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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 GamingOnLinux.com.
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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slaapliedje Aug 17, 2018
Gnome 3.28.x has added detection for Optimus, when I right click on an icon in the gnome-shell it has an option that says "Launch using Dedicated Graphics Card" Haven't actually tried it yet, since I haven't set up bumblebee or whatever on my laptop.
poisond Aug 17, 2018
I really don't understand the concept of "serious gaming".

Also, @debianxfce. the objects you play with are commonly called toys, hence your "gaming" desktop is a toy desktop.

@TemplarGR While buying laptops solely for gaming certainly is more expensive and you won't get anywhere near desktop-like performance (unless you buy one of those silly laptops that weigh 10kg and have two power bricks), I can imagine portability beeing an argument. Even if portability means moving from the living room desk to the bedroom desk because you're not living alone and want some privacy for your hentai game.


Last edited by poisond on 17 August 2018 at 3:30 pm UTC
stretch611 Aug 17, 2018
My gaming laptop is a beast. Yes, it was expensive. Yes it is heavy compared to other laptops. (7lbs/3.2kg + power brick)

My earlier post explained why I need/desire a laptop over a desktop. It essentially lets me bring my laptop to my clients to show them demos. It also allows me to visit relatives and continue to be productive and work while away; as well as feed my gaming addiction while away.

My specs are outlined on my profile (updated today only to change to open source driver now that I am using AMD). And yes, they are higher than specs already mentioned in the comments from this article (both desktop as well as laptop.) And while the specs of my laptop can give me a huge e-peen rating, I really don't care. I buy high end when I get it because it lasts longer and means I do not need to replace it as soon; as long as it handles all my gaming and development needs.

I do not know what my benchmark rating is... I have not installed any benchmark utility on a computer since well before I completely dropped windows over 10 years ago. I know I can have a virtual machine(s) running servers in the background while playing my games at the same time. I care that my computer handles what I throw at it, not whether or not a number derived from a test of implied performance based on bs datapoints is higher than someone else's number. I may be on top now, but my laptop was bought less than one month ago... next year I will not be on top (realistically, next month.) I care that it does what I want it to, not that I paid more than someone I never met over the internet.

Yes, my laptop is classified as gaming/desktop replacement. Yes it is heavier. I don't care that the laptop is heavy... even with the powerbrick it is only about 10lbs/4.5kg. As my handle implies, I am 6'11" (2.11m) tall; what part of that laptop weight seems to be a burden... honestly, even a normal sized wimp shouldn't have a problem carrying that much weight around.

Again, I am a serious gamer. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN HOW OTHER PEOPLE DEFINE THAT. In order, the 3 games I have spent the most time on have been Rimworld, Factorio, and Prison Architect for a total of 3600 hours according to steam. If that isn't proof of gaming addiction, I am not sure what is; not to mention the other games I play. Being a serious gamer doesn't mean that I need to have to play the flavor of the month first person shooter, or require a certain OS/platform. Hell, I can be a serious gamer playing Nethack, Dwarf Fortress, or creeper world... and no one should care whether I get 5900 or 6000 frames per second playing those games; it really doesn't matter.
cc2600 Aug 17, 2018
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: cc2600So just for fun, my 1055 EUR 17 inch laptop (which i can pick up an plug into my tv whenever i want) scored 6813 on the Unigine benchmark at 1080p medium... Am I a serious gamer yet?! xD

Less than 1000 EUR you can build the following gaming PC that is faster and better than your toy. Prices include 24% VAT except 3 last items are from aliexpress and are tax free.

Samsung 24" S24F350H 109
Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 Gaming, 4GB GDDR5 259
Corsair 8GB (1 x 8GB) Value Select, DDR4 2666MHz, CL18 97
Asus PRIME B350M-K 85.9
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 179
Antec VSK-3000B-U3/U2, mATX 29.9
Chieftec 500W 42.9
Kingspec m.2 nvme 512GB 96.57
Motospeed K70 16.52
Professional Wired Gaming Mouse 7 Button 5500 DPI LED Optical USB  6.48

922.27 EUROs

Thanks for the build! It's very nice, but a serious gamer should be using a 32 inch monitor and windows.
RafaelDoge Aug 18, 2018
Quoting: Arranmc182Open Source the "NVIDIA X Server Settings" program at least that way distro's could start integrating better controller over the driver directly in to the OS.
I'm pretty sure it already is open-source, see here: https://github.com/NVIDIA/nvidia-settings
cc2600 Aug 18, 2018
[quote=Guest][quote=cc2600]
Quoting: Guestslow TV

hahahahaha
juliotux Sep 28, 2018
During the X.org Developer's Conference 2018, occurred one presentation about EGL extensions directed to device selection and a workshop with Kyle Brenneman from NVIDIA, also known as Kyle the Savior, who is cited in the NVIDIA forum post. So, they are still designing the proper Optimus support for Linux, but we rope they figure out a way soon.
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