Overclocking A Linksys NSLU2


[Roo] seems to think we’ve been neglecting the NSLU2 or “slug”. It’s true we have spent a lot of time fawning over the Linksys WRT54G instead. The slug is definitely worthy of attention though. It is a small network appliance with two USB ports that you are supposed to attach disk drives to for simple network storage. Add a little custom firmware and you’re free to use the USB ports for whatever you want.

The XScale processor in the slug comes underclocked from the factory. Following the instructions on the NSLU2-Linux wiki you can pop one resistor off of the circuit board to restore the full 266Mhz. Benchmarks, temperature, and power consumption after the change are covered.

14 thoughts on “Overclocking A Linksys NSLU2

  1. I was thinking about performing this hack a while ago, but I realized there wasn’t much benifit in having my SLug that fast all the tiem compared to the risks. Is it possible to install a switch so you could hot-switch between the CPU speeds?

  2. You’re not really overclocking, you’re restoring the chip to it’s normal clock speed (it ships underclocked). A hot-switch attempt would be more dangerous than simply adding a fan to the case, I’d wager. I’m thinking about buying one… if that happens I’ll probably overclock it and put it in a different chassis with an 80mm case fan, to be safe.

  3. what’s wrong with a hotswitch? I remember when PCs came with “Turbo” (== underclock) buttons which did exactly that. It looks like it would be electronically easy (although fiddly to solder) to replace the resistor with a switch+resistor combo, or even a transistor driven from a spare GPIO line for software speed control.

  4. #3 – i got one of these a couple of months ago and promptly removed the resistor. been running it in the original case (w/o an extra fan) since then with no problems at all.

  5. I got one of these almost a year ago but it was so damn slow that it’s been sitting on the shelf ever since (I always miss the dang return window). The results appear quite impressive and worth a shot.

    Thanks for the link!

  6. i read the intel specs and see that a hot switch wouldn’t change anything as the settings are read at boot time (As a few of you pointed out). However, would it cause damage to flip the switch when it is running? Or would the settings simply be ignored until a reboot?

  7. Speaking of custom firmware…I wish there were custom firmware for my DP-G321 so that I could connect any USB device to it. I’ve got an extra usb port itching to be exploited!

  8. I put on twonkyvision’s mediaserver and the performance was a little underwhelming. I performed the mod (literally 2-5 minutes) and now the mediaserver is significantly faster… like night and day. The main knock against this unit has always been slow transfer over the network. I’m going to experiment with it now to see if this mod speeds up these times.

    (oh, and google for “unslung” to return the shell functionality so you can actually do lots of interesting stuff with it)

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