It is no secret that we like a good hack and [Federico Amedeo Izzo] explains a hack for the PinePhone that can double the speed used for the device’s memory chips. Like many good hacks, it all started with a question. [Federico] was reading a review of the PinePhone Pro (the source of the image for this post) and apparently, the eMMC memory in that phone clocks in at about 150 MB/s. The original phone gets about 50-80 MB/s.
Reading some datasheets, it looked like the same chips are in both phones and should support not only DDR52 mode — the mode the original phone uses — but also HS200 and HS400 modes which top out at 200 and 400 MB/s, respectively. But there was one problem.
The eMMC used has two power supply lines: one for the memory and another for the interface management hardware. If the interface power supply is at 3.3V, the chip can’t support the faster modes. The original phone, of course, does provide 3.3V to this chip and, apparently, the new phone uses a lower supply.
However, the design does have a jumper that can select 3.3V or 1.8V for the chip. Of course, a jumper in a little phone is really a zero ohm surface mount resistor but you can remove it and resolder it to get the different voltage. Of course, you also need software support for the faster mode and there is a warning that you won’t be able to boot from the eMMC unless you have a kernel that supports the faster mode after you do this modification.
Testing on two different phones saw speed increases from 55 MB/s to 125 MB/s and 80 MB/s to 110 MB/s. Not shabby for a quick soldering job.