A guide to over/underclocking your Hero.


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  1. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    Now that you've rooted your phone, one of the best things you can do to your phone is to set up an overclocking app. It not only speeds up the phone, but can actually increase your battery life. It's pretty easy to do, so this guide is intended to be an explanation of what you're doing, rather than just a set of instructions.

    What is overclocking/underclocking?
    By default the Hero's processor runs at 528MHz maximum, but it is possible to alter this using an overclocking app. Using one of these apps it's possible to run the processor at anywhere from 250 to 740MHz. This affects both the speed and power consumption of the phone.

    What are the risks involved?
    When it comes to underclocking, there is very little risk. Yes, if you set it too low then your phone will be sluggish when you bring it out of sleep mode, but that’s about it. You can’t do anything permanent.

    Overclocking on the other hand is a risk. Not only does running your processor at higher speeds effectively make your phone wear out or ‘age’ quicker (Although underclocking will counteract that somewhat)

    However, overclocking also generates extra heat. Electronic components don't like heat, so, especially in a hot environment, this excess heat could potentially damage your phone.

    If everything goes as planned, and you watch out for excessive heat, your phone should be just fine. But if you do decide to use an overclocking app, you have to realise there is a risk of damaging your phone, even if it's a very small risk.

    To quote Lox:

    Why would I want to do this?
    When it comes to overclocking, a faster procesor = better performance. Your phone will get things done quicker, and it just feels faster and more responsive over all. Once you've overclocked your phone you wont want to go back :)

    When the screen is switched off however, your phone doesn't need to be running at full pelt. You can run your phone at half it’s regular speed and still handle all your incoming calls/texts just fine.

    How does this affect battery life?
    When set up correctly, your processor speed will be determined by the screen being on or off. Your phone will use more power whilst being actively used, and less power when the phone is inactive. So if you were to use your phone constantly your battery life would decrease. But given more normal day to day usage, you should see significant improvement. Personally I went from 1 and a bit days to 2 days on a single charge.

    What speeds can I/should I run at?
    The speeds your hero is capable of running at will vary depending on a few things.

    1) Your ROM; using a rooted but otherwise stock ROM will not allow you to overclock. You should be able to underclock, although I have never tried this.

    Custom ROMs come with new kernels (drivers) that should allow overclocking (have a look at your ROM’s download page). The minimum/maximum speeds may vary depending on the kernel used by that ROM.

    2)The other factor is your phone's processor. Not all processors are created equal, and so your phone may/may not be capable of some of the higher speeds. On top of that, the heat generated by two heros at the same speed seems to vary too.

    All heros seem capable of running up to 710MHz. Most (like mine) will crash if you try to run at anything above this. Some lucky hero owners can run at 740MHz. The only way to find out is to try the more extreme frequencies. If it crashes, or gets too warm, switch to a lower frequency.

    The speed you can underclock seems to vary as well. It varies depending on the kernel you're running, but on Villain12 I can't seem to go lower than 250-350. Any lower and the phone becomes extremely sluggish when turning on, and the display turns purple. New kernels are coming out all the time at the moment, so it's possible future ones will be able to handle lower frequencies.

    How do I set it up?
    The two main apps for overclocking are 'OverClock Widget' and SetCPU'. I would recommend the overclock widget, as I've found it to be more stable of the two. SetCPU is more customisable however.

    Using OverClock Widget
    1) Install it from the market

    2) Place the widget anywhere on your homescreen.

    Bear in mind when using this app that it will only work if the widget is actually on your homescreen. SetCPU may be preferable if you don't want to use up homescreen space.

    3) The SuperUser Permissions app will pop up, click yes to allow the widget root access.

    4) Click on the widget and to go the advanced settings

    Note: Do not enable 'Auto Startup at boot' when trying out new frequencies. If you picked one that crashes your phone with this ticked, it would crash every time you started the phone.

    5) Under ‘Screen On Freq Setting’

    Set your minimum and maximum frequencies for when the phone is in use. Setting them both to your highest value will give you the best performance, whilst setting minimum to a lower value will save a little power but your performance will vary slightly as the processor speeds up only when demand is high. As explained before, you will have to experiment to see which values work with you phone and which don't. 710 and below should work fine, anything higher may freeze and require you to pull the battery.

    Tick 'Differ Freq Screen Off'

    6) Under 'Screen Off Freq Settings'

    Set your minimum and maximum frequencies for when the phone is in sleep mode. You want this value to be as low as possible, but not so low that the phone is slow to come out of sleep mode. You will have to find this out by trial and error.

    7) Under 'Advanced Settings'

    The first few choices are purely cosmetic, so you can play around with that your self.

    At first, to check things are working, you may want to have your widget’s update frequency quite high. But once everything is set up, set this low to save battery power.

    If ‘Use Your Frequencies’ is unticked, only the default speeds for the hero’s processor will be available (100-528MHz). So tick this option, then click detect frequencies, and you should now have all the options available with your kernel.

    You can also pick to use other frequencies, with the ‘Click Here to Define’ option, but there’s not much point doing that. Trust the app to find the best speeds for your phone.

    8) Under 'Operation'

    Remember, do not tick ‘Auto Startup on boot’. Not until you know which frequencies your hero likes.

    Hit Save and enjoy!

    Using SetCPU
    - Coming soon -

    Using CPUSpeed - Work in progress!

    This is a new app that I first tried about when it was pre-installed in Villain Froyd builds. So some of the advice here may only be applicable to their ROM. So please, check out your ROM's download page for any specific tips and advice.

    Note to anybody using the app in a Villain Froyd release: At least in the first few builds, the Villain team have been releasing lots of different kernels for their phones. As mentioned above, the kernel is what determines the speeds your have available in your overclocking app. So you will have to flash one of their kernels on top of their ROMs before you can overclock. You will have to experiment with different speeds to see which kernel has the right speeds for your phone. But to narrow it down: Every phone seems capable of 690MHz, whilst 720 and 760 will only work if you're lucky. Same goes for the underclocking speed, everyone can do 350MHz, but not everyone's phone can go lower. So 350 - 690MHz is a good choice if you don't want to mess around trying out kernels.

    This app is very easy to set up.

    1) Under the 'Settings when screen on' heading:

    - Set the adjustment method to interactive.

    - Set the minimum frequency as low as possible.

    - Set the maximum frequency as high as your hero can handle. (If your hero can only do 690 and you see the option 720/750, you're using the wrong kernel and need to go back to the start of this section)

    2) Under the Settings when screen off heading:

    - Disable 'Use screen-on settings'

    - Set the adjustment method to interactive

    - Set the minimum frequency as low as your phone can handle. (The same rule applies here, if your phone can't do below 350 and you don't see 350 as an option, you have the wrong kernel).

    3) Tick 'Enable CPU Settings'

    There are a few things to note with this app:

    - With the other two apps, if you set the overclock speed too high and you had the app set to start on boot, your phone would crash every time you switched it on. The only option would be to wipe the phone. In the same situation, CPUSpeed will disable it's self and allow you to pick a lower frequency.

    - Always do a dalvik-cache wipe when switching kernels And no, you wont permanently damage your phone by using a kernel that's too extreme.

    - Until now, I have always set my min/max settings to the same value. Why? Because I found that the phone would be slow to react and speed up the CPU when I needed it to, which made it feel laggy. However, the new Interactive governor (as opposed to Performance or Conservative) in the Froyd releases allows the phone to increase CPU speed instantly.
     

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  2. 1ceb0x

    1ceb0x Well-Known Member

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    A very good guide. Tought i'm using Setcpu because...well i don't know why but seems very good for me. and the widget on the screen has also the temp. of your processor. :)

    I need to put the option of overclocking on my "how to improve my battery life on my htc" guide :)


    L.E: i've added your guide to mine, because underclocking would be a major factor to the battery life. Thanks mate, my mind skipped that one out!
     
  3. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    I haven't used SetCPU much. But who knows, once I've written that half of the guide I may well switch to it :p

    It does seem to have a more comprehensive set of options, but I have heard others in the past say it is less stable. I don't know how true that is.

    EDIT: Looks like version 2 of SetCPU has been launched. I'll give it a try now.
     
  4. 1ceb0x

    1ceb0x Well-Known Member

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    Uhm, i don't know about version 2, :) mine is very stable, not one fc. and i'm using it for....2 weeks now! And the cpu is set, stable and runing. I see that in the SystemPanel lite. My processor is set at 691 mhz and underclock at ~320 mhz


    L.E: seems like i have version 2.0.1 :) I think this is the latest
     
  5. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    It is. I just downloaded that one from xda.

    There are lots of new features I've not seen in the previous versions I've tried. It does seem to be a better app so far :)

    [Sent via Taptalk]
     
  6. 1ceb0x

    1ceb0x Well-Known Member

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    Better than Overclock widget? :)
     
  7. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    Yes. It covers everything OC Widget does, but with more options.

    I will add it to the guide as soon as I get a chance :)
     
  8. messyhead

    messyhead Well-Known Member

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    I'm using SenseHero 5.1, but only the default frequencies seem to be available. Is this kernal not overclockable?
     
  9. mtnorbeach

    mtnorbeach New Member

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  10. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    Well, I don't use SenseHero ROMs, but according to his FAQ:

    So it sounds like you should be able to overclock on the latest ROM. In fact it should be doing it by default.

    Tick 'Use your frequencies' in OC Widget and they ought to appear. If not, you can always use the 'Click here to define' option to enable 694MHz and so on.
     
  11. Faqade

    Faqade Active Member

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    I just tried Overclock Widget and it's alright but I have a question, if I uninstall it will the cpu changes still be there or does the phone/cpu go back to the way it was before the install with standard factory settings? (I haven't damaged my phone or anything like that just curious :) )
     
  12. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    It's only a temporary change. If you uninstall it or remove the widget the CPU goes back to it's default speeds.
     
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  13. PMDColeslaw

    PMDColeslaw New Member

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    First off, GREAT GUIDE! I've been looking for some easy to understand info about setting cpu speeds.

    I'm using SetCPU with Darchkernel uUV2 710mhz. I have my default speeds set at 710 max and 691 min, and my screen off set at 245 max and 160 min.

    1) Is there anything wrong with these settings that you see?

    2) I seem to be having a huge lag when I first start to use the phone. It seems that once the CPU kicks in to 710mhx everything runs fast and smooth however if I pause for a second and then start again the lag is back. I thought that a 691 min setting would not be so laggy. I thought about setting max & min at 710 but I read somewhere that doing so can really hurt your device since it doesnt have a resting speed. Is that true and can you give any advice on getting rid of the lag?
     
  14. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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    Not if they work for you, no. :)

    Bearing in mind that this is the GSM Hero forum so our mileage may vary, my own Hero runs into display issues and has problems coming out of standby if I downclock below 245Mhz.

    Try reducing the minimum a bit, as those settings may simply be too similar. Maybe try something like 710/610 (for example... I don't know what freqs that kernel uses) and see if that helps. Personally I'm running 691/245 and the CPU ramps up instantly when required.

    Heat is the enemy, so provided it's not being cooked then the CPU life may be shortened by a few hours (at worst) in the long term. It will certainly cane the battery though. :)
     
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  15. Faqade

    Faqade Active Member

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    In response to this, I noticed after uninstalling SetCPU for a day or so in another program it was still showing the CPU speed as 610MHz but now it's showing 528MHz again? I noticed today that coming out of screen off the temp was showing as 41.5c even though in SetCPU the max. is 528MHz and now it's settled at around the 36.5c mark, I can't really see why as with the same settings and all that the other day it was between 27c-32c, any ideas as to why my phones running warmer?

    Thanks :)
     
  16. PMDColeslaw

    PMDColeslaw New Member

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    Try reducing the minimum a bit, as those settings may simply be too similar. Maybe try something like 710/610 (for example... I don't know what freqs that kernel uses) and see if that helps. Personally I'm running 691/245 and the CPU ramps up instantly when required.[/QUOTE]

    I've been playing with several different settings and it seems to do bet when the max and min match. However the main lag is when I wake up the phone. I guess thats just to be expected when you're going from245 to 710.

    Thanks for all the info btw
     
  17. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    PMDColeslaw: I have always stuck the min and max at the same level. When I tried setting a lower minimum speed, say 650-710, it seemed to get a bit laggy sometimes (in comparison). The lag when the screen turns on is just something you have to put up with, unfortunately.

    I haven't heard anything about a resting speed before, but your CPU will have time to 'rest' when the screen is off and underclocking kicks in :)


    So your CPU didn't drop back down after uninstalling SetCPU? Well, I think that the Villain ROM overclocks by default. They have certainly done that to their releases in the past. This is a quote from the VillainROM 12 download page:

    So it looks like you'll have to stick with an overclocking app to run at default frequencies.

    Also, did you reboot after uninstalling? I think Overclock widget stops having any affect as soon as the widget is removed, but I'm not sure if SetCPU works the same way; a reboot might be needed.

    As for the second part of your question, you're saying the phone was generating all this heat with the phone switched off? Which overclocking apps were running? Whichever one you're using, make sure it's set to sensible values for the screen off setting. (Look at your list of Profiles in SetCPU, you need one for when the screen's off).

    Which reminds me, I really need to add SetCPU to the guide :)
     
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  18. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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    Is this with the scaling_governor set to "on demand"? My theory is that the OS is attempting to adjust the frequency according to load but it can't decide between the two set. Giving it at least one frequency 'jump' between min and max seems to help it make its mind up. ;)
     
  19. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    Yeah that's right, it was on demand.

    So you're saying to leave a few middle ground speeds free in between the min and max? That does sound like a good idea. Not only does the CPU have more options, but the transition might be a bit less obvious.

    You know how each overclocking app gives lets you enable/disable which frequencies you have as an option? You could always enable the extra frequencies between your min/max. So like 650 to 710 could be a single jump or it could be lots of mini jumps.

    (That's amusing the CPU plays nice with all of the the non-stock frequencies).
     
  20. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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    It's only a suggestion. I've no hard evidence to back it up as I can't understand a lot of the technical docs. ;)

    They do? I'll have to dig around SetCPU further....

    Aren't the frequency steps 'set in stone' during kernel compilation?


    See the sig? Now running the VR12 kernel with the MCR4 ROM @ 691/245, with a problem-free screen-off profile of 325/176. :D
     
  21. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    I couldn't decide how to phrase it exactly. I didn't mean non-stock as in stock firmware frequencies.

    See, when you load Overclock widget, it gives you like 10 frequencies max to pick and choose from. But, mess around with the settings and there are actually loads of different frequencies the app can use. So when I said non-stock I meant frequencies that aren't auto detected by the overclock app :)

    If you want to see what I mean, tick 'Use own frequencies' and then choose 'Click here to define...'. That shows you the full list. So by default I have 652 - 691 - 710 ticked. But there are 4 more speeds within that range that are hidden by default.

    So, assuming the kernel will work with those frequencies that aren't auto-detected, you could make 'on demand' a bit smoother by enabling them.

    EDIT: Seems you're right about the allowed frequencies being set in stone. If I set both the min/max to one of these extra frequencies it doesn't work, it just goes to the nearest one of the original set of speeds.
     
  22. Faqade

    Faqade Active Member

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    @Xyro Cheers for the reply man, it seems to have calmed down now and it was running at 22c a couple of minutes ago so I don't know what it was before, gonna set up some extra profiles in SetCPU in addition to the temperature one. I didn't realise you had to add one for the screen off, I just assumed it automatically went down to the min. value when the screen was off and the cpu wasn't being used as much. Thanks again mate :)

    Oh btw the min/max values on mine at the time were 528/350MHz. Time to make those profiles and clock it up a bit more :D
     
  23. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    Yeah, I really should add SetCPU to the guide. Haven't had the time though recently.

    But I have a profile for screen off, temperature and low battery :)

    Also, whilst messing around before, I found out I was right; uninstall SetCPU whilst overclocked and it stays overclocked (at least until you reboot anyway).
     
  24. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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    For anyone interested in how Android handles CPU performance, the SetCPU user guide available here not only deals with the app but also explains the general principles in pretty-much plain English.
     
  25. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42 Moderator This Topic's Starter

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    Added a guide to CPUSpeed for anyone using Froyd :)
     

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