The complete guide to enable NVIDIA Optimus support on Linux

Many laptop owners with NVIDIA GPUs don’t know how to make them work properly on Linux. Therefore, within this new guide today, we will talk about how to enable NVIDIA Optimus on Linux using simple software.

NVIDIA Optimus: what it is

For the uninitiated, the Optimus technology developed by NVIDIA has the task of optimizing, in an intelligent way, your laptop by providing all the graphics performance needed in the moment of need but at the same time extending battery life to the maximum. NVIDIA Optimus is fully automatic and acts behind the scenes without interfering in any way with what you are doing.

How to enable NVIDIA Optimus on Ubuntu

If you want to enable NVIDIA Optimus technology on your Ubuntu equipped laptop, you simply need to activate a proprietary Ubuntu software source, install some packages and reboot the system. The software sources that need to be enabled for Bumblebee to work properly on Ubuntu are Universe and Multiverse.

To do this, open a terminal and enter the commands sudo apt-add-repository multiverse and sudo apt-add-repository universe. Thanks to the use of apt-add-repository, the software sources on your Ubuntu PC will be enabled instantly.

At this point, run the sudo apt update command to check for updates. Once this is done, you need to install any software updates displayed that will allow Bumblebee to work better. This can be done with the sudo apt upgrade -y command.

Once the program has been correctly updated, you can proceed with the installation of Bumblebee through the command sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia primus linux-headers-generic.

After the installation is complete, reboot the laptop and check if the NVIDIA Optimus technology is working properly.

How to enable NVIDIA Optimus on Debian

Just like Ubuntu, on Debian you don’t need to do anything to get NVIDIA Optimus support. Just install a few packages.

If you want to install Bumblebee using open source NVIDIA drivers, then use the commands listed below:

sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

sudo apt-get install bumblebee primus primus-libs: i386

Conversely, if you want to take advantage of NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers, use the commands listed below:

sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

sudo apt-get install bumblebee-nvidia primus primus-libs: i386

Once all the packages are properly installed, restart your computer and check that NVIDIA Optimus is working properly.

How to enable NVIDIA Optimus on Arch Linux

Installing Bumblebee on Arch Linux is not as simple as seen on other Linux distributions. In fact it is necessary to perform some manual operations.

The first step is to install the Bumblebee packages on Linux using Pacman. However, be sure to enable Multilib in /etc/pacman.conf before proceeding otherwise 32-bit applications will not work. To do this, use the command sudo pacman -S bumblebee mesa nvidia xf86-video-intel lib32-virtualgl lib32-nvidia-utils.

After that, add your user name to the Bumblebee system group using the su- gpasswd - a bumblebee username (in the latter case, replace username with the username to use).

At this point, enable the service systemd of Bumblebee using systemctl through the command systemctl enable bumblebeed.service. Finally, finish the installation process and restart the computer. At the next startup, Bumblebee and NVIDIA Optimus should work properly.

How to enable NVIDIA Optimus on Fedora

Unlike many other Linux distributions, you can’t directly use Bumblebee on Fedora but you need to enable some third-party software sources to take advantage of NVIDIA Optimus.

So, to enable the software repositories, open the terminal and type the command sudo dnf config-manager –add-repo = https://negativo17.org/repos/fedora-nvidia.repo. Once the Negative17 repository is enabled in Fedora, proceed with the installation of the necessary NVIDIA drivers using the command sudo dnf install nvidia-driver kernel-devel akmod-nvidia dkms acpi.

Now, enable the Bumblebee Copr repository with sudo dnf copr enable chenxiaolong / bumblebee and install them in Fedora using DNF using the command sudo dnf install akmod-bbswitch bumblebee primus.

In the next step, add your username to Bumblebee using the command sudo gpasswd -a $ USERNAME bumblebee, replacing USERNAME with your user in uppercase always.

Finally, enable the Bumblebee systemd service and disable NVIDIA fallback with the commands:

sudo systemctl enable bumblebeed

sudo systemctl disable nvidia-fallback

End the process by restarting the computer.

How to enable NVIDIA Optimus on other Linux distributions

In case you are not using any of the Linux distros listed above, the only option available is to create a source. To do this, you need to open the terminal and install the latest NVIDIA drivers for Linux. Next, install the Wget tool and use it to clone the latest Bumblebee source code taken from the website.

So, use the wget bumblebee-project.org/bumblebee-3.2.1.tar.gz command to download the file and then extract Bumblebee’s .tar.gz archive using the tar xf bumblebee-3.2.1.tar.gz command.

After that, execute the command below to generate Makefiles and other information to create the software:

cd bumblebee*

./configure CONF_DRIVER = nvidia CONF_DRIVER_MODULE_NVIDIA = nvidia-current

CONF_LDPATH_NVIDIA = / usr / lib / nvidia-current: / usr / lib32 / nvidia-current

CONF_MODPATH_NVIDIA = / usr / lib / nvidia-current / xorg, / usr / lib / xorg / modules

In conclusion, compile the code and install it using the make and sudo make install commands. Once Bumblebee is installed , refer to the instructions on the official project page on GitHub to make it work properly on your Linux distribution.

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