Overclocking has always been one of the biggest reasons to root Android devices including the Note 3. It can give you full control over the CPU, allowing you to get more juice out of it. And a lot of people are worried that their CPU will burn up into thin air but on the contrary, mobile CPU processors are different from regular computer processors in that they have been designed to not burn up in case things get hot.
What if I blow up my CPU?
That said, if you are worried about burning out your CPU from too much overclocking, I don’t believe that is physically possible, your CPU will simply shut down or make your phone reboot. Unlike desktop processors, these mobile processors have been designed so users can abuse the hell out of them. I’ve overclocked more than 50+ Android devices (and have them run as daily driver) to the maximum for the last 4 years, I have yet to seen a failed CPU from it.
So, do you want to make your Note 3 run fast as a Note 4? First, the Qualcomm 800 processor on the Note 3 is actually a really good processor for that as it allows stable overclocking to 2.726Ghz, that is actually slightly faster than stock Note 4 frequency of 2.649Ghz. (On the other hand, Note 4’s Qualcomm 805 processor can overclock to around 2.9Ghz but not beyond that with stability.)
Overclock Snapdragon 800 to match Snapdragon 805 Frequency!
There are always processors that can be overclocked more than others and if you are a Note 3 user, you are in luck as Qualcomm 800 can be easily overclocked from its stock 2.3Ghz to 2.726Ghz no problem, giving you nearly 20% boost. And yes, overclocking it that much will give you decreased battery life but in my testing the battery life still outperformed one on Note 4 (due to 1080P instead of 1440P screen and your screen eats up most of your battery life, not CPU).
For my overclocking experiment, I wanted to get the best operating system running so I loaded the latest Android 5.0 TouchWiz firmware on my T-Mobile Note 3 and also the latest CM12 nightly on my SM-N9005, both with Leak kernel installed.
Kernel of Choice for Note 3 Overclockers – Lean Kernel!
Lean Kernel is probably the best custom kernel you can use for your Note 3 for overclocking as the developer has been around and makes some excellent kernels. It is available for most Note 3 variants without a locked bootloader.
When I first did my benchmarking tests with Antutu fully overclocked to 2.726Ghz, I actually didn’t get better results. In fact, my scores were lower than stock at times. There’s one little change I made a big difference. I knew from my experiences overclocking Litecoin rigs (for making crypto-currency) that sometimes you can undervolt your highest frequencies to bring the temperature down. I did exactly that, turned voltage at 2.726Ghz from 1170 to 1140. And the results were amazing, I was finally able to break through 48K on Antutu benchmarks! (My stock Note 4 on KitKat did 46K on Antutu.)
Is it stable enough?
Yes, I’ve run the benchmarks for about 10 times straight, my phone got super hot but no reboots, nothing!
So, if you do want to supercharge your Note 3, definitely give the Lean kernel a try and do let me know what is the highest Antutu benchmark scores you were able to get! Or if you were able to use another kernel, let me know what kernel/settings you used.
Note – To get the correct benchmarks scores, make sure your phone cools down all the way before running Antutu. Running them one after another will cause your CPU to get hot and your results may be hindered.
How to Install Lean kernel?
You can install Lean kernel of the following Note 3 running Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Download Lean Kernel for TouchWiz Lollipop – SM-N9005, T-Mobile SM-N900T, Canadian SM-N900W8 (These are the versions I used since performance may be different on other versions, try this one first then if you get it working, get the latest version here.) This can be installed on any Note 3 running latest Lollipop TouchWiz ROM/stock ROM.
Download Lean Kernel for AOSP/CM12 Lollipop – SM-N9005, T-Mobile SM-N900T, Sprint SM-N900P, Canadian SM-N900W8 (These are the versions I used since performance may be different on other versions, try this one first then if you get it working, get the latest version here.) This can be installed on any Note 3 running latest Lollipop CM12/AOSP ROM.
Before you install the kernel, make sure you backup boot image (which is the kernel) in TWRP Recovery. (I highly recommend TWRP Recovery as it allows you to do make backup of your kernel only and not the whole ROM, if you are on CWM, you can use Flashify to install TWRP easily.) This way, if something goes wrong, you can quickly restore your boot image (kernel) and restore you phone.