Options for Nvidia Optimus graphics

faq
#1

There are several options for hybrid Nvidia graphics, each with their benefits and drawbacks.

These options are:

  • bumblebee
  • nvidia-prime
  • optimus-manager
  • nvidia-xrun
  • nouveau driver
  • optimus-switch

bumblebee (render offload)

– performance not great
(from arch wiki below: “Bumblebee not only has significant performance issues[1][2], but also has no plans to support Vulkan[3]”)

– preconfigured, ability to use nvidia gpu “ondemand” with primusrun command

– development seems pretty dead
for more info read: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/bumblebee and linked topics

nvidia-prime (display offload)

– Ubuntu uses this
– better performance
– switching between intel and nvidia needs relogin
– maybe draws more power (if nvidia module is loaded - not sure about this -)

For more info see this thread:

(there’s also a PKGBUILD in the thread somewhere which may help setting up, but also involves choosing correct pkg)

For more information also see the Arch wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PRIME

optimus-manager

– sort of the same of above
– pkg available (but need additional manual configuration [not sure about this])

For more info see:

nvidia-xrun

– second x server which runs on nvidia gpu (maybe I’m wrong here, didn’t use it or look any deeper)
– PKGBUILD in AUR

see also:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Nvidia-xrun

Other options

using modesetting or intel driver for intel and nouveau for nvidia (if your nvidia gpu is somewhat properly supported by nouveau)

(see arch wiki link above for more info and https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/FeatureMatrix/
https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/Optimus/)

optimus-switch

– easily set an intel-only mode or an intel/nvidia PRIME mode.
– works exactly like PRIME when in prime mode.
– intel-only mode disables/powers-down nvidia gpu at boot and can use intel or modesetting driver.
– does not use bbswitch or nouveau for switching.
sudo set-intel.sh sets intel-only mode.
sudo set-nvidia.sh sets intel/nvidia prime mode.
– separate installers for LightDM, SDDM, GDM.
– disclaimer: although working well, is still very new.

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