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Mini-HOWTO: nVidia Overclocking (Coolbits)
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Diesel_Fuel
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Joined: 09 Oct 2005
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:09 pm    Post subject: Mini-HOWTO: nVidia Overclocking (Coolbits) Reply with quote

So this is my first HOWTO, please don't sit here and go "god you idiot we already know how to do this", I'm one of those people who always wants to get as much out of their computer as possible (hence why I installed Gentoo), and thought I'd share it with those of us with nVidia cards.

OVERCLOCKING CAN DAMAGE YOU'RE VIDEO CARD!!!

Before you go off overclocking you're card, you REALLY, REALLY need to understand that there is a chance of damaging you're card. The chance is quite slim if you are careful, but just know that. Don't start blaming me if something happens, you have been warned.

So before I begin: Here are my system specs:

Gentoo 2006.0 AMD64
AMD Athlon 64 4400+
DFI LanParty Expert
2 GB Corsair XMS
80 GB Hitachi SATA II (Linux)
40 GB Western Digital (For those few moments when you need Windows)
XFX GeForce 7800GT
SoundBlaster Audigy 2 Value Edition

Anyway, here we go...

Gentoo Linux nVidia Overclocking

First off, I'm assuming that you already have the nVidia driver installed and working for you're video card. If you don't its probably best that either you install it, or if you don't know how, well you shouldn't be overclocking then anyway.

So the first thing that I do before I start the process is restart my computer. Log back in, but don't start up any programs.

Next: Lets keep a little progress file so we can go back and look at the performance gain:

Code:
cd Desktop
touch fps


Now that that's taken care of, start off by opening up a terminal and typing:

Code:
glxgears


Don't move the mouse, don't do anything. Just wait until a few returns show up (I like to wait for 5), then just press CTRL+C to stop the process. Seeing as that images can't be posted into the forum, if you are interested in seeing them, just click the link.

http://zerosquad.php1h.com/Screenshot.png

So take this data and go paste it into the fps file we made a little while ago.

http://zerosquad.php1h.com/Screenshot2.png

Next we need to enable "Coolbits". To do this you need to edit you're xorg.conf file. Look for the line Section "Device". Somewhere under that line before the section ends, add the following:

Code:
Option         "Coolbits"     "1"


Here's a bigger view of the same thing:

Code:

    BoardName      "Unknown"
EndSection

Section "Device"

    #VideoRam    262144
    # Insert Clocks lines here if appropriate
    Identifier     "* Generic VESA compatible"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Option         "Coolbits"     "1"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen 1"
    Device         "* Generic VESA compatible"
    Monitor        "My Monitor"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Viewport    0 0


Now you will need to restart you're xserver, by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1, logging in as root, and typing:

Code:
/etc/init.d/xdm restart


Note: This could be different depending on the window manager you use.

Then log back in, and now lets get down to the fun stuff.

First lets open up the nVidia Settings program. To do this in Gnome, go to Applications > System Tools > NVIDIA X Server Settings. A window should pop up, and if you've ever looked at it before, you should notice that there is now a "Clock Frequencies" option available.

http://zerosquad.php1h.com/Screenshot5.png

So click on Clock Frequencies, then check the box that says Enable Overclocking. A window will pop up, warning about the possible consequences of overclocking. You will need to scroll ALL the way down to the bottom before you can click Yes.

http://zerosquad.php1h.com/Screenshot6.png

Then you can see you can adjust the clock frequences of the GPU and Video RAM. However, we don't want to adjust the 2D clock frequencies, so click on the drop down menu displaying "2D Clock Frequencies" and click "3D Clock Frequencies". You may notice the "Auto Detect" button will now become available on the bottom of the window.

http://zerosquad.php1h.com/Screenshot8.png

So if you are comfortable with adjusting the settings manually, then adjust them yourself. However I STRONGLY recommend you use the "Auto Detect" option because it tests to find the highest frequencies that can be used without crashing the video card. So press the "Auto Detect" button, and wait... and wait... It may take a few minutes, so be paitient. Don't open any programs, move the mouse, just let it perform its magic.

DON'T CLOSE THAT WINDOW YET!!

Look at the clock settings to make sure they aren't something ridiculous, like all maxed out all the way. If they look decent to you, then press the "Apply" button. It may take a minute, but if all goes well everything should seem normal. Close the window, and open up the terminal. Again, run:

Code:
glxgears


There should be a noticable boost in FPS. If not, go back and check you're Clock Settings and make sure they were changed. It could also be that you're card just isn't going to go any faster. If you like, put these results into you're fps file so you can see the improvements.

http://zerosquad.php1h.com/Screenshot13.png

I did a little bit of math in mine and came out with the following:

Before Overclocking:

72149 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14429.797 FPS
72306 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14461.118 FPS
72300 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14459.859 FPS
72311 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14462.197 FPS
72333 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14466.418 FPS

Average: 14455.8778 FPS

After Overclocking:

78306 frames in 5.0 seconds = 15661.097 FPS
78316 frames in 5.0 seconds = 15663.188 FPS
78292 frames in 5.0 seconds = 15658.382 FPS
78295 frames in 5.0 seconds = 15658.884 FPS
78273 frames in 5.0 seconds = 15654.591 FPS

Average: 15659.2284 FPS

Gain: 7.66%


ONE FINAL NOTE:

The settings will reset themselves every time the computer is rebooted. You won't have to go though the entire process, just the process of opening the "NVIDIA X Server Settings" program and adjusting the clocks. After a while you may be able to remember them and change them using the slider bars. It never hurts to check on the card's temperature once in a while, especially after some heavy gaming. My card only raises its temps by about 2 degrees, so I know I'm within safe limits.

So I hope you all enjoyed the guide and gained some performace. Feel free to comment on it, I'd like to know what people think since its my first HOWTO.

~Dennis
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electrofreak
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Joined: 30 Jun 2004
Posts: 713
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah... I really wish there was a way to make the settings stick beyond one session.
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John5788
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 2107
Location: 127.0.0.1

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theres no reason for the cd Desktop; touch fps part of the guide, but whatever floats your boat :)
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mark_alec
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Joined: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 6066
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moved from Gamers & Players to Documentation, Tips & Tricks.
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antonlacon
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Joined: 27 Jun 2004
Posts: 231

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note: Coolbits only does something in the FX and greater series of cards.
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jwj
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Joined: 07 May 2004
Posts: 240

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

electrofreak wrote:
Yeah... I really wish there was a way to make the settings stick beyond one session.


You can use media-video/nvclock and put it in local.start to enable it a every bootup. I use this to underclock the nvidia in my notebook.
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bunder
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Joined: 10 Apr 2004
Posts: 5213

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jwj wrote:
electrofreak wrote:
Yeah... I really wish there was a way to make the settings stick beyond one session.


You can use media-video/nvclock and put it in local.start to enable it a every bootup. I use this to underclock the nvidia in my notebook.


nvclock is the best imo. works even without coolbits enabled iirc.
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