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Published at 21.12.2001
Author: Sascha Kloss
Translator: Tobias Bayer
Languages: de
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NVCLOCK - The tuning tool

NvClock
Do you know the super-cool guys with their overclocked NVIDIA graphics cards? Or did you hang out with them until you switched over to Linux? Want to try and do it again? If so, NVCLOCK by evil3d.net is the right tool for you.


Pay attention to the terms of liability at the end of this page!

The overclocking tool

NVCLOCK, the only tuning tool for NVIDIA cards under Linux, can be leeched from the official server Evil3D.net. There are also RPM packages for many distributions, even for Mandrake 8.1.
The package does not only contain a console-based version but one with a GTK frontend. With that one, the usage does not get remarkably easier because there are only three options. However, beginners often feel safer when working in a window instead of dealing with the console.

This is the GTK frontend to NVCLOCK

As you can see on the image, you can - if you have two NVIDIA cards in your system - tune both while the system is running. Additionally, NVCLOCK only needs the desired frequencies and we can begin:

[0. Select desired card]
 1. Adjust core clock frequency (chip clocking)
 2. Adjust memory clock frequency

On my old TNT2 M64, tuning the memory frequency was more effective than overclocking the GPU. Please pay attention that on most cards only the chip is cooled by a fan - not the memory.

With the help of this handy tool you get a FPS of about 750 (GPU: 144,202MHz; mem: 166,088MHz) instead of 540 FPS (standard: GPU:135MHz; mem:125MHz) by typing

 >> glxgears
  

- this is an increase of performance by 35 percent!!
However, you should think of the natural limits that every graphics card has. Generally, you should not increase performance more than 50 percent because the chips have a manufacturing tolerance of about this value. Moreover, you should keep an eye on graphic errors (e.g. "hazy" areas in 3D games indicate a memory frequency that is too high) and unexpected crashes. If the system freezes when starting or running a 3D application, the GPU clock rate must be reduced.
If you are still not sure how far you can go, please visit this page.

Didn't I tune the card...?

The NVIDIA cards do not "remember" the new clock frequencies, so they are lost after turning off the system. But that is not a serious problem because you can simply put

  >> nvclock
  

into an init file so the card is set to the tuned values on every system boot. For that purpose, you do not need the GTK frontend but instead use the console tool: nvclock
Now you open, for example, the file /etc/rc.local and enter the following before the line touch /var/lock/subsys/local:

   nvclock -n [GPUspeed] -m [MemSpeed]
  

Of course you have to replace GPUspeed and MemSpeed by the values counted in MHz. You can safely enter "uneven" values - NVCLOCK calculates the next fitting value. To write the above (in the nvclock.gtk-window) values to the card by the console application, the following command has to be executed:

  nvclock -n 145 -m 166
  

Now the card is overclocked during the Linux boot process automatically and NVIDIA (for the present) must do without selling a new card.


Any overclocking leads to the loss of warranty. We do not take any liability for the processes described in this article and their (possibly unwanted) effects. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!




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