Over-Clocking an NVIDIA GPU on Linux

I’ve been playing the World of Warcraft on Fedora 10 for about two months now and I must say, I’m impressed.  The performance is close to Windows XP.  I dropped about 20%-30% of my frame rate in the process, but I don’t need to waste an entire(otherwise valuable) computer.  So it occurred to me that I might be able to squeeze a little more juice out of my Nvidia Geforce 7950 GT graphics card.

Goal of this Post:

– Enable overclocking for Nvidia graphics cards

It took me a bunch of tries to properly set this up.  Nvidia does not document this process; but with enough googling I pieced together the clues to make it happen.  First I want to mention that enabling ‘over clocking’ voids the warranty on all Nvidia cards,  So please be careful.  Locate your ‘xorg.conf’ file and open it with your favorite text editor.  In most cases this will be ‘/etc/X11/xorg.conf’.  Under the device section add:

Option         “coolbits” “1”

In my case I have two device sections so be sure to add the option to both.  I could not get it working any other way.  I may have a multi core GPU…?  …not sure.

Now when you open the nvidia-settings panel we will see an over clocking function.  Select the ‘Clock Frequencies’ option and click on the ‘auto detect’ button.  This will scan your card for the Maximum safe GPU speed.

Check the box for ‘Enable Overclocking’, then Select ‘3D Clock Frequencies’ from the drop menu.  Finally run the test and select the right speed for you!  Enjoy the boost to Warcraft FPS until you can come up with the cash for a better card.  I gained about 5 FPS  with much better load times.  Good luck.

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