Feb 19, 2013

How much can you overclock an Android CPU?

I've rooted my first Android phone, and the two main things I want to do are (1) flash a new ROM, and (2) overclock it. Obviously, I want to overclock it as much as I can. How do you know how far you can push a CPU? Is there a formula or rule of thumb about how much you can overclock a CPU, or is it just trial and error?


It is pretty much trial and error. There is a fairly wide range of stability among CPUs that chip manufacturers rate the same clock speed. So let's say you have two phones that are the same model, same ROM, and the same 1Ghz CPU. One of them might be perfectly stable at 1.4Ghz, while the other may crash more often than a NASCAR race at 1.2Ghz. For the most part, it is luck of the draw. The way I do it is just start ramping up and running various apps as an informal stress test for an hour or two to see if it is stable, and if so step up a little more. I repeat this until I start getting stability issues, then back down a notch. The app that seems to cause stability problems first is Gallery, so I suggest you open Gallery each time you change the clock speed and use it as your Android canary in the mine. When Gallery will work still work fine without force closing or causing reboot, you are probably good.  

Here's an article you might find helpful.

The Risks and Rewards of Overclocking Android Phones

"The open nature of Android has allowed for some interesting application development, as well as some fairly complex modding. One of the most popular projects for an Android fan is to overclock the CPU in the phone. Overclocking an Android phone requires so-called root access. Meaning the user has added permissions to the OS that allow heavy modification and the installation of custom ROMs.

An overclock is usually one of the first things users figure out after gaining root access on a new phone. The EVO was rooted upon its release, and some hackers have already managed to coax it up to 1.3GHz from a stock 1GHz. It sounds like a good idea; many of us have overclocked CPUs in our computers, but a phone is a completely different animal. There are substantial risks, but the rewards can be commensurate with those risks."
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