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Raspberry Pi Hits 1GHz With Official 'Turbo Mode' 92

hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi, which was recently used to build a cluster, has officially been given a 'Turbo Mode' by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, thus enabling overclocking. It will bump the frequency of the on-board processor as high as 1GHz as long as the temperature stays below 85C. The patch would dynamically increase the voltage and frequency of the core until the thermals hold. According to the Foundation, users have the option of choosing one of five peak frequencies, the highest being 1GHz."
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Raspberry Pi Hits 1GHz With Official 'Turbo Mode'

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  • No heatsink? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't this be more useful it they were shipping bolt on heat sinks?

    • Still not enough heat. If it had a heatsink, it would go higher.

      • Re:No heatsink? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @04:59PM (#41392499)

        This is not true if you actually read. The patch detects overheating and downscales the CPU frequency if it gets too hot. That doesn't sound to me like a heatsink is unnecessary.

        • by rastos1 ( 601318 )
          It seems that the hottest part is actually not the CPU but the ethernet/USB controller [].
          • by makomk ( 752139 )

            That apparently varies from board to board because in many cases it's the result of a hardware design flaw that was quietly fixed in the latest board revision. They screwed up and accidentally connected the output of the onboard 1.8 V regulator on the LAN chip to the 1.8 V power rail on the board. Depending on the actual voltage each of the two 1.8 V regulators is trying to regulate down to, the LAN chip's regulator winds up supplying some or all of the current for that rail. That regulator is not actually

            • by Alioth ( 221270 )

              Well, if the person just politely pointed it out I expect they wouldn't get banned.

              But instead they labour the point, and bang on and on about it in an agressive and unhelpful manner.

    • Re:No heatsink? (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:08PM (#41392611)

      you can't heatsink the cpu. its UNDER the ram chip!

      what a stupid design. I own 2 Pi boards and I kinda like them, but this sandwich is not at all diy friendly. you can't fix things, you can't upgrade things, you can't even heatsink things.

      I know why they did this. but I still don't appreciate this kind of approach.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Slap a heatsink on the chip you do make a difference by drawing heat off the ram that is soaked up by the processor. it makes a difference. One of those adhesive tape cheapie ram heatsinks for the DIMM modules makes a difference, small one, but the difference is there.

        • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
          it looks like a northbridge cooler would be perfect for the job, either fanned or fanless
        • I do agree and I plan to use some vga 'chipset coolers' that I bought and never used, years ago.

          that will *help* but it does not do much for the cpu below it.

          but yes, I plan to and suggest doing such. as long as it stays on and does not go for some 'round the world tour' (lol) if it comes unstuck and bounces around inside your case.

          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            if there is any contact between the packages you will get thermal conduction.

      • Re:No heatsink? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:28PM (#41392839)

        what a stupid design

        It's an ingenius design for their actual intended goal: A tiny and cheap computer to aid in kids education.

        Remember that, and realize anything they do purely for the sake of the DIY community should come highly appreciated.

        • A tiny and cheap computer to aid in kids education.

          Oh really, it's time this manifestly bogus myth was put to rest. If you want to educate children about programming you simply load an app onto the PCs that are everywhere in schools. You don't create a brand new little computer that needs an HD-TV to display AND extra an keyboard and mouse before it can do anything.

          If the intended audience really was the poor and the underprivileged (even in "rich" countries) the additional hardware needed to use Pis in any meaningful number requires a school to make an en

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Well, if you want to educate people in low level programming it helps a lot if you have a common platform with a pre-configured tool chain to start out with. You aren't necessarily _done_ teaching kids to program when they have mastered Python.

            And just for Python programming I think that it helps to have pre-configured environment on identical hardware too. I don't think hardware is the greatest challenge for most schools/individuals that want to teach programming, but rather setting up and maintaining a de

            • If you want to educate people in low level programing you use a BASIC stamp. You can program them on any computer you might have and they have plenty of power for the basic robotics stuff.

              If you are getting into the more advanced programing, why would you cripple your students by confining them to such a limited platform?
          • by Alioth ( 221270 )

            It doesn't need an HDTV to display. It can use any old analogue TV set - it has composite video out. It can also use any old DVI monitor. Being able to plug straight into both HDMI and DVI monitors cover the vast majority of monitors and TVs out there. The analogue composite video addresses those who can only get hold of a cast-off TV (most likely for free). USB keyboards and mice cost buttons.

            The other thing is most school computers are locked down tighter than a duck's ass, and many schools will never ent

      • by mk1004 ( 2488060 )

        You can heatsink them. The question is, would it do any good? The answer is; yes, probably. The thermal conductivity between the memory and cpu die should be pretty good. As a comparison, I worked at a company that made some modules that consisted of a memory IC and some other devices, all contained within an epoxy-filled module. I ran some ja and jc tests, thinking that the epoxy would act as an insulator and increase the values over the memory IC by itself. It turned out that the numbers were lower. The e

        • look at the side view.

          its a chip, then balls of solder, then another chip. HUGE air gap and not even a heatsink join between them. just solder balls, which are not meant to conduct heat, really.

          you get heat rising from the cpu, below, thru the air and to the top ram chip. but that's VERY indirect cooling.

          I'd take a WAG and think that you get 10% improvement in cooling via an 'upper decker' heatsink. the ram will be cooler but we don't care about the ram as much.

          • by Amouth ( 879122 )

            I can't seem to find a picture, but if there is a "huge air gap" then you should be able to get away with filling that gap with non electrically conductive thermal grease to assist moving the heat. Then cool the memory chip and/or cap it so that you can fill the void completely and allow direct heat-sink to grease contact along the edges.

          • by mk1004 ( 2488060 )

            The point is, the solder balls actually are a really good conductor of heat, as are the interconnects that they join. You can't change the basic thermal properties of a material just because you are not intending to use those properties. Just because our first intuition is that the air gap is going to drive the overall thermal conductivity of the package doesn't make it so. Just like I, along with others, thought that the epoxy in the modules I worked with would act more as an insulator rather than the pret

        • by makomk ( 752139 )

          Doubt it. At a guess, the thermal conductivity to the PCB itself is probably going to be much better than the thermal conductivity up through the top of the package and through the RAM chip, possibly so much so that adding a heatsink to the top of the chip stack would make essentially no difference.

      • by Goaway ( 82658 )

        what a stupid design.

        It's a cellphone processor. It needs to be small. That's how you get them small.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Too bad you cant cement one on yourself. Damn them and their anti-heatsink technology!

    • Wouldn't a large dollop of raspberry (c)ripple icecream solve the short term heat problems. OK it might be cream crackered later.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @04:47PM (#41392323) Journal

    If I hadn't grown out of my...thermally adventurous... computing phase, I'd be lamenting the fact that the RPi's Package-on-Package SoC design means that the RAM is on top of the CPU, which severely limits the amount of fanatically-careful lapping to perfect the thermal transfer between the CPU die and the somewhat outrageous heatsink I could perform without destroying the system RAM and making it fairly useless....

    (More generally, does anybody know how much headroom these weedy little power-constrained chips have? Are they generally frequency limited by comparatively cheap fab processes, or design tradeoffs of various sorts, or could somebody willing to feed them 30 watts rather than .3watts and provide them with a heatsink larger than the cellphone they were designed to power hit a genuinely substantial overclock?)

    • by allanw ( 842185 )

      If you keep increasing the voltage then it's likely that you can hit higher frequencies, but the power scales with voltage squared and frequency linearly, so power will go up pretty quickly. However, nowadays in advanced processes the interconnect is becoming more of a factor in the limitation on frequency scaling instead of the transistors themselves, in which case increasing the voltage will only help up to a certain point.

      The trade-off that the company selling the CPU's makes is between the cost of cooli

  • Old (Score:4, Informative)

    by gcore ( 748374 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @04:48PM (#41392347)
    Been running mine stable at 1Ghz for two months now. What is new, is the dynamic frequency scaling. Support for that was added like last week.
  • Surprised they didn't roll this out at launch. It seems like it would've taken care of most of there growing pains.
  • Makes me miss my 'Turbo' button on my 486...

    • by dchamp ( 89216 )

      The "turbo" button wasn't really turbo... it was either normal speed, or 1/2 clock speed, or otherwise crippling the cache or something to slow it down. []

      • Re:Aww (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#41392899)

        about 10 yrs ago, maybe even 12, I had to buy a dual pentium 'compute box' for our group. I think a pentium-pro was about as good as you could get, back then. I ordered an asus board and had the whole system built by a pro builder (who did a decent job).

        but this dual pentium pro was really slow! what the hell is going on?

        go into the bios, poke around. what do I see? a setting called 'de-turbo mode' and its 'on' by default.

        think about that. the name is a 'lower my performance' and default was 'yes, please'.

        once I turned off the de-turbo mode, it ran as fast as I was expecting. very snappy system for its day.

        • 12 years ago was 2000. A great x86 chip back then was a 1.4 GHz Thunderbird Athlon.

          To go back to a time when the Pentium Pro was the best x86 consumer chip, you'd have to back to at least early 1996, or 18 years ago.

          Yes, time does fly.

    • I never could figure-out what that 486 Turbo button was for. I didn't notice any difference in speed.

      • by mk1004 ( 2488060 )

        The turbo mode was generally intended to be used if you didn't want the faster speed, e.g. when running programs that depended upon the cpu to be running at the IBM "standard" frequency and had hard-coded loops for timing control. Running a faster cpu frequency could make those programs unusable.

        If you didn't notice any difference in speed on your machine, it could be that some bios setting was overriding the turbo button setting.

      • by Zordak ( 123132 )
        I remember there was a flight simulator program that had to have the Turbo button off. If you turned it on, your plane went crazy.
      • It was for Tetris.

        And if the button wasn't working, it probably wasn't plugged into anything.

        • my old computer used to have a turbo button. it didn't seem to do anything, but every few days, I'd flip it on and off just for the heck of it.

          a few weeks later, I got an email from a lady in holland. she said 'cut it out!'

          (shamelessly stolen/adapted from steven wright)

  • what sort of application would require this sort of cpu horsepower? I thought they were for basically running lego robots and turning lights on and off.
    • by Jesse_vd ( 821123 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:21PM (#41392755)

      XBMC is the biggest use that comes to mind.... one of these on every TV in your house = one hell of a media center for CHEAP

      • Yeah they are cheap...but also limited as hell for that function. You have to have the media in the right codec, not have it at too high a bitrate, basically you pretty much have to tailor your media to the device.

        A MUCH better device for a cheap HTPC is the E350 kits []. You can get the board alone at Amazon for around $70, that gives you a dual core and a Radeon GPU that'll accelerate a heck of a lot of formats, but I prefer the ones with the nice case and PSU for $125. Slap on a copy of Win 7 Home or if you

        • I just go to the local pawn shops and check the computers they have. I turned one cheap Atom netbook into a DVR for my garage. Another is a beater netbook for out by the bonfire, bullet casting, and firing range. (You don't want anything too important when working with molten lead or drunk people by a fire.)

          Sometimes they really screw up, I got a $340 NIB AMD C60 netbook with Win7 64 bit for the same price as a 3 year old single core Atom. I then crammed an 8gb stick of ram in it, max "supported" was 4 g
          • Ahhh...that is what I use Craigslist for, as the local pawnshop has discovered eBay so anything good is gonna be priced no different than its highest eBay selling price. I've been picking up those Atom netbooks for $60-$80 which is frankly all those are worth as far as I'm concerned but if I spot an AMD Bobcat I snatch ASAP. I have one of the EEEs and like you loaded it with 8Gb, great little netbook. After the holidays I'll slap an SSD in it and have a pretty fast little ultra portable for cheap, just grea

            • Funny, round here it is the exact opposite. Every college student on Craigslist here thinks their 2 year old netbook is worth $250. The pawn shops are far more reasonable.
              • Funny how that stuff works, huh? Round here I've bought a NIB acoustic bass, beautiful black which I just love, for $60, 5 strings for $50, netbooks for anywhere from $60-$120, again depending on the chips, and can buy really nice Core duo laptops for $125-$150 again depending on how much battery life is left.

                The pawnshops on the other hand want $120 for a P4 desktop with crappy CRT monitor, you are not touching ANYTHING in a laptop shape for less than 2 bills, and basses that look like they've been used as

      • If you have an old TV.
        Otherwise, TVs already come with a network port and integrated media player.
      • I'm trying to do the exact same thing - I bought a big monitor to connect to my laptop for working from home. The rest of it's life it's just in the way, so I figured it could just run XBMC. So far, no particular joy though - you need a fast SD card to make it workable, and my particular one isn't supported by the raspbmc project yet (although it is supported by the Pi itself). On a slower card, it's just awful to use.

        The Pi really is a great little gadget - and for £30 quid, you can have a dozen of t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You really can't think of anything that's heavyweight for a general purpose CPU to do? It can do whatever you want it to do. It has an onboard graphics accelerator. Think computer vision, a fancy control scheme, etc. Let me guess, you sit at a console all day doing server side stuffs. :P

    • Maybe sensor data processing for robots?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "I thought they were for basically running lego robots and turning lights on and off."

      Yep, thats what an Arduino is for. Now the Pi has IO facilities to do that sort of stuff too, but its really a cheap Linux computer to encourage the Youth of today (and tomorrow) to toy about with programming on a device that encourages personal ownership due to its low cost, and the fact that its easy to program, unlike family PCs, which may not have development environments installed or may have a parental prohibition

      • Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
      • Sorry, but that is pure fantasy. You could have said the EXACT same thing about basic stamps and graphing calculators, like the Ti-83.

        Hand-me-down computers today will completely curb stomp a pi and there is vast quantities of software and software development tools for windows, or even linux, for those who are interested. People who want to "toy about" with programing won't give the pi a second thought because it is simply too slow and too restrictive.

        It will be used by serious tinkerers, for high le
    • by mlk ( 18543 )

      Compling Quake 3... ;)

      Playing Q3 I've not yet attempted as it not currently connected to a TV.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @05:22PM (#41392771) Homepage

    If this "Turbo" mode is enabled by pressing a square red button on the front of the computer, [] I will kiss the person responsible.

    • They should have called it Pedestrian Mode. It was designed to be used to underclock the processor for some applications which couldn't handle the faster timings.
  • Heat is VERY local in many cases. Unless they have a pixalized thermometer measuring temperatures at every point this is a bad, bad idea.
  • I've been on a waiting list for at least 6 or 8 months and the last notice I had is that it was going to be shipped in about 4 months. It's ridiculous. Where does everyone get theirs?, do they even exist!?!?

    • by Ignacio ( 1465 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @06:18PM (#41393375)

      Cancel your order with RS and go to one of the sane companies stocking and shipping them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with Ignacio; cancel your order with RS and go through Farnell. They have a clue and they ship product fast. In the U.S. I had mine within a week with expedited shipping.

    • i cancelled my order with rs after they sent me an email saying it would be another 9 weeks after the initial 12 week wait and got 2 through element 14 in 2 days
    • I've been on a waiting list for at least 6 or 8 months and the last notice I had is that it was going to be shipped in about 4 months. It's ridiculous. Where does everyone get theirs?, do they even exist!?!?

      I have the exact same problem. Maybe I'll try and get my money back and order from one of these other companies who are supposedly shipping real devices.

    • by lgftsa ( 617184 )

      I was allowed to order (and pay for) mine in June, after the initial bait-and-switch and then a shipping hike of more than the cost of the board itself. I finally got an order number in the low 80 thousands with a nine week shipping estimate.

      Still no shipping notification, and no more updates on where they're up to in the list.

      Yet, the people claiming to be in charge of this train wreck are giving boards away as prizes. Unbelievable.

      • Seriously, cancel and order from the other guy. In Canada Newark has them in stock and Allied is saying many weeks delay.

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        Cancel your order with RS and order it from Farnell (element 14). Farnell are currently shipping in 2 days I hear. RS have made some huge balls up it seems.

    • I was at Farnell's trade counter just the other day. I could have bought one there and then! RS has been dreadful with their deliveries.

    • Ordered mine recently, took 2 weeks from farnell.
  • If you cool the memory package to sub-zero the CPU will probably cooled quite well.

  • I wish they'd just send my backorderd one before telling me all the features I'll never see.

  • Does this mean that the Raspberry Pi can bake itself?

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger