Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

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Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

Postby betacentauri on Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:00 am

I'm puzzled about a number of things. I bought a SAMSUNG notebook with an Optimus card, this is probably my first GPU and don't know much about them. Please let me ask you some questions:

root@notebook:~# inxi -G
Graphics: Card-1 Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller Card-2 NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M X.org 1.12.4 Res: 80x24 Gfx Data: N/A for root
root@notebook:~# uname -r
3.2.0-4-amd64

1) Have been tinkering with graphics a few days to learn a bit. I initially installed LMDE 201104, x86_64 from USB. Found glxgears gives really high fps values (something about thousands). But then I updated the system and now nouveau gives only some 50 fps. Can somebody explain this? What was the working driver under the pristine installation? Can I safely return to that (short of reinstalling)?

2) Also, I am experiencing random freezes, sometimes possibly related to heat but also sometimes definitely not. Any suggestions as to how to debug --or effective countermeasures, will be welcome.

3) I tried installing official NVIDIA drivers - no way, although the process seems to get flawlessly accomplished, I get always EE - no device found xorg errors. Nvidia-settings says I am not running NVIDIA drivers. While bumblebee runs fine, freezes seem more frequent under bumblebee so I tend to avoid it. Am I sentenced to bumblebee on this particular card?

Thank you in advance!
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Re: Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

Postby zerozero on Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:31 am

hi,
1- (without better data, specially the inxi -Gx report as user, not as root, it's hard to say but ...) it depends how your system was handling the hybrid cards in the beginning and after the updates; explaining: if it was using the intel gpu in the default installation i'm not surprised by those high fps; if after fully updated it fallbacked to nouveau (trying to use the nvidia card) i'm not surprised either with the drop.

your intel gpu is powerful and should be enough for most tasks (except high demanding games maybe) this leads us to the next point
betacentauri wrote:Am I sentenced to bumblebee on this particular card?
unless you have an option in the bios to disable one of them i'm afraid you are "forced" to bumblebee but i read reports that it is working fairly well nowadays.
have you checked the debian wiki http://wiki.debian.org/Bumblebee and specially the http://suwako.nomanga.net/ project?
ofc that bumblebee-nvidia will only work properly if no previous nvidia drivers are installed (this means that if you made <as you say you did> attempts to install nvidia with alternative ways, you should remove all traces of it)
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Re: Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

Postby betacentauri on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:39 pm

Thank you, zerozero, you're always amazingly supportive. Every single time.

zerozero wrote:hi,
1- (without better data, specially the inxi -Gx report as user, not as root, it's hard to say but ...) it depends how your system was handling the hybrid cards in the beginning and after the updates; explaining: if it was using the intel gpu in the default installation i'm not surprised by those high fps; if after fully updated it fallbacked to nouveau (trying to use the nvidia card) i'm not surprised either with the drop.

your intel gpu is powerful and should be enough for most tasks (except high demanding games maybe)


That's really good news, as my intentions about the Nvidia card revolve basically around programming - I thought this Intel card would mean vesa-only business. Your explanation is dead reasonable.

zerozero wrote:this leads us to the next point
betacentauri wrote:Am I sentenced to bumblebee on this particular card?
unless you have an option in the bios to disable one of them i'm afraid you are "forced" to bumblebee but i read reports that it is working fairly well nowadays.
have you checked the debian wiki http://wiki.debian.org/Bumblebee and specially the http://suwako.nomanga.net/ project?
ofc that bumblebee-nvidia will only work properly if no previous nvidia drivers are installed (this means that if you made <as you say you did> attempts to install nvidia with alternative ways, you should remove all traces of it)


Yes, I installed the suwako package. Maybe some nvidia debris were still floating around.

Code: Select all
oso@notebook:~/Desktop$ inxi -Gx
Graphics:  Card-1 Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller Card-2 NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M X.Org 1.12.4 Res: 1600x900@60.1hz
           GLX Renderer Mesa DRI Intel Ivybridge Mobile  GLX Version 2.1 Mesa 8.0.4 Direct Rendering Yes


Code: Select all
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
   Subsystem: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd Device c0d1
   Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 45
   Memory at f7400000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4M]
   Memory at d0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
   I/O ports at f000 [size=64]
   Expansion ROM at <unassigned> [disabled]
   Capabilities: [90] MSI: Enable+ Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit-
   Capabilities: [d0] Power Management version 2
   Capabilities: [a4] PCI Advanced Features
   Kernel driver in use: i915
(...snip...)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GeForce GT 630M (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
   Subsystem: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd Device c0d1
   Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 16
   Memory at f6000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
   Memory at e0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
   Memory at f0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=32M]
   I/O ports at e000 [size=128]
   Expansion ROM at f7000000 [disabled] [size=512K]
   Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 3
   Capabilities: [68] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
   Capabilities: [78] Express Endpoint, MSI 00
   Capabilities: [b4] Vendor Specific Information: Len=14 <?>
   Capabilities: [100] Virtual Channel
   Capabilities: [128] Power Budgeting <?>
   Capabilities: [600] Vendor Specific Information: ID=0001 Rev=1 Len=024 <?>
   Kernel driver in use: nouveau


I'd be happy to permanently enable Intel and leave Nvidia for some experimental CUDA/OpenCL computing now and then. So how should I go about enabling Intel for graphics instead of the Nvidia one? Should I crank up an xorg.conf mentioning i915 driver or is there a better way? BIOS does not offer any choice (nor do I want to permanently disable Nvidia).
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Re: Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

Postby zerozero on Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:12 pm

hi :D
in the inxi -Gx output you provide above we see that the system is using the intel driver
GLX Renderer Mesa DRI Intel Ivybridge Mobile GLX Version 2.1 Mesa 8.0.4 Direct Rendering Yes
and successfully Direct Rendering Yes

as far as i know this the best you can get (i don't have an hybrid card to experiment these things, mine is a plain gts250 :lol: )
betacentauri wrote:I'd be happy to permanently enable Intel and leave Nvidia for some experimental CUDA/OpenCL computing now and then. So how should I go about enabling Intel for graphics instead of the Nvidia one? Should I crank up an xorg.conf mentioning i915 driver or is there a better way? BIOS does not offer any choice (nor do I want to permanently disable Nvidia).

the first part of this question i guess is answered above;
regarding switching between the cards (if your bios doesn't have that option: only a few have afaik) you have to use the switch optirun
see here for details http://wiki.debian.org/Bumblebee#Usage

as a side note: all this optimus technology is a mess atm because nvidia launched a neat feature but forgot to provide support to paying customers (like you); first they said that optimus was not going to be supported in linux, period. now they are already saying that "soon" they will add that support.
this won't solve your problem now but at least you know that there's hope
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Re: Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

Postby betacentauri on Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:29 pm

zerozero wrote:hi :D
in the inxi -Gx output you provide above we see that the system is using the intel driver
GLX Renderer Mesa DRI Intel Ivybridge Mobile GLX Version 2.1 Mesa 8.0.4 Direct Rendering Yes
and successfully Direct Rendering Yes

as far as i know this the best you can get (i don't have an hybrid card to experiment these things, mine is a plain gts250 :lol: )

So how could I be getting 1.4K fps with the original 201204 LMDE install? I'm confused... :?

I have installed Bumblebee again, runs apparently OK - I'll give it another try now that I am clean from previous nvidia installs. I understand any CUDA/OpenCL app should go thru optirun, is it?

Thank you again, zerozero - You make my world a better place :D
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Re: Nvidia Optimus on LMDE 64b + UP6

Postby zerozero on Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:51 pm

betacentauri wrote:So how could I be getting 1.4K fps with the original 201204 LMDE install? I'm confused... :?

my guess (the best we can do without comparing data) is that you were using nouveau at the time (the inxi output should look something like GALLIUM 0.4 and nouveau is very good nowadays (still doesn't has the power of the prop drivers but it's getting close(ish) )

betacentauri wrote: I understand any CUDA/OpenCL app should go thru optirun, is it?
yep at the moment that is the workaround
if you have a GUI app that you want to use always with optirun you can edit the menu entry and add the switch before the command
for example firefox
Code: Select all
/opt/firefox/firefox %u

would be
Code: Select all
optirun /opt/firefox/firefox %u
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