The main SetCPU screen

Overclock Your Android Phone

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Overclocking unlocks the true potential of your hardware, so why should it be limited to desktop computers?  A cellphone is a tiny computer after all, so surely there must be a way to overclock that too.  Thanks to SetCPU, Google Android based phones do have that ability.

According to the developer, SetCPU is:

“An application for Android that is specifically designed for changing the CPU speed on Android devices with root access. It is currently compatible with many devices, including the HTC Dream, HTC Magic 32B, Motorola Droid, Google Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy, and several other devices. In addition to setting CPU speeds, SetCPU can also show the user information about the device’s CPU, set speeds automatically upon system boot, set custom profiles based on the phone’s sleep, charge, battery, or temperature states, and run a quick benchmark testing the CPU’s floating point capabilities. Because of its nature, SetCPU can only be used with phones with root access running Android 1.5 and above. Because SetCPU changes the device’s clock speed, possibly running the phone out of manufacturer specifications, use of this application may potentially damage your device. Use it at your own risk.”

The requirements to use SetCPU and overclock your phone are:

  • a smart phone/cellular phone running Android version 1.5 or above
  • root access in Android
  • a kernel with cpufreq enabled

For most devices, directions on how to enable all of these requirements can be found at DroidMod and XDA-Developers.  Most custom ROMs will cover those three requirements out of the box.  Once a custom ROM is installed, the next step is to install the SetCPU program which can be found in the Android Market or on the XDA-Developers forum.

The main SetCPU screen

The main SetCPU screen

To get started with the app, select “always allow” when asked to give root access.  Then, select your device from the list or “AutoDetect”.  You can then set your desired maximum and minimum frequencies.  Also, select the “Set On Boot” option to have these settings restored when the device is rebooted.  For a good mix between battery life and performance, select the “On Demand” governor which will increase the CPU speed as needed.  “Always Max” will give better performance at the expense of battery life, while “Conservative” will give the most battery life but lower performance.  There is also a “Benchmark” button that will let you see how these all perform.  Obviously the lower the completion time, the better the performance.

Other features include the “Profiles” which allow for different settings when on battery power or external power.  The Advanced Settings have controls to fine tune other aspects such as how often the demand on the CPU is polled.

Now, just like every other aspect of your computing life, you can enjoy knowing that you are getting the most your cell phone has to offer.


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