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A Linux Program To Overclock Your AMD CPUs

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  • A Linux Program To Overclock Your AMD CPUs

    Phoronix: A Linux Program To Overclock Your AMD CPUs

    Besides Linux drivers for gaming peripherals (like mice and other things) being an area where Linux tends to struggle compared to the level of support and functionality offered under Windows, enthusiast-oriented programs for being able to overclock your CPU and RAM is another area where Linux really provides no suitable alternatives to the plethora of Windows utilities. There is though a new open-source program for manipulating certain AMD CPUs under Linux...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODY2MA

  • #2
    Wow, nice! Just when I was starting to lose hope that we'd ever see undervolting on Linux. (Kernel devs are completely against the idea).

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    • #3
      and they right. messing with hardware operating parameters from OS which is running on that hardware is not a very good idea. better do it via BIOS settings instead.
      but this program probably has been born because of limitation of laptop BIOS'es (limitation in configuration of those BIOS'es, proprietary BIOS'es all suck by definition).

      however, it's just a program. to work it needs kernel capabilities to change voltage. most likely it just changes voltage states of AMDs "cool & quiet" and etc.

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      • #4
        Uhm, I've been doing this for about 2 years now with k10ctl...

        FYI, you don't need any support in the kernel for overclocking/undervolting for K10 AMD CPUs.

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        • #5
          Wow, nice! Just when I was starting to lose hope that we'd ever see undervolting on Linux. (Kernel devs are completely against the idea).
          linux-phc has been working for me for years. I love it!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by garytr24 View Post
            linux-phc has been working for me for years. I love it!
            Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. PHC was proposed for inclusion into the kernel but rejected. If you are fine with patching and updating your own kernel, it works fine. I used to do that but I no longer have the time or inclination.

            Which is why I like this! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to support K8, so back to step one...

            Uhm, I've been doing this for about 2 years now with k10ctl...
            Yeah, that's good if you have a K10. I thought this new program would fix that but it seems that K8L is a very small subset of the K8 family. Too bad.

            and they right. messing with hardware operating parameters from OS which is running on that hardware is not a very good idea. better do it via BIOS settings instead.
            Modifying voltage via the BIOS usually disables cool'n'quiet which is counterproductive in the end (except if your CPU can operate its highest frequency at the smallest VID, which is rather unusual).

            I understand why the devs don't want this in the kernel, even if I don't really agree with their reasoning (more bug reports due to unstable settings). I believe this is one of those cases where the practical advantages outweight the potential issues: VID control can mean the difference between a quiet laptop fan and a screaming laptop fan. Unfortunately, Windows has a definite advantage here.

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            • #7
              D3D, .Net, C#, Windows, Windows, Microsoft.

              What do you like more BlackStar? Linux or Windows?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                Modifying voltage via the BIOS usually disables cool'n'quiet which is counterproductive in the end (except if your CPU can operate its highest frequency at the smallest VID, which is rather unusual).
                yes, but personally, i wouldn't risk running CPU at highest frequency with lower VID than default (i use constant lower voltage and frequency myself). from what i remember, VID & FID values for kernel control taken from AMD specs. and breaking the specs is not something mainstream would do.
                in Windows(tm) people do all sorts of dangerous and stupid crap, some of it vendors even officially endorse.

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                • #9
                  So, I have this question for about a year: why can't I downclock my cpu to its minimal value? I mean according to wikipedia I should have 8 different states (frequencies) but I can only use 3 in Linux.

                  This is a serious problem for my laptop when running on battery since the power consumption is proportional to the frequency. I can only run at 550 MHz while I should be able to do 200 something on a Turion Ultra X2 (zm82 2.2GHz). With a newer Athlon II P320 the lowest allowed state in Linux is 800 MHz and I think it is way too much.

                  Any thoughts are appreciated!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HokTar View Post
                    So, I have this question for about a year: why can't I downclock my cpu to its minimal value? I mean according to wikipedia I should have 8 different states (frequencies) but I can only use 3 in Linux.

                    This is a serious problem for my laptop when running on battery since the power consumption is proportional to the frequency. I can only run at 550 MHz while I should be able to do 200 something on a Turion Ultra X2 (zm82 2.2GHz). With a newer Athlon II P320 the lowest allowed state in Linux is 800 MHz and I think it is way too much.

                    Any thoughts are appreciated!
                    Well, TurionPowerControl (the program subject of the news, I'm the author) allows to use more pstates. I tried and had some sort of success accessing pstate 4, but found that it is not really so useful.

                    Tpc also allows to activate C1E bits to allow the processor go in C1E state.

                    Anyway don't think about the idle frequency, usually when the processor is idling it really consumes low power. Very important is also the voltage, usually on turion zm pstate 2 and pstate 1 voltage can be dropped down a lot.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, that's good if you have a K10. I thought this new program would fix that but it seems that K8L is a very small subset of the K8 family. Too bad.
                      This program modifies the HWPSTATE tables in the model-specific registers, just like k10ctl. The nice thing about this interface is that P-state transitions are not managed by software, but done completely in hardware. This is much more robust than CnQ on the K8 and the implementation in the OS is a lot simpler (basically, the driver merely provides hints to the CPU which P-state it wants to switch to). It also makes stuff like the turbo mode possible, by overriding the software hint.

                      The later Turions are a rather strange mix between K8 and K10 and support HWPSTATE just like the K10, while the CPU core(s) still are K8. Current Turions are K10 all over, though.

                      Point is: overclocking/undervolting on the K10 from Linux isn't something new like the article states.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by brent View Post
                        Point is: overclocking/undervolting on the K10 from Linux isn't something new like the article states.
                        Sorry, but I'm feeling a bit sad about this. First of all, the article doesn't say that K10 overclocking/undervolting with Linux was not possible befor. K8L tweaking is still a news.

                        Anyway it just says that there's a new utility and talks about its abilities.

                        I'm grateful to Michael that discovered my thread and put it as a news, I didn't ask for and this was a real surprise for me.

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