Learn How to Overclock a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

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Key Takeaways

  • The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W tin beryllium overclocked to boost performance, making it perfect for much demanding portable projects and retro games emulation.
  • Overclocking whitethorn trim nan lifespan of nan Pi Zero 2 W, truthful proceed pinch caution.
  • For champion results, adhd cooling measures to forestall overheating and thermal throttling.

Like different Raspberry Pi single-board computers, nan Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W tin beryllium overclocked to boost its performance. Find retired really to overclock your Pi Zero 2 W’s CPU and GPU to make it tally faster.

Why Overclock Your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W?

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is simply a immense upgrade connected nan original Pi Zero models, boasting nan aforesaid Broadcom BCM2710A1 SoC arsenic connected nan full-size Pi 3. This enables it to tally immoderate workloads astatine up to 5 times faster than a Pi Zero.

In operation pinch its pocket-size shape facet and $15 value tag, this makes nan Pi Zero 2 W perfect for usage successful portable projects. Typically it will beryllium tally headless, without a show aliases keyboard, and you’ll access nan Raspberry Pi remotely via SSH.

If you want to usage nan Pi Zero 2 W arsenic a desktop strategy pinch a GUI, however, it whitethorn look a small laggy compared to a Pi 4 aliases Pi 5. By overclocking its CPU (and GPU), you tin springiness it a spot of other zip. This should besides beryllium useful for emulating retro games systems.

The downside to overclocking is that it could trim nan lifespan of your Pi Zero 2 W. It whitethorn besides void your warranty if you usage nan force_turbo=1 mounting successful nan config.txt record to alteration higher overvoltage levels (over 6). So overclock astatine your ain risk—especially if pushing it to higher speeds.

Keep Your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Cool

Running your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W astatine a higher velocity results successful it producing much heat. Once it reaches 80°C (176°F), nan SoC will automatically commencement throttling backmost nan CPU cores, reducing their velocity until nan somesthesia drops. If nan somesthesia gets up to 85°C (185°F), maximum throttling will beryllium triggered, including for nan GPU.

While we managed to execute an overclock of 1.2GHz pinch conscionable a bare Pi Zero 2 W board, you whitethorn find that adding immoderate cooling will thief to support nan somesthesia down, particularly if moving dense loads for immoderate magnitude of time. This cooling could beryllium successful nan shape of a heatsink aliases a fan—or moreover both, specified arsenic pinch The Pi Hut’s Dual-Fan Heatsink.

How to Overclock a Raspberry Pi 2 W

Just for illustration connected different Raspberry Pi models moving nan modular operating system, Raspberry Pi OS (previously known arsenic Raspbian), you tin change nan timepiece velocity of nan Pi Zero 2 W’s system-on-chip (SoC) by modifying nan config.txt settings file.

It’s a bully thought to commencement by updating and upgrading each nan strategy packages. If you’re utilizing nan desktop GUI, unfastened a terminal model by clicking its icon successful nan apical paper bar, aliases via Menu > Accessories > Terminal, and enter:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

This whitethorn good return a fewer minutes to cheque for nan latest package packages and past update nan system.

Install Monitoring Tools

Before overclocking nan Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, we’ll instal a mates of useful devices to comparison before-and-after capacity and temperature. First, instal nan Neofetch strategy info tool:

sudo apt install neofetch

To spot nan existent strategy info, run:


It should show nan Pi Zero 2 W’s default CPU velocity of 1GHz. Next, instal nan "stress" workload-generating tool:

sudo apt install accent

If you’re utilizing nan “Bullseye” type aliases earlier of Raspberry Pi OS (or Raspbian), you tin instal nan Stressberry stress-testing instrumentality with:

pip3 install stressberry

If utilizing nan latest “Bookworm” type of Raspberry Pi OS, however, you’ll request to instal Stressberry successful a Python virtual situation (we called ours “overclock”):

python -m venv overclock
cd overclock
source bin/activate
pip3 install stressberry

You tin now do an first accent trial astatine nan Pi Zero 2 W’s default timepiece velocity for comparison pinch nan overclocked results later. Run this bid (in nan Python virtual situation connected “Bookworm”) for a 100-second trial utilizing each 4 CPU cores:

stressberry-run -n "My Test" -d 100 -i 30 -c 4 mytest1.dat

Once nan SoC has reached a unchangeable baseline temperature, nan accent trial will statesman and each statement will show nan existent CPU somesthesia and frequency, which should get up to 1000MHz (i.e. 1GHz).

Edit nan Config.txt File to Overclock

Now let’s do nan Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W overclock by changing nan CPU and GPU velocity settings, which will beryllium activated erstwhile it reboots. Open nan config.txt settings record successful nan nano matter editor:

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Add nan pursuing lines:

Editing nan config.txt record for an overclock

Here, we’re utilizing arm_freq to group nan CPU timepiece velocity to 1200MHz (1.2GHz), while besides utilizing core_freq to bump up nan GPU halfway velocity (from nan default 400MHz). See nan charismatic Raspberry Pi overclocking documentation for each nan imaginable options. The latest firmware automatically scales up nan voltage if nan strategy is overclocked, but you tin manually override this if needed (we didn’t), specified arsenic with:


Exit nano and prevention nan settings by pressing Ctrl + X, past Y and Enter. To activate nan overclock, reboot nan Pi Zero 2 W:

sudo reboot

Once it has rebooted, tally nan neofetch terminal bid again; you should spot nan caller CPU velocity of 1.2GHz.

Running neofetch for strategy info

Stress-Test Your Overclocked Pi Zero 2 W

If utilizing Raspberry Pi OS “Bookworm”, you’ll request to tally Stressberry from wrong your Python virtual environment, truthful reactivate that:

cd overclock
source bin/activate

Then tally nan aforesaid Stressberry trial arsenic earlier (with a different filename for nan output):

stressberry-run -n "My Test" -d 100 -i 30 -c 4 mytest2.dat

This clip you should spot that nan CPU reaches nan overclocked velocity of 1.2GHz. It will besides person a higher temperature—in our tests, pinch nary cooling added, it reached a maximum of 67.1°C (152.8°F), good beneath nan 80°C level astatine which thermal throttling would commencement to beryllium applied.

Running Pi Zero 2W accent test

With further cooling, specified arsenic a instrumentality aliases heatsink, immoderate users person managed to boost nan CPU velocity further, to 1.4GHz, and nan GPU to 700MHz, but mileage whitethorn alteration for different Pi Zero 2 W boards and nan cooling method used.

If overclocking astatine a definite level causes strategy instability, you should effort a much humble overclock. In immoderate cases, nan Pi Zero 2 W whitethorn not moreover footwear up to nan desktop, usually owed to a deficiency of capable power.

What if nan Pi Zero 2 W Won’t Boot?

If, aft changing nan overclocking settings successful config.txt, you find that your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W won’t footwear up, don’t fret. The easiest workaround is to simply clasp nan Shift cardinal during bootup to temporarily disable nan overclock; nan Raspberry Pi should past footwear normally.

If that doesn’t work, move disconnected nan Pi Zero 2 W, past region nan microSD paper and link it (using a USB paper reader) to different machine to edit nan config.txt record from there. You tin past change nan overclocking settings, aliases remark them retired by adding a # awesome astatine nan commencement of each line.

Overclocking Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Is Easy

If you request a small other processing powerfulness for your portable task aliases retro games system, it’s comparatively straightforward to alteration nan config settings to overclock a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. To thief debar thermal throttling of nan SoC, it’ll activity amended pinch immoderate shape of cooling.

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