-raspberry-pi-4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHv0KQPJgV8

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