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NVIDIA are working towards better support for NVIDIA Optimus on Linux

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Thanks to a little Twitter tip, we've learned today that NVIDIA are indeed working to provide better support for NVIDIA Optimus on Linux.

Currently, if you have a laptop with NVIDIA Optimus the official NVIDIA driver gives you the option between using the Intel GPU or switching over to the NVIDIA GPU. It doesn't handle it like you would expect it to on Windows, where it would offload the work to the more powerful NVIDIA GPU. Not an ideal situation, to switch between the two GPUs and from when I had a laptop with one (some time ago) it required logging out before it would take effect.

There's a forum topic talking about it on the official NVIDIA forum, which has been open since 2016. Aaron Plattner from NVIDIA said they were looking into it, but that was also back in 2016. A few hours ago, Plattner again gave an update in that post about it:

Hi folks,

Yes, it's still being worked on. Kyle laid the groundwork with the server-side vendor-neutral dispatch code that's in X.Org xserver 1.20. There's still some more work to be done there and support for it needs to be wired up inside our driver, but basic support for loading NVIDIA's GLX as a vendor in the server is in place. Kyle is putting together a proposal for the next steps.

Since I'm not currently up to speed on all the developments surrounding it, I thought it was quite interesting to learn. Hopefully some of you will too.

There are other ways to do it currently on Linux, like Bumblebee but having it done officially would be great. The less hassle Linux users and gamers have to go through, the better it is for everyone.

Hat tip to Luke.

Article taken from
Tags: Drivers, NVIDIA
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Leopard Aug 15, 2018
Awesome , currently Nvidia Prime on Ubuntu 18.04 is a disaster
Teq Aug 15, 2018
I just got a laptop with Optimus and was bummed to find out (the hard way) that bumblebee doesn't support Vulkan. Hopefully this solution will.
yahya Aug 15, 2018
I use Bumblebee.
But doesn't work for Vulkan.

An official support would be great <3
Ketil Aug 15, 2018
I tried optimus a few years ago, but the laptop didn't have a good enough cooling solution to play games requiring a dedicated GPU. I didn't try with a laptop cooler, but I don't think I would use it enough to make it worth purchasing. I rather play games on my desktop computer, and let the laptop be for work only.
14 Aug 16, 2018
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I've messed up my display settings multiple times on my laptop that has both an IGP and discrete Nvidia graphics. Thank goodness I had other computers to search the internet for help! I'm afraid to try it again because of those experiences.
cc2600 Aug 16, 2018
It would be nice, right now I just leave it on the nvidia card unless I am going mobile in which case I can switch to the intel chip to save battery life. It's a minor inconvenience but a reboot isn't that big of a deal. It's better than taking the performance loss with bumblebee, in my opinion. Also the nvidia card does scale it's clock as well so overheating isn't an issue, on this laptop at least.

Honestly though, I wish I had gone with AMD, and probably will next time.
Shmerl Aug 16, 2018
Quoting: GuestIs this feature in place yet for AMD?

Doesn't AMD work with upstream PRIME properly already?

The only reason Nvidia is in such a mess is because they don't care to upstream their driver.

Last edited by Shmerl on 16 August 2018 at 1:34 am UTC
stretch611 Aug 16, 2018
My laptop with an optimus card fried less than 1 month ago... And yes, I believe that it had to do with having the GPU set to nVidia 100% of the time.

Thanks to driver installation hell I was finally at the point where I bought a AMD Ryzen 7/Radeon RX580 laptop to replace it. Admittedly, the last laptop was the 2nd I had with an optimus and it was not as bad as drivers with the 1st one back in early 2013, but why deal with the extra hassle if you do not need to.

With AMD working much better with linux now than it was previously, nVidia might be starting to see the light that a few lost sales in the future will start adding up. They are probably trying prevent this from happening.
cc2600 Aug 16, 2018
Quoting: GuestLaptops are expensive portable toys, no serious gamer uses them. All that I know who had a gaming laptop are using a desktop computer now.

Define serious gamer, I guess? My gaming laptop was actually cheaper than building a gaming pc + monitor due to bitcoin mining destroying the video card market. I think it's great, has handled everything I have thrown at it so far.
ElectricPrism Aug 16, 2018
Quoting: stretch611With AMD working much better with linux now than it was previously, nVidia might be starting to see the light that a few lost sales in the future will start adding up. They are probably trying prevent this from happening.

I call it the Sales Multiplication Effect. The more people that buy a product, the more people that buy the product.

Instead of praising nVidia, as a X-nVidia user I have the strong urge to say: what took them so long?

AMD MESA Open Source driver is the bomb on Linux.

Intel is releasing a dedicated GPU in 2020.

Both of those have open source drivers.

Linux represents the most technically able of the computer world, we influence everyone else strongly.

Nvidia better get their shit together and release a open driver and not fuck us with false advertising in the future or they are going to experience a shitty 2020s I can promise them that.

Actually AMD has reassigned a key designer that assisted in Ryzen to apply techniques to AMD graphics that were applied to Zen architecture, so AMD already going strong is gonna have the biggest can of whoop-ass to lay on nVidia.

The sun and the moon trade places, and so I predict that Nvidia will be greatly weakened in 2-4 years with Intel entering the game and AMD stepping their game up hardcore.

Edit: I sincerely feel bad for any of you who have had to endure the shit that is Nvidia PRIME. How bout we put a couple shotgun shells through that trash and move on to better shit.

Last edited by ElectricPrism on 16 August 2018 at 5:39 am UTC
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