Raspberry Pi overclocking and heatsinking

pirpiheatsinkThe Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular ARM-based mini PCs of all time with news that the tiny single-core computer is about to log up 1.5million sales, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

However, one of the most common complaints is the fairly low performance, which given the 700MHz single-core CPU on-board, is understandable. But there is a way to expand that performance by a fairly simple overclock. Initially, overclocking was frowned about by the Raspberry Pi Foundation – and would void your warranty if you increase the Vcore voltage and clock speed.

These days, it’s now factory-backed with the overclocking feature now baked into the latest Raspbian operating systems.

But if you’re going to overclock, one thing we suggest is that you add a heatsink to the CPU. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is comfortable that the extra heat caused by overclocking doesn’t cause any long-term damage to the Pi. While that might be the case in the UK, we’re less confident running a 1GHz overclock over a long, hot Australian summer. We can’t help but think higher ambient temps would increase the overall temperature as well. So, we decided to add a heatsink to ours.

We’ve used a small block heatsink that incorporates thermal paste and glue into a pad on the bottom. You peel off the protective layer and place the heatsink on top of the CPU and it eventually melts and glues to the top of the CPU. The most important thing is get the placement right the first time – getting the heatsink off again once the glue has set is extremely difficult.

We picked up ours from Jaycar Electronics in Australia but there are dozens of these around on eBay and other onlines stores. You shouldn’t need to pay more than a couple of dollars. As the heatsink is annodised aluminium, you also need to make sure that there is clearance between the heatsink and any other electronic components, so that you don’t get any shorts.

However, the heatsink will help keep your Broadcom BCM2835 SoC CPU cool when hitting those 1GHz high notes.

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