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Pi Pico Gives Its Life for Overclocking


How fast can a Raspberry Pi Pico go? Well, apparently the answer is 1 GHz if you freeze it and give it over twice the voltage it normally gets. Oh, one catch. After a few minutes, the chip will fry itself.

That’s the results reported by [David] who took a Peltier cooler and a pretty serious over-voltage. The dhrystone scores went from around 200 to over 1100. Of course, there’s that pesky early death to worry about, so you probably won’t want to try this at home.

Even before the chip bites the dust, there are other problems to address. For example, once you get much over 250 MHz, the Pico’s SPI flash can’t keep up, so all the software you want to run has to be put in RAM first. You’ll also want to do some poking at the system clock parameters.

Honestly, we enjoy overclocking PCs or just about anything else. The good news is if you fry a Pico, it won’t make a sizable dent in your wallet. It is also a fun way to learn a bit more about the internals of the processor. According to [David], the cooler took the part to -40 C. We wonder how it would fare in a bath of LN2?

Of course, you can push a regular Pi, too. If you really need a 1 GHz overclocked microcontroller, maybe check out the Teensy.

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