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This article covers installing and configuring NVIDIA's proprietary graphic card driver. For information about the open-source drivers, see Nouveau. See instead NVIDIA Optimus if you have a laptop based on such technology.



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

Tip: It is usually beneficial to install the NVIDIA driver through pacman rather than through the package provided by the NVIDIA site, this allows the driver to be updated when upgrading the system.

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

# lspci -k | grep -A 2 -i "VGA"

2. Determine the necessary driver version for your card by visiting NVIDIA's driver download site, looking up the name in NVIDIA's legacy card list, or finding the code name on nouveau wiki's code names page.

3. Install the appropriate driver for your card:

  • For GeForce 8000 series (released 2006) and newer [NV50, NV84 and newer] cards, install the nvidia or nvidia-lts packages, available in the official repositories.
  • For GeForce 6000/7000 series cards [NV40-NV4E, NV63-NV68], install the nvidia-304xx or nvidia-304xx-lts packages, available in the official repositories.
  • For GeForce 5000 FX series cards [NV30-NV36], install the nvidia-173xxAUR package, available in the AUR. Last supported Xorg version is 1.15.
  • For GeForce 2/3/4 MX/Ti series cards [NV11, NV17-NV28], install the nvidia-96xxAUR package, available in the AUR. Last supported Xorg version is 1.12.
For the very latest GPU models, it may be required to install nvidia-betaAUR from the Arch User Repository, since the stable drivers may not support the newly introduced features.
If you are on 64-bit and also need 32-bit OpenGL support, you must also install the equivalent lib32 package from the multilib repository (e.g. lib32-nvidia-libgl, lib32-nvidia-304xx-libgl or lib32-nvidia-{173xx,96xx}-utils).
Tip: The legacy nvidia-96xx and nvidia-173xx drivers can also be installed from the unofficial [city] repository. (It's strongly adviced that you don't skip any dependencies restriction when installing from here)

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

Once the driver has been installed, continue to configure.

Alternate install: custom kernel

First of all, it's good to know how the ABS works by reading some of the other articles about it:

The following is a short tutorial for making a custom NVIDIA driver package using ABS:

Install abs from the official repositories and generate the tree with:

# abs

As a standard user, make a temporary directory for creating the new package:

$ mkdir -p ~/abs

Make a copy of the nvidia package directory:

$ cp -r /var/abs/extra/nvidia/ ~/abs/

Go into the temporary nvidia build directory:

$ cd ~/abs/nvidia

It is required to edit the files nvidia.install and PKGBUILD so that they contain the right kernel version variables.

While running the custom kernel, get the appropriate kernel and local version names:

$ uname -r
  1. In nvidia.install, replace the EXTRAMODULES='extramodules-3.4-ARCH' variable with the custom kernel version, such as EXTRAMODULES='extramodules-3.4.4' or EXTRAMODULES='extramodules-3.4.4-custom' depending on what the kernel's version is and the local version's text/numbers. Do this for all instances of the version number within this file.
  2. In PKGBUILD, change the _extramodules=extramodules-3.4-ARCH variable to match the appropriate version, as above.
  3. If there are multiple kernels installed in parallel (such as a custom kernel alongside the default -ARCH kernel), change the pkgname=nvidia variable in the PKGBUILD to a unique identifier, such as nvidia-344 or nvidia-custom. This will allow both kernels to use the nvidia module, since the custom nvidia module has a different package name and will not overwrite the original. You will also need to comment the line in package() that blacklists the nouveau module in /usr/lib/modprobe.d/nvidia.conf (no need to do it again).

Then do:

$ makepkg -ci

The -c operand tells makepkg to clean left over files after building the package, whereas -i specifies that makepkg should automatically run pacman to install the resulting package.

Automatic re-compilation of the NVIDIA module with every update of any kernel

This is possible thanks to nvidia-hookAUR from the AUR. You will need to install the module sources: nvidia-dkmsAUR. In nvidia-hook, the 'automatic re-compilation' functionality is done by a nvidia hook on mkinitcpio after forcing to update the linux-headers package. You will need to add 'nvidia' to the HOOKS array in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf.

The hook will call the dkms command to update the NVIDIA module for the version of your new kernel.

  • If you are using this functionality it's important to look at the installation process of the linux (or any other kernel) package. nvidia hook will tell you if anything goes wrong.
  • If you would like to do this manually please see this section in the dkms arch wiki.


It is possible that after installing the driver it may not be needed to create an Xorg server configuration file. You can run a test 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.

Note: Since 1.8.x Xorg uses separate configuration files in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ - check out advanced configuration section.

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"
        Option "NoLogo" "true"
        #Option "UseEDID" "false"
        #Option "ConnectedMonitor" "DFP"
        # ...
Tip: If upgrading from nouveau make sure to remove "nouveau" from /etc/mkinitcpio.conf. See Switching between NVIDIA and nouveau drivers, if switching between the open and proprietary drivers often.

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.

Warning: That may still not work properly with Xorg-server 1.8

Multiple monitors

See Multihead for more general information
Warning: As of August 2013, Xinerama is broken when using the proprietary NVIDIA driver from 319 upwards. Users wishing to use Xinerama with the NVIDIA driver should use the NVIDIA 313 driver, which works only with Linux kernels earlier than 3.10. See this thread for more information.

To activate dual screen support, you just need to edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-monitor.conf file which you made before.

Per each physical monitor, add one Monitor, Device, and Screen Section entry, and then a ServerLayout section to manage it. Be advised that when Xinerama is enabled, the NVIDIA proprietary driver automatically disables compositing. If you desire compositing, you should comment out the Xinerama line in "ServerLayout" and use TwinView (see below) instead.

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "DualSreen"
    Screen       0 "Screen0"
    Screen       1 "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0" #Screen1 at the right of Screen0
    Option         "Xinerama" "1" #To move windows between screens

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

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

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Screen         0

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Screen         1

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth          24
        Modes          "1280x800_75.00"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen1"
    Device         "Device1"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    DefaultDepth   24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth          24


You want only one big screen instead of two. Set the TwinView argument to 1. This option should be used instead of Xinerama (see above), if you desire compositing.

Option "TwinView" "1"

TwinView only works on a per card basis: If you have multiple cards, you'll have to use xinerama or zaphod mode (multiple X screens). You can combine TwinView with zaphod mode, ending up, for example, with two X screens covering two monitors each. Most window managers fail miserably in zaphod mode. Awesome is the shining exception, and KDE almost works.

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"
Manual CLI configuration with xrandr

If the latest solutions don't work for you, you can use your window manager's autostart implementation with xorg-xrandr.

Some xrandr examples could be:

xrandr --output DVI-I-0 --auto --primary --left-of DVI-I-1


xrandr --output DVI-I-1 --pos 1440x0 --mode 1440x900 --rate 75.0


  • --output is used to indicate the "monitor" to which the options are set.
  • DVI-I-1 is the name of the second monitor.
  • --pos is the position of the second monitor relative to the first.
  • --mode is the resolution of the second monitor.
  • --rate is the refresh rate (in Hz).

You can find the proper options by running xrandr without any arguments.

Using NVIDIA Settings

You can also use the nvidia-settings tool provided by nvidia-utils. With this method, you will use the proprietary software NVIDIA provides with their drivers. Simply run nvidia-settings as root, then configure as you wish, and then save the configuration to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-monitor.conf.


If the driver doesn't 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.

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.

Base mosaic

Base mosaic mode works on any set of Geforce 8000 series or higher GPUs. It cannot be enabled from withing 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"

EDIT: While the documentation lists a 2x2 configuration of monitors, Nvidia has reduced that ability to just 3 monitors in base mosaic mode as of driver version 304. More monitors are available with a Quadro card, but with standard consumer cards, it is limited to three. The explanation given for this reduction is "Feature parity with the Windows driver". As of 9/14/2014, Windows has no restriction on the number of monitors, even on the same driver version. This is not a bug, this is entirely by design.

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"


GUI: nvidia-settings

The NVIDIA package includes the nvidia-settings program that allows adjustment of several additional settings.

For the settings to be loaded on login, run this command from the terminal:

$ nvidia-settings --load-config-only

The desktop environment's auto-startup method 'may' not work for loading nvidia-settings properly (KDE). To be sure that settings are really loaded put the command in ~/.xinitrc file (create if not present).

Tip: On rare occasions the ~/.nvidia-settings-rc may become corrupt. If this happens, the Xorg server may crash and the file will have to be deleted to fix the problem.

Advanced: 20-nvidia.conf

Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf, and add the option to the correct section. 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.

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 digital connections only.

Enabling brightness control

Add under section Device:

Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
Note: If you already have this enabled and your brightness control doesn't work try to comment it out.

Enabling SLI

Warning: As of May 7, 2011, you may experience sluggish video performance in GNOME 3 after enabling SLI.

Taken from the NVIDIA driver's README appendix: 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 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.

Enabling overclocking

Warning: Please note that overclocking may damage hardware and that no responsibility may be placed on the authors of this page due to any damage to any information technology equipment from operating products out of specifications set by the manufacturer.

To enable GPU and memory overclocking, place the following line in the Device section:

Option "Coolbits" "1"
Note: GeForce 400/500/600/700 series Fermi/Kepler cores CAN now, as of version 337.12, be overclocked! Now Option "Coolbits" "8" needs to be set within the device section of the X configuration file to enable the new overclocking support. If you also want to enable manual GPU fan controls, you need to set Option "Coolbits" "12".

This will enable on-the-fly overclocking within an X session by running:

$ nvidia-settings
Note: An alternative is to edit and reflash the GPU BIOS either under DOS (preferred), or within a Win32 environment by way of nvflash[dead link 2013-05-25] and NiBiTor 6.0[dead link 2013-05-25]. The advantage of BIOS flashing is that not only can voltage limits be raised, but stability is generally improved over software overclocking methods such as Coolbits. Fermi BIOS modification tutorial
Setting static 2D/3D clocks

Set the following string in the Device section to enable PowerMizer at its maximum performance level (VSync won't work without this line):

Option "RegistryDwords" "PerfLevelSrc=0x2222"

Set one of the following two strings in the Device section to enable manual GPU fan control within nvidia-settings:

Option "Coolbits" "4"
Option "Coolbits" "5"

Tips and tricks

Fixing terminal resolution

Transitioning from nouveau may cause your startup terminal to display at a lower resolution.


If you are using GRUB, a possible solution is to edit the GRUB_GFXMODE line of /etc/default/grub with desired display resolutions. Multiple resolutions can be specified, including the default auto, so it is recommended that you edit the line to resemble GRUB_GFXMODE=<desired resolution>,<fallback such as 1024x768>,auto. For more information, refer to the GRUB gfxmode documentation.

Enabling Pure Video HD (VDPAU/VAAPI)

Hardware Required:

At least a video card with second generation PureVideo HD [1].

Software Required:

Nvidia video cards with the proprietary driver installed will provide video decoding capabilities with the VDPAU interface at different levels according to PureVideo generation.

You can also add support for the VA-API interface with libva-vdpau-driver.

Check VA-API support with:

$ vainfo

To take full advantage of the hardware decoding capability of your video card you will need a media player that supports VDPAU or VA-API.

To enable hardware acceleration in MPlayer edit ~/.mplayer/config

Warning: The ffodivxvdpau codec is only supported by the most recent series of NVIDIA hardware. Consider omitting it based on your specific hardware.

To enable hardware acceleration in VLC go:

Tools > Preferences > Input & Codecs, then select VDPAU as Hardware-accelerated decoding

To enable hardware acceleration in smplayer go:

Options > Preferences > General > Video Tab, then select vdpau as output driver

To enable hardware acceleration in gnome-mplayer go:

Edit > Preference, then set video output to vdpau

Playing HD movies on cards with low memory:

If your graphic card does not have a lot of memory (>512MB?), you can experience glitches when watching 1080p or even 720p movies. To avoid that start simple window manager like TWM or MWM.

Additionally increasing the MPlayer's cache size in ~/.mplayer/config can help, when your hard drive is spinning down when watching HD movies.

Avoid screen tearing in KDE (KWin)

export __GL_YIELD="USLEEP"

Also if the above doesn't help, then try this:


Do not have both of the above enabled at the same time. Also if you enable triple buffering make sure to enable TripleBuffering for the driver itself. Source: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=322060

Hardware accelerated video decoding with XvMC

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. To use it, create a new file /etc/X11/XvMCConfig with the following content:


See how to configure supported software.

Using TV-out

A good article on the subject can be found here.

X with a TV (DFP) as the only display

The X server falls back to CRT-0 if no monitor is automatically detected. This can be a problem when using a DVI connected TV as the main display, and X is started while the TV is turned off or otherwise disconnected.

To force NVIDIA to use DFP, store a copy of the EDID somewhere in the filesystem so that X can parse the file instead of reading EDID from the TV/DFP.

To acquire the EDID, start nvidia-settings. It will show some information in tree format, ignore the rest of the settings for now and select the GPU (the corresponding entry should be titled "GPU-0" or similar), click the DFP section (again, DFP-0 or similar), click on the Acquire Edid Button and store it somewhere, for example, /etc/X11/dfp0.edid.

Edit xorg.conf by adding to the Device section:

Option "ConnectedMonitor" "DFP"
Option "CustomEDID" "DFP-0:/etc/X11/dfp0.edid"

The ConnectedMonitor option forces the driver to recognize the DFP as if it were connected. The CustomEDID provides EDID data for the device, meaning that it will start up just as if the TV/DFP was connected during X the process.

This way, one can automatically start a display manager at boot time and still have a working and properly configured X screen by the time the TV gets powered on.

Check the power source

The NVIDIA X.org driver can also be used to detect the GPU's current source of power. To see the current power source, check the 'GPUPowerSource' read-only parameter (0 - AC, 1 - battery):

$ nvidia-settings -q GPUPowerSource -t

If you're seeing an error message similiar to the one below, then you either need to install acpid or start the systemd service via systemctl start acpid.service

ACPI: failed to connect to the ACPI event daemon; the daemon
may not be running or the "AcpidSocketPath" X
configuration option may not be set correctly. When the
ACPI event daemon is available, the NVIDIA X driver will
try to use it to receive ACPI event notifications. For
details, please see the "ConnectToAcpid" and
"AcpidSocketPath" X configuration options in Appendix B: X
Config Options in the README.

(If you are not seeing this error, it is not necessary to install/run acpid soley for this purpose. My current power source is correctly reported without acpid even installed.)

Displaying GPU temperature in the shell

Method 1 - nvidia-settings

Note: This method requires that you are using X. Use Method 2 or Method 3 if you are not. Also note that Method 3 currently does not not work with newer NVIDIA cards such as the G210/220 as well as embedded GPUs such as the Zotac IONITX's 8800GS.

To display the GPU temp in the shell, use nvidia-settings as follows:

$ nvidia-settings -q gpucoretemp

This will output something similar to the following:

Attribute 'GPUCoreTemp' (hostname:0.0): 41.
'GPUCoreTemp' is an integer attribute.
'GPUCoreTemp' is a read-only attribute.
'GPUCoreTemp' can use the following target types: X Screen, GPU.

The GPU temps of this board is 41 C.

In order to get just the temperature for use in utils such as rrdtool or conky, among others:

$ nvidia-settings -q gpucoretemp -t

Method 2 - nvidia-smi

Use nvidia-smi which can read temps directly from the GPU without the need to use X at all. This is important for a small group of users who do not have X running on their boxes, perhaps because the box is headless running server apps. To display the GPU temperature in the shell, use nvidia-smi as follows:

$ nvidia-smi

This should output something similar to the following:

$ nvidia-smi
Fri Jan  6 18:53:54 2012       
| NVIDIA-SMI 2.290.10   Driver Version: 290.10         |                       
| Nb.  Name                     | Bus Id        Disp.  | Volatile ECC SB / DB |
| Fan   Temp   Power Usage /Cap | Memory Usage         | GPU Util. Compute M. |
| 0.  GeForce 8500 GT           | 0000:01:00.0  N/A    |       N/A        N/A |
|  30%   62 C  N/A   N/A /  N/A |  17%   42MB /  255MB |  N/A      Default    |
| Compute processes:                                               GPU Memory |
|  GPU  PID     Process name                                       Usage      |
|  0.           ERROR: Not Supported                                          |

Only for temperature:

$ nvidia-smi -q -d TEMPERATURE

==============NVSMI LOG==============

Timestamp                       : Fri Jan  6 18:50:57 2012

Driver Version                  : 290.10

Attached GPUs                   : 1

GPU 0000:01:00.0
        Gpu                     : 62 C

In order to get just the temperature for use in utils such as rrdtool or conky, among others:

$ nvidia-smi -q -d TEMPERATURE | grep Gpu | cut -c35-36

Reference: http://www.question-defense.com/2010/03/22/gpu-linux-shell-temp-get-nvidia-gpu-temperatures-via-linux-cli.

Method 3 - nvclock

Use nvclockAUR which is available from the AUR.

Note: nvclock cannot access thermal sensors on newer NVIDIA cards such as the G210/220.

There can be significant differences between the temperatures reported by nvclock and nvidia-settings/nv-control. According to this post by the author (thunderbird) of nvclock, the nvclock values should be more accurate.

Set fan speed at login

You can adjust the fan speed on your graphics card with nvidia-settings' console interface. First ensure that your Xorg configuration sets the Coolbits option to 4, 5 or 12 for fermi and above in your Device section to enable fan control.

Option "Coolbits" "4"
Note: GTX 4xx/5xx series cards cannot currently set fan speeds at login using this method. This method only allows for the setting of fan speeds within the current X session by way of nvidia-settings.

Place the following line in your ~/.xinitrc file to adjust the fan when you launch Xorg. Replace n with the fan speed percentage you want to set.

nvidia-settings -a "[gpu:0]/GPUFanControlState=1" -a "[fan:0]/GPUCurrentFanSpeed=n"

You can also configure a second GPU by incrementing the GPU and fan number.

nvidia-settings -a "[gpu:0]/GPUFanControlState=1" \ 
-a "[gpu:1]/GPUFanControlState=1" \
-a "[fan:0]/GPUCurrentFanSpeed=n" \
-a  [fan:1]/GPUCurrentFanSpeed=n" &

If you use a login manager such as GDM or KDM, you can create a desktop entry file to process this setting. Create ~/.config/autostart/nvidia-fan-speed.desktop and place this text inside it. Again, change n to the speed percentage you want.

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=nvidia-settings -a "[gpu:0]/GPUFanControlState=1" -a "[fan:0]/GPUCurrentFanSpeed=n"

Order of install/deinstall for changing drivers

Where the old driver is nvidiaO and the new driver is nvidiaN.

remove nvidiaO
install nvidia-libglN
install nvidiaN
install lib32-nvidia-libgl-N (if required)

Switching between NVIDIA and nouveau drivers

Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

Reason: Fresh installs do not contain /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf by default. The sed lines may not be needed. (Discuss in Talk:NVIDIA#)

If you are switching between the NVIDIA and nouveau driver often, you can use these two scripts to make it easier (both need to be ran as root):

 # nouveau -> nvidia
 set -e
 # check if root
 if [[ $EUID -ne 0 ]]; then
    echo "You must be root to run this script. Aborting...";
    exit 1;
 sed -i 's/MODULES="nouveau"/#MODULES="nouveau"/' /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
 pacman -Rdds --noconfirm nouveau-dri xf86-video-nouveau mesa-libgl #lib32-nouveau-dri lib32-mesa-libgl
 pacman -S --noconfirm nvidia #lib32-nvidia-libgl
 mkinitcpio -p linux
 # nvidia -> nouveau
 set -e
 # check if root
 if [[ $EUID -ne 0 ]]; then
    echo "You must be root to run this script. Aborting...";
    exit 1;
 sed -i 's/#*MODULES="nouveau"/MODULES="nouveau"/' /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
 pacman -Rdds --noconfirm nvidia nvidia-libgl #lib32-nvidia-libgl
 pacman -S --noconfirm nouveau-dri xf86-video-nouveau #lib32-nouveau-dri
 mkinitcpio -p linux

A reboot is needed to complete the switch.

Adjust the scripts accordingly, if using other NVIDIA drivers (e.g. nvidia-173xx).

Uncomment the lib32 packages if you run a 64-bit system and require the 32-bit libraries (e.g. 32-bit games/Steam).

Avoid tearing with GTX 600/700/Titan GPU

Adding the following line to the "Screen" section of your X11 configuration file, for example /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf, will eliminate tearing entirely, regardless of the compositor you are using. It has been reported to reduce the performance of some OpenGL applications, though.

Option  "metamodes" "nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceFullCompositionPipeline = On }"


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 appropiate 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.

Vertical sync using TwinView

If you're 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.

Old Xorg settings

If upgrading from an old installation, please remove old /usr/X11R6/ paths as it can cause trouble during installation.

Corrupted screen: "Six screens" Problem

For some users using Geforce GT 100M's, the screen turns out corrupted after X starts; divided into 6 sections with a resolution limited to 640x480. The same problem has been recently reported with Quadro 2000 and hi-res displays.

To solve this problem, enable the Validation Mode NoTotalSizeCheck in section Device:

Section "Device"
 Option "ModeValidation" "NoTotalSizeCheck"

'/dev/nvidia0' input/output error

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Verify that the BIOS related suggestions work and are not coincidentally set while troubleshooting. (Discuss in Talk:NVIDIA#'/dev/nvidia0' Input/Output error... suggested fixes)

This error can occur for several different reasons, and the most common solution given for this error is to check for group/file permissions, which in almost every case is not the problem. The NVIDIA documentation does not talk in detail on what you should do to correct this problem but there are a few things that have worked for some people. The problem can be a IRQ conflict with another device or bad routing by either the kernel or your BIOS.

First thing to try is to remove other video devices such as video capture cards and see if the problem goes away. If there are too many video processors on the same system it can lead into the kernel being unable to start them because of memory allocation problems with the video controller. In particular on systems with low video memory this can occur even if there is only one video processor. In such case you should find out the amount of your system's video memory (e.g. with lspci -v) and pass allocation parameters to the kernel, e.g.:


If running a 64bit kernel, a driver defect can cause the NVIDIA module to fail initializing when IOMMU is on. Turning it off in the BIOS has been confirmed to work for some users. [2]User:Clickthem#nvidia module

Another thing to try is to change your BIOS IRQ routing from Operating system controlled to BIOS controlled or the other way around. The first one can be passed as a kernel parameter:


The noacpi kernel parameter has also been suggested as a solution but since it disables ACPI completely it should be used with caution. Some hardware are easily damaged by overheating.

Note: The kernel parameters can be passed either through the kernel command line or the bootloader configuration file. See your bootloader Wiki page for more information.

'/dev/nvidiactl' errors

Trying to start an opengl application might result in errors such as:

Error: Could not open /dev/nvidiactl because the permissions are too
restrictive. Please see the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 
section of /usr/share/doc/NVIDIA_GLX-1.0/README 
for steps to correct.

Solve by adding the appropiate user to the video group and relogin:

# gpasswd -a username video

32-bit applications do not start

Under 64-bit systems, installing lib32-nvidia-libgl that corresponds to the same version installed for the 64-bit driver fixes the problem.

Errors after updating the kernel

If a custom build of NVIDIA's module is used instead of the package from the extra repository, a recompile is required every time the kernel is updated. Rebooting is generally recommended after updating kernel and graphic drivers.

Crashing in general

  • Try disabling RenderAccel in xorg.conf.
  • If Xorg outputs an error about "conflicting memory type" or "failed to allocate primary buffer: out of memory", add nopat at the end of the kernel line in /boot/grub/menu.lst.
  • If the NVIDIA compiler complains about different versions of GCC between the current one and the one used for compiling the kernel, add in /etc/profile:
  • If Xorg is crashing with a "Signal 11" while using nvidia-96xx drivers, try disabling PAT. Pass the argument nopat to kernel parameters.

More information about troubleshooting the driver can be found in the NVIDIA forums.

Bad performance after installing a new driver version

If FPS have dropped in comparison with older drivers, first check if direct rendering is turned on (glxinfo is included in mesa-demos):

$ glxinfo | grep direct

If the command prints:

direct rendering: No

then that could be an indication for the sudden FPS drop.

A possible solution could be to regress to the previously installed driver version and rebooting afterwards.

CPU spikes with 400 series cards

If you are experiencing intermittent CPU spikes with a 400 series card, it may be caused by PowerMizer constantly changing the GPU's clock frequency. Switching PowerMizer's setting from Adaptive to Performance, add the following to the Device section of your Xorg configuration:

 Option "RegistryDwords" "PowerMizerEnable=0x1; PerfLevelSrc=0x3322; PowerMizerDefaultAC=0x1"

Laptops: X hangs on login/out, worked around with Ctrl+Alt+Backspace

If, while using the legacy NVIDIA drivers, Xorg hangs on login and logout (particularly with an odd screen split into two black and white/gray pieces), but logging in is still possible via Ctrl+Alt+Backspace (or whatever the new "kill X" key binding is), try adding this in /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf:

options nvidia NVreg_Mobile=1

One user had luck with this instead, but it makes performance drop significantly for others:

options nvidia NVreg_DeviceFileUID=0 NVreg_DeviceFileGID=33 NVreg_DeviceFileMode=0660 NVreg_SoftEDIDs=0 NVreg_Mobile=1

Note that NVreg_Mobile needs to be changed according to the laptop:

  • 1 for Dell laptops.
  • 2 for non-Compal Toshiba laptops.
  • 3 for other laptops.
  • 4 for Compal Toshiba laptops.
  • 5 for Gateway laptops.

See NVIDIA Driver's README: Appendix K for more information.

No screens found on a laptop/NVIDIA Optimus

On a laptop, if the NVIDIA driver cannot find any screens, you may have an NVIDIA Optimus setup : an Intel chipset connected to the screen and the video outputs, and a NVIDIA card that does all the hard work and writes to the chipset's video memory.

Check if $ lspci | grep VGA outputs something similar to:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 02)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0df4 (rev a1)

NVIDIA drivers now offer Optimus support since 319.12 Beta [[3]] with kernels above and including 3.9.

Another solution is to install the Intel driver to handle the screens, then if you want 3D software you should run them through Bumblebee to tell them to use the NVIDIA card.

Possible Workaround

Enter the BIOS and changed the default graphics setting from 'Optimus' to 'Discrete' and the install NVIDIA drivers (295.20-1 at time of writing) recognized the screens.


  1. Enter BIOS.
  2. Find Graphics Settings (should be in tab Config > Display).
  3. Change 'Graphics Device' to 'Discrete Graphics' (Disables Intel integrated graphics).
  4. Change OS Detection for Nvidia Optimus to "Disabled".
  5. Save and exit.

Tested on a Lenovo W520 with a Quadro 1000M and Nvidia Optimus

Screen(s) found, but none have a usable configuration

On a laptop, sometimes NVIDIA driver cannot find the active screen. It may be caused because you own a graphic card with vga/tv outs. You should examine Xorg.0.log to see what is wrong.

Another thing to try is adding invalid "ConnectedMonitor" Option to Section "Device" to force Xorg throws error and shows you how correct it. Here more about ConnectedMonitor setting.

After re-run X see Xorg.0.log to get valid CRT-x,DFP-x,TV-x values.

nvidia-xconfig --query-gpu-info could be helpful.

Blackscreen at X startup with new driver

If you have installed an update of Nvidia and you screen stay black after launching Xorg. You have to use the rcutree.rcu_idle_gp_delay=1 kernel parameter.

You can also try to add the nvidia module directly to your mkinitcpio config file.

No brightness control on laptops

Try to add the following line on 20-nvidia.conf:

Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"

If it still not working, you can try install nvidia-bl or nvidiabl.

Black bars while watching full screen flash videos with TwinView

Follow the instructions presented here: link.

Backlight is not turning off in some occasions

By default, DPMS should turn off backlight with the timeouts set or by running xset. However, probably due to a bug in the proprietary Nvidia drivers the result is a blank screen with no powersaving whatsoever. To workaround it, until the bug has been fixed you can use the vbetool as root.

Install the vbetool package.

Turn off your screen on demand and then by pressing a random key backlight turns on again:

vbetool dpms off && read -n1; vbetool dpms on

Alternatively, xrandr is able to disable and re-enable monitor outputs without requiring root.

xrandr --output DP-1 --off; read -n1; xrandr --output DP-1 --auto

Blue tint on videos with Flash

A problem with flashplugin versions and causes it to send the U/V panes in the incorrect order resulting in a blue tint on certain videos. There are a few potential fixes for this bug:

  1. Install the latest libvdpau.
  2. Patch vdpau_trace.so with this makepkg.
  3. Right click on a video, select "Settings..." and uncheck "Enable hardware acceleration". Reload the page for it to take affect. Note that this disables GPU acceleration.
  4. Downgrade the flashplugin package to version at most.
  5. Use google-chromeAUR with the new Pepper API chromium-pepper-flashAUR.
  6. Try one of the few Flash alternatives.

The merits of each are discussed in this thread.

Bleeding overlay with Flash

This bug is due to the incorrect colour key being used by the flashplugin version and causes the flash content to "leak" into other pages or solid black backgrounds. To avoid this problem simply install the latest libvdpau or export VDPAU_NVIDIA_NO_OVERLAY=1 within either your shell profile (E.g. ~/.bash_profile or ~/.zprofile) or ~/.xinitrc

Full system freeze using Flash

If you experience occasional full system freezes (only the mouse is moving) using flashplugin and get:

NVRM: Xid (0000:01:00): 31, Ch 00000007, engmask 00000120, intr 10000000

A possible workaround is to switch off Hardware Acceleration in Flash, setting


Or, if you want to keep Hardware acceleration enabled, you may try to::


...before starting the browser. Note that this may introduce tearing.

Xorg fails to load or Red Screen of Death

If you get a red screen and use GRUB disable the GRUB framebuffer by editing /etc/defaults/grub and uncomment GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT. For more information see GRUB.

Black screen on systems with Intel integrated GPU

If you have an Intel CPU with an integrated GPU (e.g. Intel HD 4000) and have installed the nvidia package, you may experience a black screen on boot, when changing virtual terminal, or when exiting an X session. This may be caused by a conflict between the graphics modules. This is solved by blacklisting the Intel GPU modules. Create the file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf and prevent the i915 and intel_agp modules from loading on boot:

install i915 /usr/bin/false
install intel_agp /usr/bin/false

Black screen on systems with VIA integrated GPU

As above, blacklisting the viafb module may resolve conflicts with NVIDIA drivers:

install viafb /usr/bin/false

X fails with "no screens found" with Intel iGPU

Like above, if you have an Intel CPU with an integrated GPU and X fails to start with

[ 76.633] (EE) No devices detected.
[ 76.633] Fatal server error:
[ 76.633] no screens found

then you need to add your discrete card's BusID to your X configuration. Find it:

# lspci | grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK107 [GeForce GTX 650] (rev a1)

then you fix it by adding it to the card's Device section in your X configuration. In my case:

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BusID          "PCI:1:0:0"

Note how 01:00.0 is written as 1:0:0.

Xorg fails during boot, but otherwise starts fine

On very fast booting systems, systemd may attempt to start the display manager before the NVIDIA driver has fully initialized. You will see a message like the following in your logs only when Xorg runs during boot.

[     1.807] (EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module. Please see the
[     1.807] (EE) NVIDIA(0):     system's kernel log for additional error messages and
[     1.808] (EE) NVIDIA(0):     consult the NVIDIA README for details.
[     1.808] (EE) NVIDIA(0):  *** Aborting ***

In this case you will need to establish an ordering dependency from the display manager to the DRI device. First create device units for DRI devices by creating a new udev rules file.

ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="card*", SUBSYSTEM=="drm", TAG+="systemd"

Then create dependencies from the display manager to the device(s).


If you have additional cards needed for the desktop then list them in Wants and After seperated by spaces.

Flash video players crashes

If you are getting frequent crashes of Flash video players, try to switch off Hardware Acceleration:


(This problem appeared after installing the proprietary nvidia driver, and was fixed by changing this setting.)

See also