What is the Best Available Graphics Driver For Dual GPU Nvidia 920m Laptop?

I have a dual GPU laptop with Intel / Nvidia 920m. I currently have “video-hybrid-intel-nvidia-390xx-bumblebee” for both Intel and Nvidia out of the box but I’m hearing bumblebee drivers are known to be slow. Don’t forget that Nvidia 920m is in the list of Kepler series GeForce Notebook GPUs. What is the best available graphics driver for me and how can I get it? Can I install the prime driver? I don’t care about power usage / battery life. Using my Nvidia GPU all the time is okay to me.

The question is what is detected as compatible for your system? Output of mhwd -l in terminal?

When I check from Nvidia website, it tells me this:

Linux x64 (AMD64/EM64T) Display Driver

Version: 430.40
Release Date: 2019.7.29
Operating System: Linux 64-bit
Language: English (US)
File Size: 106.1 MB

And this is what mhwd -l gives me:
Display controller nVidia Corporation:

              NAME               VERSION          FREEDRIVER           TYPE

video-hybrid-intel-nvidia-390xx-bumblebee 2020.11.30 false PCI
video-nvidia-390xx 2020.11.30 false PCI
video-linux 2018.05.04 true PCI

Display controller Intel Corporation:

              NAME               VERSION          FREEDRIVER           TYPE

video-hybrid-intel-nvidia-390xx-bumblebee 2020.11.30 false PCI
video-linux 2018.05.04 true PCI
video-modesetting 2020.01.13 true PCI
video-vesa 2017.03.12 true PCI

You’re already on the best driver then.

Does using the bumblebee reduce the performance of games? Do I need to switch to “video-nvidia-390xx 2020.11.30” for example?

From my understanding no one uses bumblebee anymore. I believe most people use Optimus-manager now: Optimus Manager - Manjaro

Using pure Nvidia driver is a matter of hardware it can’t be answered easily. Depending of how both GPU interface together and with the motherboard, you can go with pure Nvidia setup, or you have to be in hybrid mode, you can try if you have another access to the forum in case it boots to a black screen after switching to pure Nvidia, but no guarantee.

Manjaro only ships two Nvidia drivers nowadays. The old legacy 390 driver, and the latest and greatest (currently 470). So if you want to use another driver than the old 390 driver, it would require manual installation (from Manjaro workaround provided by philm when Manjaro ditched all the available drivers last year, NOT from Nvidia website directly, don’t do that), and manual recompilation on every kernel update (could be automated I guess though).

So the answer to your question is the best in Manjaro is what you have installed, but you could probably be lucky and remove the hybrid driver and install just Nvidia driver (and maybe gain performance I don’t know) by also disabling the integrated GPU in BIOS if possible, or you could go full custom and install and maintain an external more recent driver like the 430 series, but this is another level of dedication and can be annoying to do.

I don’t know about Optimus manager, or other modification to what Manjaro ships by default regarding hybrid drivers.

//EDIT: also, found that bit on The “why” of Optimus Manager - Manjaro

  • Run your whole X session on the Intel GPU and use Bumblebee to offload rendering to the Nvidia GPU. While this mimic the behavior of Optimus on Windows, this is an unofficial, hacky solution with three major drawbacks:

    • a noticeable performance hit (because Bumblebee has to use your CPU to copy frames over to the display)

    • no support for Vulkan (therefore, it is incompatible with DXVK and any native game using Vulkan, like Shadow of the Tomb Raider for instance)

    • you will be unable to use any video output (like HDMI ports) connected to the Nvidia GPU, unless you have the open-source nouveau driver loaded to this GPU at the same time.

So yeah Bumblebee seems to have a performance hit. Running pure Nvidia has a battery life hit (on laptops, but we don’t know your hardware as you didn’t follow this thread to provide good info)

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Thanks for all that! It’s a laptop with Nvidia 920m GPU like I mentioned above. The post also contains I don’t care about battery life.