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Thread: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2010
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    Thumbs down Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    HOKAY. So I've been using Linux for a couple of months now, and I have some lingering questions about the proprietary drivers nvidia uses. For example:

    Why can't I change refresh rates (especially in twin view, when the two screens might require drastically different rates)? Which leads me to my second question ...

    Why is screen-tearing such a common problem?

    Also: when I have the drivers enabled, the ubuntu logo at login is really pixelated. When they are disabled, it looks fantastic. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

    In another (unrelated) thread, a user suggested that I switch to the default drivers. The last time I disabled nvidia, I had a LOT of screen tearing. I could barely move my cursor without a tear.

    Part of me wants to stay with the nvidia drivers as they are right now, because it took months to get the tearing to stop and I'm not entirely sure how I did it. Something about medibuntu and changing start-up applications, and even now there are still tears when I use sites like Hulu.

    Has anybody gotten their computer to work (tear-free) without the proprietary drivers?

    Sorry for the long post! Nvidia drivers make me kind of nuts.

    PS my graphics card is nvidia geforce 9800M GTS

  2. #2
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    Aug 2006
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    I use a dual monitor set with a GT8800 and the proprietary drivers. I haven't had any issues. No tearing, etc. Can't say regarding the refresh rates as my monitors are identical and would have been set to same either way.

    I also have a friend using an 9800, dual monitors and he hasn't mentioned any issues either. However I believe he is still using 10.04

  3. #3
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by tweakedenigma View Post
    I use a dual monitor set with a GT8800 and the proprietary drivers. I haven't had any issues. No tearing, etc. Can't say regarding the refresh rates as my monitors are identical and would have been set to same either way.

    I also have a friend using an 9800, dual monitors and he hasn't mentioned any issues either. However I believe he is still using 10.04
    AHK! I'm still using 10.04 too. Didn't realize there was an upgrade available.

    Downloading right now. Last time I did this the stuff I did to fix screen tearing was somehow disabled so when I come back this might be a more pressing issue than when I initially posted.

    System upgrades make me nervous. When I first installed it was x.org fail: black screen of DOOM!! I'm always afraid I'll never see my desktop again

  4. #4
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    all upgraded!

    And no screen-tearing, either. Yay!

    Haven't tested with twin-view yet, though. Here is what happened before in twinview:

    I hook up my laptop to a 22 inch HD tv via HDMI chord. When I set it as twinview with the TV "to the left of" my laptop display, there is tearing on the TV. If I set the TV as the "primary display for the x server" I am able to watch movies I have downloaded in fullscreen on the TV (if I keep my laptop as the primary display for the x server fullscreen will default back onto the laptop display). However, even with the TV as the primary display, hulu *always* defaults onto the laptop in fullscreen.

    When I set it as twinview with the displays clones of eachother, I end up with a small screen overlaying a larger one, so my laptop display is limited to the upper right hand corner of the larger TV display. (I don't know if I'm explaining this well). If I change the resolution of the TV to match that of the laptop, the picture quality on the TV diminishes. Either way, there is still tearing on the TV.

    If I set them up as two separate X screens, the cursor *always* gets stuck in the TV display (unless I'm using a usb mouse). Can't remember if there was screen tearing, but considering my luck with this issue there probably was.

    I can sidestep the issue by disabling my laptop display, but one day I would like to be able to connect my laptop without disabling.

    Again ... sorry that this is such a long post!

  5. #5
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    PS -

    This problem existed in windows also. However, because I was able to change the refresh rates, I could get it so the TV display didn't tear while the laptop display did tear. I didn't mind it this way because the whole point was I kept the laptop display on to browse the internet, etc and the tv on to watch videos.

    Anyway I would be more than happy if I could get this same, imperfect outcome in ubuntu.

  6. #6
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    Just got home and tested from the Nvidia X server Settings tool and it looks like I can set a different refresh for each monitor. Are you using the Nvidia tool?

  7. #7
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by tweakedenigma View Post
    Just got home and tested from the Nvidia X server Settings tool and it looks like I can set a different refresh for each monitor. Are you using the Nvidia tool?
    Yup. I can change the resolution from "auto" to 1400x900 (which is the same as the auto setting). It unfreezes the drop-down menu of refresh rates. The drop down menu consists of two choices: auto, and 60. (HINT: they are the same.)

  8. #8
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    I always wanted the latest driver after I found out I could get them, but went through nVidia driver hell this morning
    after getting an update to the latest driver. It took me over half a day just to boot into anything but recovery mode.

    I would suggest not using the latest and greatest, unless you are prepared for some head aches!

    I had 3 kernels and none of them would work. I accidentally removed them all and rebooted, which left me not able
    to get back in. I had to boot with the Live-cd and install the kernel with drs305's help from one of his GRUB tutorials.
    That is the hard way. I am back to using 260.19.12 and I will stay with it!
    Check Java Version | Install Java via WEB UPD8 PPA
    Creating a Custom Maintenance Free GRUB2 Screen Community Wiki
    Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.84Ghz. 4.0GB DDR2 RAM, NVIDIA Geforce 9800 GT

  9. #9
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    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavsfan View Post
    I always wanted the latest driver after I found out I could get them, but went through nVidia driver hell this morning
    after getting an update to the latest driver. It took me over half a day just to boot into anything but recovery mode.
    That's insane! I'm glad you got it fixed

    I have heard rumors that intel graphics cards work better than others with linux because they started out as open source. Is there any truth to this?

    Because from what I've read online, nvidia and ATI don't play nicely with linux in a lot of cases.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Hidden!
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    Kubuntu Development Release

    Re: Nvidia Drivers: to use, or not to use?

    What do you need that the nouveau driver does not provide ?

    http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/

    The advantage of the nouveau driver is that you get support from the open source community. If you use the nvidia driver, and you have problems, you will get support from nvidia (and loose at least kernel support from the open source community).

    I personally use the nouveau driver and it "works for me".
    There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting.
    --Prince Gautama Siddharta

    #ubuntuforums web interface

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