The Nokia N900 is one of the most powerful mobile devices around. While the specs sheet of the Nokia N900 will say that it is powered by an OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex A8 CPU, this high-end CPU is composed of three microprocessors:
- the Cortex A8 running at 600 MHz used to run the OS and applications
- the PowerVR SGX 530 GPU made by Imagination Technologies which supports OpenGL ES 2.0 (for graphics acceleration, I think) and
- a TMS320C64x, the digital signal processor, running at 430 MHz used to run the image processing (camera), audio processing (telephony) and data transmission. The main purpose of the TMS320 C64x is to relieve the Cortex A8 from having to process audio and video signal.
However, if all that power is still a little underwhelming for you, the N900 can be overclocked. The cortex A8 processor is actually designed to run between 600mhz and 1Ghz, so it is sort of safe to overclock up to 1GHz. However, some crazy fellas out there have actually successfully over-clocked the N900 up to 1.7 Ghz. What were they hoping to run on the N900 at that frequency?
Well, I have been wondering how the N900 performs if overclocked. This morning, I finally took the plunge and overclocked my device. I understand the risks, but feel safe below the 1GHz that the A8 was designed to handle.
This is the power of the N900 – you can make it into whatever you want it to be. You can overclock to squeeze more power out of it, or underclock to squeeze more battery life out of it. You can even install Debian and run full Linux desktop applications like OpenOffice or any other app that catches your fancy.
For starters, I have fixed it running at 850 MHz max, and it feels snappier. Battery life hasn’t been impacted in anyway yet, and the device is not running any warmer. I may give 1 GHz a try when I have primed my nerves enough to handle it. If 1 GHz works fine – and why should it not? – who needs a SnapDragon device?