The Raspberry Pi computer has been given a 1GHz "turbo mode" upgrade in its latest firmware update to allow users to overclock the processor and enjoy a boost in performance by as much as 50 percent.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the changes in a blog post on its website on Wednesday written by founder Eben Upton.
"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," he said.
"We are happy that the combination of only applying turbo when busy, and limiting turbo when the BCM2835′s internal temperature reaches 85°C, means there will be no measurable reduction in the lifetime of your Raspberry Pi."
The upgrade allows users to choose from one of five overclock presets in raspi-config, the highest of which switches the ARM chip to 1GHz rather than the standard 700MHz.
The level of stable overclocking users can achieve will apparently vary depending on the specific Raspberry Pi and the quality of the power supply used.
The Quake 3 video game is apparently a good "stress test" for checking whether a particular overclocking level is completely stable, according to Upton, but he added a note of caution:
"If you choose too high an overclock, your Pi may fail to boot, in which case holding down the shift key during boot up will disable the overclock for that boot, allowing you to select a lower level," he said.
"Comparing the new image with 1GHz turbo enabled, against the previous image at 700MHz, nbench reports 52 percent faster on integer, 64 percent faster on floating point and 55 percent faster on memory."
The update is another notable upgrade for the Raspberry Pi system after it was given a hardware revision in early September to gain mounting holes for the motherboard and allow the device to be powered via one of its USB ports.
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