NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 23 August 2010. Page 3 of 11. 122 Comments

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 On Linux:

Now finally we are onto what most of you are here to read: how well the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 / Fermi hardware plays with Linux. Overall, the Linux support situation for this hardware is quite good, but it is not perfect. NVIDIA's Linux engineers were working on Fermi support since late last year and since much of the code-base for their proprietary driver is shared between Windows/Linux/BSD/Solaris platforms (as talked about in our interview last year with NVIDIA's Andy Ritger), this isn't too much of a burden for NVIDIA's Unix team. NVIDIA had same-day Linux support ready with their proprietary driver, launched CUDA 3.0 support at the same time as their Windows release, and they released their first OpenGL 4.0 Linux driver just days after releasing the first OGL4-capable hardware, which was the GeForce GTX 470/480. Since then, with the release of the OpenGL 4.1 specification from the Khronos Group they have provided an OpenGL 4.1 driver to Fermi Linux users.

Similar to earlier GeForce hardware generations, the Fermi support under Linux via their proprietary driver is nearly on par with their Windows driver in terms of features. However, at this point with the GeForce GTX 400 Linux support there is one notable exception that may concern some gamers and enthusiasts and that is the lack of overclocking support. NVIDIA currently does not support CoolBits overclocking for the GF100/GF104 GPUs on Linux, even though they carry Linux overclocking support for earlier generations. Attempting to enable CoolBits for Fermi on Linux will get you nowhere aside from the ability to tweak the GPU fan speed and that is it. This is a problem we talked about last week and NVIDIA acknowledges it as a current driver issue, but something that they hope to correct in the future, but there's no known arrival date at this point.

The lack of overclocking support with these new NVIDIA GPUs under Linux is a bit disappointing since they should overclock well and NVIDIA and their AIB partners with different utilities support it. The 675MHz GF104 should be able to be easily pushed to at least 800MHz or higher, based upon the reports of those overclocking under Windows and some of the other graphics cards (even the other Palit models) that come with a factory overclock to squeeze some more speed out of the Fermi core. The Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05 ICs used by this Palit graphics card also have 100MHz that can be squeezed out of it before they are even running at their design specification. Hopefully NVIDIA's Unix team will get around to supporting Fermi overclocking soon in an upcoming driver release.

During our testing it appeared that PowerMizer was working fine for dynamically adjusting the speed of the GF104 and GDDR5 memory based upon load. There were four PowerMizer performance levels for this graphics card and they included 50/135MHz, 405/324MHz, 405/1800MHz, and 675/1800MHz. The GPU core temperature and fan speed monitoring also worked just fine with the NVIDIA 256.44 display driver that we used for the length of our GeForce GTX 460 testing.

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