I used to have an ASUS G74Sx RoG laptop with an nVidia GeForce GTX 560M 3GB on Ubuntu 13.04 on which I used the nVidia proprietary drivers (310 I think) from my Additional Drivers section of my software sources. Everything worked great.
I recently purchased a new N56VZ which I was led to believe had a GeForce GT 650M 2GB, but I had no idea about the nVidia Optimus technology or that it was actively using both integrated and dedicated graphics. I assumed it was like every other computer I've used before with a dedicated graphics card. What's worse is neither the retailer nor ASUS has any indication on their websites that this laptop has anything but the discrete graphics card.
So obviously I'm having issues with Optimus. I feel jipped. And I'm trying to figure out if there is any reasonable graphics setup I can have with this laptop before contacting the retailer for a refund (which I'm hoping they will grant me on the grounds that the laptop was not advertised as having Optimus or anything other than the discrete graphics card). Below I will indicate my needs, what I've tried, what my understanding is from my past two weeks of research, and why I don't believe Bumblebee provides a solution for my situation:
I don't run any games, but I do run some graphically intense software like video editors; mainly I use the HDMI output to watch VLC on an extended monitor (TV) while working in the main desktop on the laptop screen (HDMI out to TV and then optical from TV to sound system). I also like to put a lot into having the computer run very flashy and graphics intensive in the desktop. This why I opted for a somewhat high end graphics card even though I don't do any gaming. This is also why, to my understanding, Bumblebee does not provide a suitable solution by allowing me to run specific applications with the discrete graphics card as I would want the whole system, at least especially the DE, window manager, and every other app I run to use the discrete graphics card.
I've contacted ASUS and they told me that the HDMI out was wired into the integrated chip and confirmed that there was no way to use the BIOS to disable the integrated graphics and that if I did disable integrated graphics that the HDMI output would not work. I've also seen a workaround on webupd8 to get HDMI output working with Bumblebee by running another desktop environment out of the HDMI using a piece of software called Primus (i think) but I've also read that people were mostly unsuccessful in getting sound through the HDMI. If I can't find any configuration to essentially use the nVidia discrete graphics 100% of the time, I will dig further into this workaround and see if there is some way I can get a good feasible working setup with HDMI output and sound. This is because I've considered some of the advantages of having the HDMI output in a second DE (e.g., workspaces on the laptop but not on the TV).
So to clarify, there is no way to use Bumblebee to run the all of Ubuntu with the discrete graphics (and working HDMI out) as far as I know (which is what I really want to do), and there is no way to get Bumblebee working with HDMI video and audio output. If there is a way to get either of these two things to work on Bumblebee please point me to a guide or where people have figured it out and I will give it a try.
Obviously installing any standard nVidia drivers that are supported for my GeForce GT 650M breaks Unity. Unity can be restarted through compiz and resolving conflicts with gnome but it doesn't exactly run smooth and clean like it should. I've read that people who can select which GPU to use in their BIOS are able to successfully latest nVidia proprietary drivers without issue by turning off integrated graphics and using only the discrete graphics card. As far as I understand this is not an option for me as confirmed by ASUS (and I've gathered this similarly rules out using vga switcheroo).
I have absolutely no interest in power savings or using the integrated graphics chip. I didn't know it had to be active in the laptop when I purchased and wish I didn't have it and had only the GeForce GT 650M advertised to come with the laptop. I can see why some people would want it but I feel like I've essentially wasted money on the cost of the graphics card (but I've had lengthy e-mail correspondence with ASUS about this and how it suggests they are trying to force people to use windows). Any way I can figure out to run all of Ubuntu using only the GeForce graphics card 100% of the time is all I'm looking for (to use the graphics card advertised with the computer).
From what I've researched:
1. Bumblebee is not option because no HDMI or ability to run all of Ubuntu with discrete graphics
2. Normal proprietary drivers conflict with the integrated graphics chip
3. Latest stable nVidia Optimus drivers for linux are version 319.49 and are certified. I still need to try these. I haven't found any online documentation regarding them, even how to install them. I've seen some documentation on the 319.12 beta drivers and the majority of people having issues or recommending to stick with Bumblebee. Since I have not found an installation guide for the latest stable nVidia drivers that are SUPPOSED to support Optimus in linux, I have not gotten around to trying it yet but that's essentially what I'm going to do right after this post and let you guys know how it works.
4. If anyone else has any other suggestions that I have not thought of or tried then please let me know. I got a great deal on this laptop (I got one for me and one for a friend) so I don't want to have to return the two of them. Thanks for reading.