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Thread: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

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    Lightbulb nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained [UPDATED]

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    Incoming transmission
    UPDATE
    05 September 2011
    It would seem like someone is getting Optimus functional on Ubuntu Linux. See here:
    https://launchpad.net/~bumblebee/+archive/stable
    END UPDATE
    End of transmission
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    First, all thanks go to Ubuntu China (http://forum.ubuntu.org.cn/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=298495).
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    1. What is nVidia Optimus?
    With Optimus, the system switches between the integrated (graphics) card and the independent card, so the user can obtain high performance by using the independent card, while a longer battery life can be obtained by using the integrated card.

    2. How it works (in a nutshell)
    High perf: Integrated + Independent. The independent card is responsible for calculations, and the integrated card is responsible for actually displaying the info from the GRAM.
    Low perf: Integrated only. In this mode, the integrated card is responsible for both the calculations and the displaying.

    In fact, the real displaying part is done solely by the integrated card, which means there is no way to use only the independent card, and there is no way to disable the integrated card. It is impossible, either by software or by hardware, to actually switch between the two cards.

    To those of you looking for drivers for Optimus: STOP. Just STOP. The newer nVidia Linux drivers, such as the 260.## release, are for purely independent cards, NOT FOR DUAL-CARDS (Optimus).

    Worse news: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...77&postcount=2

    So what to do?

    After a fresh, clean install of Ubuntu, DO NOT INSTALL THE RESTRICTED DRIVER. Check whether your computer is running Optimus. If it isn't explicitly shown on the outer casing (as in my case), run:
    Code:
    lspci | grep VGA
    If you have such an output or similar, showing both an Intel card and an nVidia card:
    Code:
    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev ##)
    02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device #### (rev ##)
    You're humped. Again, DO NOT INSTALL THE RESTRICTED DRIVER. Basically just flat-out don't install any drivers. The system runs the integrated card fine, as as long as Modern Warfare II isn't ported onto Ubuntu you should be fine. My i3-370M + GT 420M runs Tux Racer mighty smooth.

    You may, however, be able to find some graphics card switching options in your computer's BIOS. You will need to check your own BIOS. If no switching options are present, then you may be able to switch off the nVidia card to save some juice: http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspo...tch-onoff.html
    That thing there is still very green, so proceed with caution is what I can say to you.

    What if I already installed the Restricted Driver, and now my computer is not booting X?
    1. Boot into Recovery mode (GRUB). Start failsafe-X.
    2. When you're in, go to System > Administration > Additional Drivers to deactivate the nVidia driver.
    3. Move Xorg:
    Code:
    sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.old
    4. Reboot. Intel card should kick in.
    -------
    I hope this post helps. All thanks go to the great Ubuntu community. All hail the great Tux!
    Last edited by 3602; September 6th, 2011 at 12:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    Sweet. Good info.

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    One adition- some laptops with switchable graphics/optimus have a BIOS setting that allows you to force the nvidia GPU, disable the nvidia GPU and/or disbale the intel video.

    If you can force the nvidia GPU, opr disable the intel video in the BIOS then you can install the nvidia drivers with no issues.

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    good post, thanks a lot.

    Might be a sticky IMHO or better: moved to sub-forum "Tutorials & tips"
    Last edited by dino99; January 3rd, 2011 at 11:18 AM.

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    Sweet, thanks for the effort and info. Just read your response in the thread you linked to here from.

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    Thanks! This is a perfect resume of the info we can gather around
    If and when there will be some news they should be posted here. I agree with dino99, this should be a sticky.
    Asus eeePC 1215B

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    Hi there,

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    One adition- some laptops with switchable graphics/optimus have a BIOS setting that allows you to force the nvidia GPU, disable the nvidia GPU and/or disbale the intel video.

    If you can force the nvidia GPU, opr disable the intel video in the BIOS then you can install the nvidia drivers with no issues.
    Is there any real advantage to enabling NVIDIA and installing their proprietary driver (after disabling the Intel graphics)? At the present with both cards enabled as the BIOS default my T410s can handle only a VGA output and pretty badly for my 23'' samsung TFT monitor, no DVI detection at all via the thinkpad minidoc. Has anyone experimented with the the NVIDIA card + proprietory driver settings to see if any DVI output is possible?

    Regards
    Last edited by iliant; January 11th, 2011 at 06:06 PM. Reason: extra tags within text

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    One adition- some laptops with switchable graphics/optimus have a BIOS setting that allows you to force the nvidia GPU, disable the nvidia GPU and/or disbale the intel video.

    If you can force the nvidia GPU, opr disable the intel video in the BIOS then you can install the nvidia drivers with no issues.
    Anybody who can name specific models and bios version that have such an option option?In my case, an asus n61jv ver 2.0x (dont remeber exactly)there is no such option. Although the vendor has issued several newer bios versions, the history file of changes is very poor on description, so the only way to find out is to update your bios (or maybe send an e-mail to asus but im not sure if there is going to be any response). since bios updating, to my perception, is a very risky procedure and should not be applied if there is no necessity, i am trying to gather information for my laptop on that, so i won't have to update the bios for nothing and risking to turn my laptop in to a brick. And if anyone has any information on that direction would be a benefit for all, i thing. Like listing models with specific bios versions that are known to have a graphics switching option. So anybody has any information to share?

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    I have a Dell XPS 15 with Intel + Nvidia cards (with Optimus on Windows). I haven't tried to use the Nvidia card at all, but I did notice that blacklisting the nouveau module the laptop seems to run cooler and use less energy. I don't use Ubuntu, so I'm not sure what's the standard way of doing this there, but just to give it a try you can "rmmod nouveau" (as root) and see how it works (to reload it "modprobe nouveau", or reboot).

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    Re: nVidia Optimus and Ubuntu explained

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    One adition- some laptops with switchable graphics/optimus have a BIOS setting that allows you to force the nvidia GPU, disable the nvidia GPU and/or disbale the intel video.

    If you can force the nvidia GPU, opr disable the intel video in the BIOS then you can install the nvidia drivers with no issues.

    Does anyone know if the bios of a Acer AS5745G-7671 has the option to turn off the integrated card and use the Nvidia card only?

    Does anyone have a 100% working Nvidia driver install on this laptop?

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