Your Rasbperry Pi Zero 2 W will be 40% faster doing this


There is no doubt that Raspberry has become the brand that comes to mind when we talk about SBCs and many of them have already been launched on the market. An example is the Pi Zero series, a version of smaller size and consumption than the standard models, with which today we show you how to overclock the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W version.

The Pi Zero 2 W is Raspberry’s most energy efficient board and is being used for the creation of various portable device projects. Unfortunately, lower consumption also means lower performance, which is why we show you how to increase the clock speed of your processor to gain a little more performance without completely breaking efficiency.

What are the Raspberry Pi Zero?

The first model of the Raspberry Pi Zero was introduced to the market in 2015. The project was born from the idea of ​​creating a very low-cost Single Board Computer, around $5, that despite its lower price and consequently power, could run good part of the features and capabilities of a standard Raspberry Pi. In general, it is an SBC that is designed for the creation of very low consumption home devices, since it can work with a simple USB cable as a power source.

The W versions also add a wireless radio that allows us to make the device that we mount with it have a wireless connection with the rest of the devices, which is ideal for home automation.

It is, therefore, a very simplified type of board, but it has a series of extremely interesting uses, especially due to the fact that its lower consumption makes it ideal for its implementation in various industrial and home automation applications. Of course, we are not facing a microcontroller to use, but a SoC with external memory outside the chip, so it is much easier to develop software to take care of specific solutions, where yes, we will have to program it before.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2W

Raspberry Pi 2W

With the second generation of its low-power SBC, the people at Raspberry have taken a qualitative leap in terms of performance, which is normal if we take into account that more than five years have passed since the launch of the original model, which It has allowed them to create a model 5 times more powerful than the original while maintaining the same form factor and size.

What is your performance? Well, this SBC has as its main SoC a Broadcom BCM2710A1, a quad-core Cortex A53 SoC running at 1 GHz. It must be taken into account that these cores are not high-performance and that even current phones for less than 100 euros have a SoC better.

Although not for that reason it is a bad option, since the performance it has places it at the same level as a third generation Raspberry Pi. Regarding its visual capabilities, it has a very simple GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0 support, which is enough for simple tasks and it can play H.264 and MPEG-4 encoded video.

RAM, storage and I/O

Raspberry Pi Zero 2W

As for RAM, this is its weakest point, since it uses LPDDR2 memory. Part of the secret of its low price is the use of this (already very old) RAM, but its choice limits its memory to only 512 MB, being the biggest weak point of this system and limiting its capabilities. For storage, it uses a microSD card slot.

If we go to its I/O interfaces, and starting with the physical ones, we find a micro-USB 2.0 port with OTG, a Mini-HDMI port, and a CSI-2 connector in case we want to connect a camera. In addition, we can optionally ask to integrate 40 GPIO pins on the board. If we are already talking about wireless connectivity, its integrated radio gives it the ability to connect to WiFi networks of the type 802.11b/g/na 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth 4.2 and BLE.

How to overclock a Pi Zero 2W

raspberry fan

After the brief introduction of the device, we have to talk about how to make it work faster, since you can find an application that does not perform well enough. Let’s not forget that the Pi Zero 2 W is designed for low-power projects and its clock speed is adapted to be powered from the micro-USB port that comes standard, so the margin to increase its clock speed is small. .

We must also bear in mind that it is a device designed to work by passive cooling, so it is advisable to place a fan on it. What’s more, many of the starter kits that have everything you need to start using this SBC include among other things a small fan, if you don’t have one then before proceeding to overclock we recommend you buy and install it. More than anything to avoid the effects of thermal throttling due to the overclocking of the Pi Zero 2 W.

Update the operating system


We are going to do the process from Raspberry Pi O, the Ubuntu-style GNU/Linux distribution that is included in the SBC and was previously known as Raspbian. This usually comes already installed on the microSD card that comes on the card. So we are not going to have to touch anything at the hardware level, yes, make sure you have updated the operating system of your Pi Zero 2 W. To do this, from the operating system terminal, type:

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

Which will update the OS of the system to the latest version, keep in mind that the Raspberry people usually make regular updates to their operating system to fix bugs. By the way, make sure you have a second microSD with the latest version of Raspberry Pi Os, as these memory cards are usually very delicate.

Modify the configuration file

The speed at which the different components of your Pi Zero 2 W work and other parameters are defined in a configuration file that is usually found in the root folder of the operating system. When the operating system boots it immediately reads that file and tells the components to put themselves at those speeds.

For this we are going to use the classic text editor for Linux and Unix nano terminals, it is as easy as entering the following in the command line:

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Raspberry Pi Zero 2W overclock

The editor will open in the terminal itself, scroll down and add the following lines to the end of the file:

#Overclock 1400

This will force the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W SoC to run at full speed all the time. However, the change will not be immediate. Simply save the file by pressing CTRL+X at the same time and then Enter.

Reboot the Pi Zero 2W

The last step of our tutorial is to reboot the Pi Zero 2 W to check that the changes are effective, to do this reboot the system and open a terminal window to type:

watch -n 1 vcgencmd measure_clock arm

Which will give you the clock speed at which the CPU works in real time, if you constantly see 1400 MHz, then it means that you have done all the steps that we have been describing correctly. These values ​​and speeds are safe to maintain stability and do not trigger the performance / consumption ratio, so they are ideal if what we are looking for is a little more performance for free.