How to monitor Nvidia GPU performance on Linux
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How to monitor Nvidia GPU performance on Linux

Even when using the best Linux distribution for gaming, you still have GPU performance issues if not configured correctly. Check out the graphics management tools below to determine if the GPU has a problem.

If you use Nvidia’s GPU, there are two tools to help you monitor the performance of graphics cards on Linux: NVTOP and Nvidia-SMI.

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If you want to monitor GPU usage in real time, you should try NVTOP. To use this tool, you need Nvidia driver for GPU.


Start NVTOP from the terminal to see current memory and graphics memory usage or for a longer period of time thanks to visual graphs. It will update during use with the processes currently running below. This helps you keep track of overheating processes.

Users can also see temperature and fan usage, as well as current power consumption data. The latest versions of Ubuntu and Debian have NVTOP in its software repositories. You can install it by running:

sudo apt install nvtop

If you are running other Linux distributions (or older versions of Ubuntu and Debian), you need to compile and install it manually according to the instructions on the NVTOP Github page. When the installation is completed, type the following command in the terminal to run NVTOP:


If you want to see additional command flags to customize NVTOP before running, use the command nvtop -h.

Use Nvidia-SMI

Another option is to use the official Nvidia-SMI software. It comes packaged with an exclusive driver provided by Nvidia to Linux users, so you don’t need to install anything to use it.

The tool also provides current information on GPU performance.

Use Nvidia-SMI

You also get as much information with the NVTOP tool as your current power usage, memory and GPU usage, including a list of running processes.

To run this tool, open a terminal and type:


Information will be listed immediately. The advantage of Nvidia-SMI over NVTOP is that it provides clearer information. Nvidia-SMI provides instant visuals for GPU performance, instead of information running like with NVTOP.

You can run the command multiple times to update the latest information and save information from Nvidia-SMI to a file using the following command:

nvidia-smi > nvidia-output.txt

For a complete list of custom flags, run: nvidia-smi -h.

NVTOP and Nvidia-SMI are the tools needed to monitor Nvidia GPU performance in Linux. They provide information and images to monitor the GPU. Using Nvidia’s management API as the main tool to ensure the information received is as accurate as possible.

If the GPU is not working properly, you should consider updating it. Refer to the article List of the best graphics cards by price segment to find the best new graphics card.

I wish you successful implementation!


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