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New Raspberry Pi 4 VLI Firmware Lowers Temperature by 3-5°C

Orange Pi Development Boards

The opposite day I examined Raspberry Pi 4 with an heatsink since earlier multi-threaded benchmarks clearly made the board throttle when operating those without any cooling answer.

The blokes at the Raspberry Pi Foundation someway observed my publish, and I acquired an e mail from Eben Upton explaining a brand new Raspberry Pi 4 VLI firmware had “some thermal optimizations that are not installed by default on early production units.” I did not understand VLI at first, however ultimately understood this referred to the firmware for VIA VL805 PCIe USB 3.zero controller on the board.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation offered me with a check model of the firmware, which they’ll release within the next few days, or weeks after testing is completed.

Now in the event you’re going to test a platform that may throttle as a consequence of overheating, it’s essential you achieve this at fixed room temperature. I work in a workplace where the air conditioner is about to 28°C, in order that’s concerning the temperature I have here.

Earlier than happening with the check I’ve installed rpi-monitor to have good CPU temperature charts afterward:

Let’s run sbc-bench with out heatsink with previous VLI firmware (version 00013701):

7-zip by no means accomplished, because it was killed 3 times because of operating out of reminiscence. Perhaps it happened because with a 1GB RPi 4, we’re proper on the restrict. Enabling ZRAM might help.

But we do have our temperature knowledge for the complete benchmark. We began at 67°C idle, and the spike to over 80°C (11:26 to 11:30) is strictly during 7-zip multi-threaded benchmark:

Raspberry Pi 4 SBC Bench TemperatureTempeature during sbc-bench – Click to Enlarge

Now let’s set up the firmware in a terminal within the Raspberry Pi 4:

For reference the device may also be used to backup the firmware, and write to any location in the EEPROM:

In case you mess up you’ll lose USB connectivity, however consumer might should ssh or serial into the system and re-run the device to flash an older firmware to recuperate. It’s unclear whether early adapter should update the firmware manually, or it is going to be carried out mechanically as part of the update course of. That’s one of the cause I can’t share the information now.

Raspberry Pi 4 VLI Firmware Idle TemperatureClick on to Enlarge

However it does seem to have some effect on idle temperature. Previously I obtained slightly below 65°C, however now I get just above 61°C as soon as it stabilizes, so the brand new firmware does lower the temperature by 3 to 4°C because of lower energy consumption. Sadly, I can’t measure the latter as my energy meter is lifeless.

Now let’s run sbc-bench again with out heatsink and the brand new VLI firmware (version 0137a8):

This time all three runs for 7-zip might full for some reasons, and while throttling nonetheless did happen, it did to a lesser extent, and the temperature was clearly lower during to single thread benchmarks (~70°C vs 75°C with previous firmware).

Raspberry Pi 4 VLI-805 Firmware TemperatureClick to Enlarge

For reference, 7-zip benchmark score with heatsink averaged 5,397 points, with out heatsink + previous VLI firmware 4,423 factors, but the “no heatsink with new VLI firmware” results are a lot better at 5,298 factors. You’ll additionally observe the first two runs have been nearly as good as the outcomes with heatsink, however the last one dropped to only underneath 5,000 points, so for full load beneath and prolonged time period a heatsink continues to be advisable for full performance. It’s still impressive what a brand new firmware can obtain.

You might marvel what the Raspberry Pi Foundation has modified. Thomas Kaiser might have discovered the rationale prematurely, as now ASPM (Lively-State Energy Administration) seems to be enabled:

This was not the case with the previous VLI firmware. The complete lspci output might be discovered here.