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On this page the final post mentions Xvfb as a way to run a fake Xserver.

Is it possible to tie this directly to a specific card as if a display was attached??

Specifically, I'd like to overclock my gpus, but short of that (since the Clock Frequencies tab won't make an appearance), I'd like to at least crank up the fan so that my CUDA kernels can run on a cooler gpu. To do so within the driver framework, a display must be attached to the card. But if I do that, then I can't set the card to "Compute Exclusive" mode.

Basically, does anyone know of a way to attach a fake (software based) display to a specific gpu in Ubuntu?

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You should ask Nvidia for overclocking support outside the X driver (e.g. in that nvidia-smi tool).

Using a graphics driver that is not for your GPU is not useful, as it doesn't know anything about the hardware, and nvidia-settings only knows about the nvidia driver.

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