9 Feb 2015

What is overclocking and undervolting in android

Overclocking and undervolting are more often used terms in the performance and battery optimisations in android.What they actually mean and how are they related to your phone.?Do you need to care about them?In this guide we will be seeing if over clocking and under volting will benefit you to improve your device performance and battery life.Whats actually a clock speed?
                               The rate at which a cpu works is called clock speed.Its measured in hertz.If you are confused take an example of a vehicle.The rate at which a vehicle moves is called speed or velocity and is measured in meters per second.In our case velocity translates to clock speed of cpu and meters per second translates to hertz(Just a comparison).One  hertz is actually  one cycle per second.one megahertz(mhz)=1000000hertz and one gigahertz(ghz) =1000mhz.
Now that you actually got what colckspeed is lets see what is over clocking.
Must read:Android basics for beginners

Over clocking:

Every chipset will be designed to run at a specific speed lets say design clock speed.It means if you make the chipset to run continuously on designed speed it will work just fine without any problems.

What is overclocking and how is it done?

Lets take the example of a vehicle itself again.If you observe the speedometer carefully its divided into three sectors yellow,green and red.Green is when you start the vehicle and Yellow is the optimum speed   which gives you best mileage and red is over speed or simply you are moving at speeds which the vehicle is not actually designed for to give better mileage.Similarly Every mobile chipset is designed to run at a particular clockspeed or max speed. which may give you better performance and battery life. Of course that again depends on rom and apps optimisation.

Should you over clock your device?

Not all can afford for a highly specced device that is why there are low end specced devices running android.Android has evolved so much that once it used to lag on high end divices with 1gb or 2gb of ram  but now it runs smooth even on low end devices with just 512mb of ram.Coming to the question if you have to overclock your device you have to see it in two prespectives
2.OS or rom
If your chipset is new and the rom is properly optimized (with out bugs) then you dont need to overclock your device to improve its performance. But if you are a gamer and cant run some heavy games on your device or feel too laggy then you might overclock your processor to improve its performance .If you are using a legacy device (a device which is no longer manufactures or supported by the company)then you might consider overclocking your device.
If your rom is not properly optimized and you feel it too laggy but cant go with other roms as you felt  in love with the features it offers then might consider overclocking your processor to slightly improve its performance.In this case performance may not be better even if you over clock the processor if the rom has too many bugs to handle.

Disadvantages of overclocking?

Before going into this let me explain how over clocking is actually done.Every cpu has its own frequency table .You can get this table by installing any cpu controlling apps.If you run any cpu controlling apps you will see a section where you can actually set the frequency which you want and only certain frequencies are available and if your kernel supports voltage control then you can see voltages corresponding to each frequency.
Every frequency has its voltage limits i.e you can increase or decrease upto a certain limit of voltages beyond the specified one.Once you raise the voltage beyond the limits you have to increase the frequency to stabilize the processor otherwise it may damage the cpu.
Even you cannot raise the cpu frequency beyond certain limit as excessive voltage may burn cpu.

Must read:Best apps to control your cpu and gpu for android


1.Over heating
2.Heavy battery drain
3.Decreases life span of cpu.


Your phone over heats if you overclock the cpu.So its not safe to overclock.Before concluding it let me tell you one thing.If overclocking is completely harmful why would a developer implement it.There is a reason for it.Have you ever heard the word "thermal throttling" if you are a nexus 4 user you must have heard it for sure.What does it do.?It scales the cpu frequencies with temperature.That means your cpu frequency varies with cpu temperature.Developers uses this thermal throttling technique to save your cpu from burning itself when you over clock it.So if you have thermal throttling enabled its actually safe to overclock your processor.

Battery drain:

Battery drain depends on how much time the over clocked frequency is on use.If overclocked  frequency is used most of the time then battery drains quickly.if not it should not drain much.

Cpu life :

cpu life span decreases if the overclocked frequency is mostly used as this chipset is not actually designed to take that frequency but this is a long time result .Make sure that thermal throttling is enabled to save the device .

Under volting:

we have learnt that each frequency has its own specified voltage. Decreasing the specified voltage is called under volting.Usually we undervolt in steps say 10 milli volts or 25 milli volts and check for its stability by running benchmark apps or playing heavy games.
Under volting saves battery a lot but you cannot under volt too much as it sends the cpu to completely deep sleep in that case your phone may fail to respond completely.To get it working you  have to remove the battery and put it on after 2 or 3 minutes.

Final words:

Now you have an idea how over clocking actually works its upto you  to over clock your cpu.If you have a legacy device you might consider over clocking your cpu.But do it only if you know what you are going to mess up with.

What is overclocking and undervolting in android Reviewed by Radha Krishna on 20:19 Rating: 5 Overclocking and undervolting are more often used terms in the performance and battery optimisations in android.What they actually mean an...

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