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Overclock Your Nvidia Graphics Card in Linux

One of the shortcomings of Linux used to be a failure to properly support high end graphics cards. This is no longer the case with Nvidia,  ATI on the other hand still has a way to go. A question I see asked a lot is how to I overclock my Nvidia card if I am using Linux.

sudo su

Whenever you install Nvidia’s proprietary¬† drivers you also get a utility called nvidia-settings. It should be located in the /usr/bin/ directory unless you have installed it specifically to a non standard location. So once you open the nvidia-settings tool you are presented with a GUI which allows you to make some modifications to certain areas of the Xserver set up.


The unfortunate part is that there is no way to overclock the card. If you are like me you will find that unacceptable. I like to squeeze every possible inch of power and performance out of my hardware.

So in order to bring out the hidden functions of nvidia-settings we need to make a small modification to our xorg.conf.

Open up your favorite editor:

infected r00t # nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

and find the section that says:
Section “Device”
Identifier “Videocard0”
Driver “nvidia”
VendorName “Videocard vendor”
BoardName “nVidia Corporation Unknown device 0391”
Option “Coolbits” “1”

The piece we want to add I have highlighted in red. Once we add that option we can save that file and then we need to restart the Xserver in order to access our new controls. There are a number of ways to restart X, I normally just reboot however you can do it anyway you want.

Once you get logged back in execute the nvidia-settings tool again and you will now see some clock options. Keep in mind that overclocking your card can result in damage if not done properly. I have a strict motto when it comes to overclocking hardware. If you cant afford to replace it you should probably not be overclocking it.