Google’s Nexus 7 tablet overclocked to 2.0 GHz

by: Gary SimsAugust 27, 2012

Google’s popular Nexus 7 tablet is at the bleeding edge of the consumer tablet market with its brand new OS (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor and features like NFC. Now some clever developers over at XDA have pushed the device to its limits with the release of a new kernel (the core of the Android operating system) that is able to tweak the Nexus 7’s CPU and overclock it to 2.0GHz!

The stock Nexus 7 runs at 1.2GHz (and 1.3 GHz when using only a single core), so the push to 2.0 GHz means increasing the frequency by 800 MHz, a factor of 1.6. Overclocking can be a tricky business, as not only does the main CPU frequency need to be changed but the GPU frequency needs to be regulated as well. On top of this, there is the issue of the core CPU voltage (which generally needs to be increased) and the temperature of the CPU. What this means, in real terms, is that the right balance between frequency, voltage and stability needs to be found.

It looks as if the kernel developers clemsyn and simms22 have struck that balance as they have their tablets running at 2.0GHz. A standard Nexus 7 scores about 3570 on the Quadrant CPU, I/O and 3D graphics benchmarking program; for comparison, an HTC One X scores around 4500. Using the new tweaked kernel, simms22 managed to score 8000. This new record smashed the 7130 scored by the developer ‘Morfic’ who overclocked his Nexus 7 to 1.64 GHz per core.


There are faster versions of the Tegra 3 on the market. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity uses a 1.6 GHz clocked Tegra 3 T33, while the HTC One X, mentioned earlier, uses a Tegra 3 T30 which runs at 1.4Ghz when using all four cores. The main reason that the lower speed CPU is used in the Nexus 7 is battery life. More megahertz means more power consumption which, in turn, means less battery life.

However the efforts (and skills) of the XDA developers are to be applauded. Are the days of stock 2.0GHz tablets and phones just around the corner? Do you prefer speed over battery life? Let me know by leaving a comment below.



  • Alex13809

    I prefer both. (asking a lot here, but still) I wish that SoC manufacturers would create a quad (or even 4+1) SoC that would clock all the way up to 2GHz, even if it means less battery life. Obviously it would only stay there during very intensive tasks. But before this can happen Google really needs to structure Android to be more efficient and to take advantage of the extra processors.

  • I am on the forum where is is being developed and only a couple of people can get this high. Most people can’t get to 1.9ghz. And lot can’t even make it past 1.7ghz. Would be so cool if most nexus 7’s could handle this, but only a few golden devices seem to handle it. Personally I would much prefer a more powerful GPU over CPU, and would prefer a more powerful GPU over battery life. Most tasks on tablets and smartphones don’t need more than a decent clocked dual core SOC at the moment, but the GPU is the first thing to go out of date in an SoC, so I would prefer a much…much more powerful GPU over CPU and battery. That’s just my opinions anyway :)

  • I overclock my HTC Inspire 4G to 2.0 GHz sometime when need to use power consuming games but switch to normal once the need is over.

    • EddieT

      they mean Quad-Core 2 GHz, yours is a single core phone :) ..but we appreciate your contribution how you use your speed