NVIDIA Optimus is a technology that allows an Intel integrated GPU and discrete NVIDIA GPU to be built into and accessed by a laptop. Getting Optimus graphics to work on Arch Linux requires a few somewhat complicated steps, explained below. There are several methods available:
- disabling one of the devices in BIOS, which may result in improved battery life if the NVIDIA device is disabled, but may not be available with all BIOSes and does not allow GPU switching
- using the official Optimus support included with the proprietary NVIDIA driver, which offers the best NVIDIA performance but does not allow GPU switching and can be more buggy than the open-source driver
- using the PRIME functionality of the open-source nouveau driver, which allows GPU switching but offers poor performance compared to the proprietary NVIDIA driver and does not currently implement any powersaving
- using the third-party Bumblebee program to implement Optimus-like functionality, which offers GPU switching and powersaving but requires extra configuration
These options are explained in detail below.
- 1 Disabling switchable graphics
- 2 Using nvidia
- 3 Troubleshooting
- 4 Using nouveau
- 5 Using Bumblebee
Disabling switchable graphics
If you only care to use a certain GPU without switching, check the options in your system's BIOS. There should be an option to disable one of the cards. Some laptops only allow disabling of the discrete card, or vice-versa, but it is worth checking if you only plan to use one of the cards. If you want to use both cards, or cannot disable the card you do not want, see the options below.
The proprietary NVIDIA driver does not support dynamic switching like the nouveau driver (meaning it can only use the NVIDIA device). It also has notable screen-tearing issues that NVIDIA recognizes but has not fixed. However, it does allow use of the discrete GPU and has (as of October 2013) a marked edge in performance over the nouveau driver.
First, install, and from the official repositories.
xorg.conf. You will need to know the PCI address of the NVIDIA card, which you can find by issuing
$ lspci | grep -E "VGA|3D"
The PCI address is the first 7 characters of the line that mentions NVIDIA. It will look something like
01:00.0. In the
xorg.conf, you will need to format it as
01:00.0 would be formatted as
If X.Org X server version 1.17.2 or higher is installed ()
Section "Module" Load "modesetting" EndSection Section "Device" Identifier "nvidia" Driver "nvidia" BusID "<BusID for NVIDIA device here>" Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" EndSection
For older X servers
Section "ServerLayout" Identifier "layout" Screen 0 "nvidia" Inactive "intel" EndSection Section "Device" Identifier "nvidia" Driver "nvidia" # Change BusID if necessary. Tips: (lspci | grep 3D) (Change 01:00.0 to 1:0:0) BusID "PCI:1:0:0" EndSection Section "Screen" Identifier "nvidia" Device "nvidia" Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "Yes" EndSection Section "Device" Identifier "intel" Driver "modesetting" # Change BusID if necessary. Tips: (lspci | grep VGA) (Change 00:02.0 to 0:2:0) BusID "PCI:0:2:0" Option "AccelMethod" "none" EndSection Section "Screen" Identifier "intel" Device "intel" EndSection
Next, add the following two lines to the beginning of your
xrandr --setprovideroutputsource modesetting NVIDIA-0 xrandr --auto
Now reboot to load the drivers, and X should start.
If your display dpi is not correct add following line:
xrandr --dpi 96
If you get a black screen when starting X, make sure that there are no ampersands after the two
xrandr commands in
~/.xinitrc. If there are ampersands, it seems that the window manager can run before the
xrandr commands finish executing, leading to a black screen.
If the black screen persists, see the #Alternative configuration below.
If you experience Xorg-server crashes since release 1.17.1 with above configuration, modify the section for the Intel device in
/etc/X11/xorg.conf as follows:
# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "Device" Identifier "intel" Driver "modesetting" BusID "PCI:0:2:0" Option "AccelMethod" "sna" #Option "TearFree" "True" #Option "Tiling" "True" #Option "SwapbuffersWait" "True" EndSection
As above, the
BusID must match for the output of the lspci command. Search for the line with "VGA compatible controller", that contains something Intel. For example:
$ lspci |grep VGA 00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0b)
If X starts but nothing appears on the screen, check if
/var/log/xorg.conf contains a following line or similar:
[ 16112.937] (EE) Screen 1 deleted because of no matching config section.
If so, the problem may disappear when you change your ServerLayout section of
Section "ServerLayout" Identifier "layout" Screen 1 "nvidia" Inactive "intel" EndSection
If you are using a display manager then you will need to create or edit a display setup script for your display manager instead of using
For the LightDM display manager:
#!/bin/sh xrandr --setprovideroutputsource modesetting NVIDIA-0 xrandr --auto
Make the script executable:
# chmod +x /etc/lightdm/display_setup.sh
Now configure lightdm to run the script by editing the
[Seat:*] section in
Now reboot and your display manager should start.
For the SDDM display manager:
xrandr --setprovideroutputsource modesetting NVIDIA-0 xrandr --auto
For the GDM display manager create a new .desktop file:
[Desktop Entry] Type=Application Name=Optimus Exec=sh -c "xrandr --setprovideroutputsource modesetting NVIDIA-0; xrandr --auto" NoDisplay=true X-GNOME-Autostart-Phase=DisplayServer
Make sure that GDM use X as default backend.
For KDE's KDM, add the xrandr lines into
You can check if the NVIDIA graphics are being used by installingand running
$ glxinfo | grep NVIDIA
For more information, look at NVIDIA's official page on the topic .
Unfortunately, this is an issue which currently has no solution, and is known to NVIDIA.
Failed to initialize the NVIDIA GPU at PCI:1:0:0 (GPU fallen off the bus / RmInitAdapter failed!)
rcutree.rcu_idle_gp_delay=1 to the kernel parameters. Original topic can be found here.
Resolution, screen scan wrong. EDID errors in Xorg.log
This is due to the NVIDIA driver not detecting the EDID for the display. You need to manually specify the path to an EDID file or provide the same information in a similar way.
To provide the path to the EDID file edit the Device Section for the NVIDIA card in Xorg.conf, adding these lines and changing parts to reflect your own system:
Section "Device" Option "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT-0" Option "CustomEDID" "CRT-0:/sys/class/drm/card0-LVDS-1/edid" Option "IgnoreEDID" "false" Option "UseEDID" "true" EndSection
If Xorg wont start try swapping out all references of CRT to DFB. card0 is the identifier for the intel card to which the display is connected via LVDS. The edid binary is in this directory. If the hardware arrangement is different, the value for CustomEDID might vary but yet this has to be confirmed. The path will start in any case with /sys/class/drm.
Alternatively you can generate your edid with tools likeand point the driver to this file. Even modelines can be used, but then be sure to change "UseEDID" and "IgnoreEDID".
If you wish to use Bumblebee, which will implement powersaving and some other useful features, see the wiki article on Bumblebee.