When it comes to PC-related DIY enthusiasm, it’s hard to go past the Raspberry Pi community. This credit card-sized, cheap-as-a-potato variety of chips computer lends itself to impressive projects for years. Want to build your own vending machine? (opens in a new tab)have a spy-ready backpack (opens in a new tab)or a cat operated doorbell (opens in a new tab)the Pi is the perfect companion for all these projects.
But we live in the world we make, so some people just aren’t happy with what this little miracle of a computer can achieve. It’s not enough that something that can fit in my wallet can reach clock speeds of up to 1.5GHz. Someone just had to go and push the limits on this poor soldier, and boy did they.
Tom’s Hardware (opens in a new tab) spotted this incredible feat of deliding hubris, where Ivan “Merocles” Huleshov (opens in a new tab) managed to get clock speeds up to 2.5GHz on a Raspberry Pi. To achieve this, Huleshov took a Compute Module 4 Raspberry Pi, and very carefully took a knife to take off the top of the CPU, then applied serious cooling to keep it stable. You can watch the process in his YouTube video, which is also at the top of this article, or check out the Reddit thread (opens in a new tab).
The Computer Module 4 Raspberry Pi (opens in a new tab) is a great choice for starter builds that don’t need all the extra stuff that comes with the standard Raspberry Pi 4. It allows for a carrier board connection to customize your power options and allows use of a PCIE slot. It doesn’t seem like Huleshov uses this mind much, instead he just pushes this Pi to its absolute limits, just for fun.
While the clock speed is impressive, it is not unprecedented. Overclocker Claude Schwarz achieved a 3GHz clock speed (opens in a new tab) on the same machine, but only managed to keep it with ice spray for coolant, and maybe some reprogramming. While Huleshov’s test seems much more stable, and only requires a five-line config.txt file, it similarly still requires a lot of cool to run.
In order for the Raspberry Pi to maintain stability at these speeds, Kuleshov explains (opens in a new tab) that the temperature must be kept below 6 degrees Celsius. That’s 42 Fahrenheit, or just slightly above freezing. That’s going to require a pretty nice cooling setup if you want to run that stable 2.5GHz clock speed.
Raspberry Pi CM4 CPU cover removal video. Watch out for the sharp knife. Thanks to Reddit now I know it’s called deliddinghttps://t.co/7EzkOpzql4October 27, 2022
Of course, if you want to achieve the same high clock speeds, you’ll want to be incredibly careful. CPU tampering voids any warranty, and can often malfunction leading to a completely broken device. The nice price of the Raspberry Pi makes it an inexpensive practical tool, but the tiny board also adds its own challenges. Still, it’s always impressive to see how hard you can push a chip, whether it’s a Raspberry Pi or a Ryzen Threadripper Pro, with a nice helping of liquid nitrogen. (opens in a new tab).