You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page!
Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures we have no timed articles and no paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can donate through Paypal, Flattr and Liberapay!
To bumblebee or not to bumblebee?
Hori commented on 3 April 2016 at 9:45 am UTC

Hello, fellow penguins!

For a while now I've been using bumblebee on my Arch Linux laptop in order to take advantage of Nvidia's Optimus technology. It works pretty well and it does save a lot of my battery's energy when it isn't plugged in, however it is not always performing as expected.
What I would like to know is if there are any alternatives to bumblebee, especially if there is an official one from Nvidia. It would be ideal if the graphics card would be switched automatically (without having to run my games with 'primusrun game')

I kept hearing about something like nvidia-prime. Is it any good? I remember that the default nvidia drivers didn't feature auto switch for the graphic cards and instead required a restart/logout after each change.

I am switching to an SSD tomorrow and I would like to make my new Arch installation the best I can, and get the most out of it.

Thanks in advance.

RTheren commented on 3 April 2016 at 10:42 am UTC

You need to log-out and log-in everytime you want nvidia or intel.

silverphil commented on 3 April 2016 at 11:40 am UTC

I 've been using nvidia-prime for 9 months and i dont recommend it. It is harder to setup on non-Ubuntu systems and doesn't provide any more benefits, for me at least. It works just like RTheren said. It wont increase your battery life. Also it didnt work for me with any nvidia driver other than 331, but that depends on your hardware. It is the "official" solution from nvidia.

However, if you want to use your nvidia card only, you need to cope with extreme tearing, which is really awful, when watching videos or playing games (i experienced it myself). A fix is on the way but it will arrive in a few months at least, which can make nvidia-prime competitive again.

As far as performance is concerned, i didnt notice any differences in perf between the 2 systems, but you need to use PRIMUS_SYNC=1 primusrun, if you use compositing, otherwise i got frequent frame drops on some games (Euro Truck Simulator 2, Team Fortress 2).

Right now bumblebee is IMO the best way to configure Nvidia Optimus on linux systems and i highly recommend it, but this may change in the future.

Automatic graphics switching on Linux is a dream.. especially with nvidia drivers

wojtek88 commented on 3 April 2016 at 11:45 am UTC

HoriI kept hearing about something like nvidia-prime. Is it any good?
It depends. Mainly because what @RTheren wrote:
RTherenYou need to log-out and log-in everytime you want nvidia or intel.
So in general it depends how do you use your laptop - if you for example have different needs based on the place you currently are (for example you go to the university and you want to save your battery, you go home and you want to have best performance) then nvidia-prime is for you. If you however very often switch between high performance and power saving, than stay with bumblebee.

Personally I used to use bumblebee, got sick because of permanent optirun issues while editing run parameters in steam (often some games were not working for me as expected), switched to nvidia-prime and was quite happy with it.
But now for over 3 months my battery is broken and I have nvidia-prime with permanent nvidia session ;).

silverphil commented on 3 April 2016 at 11:48 am UTC

QuotePersonally I used to use bumblebee, got sick because of permanent optirun issues while editing run parameters in steam (often some games were not working for me as expected), switched to nvidia-prime and was quite happy with it.
But now for over 3 months my battery is broken and I have nvidia-prime with permanent nvidia session .

+wojtek88 did you try PRIMUS_SYNC=1 primusrun?

Hori commented on 3 April 2016 at 12:15 pm UTC

Thanks everyone for your answers.
Yeah, I'm a student and sometimes I really need my battery to last as long as possible, while other times it is not a problem. But I also need switchable graphic cards even more, since I live in a university dorm and I often have to leave my room and go to the lecture room, or someone else's room, etc (I'm studying computer science so having my laptop with me is a must). Anyway, I plan on buying a new battery since it's not really that expensive.

Looks like I'm gonna stay with bumblebee. It served me well, and it's good, but I do hope that Nvidia will eventualy bring the full Optimus experience on Linux - It worked very very nicely on Windows about 2 years ago when I was still using that OS, so why not on Linux too?

wojtek88 commented on 3 April 2016 at 12:20 pm UTC

silverphil+wojtek88 did you try PRIMUS_SYNC=1 primusrun?
No, I did not.

StianTheDark commented on 3 April 2016 at 12:21 pm UTC

Use PRIME and bbswitch. Works great.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PRIME

hummer010 commented on 4 April 2016 at 4:55 pm UTC

StianTheDarkUse PRIME and bbswitch. Works great.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PRIME

Interesting. I wasn't aware of PRIME. How does it differ from bumblebee though? bumblebee uses bbswitch as well, right?

Due to spam you need to Register and Login to comment.


Or login with...

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
  • Tac Tics: „Farabel“
  • Date:
See more!
Popular this week
View by Category
Contact
Latest Comments
Latest Forum Posts