Any gamer or fan of distributed computing would tell you that a powerful graphics card is key to a high performing computer. That same gamer would also tell you that a sign of a good graphics card is the ability to overclock it. After all, overclocking means greater performance and greater value. For Windows, overclocking a graphics card is common practice. It's no small wonder with the plethora of overclocking utilities available. GNU/Linux, it would seem, got shafted in this department. However, if you're an AMD card owner, things aren't always as they seem. Thanks to the AMDOverdriveCtrl utility, overclocking an AMD graphics card in GNU/Linux is just as easy as in Windows. To start, head over to Sourceforge and pick up the source. The exact url is; http://sourceforge.net/projects/amdovdrvctrl/. If you're running a Debian based distro like Ubuntu, Mint, Trisquel, or any other Debian based distribution, you're in luck. There will be a pre-compiled .deb package waiting for you. Download it, install, and skip ahead to the overclocking part. For everyone else, browse to the “all files” section. Click on C++ sources and download the newest version. At the time of writing this, it's 1.2.1. The rest of this guide will focus on Red Hat based distributions, but should work with Arch, Gentoo, Slackware, or any other distribution, save the Red Hat specific package management commands. Once the source tar.bz2 is downloaded, extract it wherever you'd like. The AMDOverdriveCtrl folder is the important one, so select it to extract, not the one named “.” Now that the folder's set up, it's time to download the second set of files. They can be found on AMD's website at http://developer.amd.com/tools/gpu/ADLSDK/Pages/default.aspx. Download the ADL_SDK.zip at the bottom of the page under the downloads section. Extract the the files to /location/of/AMDOverdriveCtrl/ADL_SDK/, obviously replacing the /location/of/ with the path to the actual folder. With all of the files in place, it's time to open up a terminal and get the build underway. Before you can build, you have to download the required build packages. For a Red Hat distribution, type:
yum install gcc gcc-c++ make automake autoconf bison wxGTK-devel -y Now that the required packages are in place, you can change to the right directory to start building.
Since your system will probably not allow execution of the configure file by default. Type:
chmod +x configure
This will amend the permissions to allow execution of the file. Finally, it's time to configure and build.
make make install Some users may get an error in the make process stating that the option “-mwindows” is not valid. If that should happen, don't worry. The fix is as simple as removing the option from the makefile. It is not necessary for a successful GNU/Linux build. If you did get that error, follow these next instructions, if not, keep going.
In the line, “LDFLAGS = -mwindows -s $(shell wx-config...,” delete the -mwindows option. Then simply repeat the steps above. Your build should be successful. That's it. AMDOverdriveCtrl is installed on your machine. Debian users should pick back up here(Yes it's that easy). It provides a fully functional overclocking utility complete with GUI. Now it is accessible through the application menu of the desktop of your choice. It is usually filed under System or Utilities.
From the interface, it is simple to increase and tweak GPU clock speed, memory speed, voltages and fan speed. It also provides real time monitoring of the graphics card's temperatures to ensure that nothing goes out of control. This method is tested and working with Radeon HD 4XXX – 7XXX series graphics cards. As you experiment, it is important to remember that the maximum temperature for these cards is around 90 degrees Celsius and depending on the card, 1 – 1.18V. Anything above that could seriously endanger your hardware.
That being said, enjoy! You have a fully unlocked and overclockable AMD graphics card!