Make your Raspberry Pi 4 43% faster for free!

Introduction

Overclocking is nothing new for Raspberry Pi owners. I remember pushing my Pi 1 Model B to 1.1GHz and being amazed by the performance increase.

With the Raspberry Pi 4 and Kernel 5.4 or above you can overclock your RPI 4 above 2.3GHz – a huge increase from the stock 1.5GHz.

There are some risks though, historically overclocking the Raspberry Pi has voided the warranty. Whilst this is still the case there is no warranty bit on the Raspberry Pi 4 making it almost impossible to determine if a device has been overclocked.

The “warranty” bit was added as a way of pacifying suppliers who were nervous that allowing overclock may result in a large number of dead Pi’s being returned. But since the first Pi was released we’ve never seen a Pi that appears to have died through overclocking.

Dom Cobley – Engineer – Raspberry Pi

Overclocking is often considered to be harmful to electronics although not a single Raspberry Pi has been damaged through overclocking.

We don’t even set the bit on Pi 4, so feel free to experiment. Obviously too high an overclock may make a Pi unstable and crash.

Dom Cobley – Engineer – Raspberry Pi

Overclocking a Raspberry Pi 4 does cause the SoC to produce more heat and a high quality cooling solution is highly recommended.

Lets look at this Raspberry Pi 4 Overclock!

Raspberry Pi 4 overclocked to the limit.

Whilst I recommend starting out with a sensible overclock of around 2GHz with an over_voltage of around 6 I’m going straight to the extreme.

Do not use this if you don’t have proper cooling!

Add the following to /boot/config.txt:

force_turbo=1
over_voltage=12
arm_freq=2250
gpu_freq=750

Reboot your Pi and you are running at 2.394 GHz. Even though the frequency has been set to 2.250GHz it will actually operate at 2.395GHz.

Benchmarks

As always I am using Unixbench for this test.

The Raspberry Pi 4 @1.5GHz scored 276.4 points single core and 764.1 points Multi Core.

Overclocked the Raspberry Pi 4 scored 411.8 points single score and 1099.2 points! Thats a huge 43% increase in multi core performance!

How did I keep the Overclocked Raspberry Pi 4 cool?

Cooling

I used the IceBerry Cooling kit I recently reviewed here. This case is cooling overkill even for an overclock this extreme!

During the testing the temperature never went above 38’C.

Any case with Active cooling should be sufficient – check out my article on the 6 best Raspberry Pi Cases for under £20

Conclusion

Overclocking a Raspberry Pi 4 is quite safe with adequate cooling and is basically a free way to get a 40%+ increase in performance in certain workloads. Power consumption does also increase although this is marginal.

Please overclock safely and don’t blame me when you kill your Pi!

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