One major complaint about One Laptop Per Child's XO laptop, is the speed of its Geode LX 700 CPU that runs at 433mhz. Most experienced computer users find it a little slow, and often compare it to computing in the late 90's.
On the other hand, OLPC's target market, children in the developing world who don't have a Dell or Xbox for comparison, don't seem to mind.
Still, for the serious geek, there is an easy fix for a slow processor: overclocking. That is making the processor run faster than it's designed to do. Now, thanks to bdleonard on OLPC News XO Hacks Forum, we have directions on how to overclock your XO laptop:
Overclocking of the Geode LX processor is easily accomplished by writing to a specific MSR (Model Specific Register). This is easily accomplished at the open firmware prompt. To get to the open firmware prompt you pressNow before you get crazy, overclocking a CPU isn't without risk - it may cause stability problems, data errors, and possibly hardware damage, and will generate excessive heat, a concern with the passively cooled XO laptop. Overclock at your own risk.
(the X in the upper left hand corner of the keyboard) immediately after booting the OLPC.
For this to work, you must have a developer key, or have previously disabled security on your OLPC.
- Type "4c000014" and press
- Type "rdmsr" and press
- Type "u." and press
(a hex number will be displayed)
- Again, type "u." and press
(a second hex number will be displayed, write it down)
- Now its time to overclock.
Regardless of your bravery, check out the results achieved by GoremanX:
I did some informal testing to see what speed improvements I get with overclocking. I've been able to run reliably at 566/233 (6e1) under Ubuntu from an SD card.With usage speeds jumping like that, soon we'll have Geode LX 700 drag racing!
For the record. 566mhz is a 30% improvement in processor speed over the stock 433mhz, and 233mhz is a 40% improvement in memory speed over 166mhz.
On average, I saw a 21.8% improvement in usable system speed at these overclocked ratings. In my opinion, Ubuntu ran much more smoothly and responsively at 566/233. I did not notice if battery life was noticeably affected.
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