AMD OverDrive Overclocking To Finally Work For Radeon Navi GPUs With Linux 5.5 Kernel


While most Linux gamers don’t appear to be into GPU overclocking, one of the limitations of the Radeon RX 5000 “Navi” series support with the AMD open-source driver to date has been no overclocking support. With the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel that is set to change.

With the Linux 5.5 kernel there is slated to be the “OverDrive” overclocking support in place for Navi graphics processors with the AMDGPU kernel driver.

The Navi OverDrive support was sent in as part of Friday’s amdgpu drm-next-5.5 pull. In addition to the Navi overclocking there is fixed voltage handling for SMU7 hardware with custom power tables, power limit handling fixes for SMU11, properly stopping memory management worker threads on shutdown, and correct PCIe link reporting for Navi.

With there being no “Radeon Software Settings” or other official GUI control panel for the AMD Radeon graphics driver on Linux, the OverDrive GPU overclocking support for AMD graphics cards remains command-line based. The OverDrive Linux overclocking is done via reading and writing values to the respective sysfs interfaces. There have been third-party AMD Linux GUI control panel attempts but no official support in a number of years, but that’s something we can still cross our fingers and hope for a change in 2020.

The AMD Navi OverDrive overclocking support via sysfs is similar to the existing OverDrive support for Vega, Polaris, and prior on AMDGPU. Besides setting the frequencies, the support does allow editing the voltage curve for Navi 10 too.

Besides this Navi OverDrive support taking until months after the July launch to materialize for Linux users, making this support even more peculiar is that it was led by a seemingly independent developer. Matt Coffin who is an active Linux user but with no apparent affiliate to AMD was the one contributing the patches among his first upstream commits to AMDGPU.

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