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This article covers the proprietary NVIDIA graphics card driver. For the open-source driver, see Nouveau. If you have a laptop with hybrid Intel/NVIDIA graphics, see NVIDIA Optimus instead.


Warning: Avoid installing the NVIDIA driver through the package provided from the NVIDIA website. Installation through pacman allows upgrading the driver together with the rest of the system.

These instructions are for those using the stock linux or linux-lts packages. For custom kernel setup, skip to the next subsection.

1. If you do not know what graphics card you have, find out by issuing:

$ lspci -k | grep -A 2 -E "(VGA|3D)"

2. Determine the necessary driver version for your card by:

3. Install the appropriate driver for your card:

Warning: As of October 2020, the NVIDIA driver does not support the Linux kernel 5.9. [1]
  • For GeForce 630-900, 10-20, and Quadro/Tesla/Tegra K-series cards and newer [NVE0, NV110 and newer family cards from around 2010 and later], install the nvidia package (for use with the linux kernel) or nvidia-lts (for use with the linux-lts kernel) package.
  • If these packages do not work, nvidia-betaAUR may have a newer driver version that offers support.

4. For 32-bit application support, also install the corresponding lib32 nvidia package from the multilib repository (e.g. lib32-nvidia-utils).

5. Reboot. The nvidia package contains a file which blacklists the nouveau module, so rebooting is necessary.

Once the driver has been installed, continue to #Xorg configuration.

Unsupported drivers

If you have a GeForce 300 series card or older (released in 2010 or earlier), Nvidia no longer supports drivers for your card. This means that these drivers do not support the current Xorg version. It thus might be easier if you use the Nouveau driver, which supports the old cards with the current Xorg.

However, Nvidia's legacy drivers are still available and might provide better 3D performance/stability if you are willing to downgrade Xorg:

  • For GeForce 8/9, ION and 100-300 series cards [NV5x, NV8x, NV9x and NVAx], install the nvidia-340xx-dkmsAUR package. Last supported Xorg version is 1.20.
  • GeForce 7 series cards and older [NV6x, NV4x and lower] do not have a driver packaged for Arch Linux.

Custom kernel

If you are using a custom kernel, compilation of the Nvidia kernel modules can be automated with DKMS.

Install the nvidia-dkms package (or a specific branch). The Nvidia module will be rebuilt after every Nvidia or kernel update thanks to the DKMS pacman hook.

DRM kernel mode setting

nvidia 364.16 adds support for DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) kernel mode setting. To enable this feature, add the nvidia-drm.modeset=1 kernel parameter. For basic functionality that should suffice, if you want to ensure it's loaded at the earliest possible occasion, or are noticing startup issues you can add nvidia, nvidia_modeset, nvidia_uvm and nvidia_drm to the initramfs according to Mkinitcpio#MODULES.

If added to the initramfs do not forget to run mkinitcpio every time there is a nvidia driver update. See #Pacman hook to automate these steps.

Warning: Enabling KMS causes GNOME to default to Wayland. Non-Wayland-native applications suffer from poor performance in Wayland sessions because of the lack of hardware accelerated XWayland. This is expected to be resolved "soon", but there is no committed timeline from NVIDIA. Use the GNOME on Xorg session instead.
Note: The NVIDIA driver does not provide an fbdev driver for the high-resolution console for the kernel compiled-in vesafb module. However, the kernel compiled-in efifb module supports a high-resolution console on EFI systems. This method requires GRUB or rEFInd and is described in NVIDIA/Tips and tricks#Fixing terminal resolution.[2][3][4].

Pacman hook

To avoid the possibility of forgetting to update initramfs after an NVIDIA driver upgrade, you may want to use a pacman hook:

# Change the linux part above and in the Exec line if a different kernel is used

Description=Update Nvidia module in initcpio
Exec=/bin/sh -c 'while read -r trg; do case $trg in linux) exit 0; esac; done; /usr/bin/mkinitcpio -P'

Make sure the Target package set in this hook is the one you've installed in steps above (e.g. nvidia, nvidia-dkms, nvidia-lts or nvidia-ck-something).

Note: The complication in the Exec line above is in order to avoid running mkinitcpio multiple times if both nvidia and linux get updated. In case this doesn't bother you, the Target=linux and NeedsTargets lines may be dropped, and the Exec line may be reduced to simply Exec=/usr/bin/mkinitcpio -P.

Hardware accelerated video decoding


Accelerated video decoding with VDPAU is supported on GeForce 8 series cards and newer. Accelerated video decoding with NVDEC is supported on Fermi cards and newer. See hardware video acceleration for details.


Accelerated decoding of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 videos via XvMC are supported on GeForce4, GeForce 5 FX, GeForce 6 and GeForce 7 series cards. See XvMC for details.

Xorg configuration

The proprietary NVIDIA graphics card driver does not need any Xorg server configuration file. You can start X to see if the Xorg server will function correctly without a configuration file. However, it may be required to create a configuration file (prefer /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf over /etc/X11/xorg.conf) in order to adjust various settings. This configuration can be generated by the NVIDIA Xorg configuration tool, or it can be created manually. If created manually, it can be a minimal configuration (in the sense that it will only pass the basic options to the Xorg server), or it can include a number of settings that can bypass Xorg's auto-discovered or pre-configured options.

Tip: For more configuration options see NVIDIA/Troubleshooting.

Automatic configuration

The NVIDIA package includes an automatic configuration tool to create an Xorg server configuration file (xorg.conf) and can be run by:

# nvidia-xconfig

This command will auto-detect and create (or edit, if already present) the /etc/X11/xorg.conf configuration according to present hardware.

If there are instances of DRI, ensure they are commented out:

#    Load        "dri"

Double check your /etc/X11/xorg.conf to make sure your default depth, horizontal sync, vertical refresh, and resolutions are acceptable.


The nvidia-settings tool lets you configure many options using either CLI or GUI. Running nvidia-settings without any options launches the GUI, for CLI options see nvidia-settings(1).

You can run the CLI/GUI as a non-root user and save the settings to ~/.nvidia-settings-rc or save it as xorg.conf by using the option Save to X configuration File for a multi-user environment.

To load the ~/.nvidia-settings-rc for the current user:

$ nvidia-settings --load-config-only

See Autostarting to start this command on every boot.

Note: Xorg may not start or crash on startup after saving nvidia-settings changes. Adjusting or deleting the generated ~/.nvidia-settings-rc and/or Xorg file(s) should recover normal startup.

Manual configuration

Several tweaks (which cannot be enabled automatically or with nvidia-settings) can be performed by editing your configuration file. The Xorg server will need to be restarted before any changes are applied.

See NVIDIA Accelerated Linux Graphics Driver README and Installation Guide for additional details and options.

Minimal configuration

A basic configuration block in 20-nvidia.conf (or deprecated in xorg.conf) would look like this:

Section "Device"
        Identifier "Nvidia Card"
        Driver "nvidia"
        VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
        BoardName "GeForce GTX 1050 Ti"

Disabling the logo on startup

Add the "NoLogo" option under section Device:

Option "NoLogo" "1"

Overriding monitor detection

The "ConnectedMonitor" option under section Device allows to override monitor detection when X server starts, which may save a significant amount of time at start up. The available options are: "CRT" for analog connections, "DFP" for digital monitors and "TV" for televisions.

The following statement forces the NVIDIA driver to bypass startup checks and recognize the monitor as DFP:

Option "ConnectedMonitor" "DFP"
Note: Use "CRT" for all analog 15 pin VGA connections, even if the display is a flat panel. "DFP" is intended for DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort digital connections only.

Enabling brightness control

Add under section Device:

Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"

If brightness control still does not work with this option, try installing nvidia-blAUR.

Note: Installing nvidia-blAUR will provide a /sys/class/backlight/nvidia_backlight/ interface to backlight brightness control, but your system may continue to issue backlight control changes on /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/. One solution in this case is to watch for changes on, e.g. acpi_video0/brightness with inotifywait and to translate and write to nvidia_backlight/brightness accordingly. See Backlight#sysfs modified but no brightness change.

Enabling SLI

Warning: As of May 7, 2011, you may experience sluggish video performance in GNOME 3 after enabling SLI.
Warning: Since the GTX 10xx Series (1080, 1070, 1060, etc) only 2-way SLI is supported. 3-way and 4-way SLI may work for CUDA/OpenCL applications, but will most likely break all OpenGL applications.

Taken from the NVIDIA driver's README Appendix B: This option controls the configuration of SLI rendering in supported configurations. A "supported configuration" is a computer equipped with an SLI-Certified Motherboard and 2 or 3 SLI-Certified GeForce GPUs. See NVIDIA's SLI Zone[dead link 2020-04-01 ⓘ] for more information.

Find the first GPU's PCI Bus ID using lspci:

$ lspci | grep VGA
03:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G92 [GeForce 8800 GTS 512] (rev a2)
05:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G92 [GeForce 8800 GTS 512] (rev a2)

Add the BusID (3 in the previous example) under section Device:

BusID "PCI:3:0:0"
Note: The format is important. The BusID value must be specified as "PCI:<BusID>:0:0"

Add the desired SLI rendering mode value under section Screen:

Option "SLI" "AA"

The following table presents the available rendering modes.

Value Behavior
0, no, off, false, Single Use only a single GPU when rendering.
1, yes, on, true, Auto Enable SLI and allow the driver to automatically select the appropriate rendering mode.
AFR Enable SLI and use the alternate frame rendering mode.
SFR Enable SLI and use the split frame rendering mode.
AA Enable SLI and use SLI antialiasing. Use this in conjunction with full scene antialiasing to improve visual quality.

Alternatively, you can use the nvidia-xconfig utility to insert these changes into xorg.conf with a single command:

# nvidia-xconfig --busid=PCI:3:0:0 --sli=AA

To verify that SLI mode is enabled from a shell:

$ nvidia-settings -q all | grep SLIMode
  Attribute 'SLIMode' (arch:0.0): AA 
    'SLIMode' is a string attribute.
    'SLIMode' is a read-only attribute.
    'SLIMode' can use the following target types: X Screen.
Warning: After enabling SLI, your system may become frozen/non-responsive upon starting xorg. It is advisable that you disable your display manager before restarting.
Tip: If this configuration does not work, you may need to use the PCI Bus ID provided by nvidia-settings,
$ nvidia-settings -q all | grep -i pcibus
Attribute 'PCIBus' (host:0[gpu:0]): 101.
  'PCIBus' is an integer attribute.
  'PCIBus' is a read-only attribute.
  'PCIBus' can use the following target types: GPU, SDI Input Device.
Attribute 'PCIBus' (host:0[gpu:1]): 23.
  'PCIBus' is an integer attribute.
  'PCIBus' is a read-only attribute.
  'PCIBus' can use the following target types: GPU, SDI Input Device.

and comment out the PrimaryGPU option in your xorg.d configuration,


Section "OutputClass"
    # Option "PrimaryGPU" "yes"

Using this configuration may also solve any graphical boot issues.

Multiple monitors

See Multihead for more general information.

Using nvidia-settings

The nvidia-settings tool can configure multiple monitors.

For CLI configuration, first get the CurrentMetaMode by running:

$ nvidia-settings -q CurrentMetaMode
Attribute 'CurrentMetaMode' (hostnmae:0.0): id=50, switchable=no, source=nv-control :: DPY-1: 2880x1620 @2880x1620 +0+0 {ViewPortIn=2880x1620, ViewPortOut=2880x1620+0+0}

Save everything after the :: to the end of the attribute (in this case: DPY-1: 2880x1620 @2880x1620 +0+0 {ViewPortIn=2880x1620, ViewPortOut=2880x1620+0+0}) and use to reconfigure your displays with nvidia-settings --assign "CurrentMetaMode=your_meta_mode".

Tip: You can create shell aliases for the different monitor and resolution configurations you use.


If the driver does not properly detect a second monitor, you can force it to do so with ConnectedMonitor.


Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor1"
    VendorName     "Panasonic"
    ModelName      "Panasonic MICRON 2100Ex"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 121.0 # this monitor has incorrect EDID, hence Option "UseEDIDFreqs" "false"
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 160.0
    Option         "DPMS"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor2"
    VendorName     "Gateway"
    ModelName      "GatewayVX1120"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 121.0
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 160.0
    Option         "DPMS"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Option         "NoLogo"
    Option         "UseEDIDFreqs" "false"
    Option         "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT,CRT"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 6200 LE"
    BusID          "PCI:3:0:0"
    Screen          0

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device2"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Option         "NoLogo"
    Option         "UseEDIDFreqs" "false"
    Option         "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT,CRT"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 6200 LE"
    BusID          "PCI:3:0:0"
    Screen          1

The duplicated device with Screen is how you get X to use two monitors on one card without TwinView. Note that nvidia-settings will strip out any ConnectedMonitor options you have added.


You want only one big screen instead of two. Set the TwinView argument to 1. This option should be used if you desire compositing. TwinView only works on a per card basis, when all participating monitors are connected to the same card.

Option "TwinView" "1"

Example configuration:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "TwinLayout"
    Screen         0 "metaScreen" 0 0

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    Option         "Enable" "true"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor1"
    Option         "Enable" "true"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Card0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"

    #refer to the link below for more information on each of the following options.
    Option         "HorizSync"          "DFP-0: 28-33; DFP-1: 28-33"
    Option         "VertRefresh"        "DFP-0: 43-73; DFP-1: 43-73"
    Option         "MetaModes"          "1920x1080, 1920x1080"
    Option         "ConnectedMonitor"   "DFP-0, DFP-1"
    Option         "MetaModeOrientation" "DFP-1 LeftOf DFP-0"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "metaScreen"
    Device         "Card0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "True"
    SubSection "Display"
        Modes          "1920x1080"

Device option information.

If you have multiple cards that are SLI capable, it is possible to run more than one monitor attached to separate cards (for example: two cards in SLI with one monitor attached to each). The "MetaModes" option in conjunction with SLI Mosaic mode enables this. Below is a configuration which works for the aforementioned example and runs GNOME flawlessly.

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Card A"
        Driver          "nvidia"
        BusID           "PCI:1:00:0"

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Card B"
        Driver          "nvidia"
        BusID           "PCI:2:00:0"

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Right Monitor"

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Left Monitor"

Section "Screen"
        Identifier      "Right Screen"
        Device          "Card A"
        Monitor         "Right Monitor"
        DefaultDepth    24
        Option          "SLI" "Mosaic"
        Option          "Stereo" "0"
        Option          "BaseMosaic" "True"
        Option          "MetaModes" "GPU-0.DFP-0: 1920x1200+4480+0, GPU-1.DFP-0:1920x1200+0+0"
        SubSection      "Display"
                        Depth           24

Section "Screen"
        Identifier      "Left Screen"
        Device          "Card B"
        Monitor         "Left Monitor"
        DefaultDepth    24
        Option          "SLI" "Mosaic"
        Option          "Stereo" "0"
        Option          "BaseMosaic" "True"
        Option          "MetaModes" "GPU-0.DFP-0: 1920x1200+4480+0, GPU-1.DFP-0:1920x1200+0+0"
        SubSection      "Display"
                        Depth           24

Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier      "Default"
        Screen 0        "Right Screen" 0 0
        Option          "Xinerama" "0"
Vertical sync using TwinView

If you are using TwinView and vertical sync (the "Sync to VBlank" option in nvidia-settings), you will notice that only one screen is being properly synced, unless you have two identical monitors. Although nvidia-settings does offer an option to change which screen is being synced (the "Sync to this display device" option), this does not always work. A solution is to add the following environment variables at startup, for example append in /etc/profile:

export __GL_SYNC_TO_VBLANK=1

You can change DFP-0 with your preferred screen (DFP-0 is the DVI port and CRT-0 is the VGA port). You can find the identifier for your display from nvidia-settings in the "X Server XVideoSettings" section.

Gaming using TwinView

In case you want to play fullscreen games when using TwinView, you will notice that games recognize the two screens as being one big screen. While this is technically correct (the virtual X screen really is the size of your screens combined), you probably do not want to play on both screens at the same time.

To correct this behavior for SDL, try:


For OpenGL, add the appropriate Metamodes to your xorg.conf in section Device and restart X:

Option "Metamodes" "1680x1050,1680x1050; 1280x1024,1280x1024; 1680x1050,NULL; 1280x1024,NULL;"

Another method that may either work alone or in conjunction with those mentioned above is starting games in a separate X server.

Mosaic mode

Mosaic mode is the only way to use more than 2 monitors across multiple graphics cards with compositing. Your window manager may or may not recognize the distinction between each monitor. Mosaic mode requires a valid SLI configuration. Even if using Base mode without SLI, the GPUs must still be SLI capable/compatible.

Base Mosaic

Base Mosaic mode works on any set of Geforce 8000 series or higher GPUs. It cannot be enabled from within the nvidia-setting GUI. You must either use the nvidia-xconfig command line program or edit xorg.conf by hand. Metamodes must be specified. The following is an example for four DFPs in a 2x2 configuration, each running at 1920x1024, with two DFPs connected to two cards:

$ nvidia-xconfig --base-mosaic --metamodes="GPU-0.DFP-0: 1920x1024+0+0, GPU-0.DFP-1: 1920x1024+1920+0, GPU-1.DFP-0: 1920x1024+0+1024, GPU-1.DFP-1: 1920x1024+1920+1024"
Note: While the documentation lists a 2x2 configuration of monitors, GeForce cards are artificially limited to 3 monitors in Base Mosaic mode. Quadro cards support more than 3 monitors. As of September 2014, the Windows driver has dropped this artificial restriction, but it remains in the Linux driver.
SLI Mosaic

If you have an SLI configuration and each GPU is a Quadro FX 5800, Quadro Fermi or newer then you can use SLI Mosaic mode. It can be enabled from within the nvidia-settings GUI or from the command line with:

$ nvidia-xconfig --sli=Mosaic --metamodes="GPU-0.DFP-0: 1920x1024+0+0, GPU-0.DFP-1: 1920x1024+1920+0, GPU-1.DFP-0: 1920x1024+0+1024, GPU-1.DFP-1: 1920x1024+1920+1024"

Tips and tricks

See NVIDIA/Tips_and_tricks.


See NVIDIA/Troubleshooting.

See also