BananaPi M2 Zero overclocking

I’ve followed this guide, and my M2 zero seems fine up until 1,2Ghz. It refuses to be overclocked beyond that. However, it ran very stable for hours at 100% CPU load at 1,2Ghz, no over voltage settings. It does have a heat sink, and is cooled via a thermal tape on the bottom, and a heat sink on the top, to an all aluminum case that seems to distribute the heat evenly. Meaning that the heat from the heat sink, as well as the heat from the bottom of the board is transmitted to the aluminum casing, through the use of thermal tape and thermal pads.

My nearest estimates are 65C CPU (there’s no sensor, so hard to tell), and 45C case temperature (after hours of crunching BOINC).

But, overall it’s pretty slow for a 1,2Ghz CPU. I would say it is more comparable to a ~950Mhz to 1Ghz CPU, when overclocked. It’s probably because the Allwinner H2+ Cortex A7 CPU, is more of an in-order CPU, with power efficiency in mind, rather than performance (A9, A15,… are more used as big cores in a big-little configuration, the A7 cores are the little cores).

Overall, I find this unit works, but is dog slow. Even at 1,2Ghz, operating system is laggy. To make matters worse, the RAM is sorely lacking for even the most basic operating systems. To make the zero better, it would benefit from:

  • a) Built in EMMC or soldered on, 16GB flash memory (to host most of the latest operating systems, but 12GB would be an absolute minimum!)
  • b) 1GB of RAM (512 MB of RAM is too little for most Linux systems, save for ones without GUI)
  • c) A smaller design (think Nano design), when properly cooled. Though cooling from the bottom is really necessary on this board
  • d) A built in wifi antenna (using the board copper to amplify wifi signals like the Raspberry Pi zero does. For that one could use multi-layer copper base boards, which will also help with distributing the heat away from the SOC.
  • e) the use of dual CPUs. Either a BIG/Little design, or just dual socket CPU (8 A7 cores on a board).

Anyway, overclocking the CPU works, Anyone has any experience on the RAM and GPU? The system doesn’t work like a Raspberry Pi.