Nvidia Overclocking in Linux: How-to guide!

A few days ago, I explored the overclocking potential of the monster dual-fan GTX 750Ti StormX Dual from Palit, and got some very good performance increases:


That was in Windows 7, however, using EVGA’s PrecisionX utility (all about those words with an X at the end recently):

PrecisionX MAX

That overclock was the highest (stable) I was able to get using Passmark’s 3D tests. Boost clocks were almost hitting 1.5GHz. On a freakin GPU. Impressive stuff from a graphics card that doesn’t even have a 6-pin power connector!

But you know me, I am a Linux guy at heart, and I would love to play Steam games like Kerbal Space Program or Bioshock Infinite at the highest detail levels and all the FPS. I am used to using AMD cards on Linux, and I used the amd-config utility to do my overclocking. Which worked great, but it was all in a command line, and you just had to remember numbers.

Now I have an Nvidia card, and I want to overclock the damn thing! I fired up “NVIDIA X Server Settings” and had a look:


So I can see all the clock speeds and things, but where can I change them? Turns out, there’s a command you need to enter:

sudo nvidia-xconfig --cool-bits=12

This will enable overclocking and fan control (yes, let it rip at 100% if you don’t value your hearing). After we run this, we need to restart the X server. Just run sudo service lightdm restart (it will log you out) and the new settings will be applied:


Nice stuff! Fan control, and control over the GPU and VRAM base clocks! Also included is a setting which lets you put the card in it’s highest performance state constantly, without any of those pesky power savings that involve clocking down the card to 135MHz when there is no load.

Time for some performance numbers! I used the same benchmarking tool that I used before: Phoronix Test Suite with the gputest set of benchmarks. Here are some results:

  • Base clocks: 72,397 points
  • GPU +75MHz, VRAM +75MHz: 85,964 points


That’s an extra 15% performance in OpenGL applications! Nice stuff! But this is with a benchmark, stay tuned for some games!

Which OS do you use?
Strange SD card!

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