Difference between revisions of "NVIDIA Optimus"

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[[Category:Graphics]]
 
[[Category:Graphics]]
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.
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{{Related articles start}}
<!-- The information below can all be found in the Bumblebee article, which is mentioned below.
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{{Related|Bumblebee}}
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{{Related|Nouveau}}
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{{Related|NVIDIA}}
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{{Related articles end}}
  
== Powering on/off the NVIDIA GPU ==
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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 method available:
  
It is recommended to use {{Pkg|bbswitch}} to control the power state of the NVIDIA GPU
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* 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
To turn it on, do
+
  
# tee /proc/acpi/bbswitch <<< ON
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* 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
  
note: You will need to unload nouveau/nvidia kernel modules before you can turn off the GPU, e.g.
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* 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
  
# rmmod nouveau
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* using the third-party Bumblebee program to implement Optimus-like functionality, which offers GPU switching and powersaving but requires extra configuration
# tee /proc/acpi/bbswitch <<< OFF -->
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=== Disabling switchable graphics ===
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These options are explained in detail below.
  
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 don't want, see the options below.
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== Disabling switchable graphics ==
  
=== Using nouveau ===
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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 open-source NVIDIA driver ({{Pkg|xf86-video-nouveau}}), allows for dynamic GPU switching using a technology called PRIME. First, install the Intel and nouveau drivers:
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== Using nvidia ==
  
{{ic|# pacman -S xf86-video-intel xf86-video-nouveau}}
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The [[NVIDIA|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.
  
Next, install {{Pkg|xorg-xrandr}}, which allows setting the NVIDIA card as an offload sink of the Intel:
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First install the modesetting and nvidia drivers:
  
{{ic|# pacman -S xorg-xrandr}}
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# pacman -S xf86-video-modesetting nvidia
 
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Reboot to load the drivers. You should now be able to start X. The next step is to run the following {{ic|xrandr}} command while X is running:
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{{ic|$ xrandr --setprovideroffloadsink nouveau Intel}}
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You can now run programs with the NVIDIA card by adding {{ic|DRI_PRIME<nowiki>=</nowiki>1 }} before a command; i.e.
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{{ic|$ DRI_PRIME<nowiki>=</nowiki>1 glxgears}}
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To check if programs are using the NVIDIA graphics and not Intel, install {{Pkg|mesa-demos}} and run
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{{ic|$ DRI_PRIME<nowiki>=</nowiki>1 glxinfo <nowiki>|</nowiki> grep nouveau}}
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You should see a line that says {{ic|OpenGL vendor string: nouveau}}.
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If you don't want to manually run the {{ic|xrandr}} command every time you start X, you can add it at the beginning of your {{ic|~/.xinitrc}}. If you want to run every program using the NVIDIA graphics, you can add the line {{ic|export DRI_PRIME<nowiki>=</nowiki>1}} to your {{ic|~/.bashrc}}.
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=== Using nvidia ===
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The proprietary NVIDIA driver ({{Pkg|nvidia}}) does not support dynamic switching like the nouveau driver (meaning it can only use one driver at a time), and has several other disadvantages, but does allow use of the discrete GPU and has (as of October 2013) a marked edge in performance over the nouveau driver. To enable Optimus, you must install the modesetting and nvidia drivers:
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{{ic|# pacman -S xf86-video-modesetting nvidia}}
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Then install {{ic|xrandr}}:
 
Then install {{ic|xrandr}}:
  
{{ic|# pacman -S xorg-xrandr}}
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# pacman -S xorg-xrandr
  
Next, you must create a custom {{ic|xorg.conf}}. You'll need to know the PCI address of the NVIDIA card, which you can find by issuing
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Next, you must create a custom {{ic|xorg.conf}}. You will need to know the PCI address of the NVIDIA card, which you can find by issuing
  
{{ic|$ lspci <nowiki>|</nowiki> grep VGA}}
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$ lspci <nowiki>|</nowiki> grep VGA
  
The PCI address is the first 7 characters of the line that mentions NVIDIA. It will look something like {{ic|01:00.0}}. In the {{ic|xorg.conf}}, you'll need to format it as {{ic|#:#:#}}; e.g. {{ic|01:00.0}} would be formatted as {{ic|1:0:0}}. Also, if the NVIDIA card has no display devices attached to it (all video goes through the Intel chip), uncomment the line that reads {{ic|Option "UseDisplayDevice" "none"}}.
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The PCI address is the first 7 characters of the line that mentions NVIDIA. It will look something like {{ic|01:00.0}}. In the {{ic|xorg.conf}}, you will need to format it as {{ic|#:#:#}}; e.g. {{ic|01:00.0}} would be formatted as {{ic|1:0:0}}. Also, if the NVIDIA card has no display devices attached to it (all video goes through the Intel chip), uncomment the line that reads {{ic|Option "UseDisplayDevice" "none"}}.
  
 
{{hc|# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf|
 
{{hc|# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf|
Line 101: Line 80:
 
If you get a black screen when starting X, make sure that there are no ampersands after the two {{ic|xrandr}} commands in {{ic|~/.xinitrc}}; if there are ampersands, it seems that the window manager can run before the {{ic|xrandr}} commands finish executing, leading to the black screen.
 
If you get a black screen when starting X, make sure that there are no ampersands after the two {{ic|xrandr}} commands in {{ic|~/.xinitrc}}; if there are ampersands, it seems that the window manager can run before the {{ic|xrandr}} commands finish executing, leading to the black screen.
  
As with the nouveau drivers, you can check if the NVIDIA graphics are being used by installing {{Pkg|mesa-demos}} and running
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You can check if the NVIDIA graphics are being used by installing {{Pkg|mesa-demos}} and running
  
{{ic|$ glxinfo <nowiki>|</nowiki> grep NVIDIA}}
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$ glxinfo <nowiki>|</nowiki> grep NVIDIA
  
 
For more information, look at NVIDIA's official page on the topic [http://http.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/319.23/README/randr14.html here].
 
For more information, look at NVIDIA's official page on the topic [http://http.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/319.23/README/randr14.html here].
  
=== Using Bumblebee ===
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== Using nouveau ==
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The open-source [[nouveau]] driver ({{Pkg|xf86-video-nouveau}})can dynamically switch with the Intel driver ({{Pkg|xf86-video-intel}}) using a technology called PRIME. For more information, see the wiki article on [[PRIME]].
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== Using Bumblebee ==
  
See the wiki page on [[Bumblebee]].
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If you wish to use Bumblebee, which will implement powersaving and some other useful features, see the wiki article on [[Bumblebee]].

Revision as of 13:02, 15 December 2013

Related articles

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 method 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.

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.

Using nvidia

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 the modesetting and nvidia drivers:

# pacman -S xf86-video-modesetting nvidia

Then install xrandr:

# pacman -S xorg-xrandr

Next, you must create a custom xorg.conf. You will need to know the PCI address of the NVIDIA card, which you can find by issuing

$ lspci | grep VGA

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 #:#:#; e.g. 01:00.0 would be formatted as 1:0:0. Also, if the NVIDIA card has no display devices attached to it (all video goes through the Intel chip), uncomment the line that reads Option "UseDisplayDevice" "none".

# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "layout"
    Screen 0 "nvidia"
    Inactive "intel"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Driver "nvidia"
    BusID "PCI:PCI address determined earlier"
    # e.g. BusID "PCI:1:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Device "nvidia"
    #Option "UseDisplayDevice" "none"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier "intel"
    Driver "modesetting"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "intel"
    Device "intel"
EndSection

Next, add the following two lines to the beginning of your ~/.xinitrc:

$ nano ~/.xinitrc
xrandr --setprovideroutputsource modesetting NVIDIA-0
xrandr --auto

Now reboot to load the drivers, and X should start.

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 the black screen.

You can check if the NVIDIA graphics are being used by installing mesa-demos and running

$ glxinfo | grep NVIDIA

For more information, look at NVIDIA's official page on the topic here.

Using nouveau

The open-source nouveau driver (xf86-video-nouveau)can dynamically switch with the Intel driver (xf86-video-intel) using a technology called PRIME. For more information, see the wiki article on PRIME.

Using Bumblebee

If you wish to use Bumblebee, which will implement powersaving and some other useful features, see the wiki article on Bumblebee.