Linux Overclocking For GeForce GTX 400 / FermI?
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 20 August 2010 at 09:29 AM EDT. 13 Comments
Next week we will finally be able to deliver performance numbers for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 "Fermi" graphics cards as we take a look at the GeForce GTX 460 that was kindly sent over by NVIDIA. Overall it's a very interesting card and great performer on Linux, but if you're already a Fermi owner (ideally after buying the hardware with our shopping links) and have been searching the Internet like we had done wondering why CoolBits isn't working on Fermi hardware, well, we now have the answer.

When we had tried overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 when running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with the proprietary NVIDIA 256.44 driver and setting the Coolbits option within the xorg.conf we could not get the 2D/3D clock frequency settings to appear. If we were to set the CoolBits value to 5, which is supposed to show both the clock frequencies and GPU fan speed controls, the fan speed settings did appear within the NVIDIA Settings panel but the overclocking options remained non-existent. When popping in non-Fermi hardware the CoolBits options were present.

We have found out from NVIDIA's Andy Ritger that overclocking support is disabled under Linux for all Fermi hardware. Though under Microsoft Windows, the GeForce GTX 460 and other Fermi GPUs can be overclocked -- there's also vendor utilities for Windows like MSI After-Burner and others for enabling clock (core/shader/memory) and voltage controls. Andy says they hope to enable Fermi overclocking support within their Linux driver at some point in the future, but at this point there is no ETA. This is presumably also a current limitation of the near-identical NVIDIA drivers for FreeBSD and Solaris.
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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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