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Nouveau is an open source graphic driver for NVIDIA cards. Do not forget to check out the FAQ if you have any questions, as there is a lot of valuable information there.


Before proceeding, have a look at the FeatureMatrix to see what features are supported for a given architecture, and the list of codenames to determine the card's category.

You could also consult wikipedia for a even more detailed list.

Install the following package:

# pacman -S xf86-video-nouveau

In addition to Template:Package Official, install the package below for the highly experimental Mesa Gallium3D DRI drivers for Nouveau:

# pacman -S nouveau-dri
Warning: 3D acceleration is still not officially supported, so don't report any bugs unless you are looking to contribute patches.

As of 2010-02-25, nouveau automatically generates the firmware for nv50. Thus nouveau-firmware is no longer needed for any cards with nouveau-drm 0.0.15_20100313-1.


If you kept the proprietary nvidia driver installed, nouveau is probably not going to work. Either uninstall nvidia or blacklist it by adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf

blacklist nvidia

Then nouveau should load fine automatically on next reboot. To test it now, first make sure nvidia is no longer loaded

# rmmod nvidia

Now load nouveau

# modprobe nouveau

And check that it loaded fine by looking at kernel messages

$ dmesg


Create the file Template:Filename, and input the following contents:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia card"
    Driver "nouveau"

This is required to ensure that nouveau driver is loaded. Xorg is not yet smart enough to do this by itself.


Kernel Mode-Setting (KMS) is required by the Nouveau driver. See the KernelModeSetting page for more information.

Late start

With this choice, KMS will be enabled when the boot process says, "Loading modules." This may cause an undesirable screen flicker as the mode changes.

Remove all "vga=" and "video=" options from your kernel commandline in Template:Filename. Using other framebuffer drivers (such as uvesafb) will conflict with KMS.

Early start

Warning: If you have troubles with nouveau, and are led to rebuild nouveau-drm several times for testing purpose, do not add nouveau to the initramfs. It is too easy to forget to rebuild the initramfs and it will just make any testing harder. Just use late start. There might be additional problems with initramfs if you need a firmware for the nv50 family

This method will start KMS as early as possible in the boot process, when the initramfs is loaded. Here is how to do this with the official packages:

1) Add "nouveau" to the MODULES array in Template:Filename:

MODULES="nouveau ..."

2) Add "options nouveau modeset=1" to "/etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf".

3) Add "/etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf" to the FILES section in Template:Filename:


4) Re-generate your initcpio:

# mkinitcpio -p <your kernel preset (kernel26, etc.)>

Alternative installation

If the official Arch Linux packages do not work, you can try a more current video driver from the AUR: Template:Package AUR. A more up-to-date DRM module can be built by using the Template:Package Official PKGBUILD from ABS. Simply update Template:Codeline to the current date, and modify the Template:Codeline array to read:

        # get the Makefile from

You can use Template:Package AUR to compile the nouveau project's kernel tree, which already includes the necessary modules. This is the method recommended by upstream.


Nouveau supports the xrandr extension for modesetting and multiple monitors. See the RandR12 page for tutorials.

Here is a full sample Template:Filename above for running 2 monitors in dual head mode. You may prefer to use a graphical tool to configure monitors like gnome-display-properties (System -> Preferences -> Display).

# the right one
Section "Monitor"
          Identifier   "NEC"
          Option "PreferredMode" "1280x1024_60.00"

# the left one
Section "Monitor"
          Identifier   "FUS"
          Option "PreferredMode" "1280x1024_60.00"
          Option "LeftOf" "NEC"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia card"
    Driver "nouveau"
    Option  "Monitor-DVI-I-0" "NEC"
    Option  "Monitor-DVI-I-1" "FUS"
    #Option "AccelMethod" "XAA"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "screen1"
    DefaultDepth 24
      SubSection "Display"
       Depth      24
       Virtual 2560 1024
    Device "nvidia card"

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "layout1"
    Screen "screen1"
    # will be replaced by gallium 3D
    Option "AIGLX" "false"

Setting console resolution

Use the Template:Package Official tool to adjust console resolution.

You can also pass the resolution to nouveau with the video= kernel line option (see KMS).