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Why do you suppose Motorola kept the Droid clocked so low?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by vincentp, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. vincentp

    vincentp Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I've been wondering this for a while. Ever since we originally got access to overclocking kernels, I've though to myself - wow, this phone is capable of a lot more than it purports to be. I can't imagine this was a business or persuasive upgrade decision, because the company didn't release a new flagship for almost 8 months and had to compete with Snapdragon along the way.

    Clearly the processor is capable of running stable at a minimum of 800Mhz on all of these phones, but Motorola chose to keep the speed at 550, I believe. Battery life has never decreased for me when overclocking the phone. Actually at first, with profiles available, my battery life got better. Heat has never really been an issue, and my phone shows no signs of deterioration. I understand that it lowers the life of the processor, but generally these companies want the phones to not last forever so we end up upgrading within a year or two.

    Other chips such as the Snapdragon don't seem to be so vastly underclocked when compared to their potential. I don't know the upper limits on these, but I know our Droid's can easily pull 1200's when they are stock at 550. That's more than a two-fold increase. I don't think a 1Ghz Snapdragon can be routinely overclocked to 2Ghz.

    I've been contemplating posting this for a while. I don't know if anyone has any ideas or has thought about this, but I'd like to hear from others. Anyone else think it's really odd that they intentionally failed to unleash the potential in these chips?

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  2. VIO

    VIO Android Enthusiast

    I've also been wondering this. I would guess it has to do with the tradeoff between performance and battery life (which is probably more important to most people). But yeah I think the root community has proven that this phone runs just fine at 800Mhz.

    The Droid's ability to be over clocked is a consequence of the manufactoring and architecture of the chip itself. My understanding is that the Droid is clocked where it is because it represents the highest (well close to the highest) safe/stable speed that all Droid's can run at. The same chip design that allows for some phones to reach upwards of 3ghz also limits others to much lower speeds.

    I remember reading about it (i wish I could find it) but the gist of it was that each chip can be anywhere along the "acceptable" spectrum for stability at a given speed, and with the Droid that range is very wide.

    Even still, I don't think we've ever heard of a phone that can't handle 800Mhz but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
  3. UBRocked

    UBRocked VZW Nexus Please!!!

    I for one have basically condemned Motorola for clocking the droid at 600MHz. What a stupid decision IMO. The processor was built to run much faster and forget about 800MHz...I don't know anyone that cannot run 1.0GHz on their phones (maybe some kernels won't work...but if there is anyone that cannot run @ 1.0 GHz...please post it! ;)

    Now, I think that 800MHz is a COMPLETELY stable speed for ALL Droids. I wanted them to release a new kernel with the 2.2 OTA but I don't think that will happen. I just feel bad for the unrooted folks who COULD have a faster phone if Moto got with the program. :rolleyes:

    I think this was a business decision. 600MHz was a respectable speed when the Droid was released and leaves room for future upgrades without really pushing the limits. No excuse now...our Droid is soon to be obsolete in terms of new phone sales.

    There have been a lot of advancements in cell phones in the last few years. 2 MP was about the best camera you could get a few years back in the US. Meanwhile, European phones were commonly running 5 MP at the exact same time. Obviously the technology was there...but why were the bigger cameras absent from US phones? Business! This is the same reason I believe that Moto WILL produce the 2.0GHz superphone. It's probably been a reality for a couple of years already...just held back due to squeezing us for every upgrade along the way.

    Rooting and overclocking doesn't just allow us to push the limits of our phone...it allows us to realize the inherent potential that has been held back so a pseudo upgrade can be released in 6 months :eek:
  4. istolvampire

    istolvampire Android Enthusiast

    At 1ghz my phone is extremely hot all the time. At 800ghz my phone only get hot when playing games or long video so I keep it at that. The only reason I stay at 800 is heat. The chip can run 1ghz just fine.
  5. Bunsen Honeydew

    Bunsen Honeydew Android Enthusiast

    Its all about maximizing profit. If it shipped with a 1 GHz processor, why would the droid 2, and the X to a lesser extent, be coming out?
  6. OMJ

    OMJ Bazinga

    I think that it is due to manufacturing inconsistencies. No two droids are alike and some get really hot at 1ghz. Can you imagine all the bad press the droid would have gotten if it was constantly hot enough to fry an egg.
  7. supersaki

    supersaki Android Enthusiast

    I think this is the reason moreso than the conspiracy to force us to upgrade to the droid 2.

    It does come down to money: Motorola didn't want to pay for a 800mhz/1ghz chip. They order a chip that TI has certified to run at 550/600, and can therefore pay much less than if they buy a chip that TI certifies to run at 800/1ghz.

    When TI makes the chips, most probably do run fine at 800/1ghz, but some can only handle 600. Rather than scrap these, they sell them cheaper. Motorola only orders the cheaper ones, but TI doesn't have that many, so they fill the order with ones that were tested to run higher speeds. It costs TI just as much to make that 600mhz one as the 1ghz ones because they come from the same slab of silicon. That is why some peoples phones handle 1.2ghz+ and some seem to struggle past 800.

    Motorola has to cater to the lowest common denominator here.
    Or worse, if their phone never gets past the 'M' boot logo.
  8. twistedlim

    twistedlim Android Expert

    I may be way off base here but when I had my setcpu settings to 900/900 and had the battery temp set for 50c I would hit the temp warning when the phone was on the charger and running navigation. It just seemed to get too hot. I clocked it back to 500/400 when on the charger (which I always use when in navigation) and dimmed the screen and I did not get a temp warning. Perhaps they were just trying to cover their butts for a worst case situation by figuring out at what cpu setting they could not damage the phone for any application.

    For everyday use...email, phone, web browsing etc 900/900 seems to work fine with no overheating but the navigation is always computing and doing so at 900 while the phone is taking a charge. Maybe it is just my phone or the way I have it set up.

    That is the great thing about setcpu for me. When I put it on a charger now it will never clock faster than 500 so I am reasonably sure I won't overheat. PS I don't game or really use the phone on the charger for anything other than navigation unless I am in a pinch.
  9. BlueIce5249

    BlueIce5249 Android Expert

    People forget when the Droid came out people were unsure of anything not named iPhone. There wasn't a big "need for speed", if you will. People just wanted a reliable alternative to iPhone that had good battery life, solid performance, and a great network. Motorola provided that. They didn't have to run it at 800Ghz.

    Also remember how fast Android OS has advanced since then. When MotoDroid came out 2.0 was experimental at best. In retrospect it's easy to look back and say what would 800ghz do?! But when this phone was being developed and put out, people were saying 800ghz? Who the hell needs 800ghz?!?!

    Mainly - there just wasn't a need for it. People just wanted a solid, reliable, fun device to combat the iPhone. Motorola provided that and other companies have built off it. IMO we should thank Motorola for the Droid.
  10. UBRocked

    UBRocked VZW Nexus Please!!!

    I totally understand what you are saying but fact is...they COULD make a change now if they wanted to (it doesn't have to be 2009 anymore ;)). Adding a 800MHz kernel with an automatic scaling for periods of the phone being idle is being done all the time by the aftermarket developer community without issue. If the phone's GPS is on, or phone is charging, the clock could drop to 550. I'm just saying we've been doing it for 8 months...Anyone fried their CPU?

    Hell, they clocked it DOWN to 550MHz! Really? Does 600MHz run too hot also? LOL

    I'm always running at 1.1 or 1.2GHz so it doesn't affect me personally, but I bet a lot of people who don't want to root their phone (for whatever reason) would appreciate a 30% increase in speed. If root wasn't an option...what would you want? 800MHz, my phone is usable. 550MHz is really iffy for me with all the programs I constantly have running.
  11. DarthMuffin

    DarthMuffin Newbie

    It might not be just the processor that's the limit, maybe there's something in a supporting chipset. Maybe when the droid was being prototyped a certain chip only supported 550mhz and the part was later updated.

    My bet is on stability and longevity. I can only imagine the kind of tests that Motorola must put their equipment through. These have to run fine and be stable when some guy runs it all day in the sun on the beach in Dubai at 120 degrees, and run in a blizzard at 10,000 feet.
  12. VIO

    VIO Android Enthusiast

    ah! good point I think we could all guess that in this case it would be the battery. Hell most of us are using battery temp as a guideline for safe cpu temps right? I'm able to break the 50C mark on a hot day with no activity.

    Maybe it does have to do with acceptable battery temps.
  13. OMJ

    OMJ Bazinga

    Personally I put more stock in the battery temp than the processor temp simply cause the processor can handle much higher temps than the battery can.
  14. VIO

    VIO Android Enthusiast

    sure but the battery is more or less tied to cpu speed since it runs hotter at higher speeds. So while the cpu may be running in safe temps, the battery could be frying
  15. OMJ

    OMJ Bazinga

    did you mean to switch those?

    The cpu can not only handle much higher temps but can handle them longer. Also if the droid cpu gets to hot it just reboots the phone. I have yet to hear of anyone frying a droid cpu. Have heard of a lot of people whose batteries have gone bad though which could very much be tied to overheating
  16. UBRocked

    UBRocked VZW Nexus Please!!!

    Roger that! But how are they going to make a 2GHz phone without using some sort of governor? They wont...they can't. So why not crank it up to 800MHz and put a high temp alarm that automatically clocks the speed back to 550? We can do it with SetCPU right?

    My point is that Moto could offer 800Mhz without issues, put in the proper safeguards and one of the junior programmers should be able to make it happen in an hour... They won't because they want you to buy a new phone. And if it were not for all the capabilities we have because of the aftermarket community...I would have already bought a new phone :p Why did Moto lock the boot loader on the X?

    It's business fellas...plain and simple. Make it as hard as possible for you to upgrade your phone on your own. Not a big deal to most DX owners today...but will be in 6 months or a year. They are going to want those users to buy the latest and greatest.

    Think about it...stock droid (D1)...today. Would you be happy with it? Honestly? :thinking:
  17. OMJ

    OMJ Bazinga

    Man I was back on 2.0.1 for like an hour today and it was awful. I dont want to go back to that anytime soon
  18. UBRocked

    UBRocked VZW Nexus Please!!!

    I know! LOL! That is why I love this place so damn much! ;)
  19. VIO

    VIO Android Enthusiast

    yeah I'm saying what you are saying. One of the reasons the CPU may be clocked so low is NOT because it cannot handle higher speeds but because the Battery cannot handle higher speeds, because it gets to hot, and fries.

    ok so 800mhz isn't going to tax my battery that much but some people live in much hotter climates then myself where overheating is a constant concern.

    Also, yeah I think UBRocked is right on as well. It doesn't benefit Motorola or Verizon to make a phone live past the average life of a model. they want people to switch.
  20. BlueIce5249

    BlueIce5249 Android Expert

    Yeah they could make a change now, but it would make absolutely no sense from their perspective. They got 2 brand new and better phones being released that they're pushing. Why waste valuable resources on minorly updating a phone you're not selling anymore? They already have our money and they know when we're done with this phone we're pretty likely to buy a brand new Moto if they're still on top.
  21. inssane

    inssane Android Expert

    I will go with "normal end users are idiots" and thats part of the reason it's downclocked.

    You know that person who double clicks hyperlinks and keeps double clicking on icons when they don't open a program in half a second - if people were given faster phones, more things would break because of reasons like the aforementioned.
  22. darkside

    darkside Android Enthusiast

    I was actually running my droid stock for about a week until I finally got the cord to root it yesterday. And while the Rooted Droid may be 10x better, I would run a stock droid all day VS that POS Rooted eris that I had. Even a stock droid is still snappy and doesn't have that much if any lag at all.
  23. PhilosoRaptor

    PhilosoRaptor Android Enthusiast

    For the extra RAM. I'm OC'd to 1.1 GHz and am going to the Droid 2 just for the extra RAM. Even at 1.1 GHz, the Droid is still pretty laggy with just a few apps open or if you're just navigating.

    To answer the OPs question, it's not a matter of what the CPU is capable of running at, it's a matter of what it's rated for. I have an i7 920 CPU in my PC that's rated for 2.66 GHz, but it's been running at 3.8 GHz for almost a year now at 100% utilization 24/7 (I run folding@home on it), so it's clearly capable of it. This is also the case for almost all other 920s out there, most of them can hit 3.6 without any voltage adjustment whatsoever. But under whatever guidelines the manufacture tests the CPU under, it must have failed or had some sort of flaw in the die to keep it from being rated as high as a faster model (i.e. i7 940 or 965). That's about as well as I can explain it.
  24. supersaki

    supersaki Android Enthusiast

    I'll never be happy with an 'unhackable' phone ever again, but considering you can get a droid free with contract some places, yes.

    That's what I was trying to say, and agree that this is the reason.

Motorola Droid Forum

The Motorola Droid release date was November 2009. Features and Specs include a 3.7" inch screen, 5MP camera, 256GB RAM, processor, and 1400mAh battery.

November 2009
Release Date
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