The Samsung Galaxy S3 is quite a powerful device, thanks to its quad-core Exynos processor that is one of the fastest there is on the market. But for some, the default performance of the device is never enough, so they look for ways to get more out of the device. That’s where custom kernels come in – they allow one to overclock the processor to higher clock frequencies.
That’s not all they do though. Custom kernels also include default performance optimization that increases performance of device without needing to overclock (though overclock provides further speed boosts), RAM optimization, sound tweaks for better and improved sound, and more.
For the Galaxy S3, this guide puts together some of the best and popular custom kernels that you can use to overclock the phone’s processor. Also, there are step-by-step instructions included as well, to help you flash these kernels on your Galaxy S3 if you’re new to all this.
Important, please read! Overclocking a processor can be dangerous and cause instability, so be cautious when overclocking your device. Also, different phones have different limits, so your phone might not be able to handle a particular overclock frequency, while other devices may be stable at the same speed. So if you find a particular frequency to be unstable, try overclocking to a lower value.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can flash a custom kernel to overclock the Samsung Galaxy S3.
This hack and the guide below are compatible only and only with Galaxy S3, model number i9300. It’s not compatible with the US variants or other devices. Check your device’s model number in: Settings » About phone.
The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky and you should not attempt anything if you don’t know completely what it is. If any damage occurs to your device, we won’t be held liable.
How to Install Custom Kernel on Galaxy S3
- First and foremost, make sure you are using a stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean ROM by Samsung. This will NOT work on ROMs like CyanogenMod or AOKP, nor will these kernels work on Android 4.2 and above.
- Install ClockworkMod (CWM) Recovery on your Galaxy S3 by using the Galaxy S3 Toolkit → here. This is needed to first make a backup of your stock ROM, so that if anything goes wrong, you can restore everything to the way it was before flashing the kernel.
- Once you have installed CWM recovery, turn off your phone. Then, press and hold these keys together: Volume Up + Home + Power till the screen turns on, after which the phone will boot into recovery. Using the volume buttons to scroll up and down and the power button to select, select Backup and Restore, then select Backup to backup your current ROM and kernel. After backup is finished, reboot the phone from the main recovery menu by using the reboot system now option.
- Download and install the software Kies on your computer, which will install the necessary drivers for the phone.
- Download the kernel you wish to flash on the phone from their respective links below. Remember to download the files with .tar or .tar.md5 at the end of the file name, don’t download .zip files.
Perseus Kernel | Adam Kernel | Siyah Kernel
- Download the Odin PC software. If you are new to this, Odin is what is used to flash stuff – firmwares, kernels, etc. – on Samsung phones. We’ll use Odin to flash the firmware file obtained in step 3.
Download Odin3 v3.04 | Filename: Odin3-v3.04.zip
- Extract the contents of the Odin3-v3.04.zip file to a folder on your computer.
- Now, turn off your Galaxy S3 and wait for it to shut down completely.
- Then, put the phone into download mode. To do so, press and hold these keys together: Volume Down + Home + Power till the screen turns on. Then press Volume Up to continue to enter download mode.
- Open Odin by double-clicking on the Odin3 v3.04.exe file obtained in step 7 after extracting Odin3_v3.04.zip.
- Important! Connect your phone to PC now. You should get the message “Added !!” under Odin’s message box in the bottom left.
If you don’t get this message, make sure you installed drivers correctly as given in step 4. If it still doesn’t work, try changing to another USB port on the computer and also use the USB ports on the back if you have a desktop PC.
- Click on the PDA button in Odin, then browse to and select the kernel file that you downloaded before.
- Important! Do not make any other changes in Odin except selecting the required files as given in step 12. Leave all other options as they are. Make sure Re-Partition check box is not selected.
- Now, click the Start button to start flashing the kernel on your phone. When the flashing is complete and is successful, you’ll get a PASS message (with green background) in the left-most box at the very top of the Odin, and the phone will automatically reboot. When you see the Samsung logo, you can safely unplug the cable.
What do if Odin gets stuck or doesn’t do anything: If ODIN gets stuck on setup connection or at any stage of this process after you’ve hit the Start button, and doesn’t seem to be doing anything, or if upon completion of the process you get a FAIL message (with red background) in ODIN, do this: disconnect the phone from the PC, close ODIN, remove battery for 4-5 seconds, re-insert it, turn phone on in Download mode again, and do the procedure again from Step 10.
- After the phone reboots, you can overclock the processor using an app such as SetCPU, No-Frills CPU Control, Tegrak Overclock or any similar app. Again, be careful and test different overclock frequencies to find the most stable overclock. And don’t forget to try a different kernel in order to see which works best for you.
- What to do if phone stops booting up: Remove and re-insert the battery. Then, boot into CWM recovery (like you did in step 3 above), select the Backup and Restore option, select Restore, then select your backup from the list to restore the previous kernel and ROM. Once done, reboot the phone.
Your Galaxy S3 is now running a custom kernel that will allow you to overclock its processor to gain more performance from it. Do let us know how it works!