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Old 06-29-09, 08:07 AM   #1
Ubuntaqua
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Default The quest for silence

Hello all,

I've been digging here a little and didn't find a topic on noise reduction for Nv chips.

- I've seen topics on PowerMizer but my 8600GT only lists one mode and I don't know if I can improve on that. (though I'm aware that eavy duty vdpau decoding will set it to max performance)
- Is there a way to downclock the card on a permanent basis (setting it to a level where it's confortable with doing vdpau decoding while not heating so much as it is now)
- Is there a way to manually set the fan speed (it's by far the loudest part of my computer), trading noise for a slight increase in temperature. (the chip can easily take a 15 increase).


If none of the above is of any use, what is the value of current fanless solutions (8400, 9400 ..) as far as vdpau is concerned ? (compared to my somewhat old 8600GT)

thanks,
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Old 06-29-09, 09:59 AM   #2
JaXXoN
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Hi!

There is a tool named "nvclock" that allows you to manually
set the pwm duty cycle for the fan, i.e.

Code:
/usr/bin/nvclock -f -F 40
Sets the fan duty cycle to 40%.

The simplest solution is to add nvclock commands to the
game execution scripts, i.e. setting the duty cycle to 80%
prior to staring a game and (re)setting to i.e. 30% when the
game exits. Not a perfect solution, but works good enough
for me.

regards

Bernhard
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Old 06-29-09, 10:11 AM   #3
Ubuntaqua
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaXXoN View Post
Code:
/usr/bin/nvclock -f -F 40
Thank you.
In my case that would be setting it to 40 or so when X starts and possibly a little higher when doing heavy stuff.

I also read about an Option in xork.conf to allow greater control with nvidia-settings
Option "Coolbits" "1"
It's from an old thread forum of 2006. Is it still applicable?
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Old 06-29-09, 10:54 AM   #4
JaXXoN
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Default Re: The quest for silence

The Coolbits option is still applicable - you need it to manually
override certain default settings such as GPU and memory clocks.

For example, I wrote a simple script that ramps the system
up an down:

Up:
GPU clock = 666MHz
Memory Clock = 1150MHz
GPU fan = 80% duty cycle
System fan = 100% duty cycle

down:
GPU clock = 333MHz
Memory Clock = 500MHz
GPU fan = 28% duty cycle
System fan = 50% duty cycle

I'm using a Tacens Sagitta II midi tower case that has
a 40cm system fan which does enough cooling so that
the CPU can be passively cooled, even when the fan
is rotating very slowly. In combination with a fan-less PSU
(Silverstone 450 Watt), the PC is pretty quiet (not silent,
but much better than it was before, for me).

Attached, please find my "gpuperf" script as an example
(make sure to use reasonable values depending to your
system).

ATTENTION: I have commented out the i2cset commands:
those directly write to the device register via I2C that is
responsible for the system PWM duty cycle. These settings
are specific to the "opt3" fan output on-board an Asus Striker
II Formula mainboard. For other boards, these setting could
even damage the system, i.e. because it re-programms the
voltage regulators to insane value.

regards

Bernhard

P.S.: I cannot fully recommend the Tacens Sagitta II case: while I think
the functional design (40cm fan, nine flexible drive bays) is pretty good,
the quality of the material used is quite poor. Means: the price/performance
ratio is not ok.
Attached Files
File Type: gz gpuperf.gz (221 Bytes, 67 views)
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Old 06-29-09, 11:13 AM   #5
AaronP
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaXXoN View Post
ATTENTION: I have commented out the i2cset commands:
those directly write to the device register via I2C that is
responsible for the system PWM duty cycle. These settings
are specific to the "opt3" fan output on-board an Asus Striker
II Formula mainboard. For other boards, these setting could
even damage the system, i.e. because it re-programms the
voltage regulators to insane value.
I have to jump in here to emphasize how extremely not recommended this is. Messing with voltages, duty cycles, and fan speeds behind the driver's back is dangerous and can damage your computer. If you do plan to do this, make sure you read your manufacturer's warranty very carefully.
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Old 06-29-09, 12:05 PM   #6
Ubuntaqua
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
I have to jump in here to emphasize how extremely not recommended this is. Messing with voltages, duty cycles, and fan speeds behind the driver's back is dangerous and can damage your computer. If you do plan to do this, make sure you read your manufacturer's warranty very carefully.
And I also jump hereto emphasize that I'm only interrested in the GPU noise. The rest of the case is pretty silent already (Sonata II, with a 15cm running very slowly on the back.
Thank you !
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Old 06-29-09, 12:18 PM   #7
JaXXoN
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Just recognized two mistakes in my earlier positing:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaXXoN View Post
ATTENTION: I have commented out the i2cset commands:
[...]
For other boards, these setting could even damage the system,
i.e. because it re-programms the voltage regulators to insane value.
This should actually say "I have commented the i2cset commands"
and "For other boards, these setting could even damage the system,
i.e. because it may re-programm the voltage regulators to insane values."

Means: in the attached script, the i2cset commands do *not* take
place because the are commented. Do not just comment them out
out, because the effect is not known on other mainboards than mine:
most probably, there is no I2C chip connected at that bus at that address
and thus the command wouldn't do anything, but it might be that there
is a chip connected where the direct setting could have catastrophic
consequences to your system, I.e. imagine there is the same chip on
the same bus (as for the Striker II Formula), but the opt3 PWM output is
(ab)used for some voltage settings (or there is a different chip with different
effects).

BTW.: for clarification, those i2cset commands do not bypass the nvidia driver,
but control the system fan (which you can always do with external fan
controllers anyway).

Nevertheless, I certainly second Aaron's recommendation to be very careful
when playing around with fan duty cycles (with nvclock) and clock settings
(with nvclock or nvidia-settings).

Ah, and BTW.: I wasn't aware that there are actually any warranties when
using Linux (SCNR).

regards

Bernhard
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Old 06-29-09, 01:21 PM   #8
Ubuntaqua
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Thanks for all the warnings

Card is currently running at 340 / 450 MHz (540 / 700 by default), fan at 86% (dead slow) (70% default) and temperature is stabilized at 60C when idle and less than 67C when playing h264 for 10 minutes. Video is playing very smoothly, no hicup.

EDIT: ok more like 70C
EDIT 2 : ok it's not that good a bargain. I have to get the frequency drop a lot to allow a slight speed reduction on the fan, and that speed reduction is barely detectable.

Thanks anyway for the tips

... next step : the chipset fan on the motherboard, working at 6000rpm. :/
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Old 06-30-09, 08:01 AM   #9
cthulhu
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Default Re: The quest for silence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubuntaqua View Post
... next step : the chipset fan on the motherboard, working at 6000rpm. :/
If that's really the case, I would strongly suggest that you check whether the motherboard chipset heatsink is properly seated. I assume 6000 RPM is a joke, suggesting that the fan is just annoyingly loud. :P
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