Throttling the Raspberry Pi

If you run the Raspberry Pi as a small server, you may want to throttle the CPU when it’s not under load to save energy. Throttling the Raspberry Pi is easy and only requires changing a few settings in /boot/config.txt.

Here’s what I did with mine.

The lines I added are in boldface.

#uncomment to overclock the arm. 700 MHz is the default.
arm_freq=700
arm_freq_min=100
#
# for more options see http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt
core_freq=250
core_freq_min=75
sdram_freq=400
over_voltage=0
avoid_safe_mode=1
gpu_mem=192
overscan=1

If you run your Pi without a display, here’s a config that will save more power and memory by throttling the GPU and reducing its memory consumption:

#uncomment to overclock the arm. 700 MHz is the default.
arm_freq=700
arm_freq_min=100
#
# for more options see http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt
core_freq=75
core_freq_min=75
sdram_freq=400
over_voltage=0
avoid_safe_mode=1
gpu_mem=16
overscan=1

I also found this very thorough guide to saving memory and CPU cycles on the Pi. By replacing common OS components with lighter-weight alternatives, it’s possible to save around 16 MB of RAM, and more importantly, save some CPU cycles. Emulation tasks tend to run the CPU to nearly 100%.

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