Partial Fermi Re-Clocking Being Talked About For Nouveau
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 13 January 2016 at 08:46 AM EST. 7 Comments
NOUVEAU --
Karol Herbst, the independent open-source developer who has been focusing upon Nouveau re-clocking support in recent months, has made a new proposal and patch series concerning NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400/500 "Fermi" re-clocking on this open-source driver.

Herbst notes that some Fermi GPUs have engine re-clocking working, but it's memory re-clocking where things are frequently breaking. While ultimately the memory re-clocking will need to be figured out if there's to be good performance for these aging NVIDIA GPUs, as an interim step Karol is proposing that the problematic Fermi GPUs should at least allow partial re-clocking. This would allow the engine clock speed to be ramped up while the video memory speeds would still be low, rather than trying to force them up too, only to run into problems.


~5 year old NVIDIA graphics cards can still be quite slow with Nouveau due to re-clocking limitations.


However, without re-clocking of both the GPU core and video memory, the performance will still be less than ideal and far behind what's provided by the proprietary NVIDIA driver. Karol's testing with a GeForce 630M Fermi card he found the frame-time improved for GpuTest's Pixmark Piano and that the Unigine Heaven frame-rate rose from 5.1 FPS to 6.4 FPS.

The patches for supporting this partial re-clocking can be found here, but it's not clear based upon initial comments whether it would be accepted upstream since this is just half of the way to re-clocking rather than just focusing on figuring out Nouveau's struggles with Fermi memory re-clocking as the proper solution.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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