Best current Distro for Nvidia Optimus

I have a Toshiba X70-A with Optimus technology. Nvidia GTX770M and Intel HD4000
I have a fresh Mint 16 installation.

I tried numerous configurations of the proprietary 331.20*.run and 331.38*.run installation and no joy.
I tried x-swat and edgers PPA releases with and without Bumblebee, nothing works. I cam close with edgers 331 and bubblebee but, close only counts in horseshoes and grenades…

This system came with Windows 8 installed and the video works excellent! Really screams! I need Linux as this is my work machine. I also must have dual extended screen support from the hdmi or rgb connectors. Widows reports both these connectors are driven by the Intel HD4000, which is fine by me.

I would prefer a debian based Distro like Mint, Ubuntu, Debian with Mint as my first choice, but I can adapt to a Redhat or other system as well.

What Distro works the best with Nvidia? Is there a specific kernel version that is the best? A specific driver version?

I just want to get my new work machine up and running.



Is this the wrong question to ask?

Implying the nvidia drivers work better with certain kernels or distros?

try antergos (arch based) has latest and greatest. easy to install.

There are two kinds of Optimus implementations: those with a multiplexer (“mux”) can switch (some) outputs between Intel and Nvidia GPUs, and “muxless” implementations where each output is stuck with a particular GPU. On muxless set-ups, it may be necessary to use VirtualGL or Primus to let one GPU render the output, then transfer the resulting picture to the framebuffer of the other GPU.

If Windows tells you that your HDMI and RGB outputs are both driven by the Intel controller, and there is no mux to switch them over, then just ignore the Nvidia GPU for now, and start with the Intel driver to get the basic display functionality. Once you have that, you can try setting up Bumblebee (or the xrandr 1.4 output redirection features) to let the Nvidia GPU provide extra oomph with those programs that need it.

I have Fujitsu Celsius H720 as my work laptop, and currently I’m running Debian (stable with some backports) on it. It has the Intel GPU driving the integrated display and the VGA output, and Nvidia GPU driving all the digital outputs (DisplayPort in the laptop itself, and DVI-D and another DisplayPort in the docking station).
I set up a start-up script to detect whether the laptop is docked or not, and if it’s docked, it will fire up X on the Nvidia GPU only, giving me dual external display on my desk.

When undocked, it will fire up X on the Intel GPU and power off the Nvidia one to save power; if I need it, I can use optirun/primusrun to run a program on the Nvidia GPU and have the output transferred to the Intel controller using VirtualGL/Primus.

antergos, never heard of it? I’ll take a look.

When I say the Nvidia control panel shows the HD4600 connected to the hdmi and rgb its a graphical representation. The same graphic shows the GPU connected to the RGB, which is odd.

telcoM, did you use the proprietary nvidia installer? Which version? What version kernel are you using?
Can you post the start-up script?



check it out at has lots of positive things and its rolling distro too.

I have an older Dell, Intel HD3000 driving VGA/DFP (internal panel) and an Nvidia GT525M driving HDMI.

I find that Ubuntu 13.10 works extremely well, but I prefer manual configuration to xorg-edgers.

My setup:

Without external monitor or with RGB monitor Intel drives the display(s) and optirun just works.

In both cases, CUDA 5.5 apps work (even the CUDA GL) with bumblebee.

I find xorg-edgers too intrusive. Install stock Nvidia into a separate tree (using advanced options) at /opt/nvidia/nvidia-331.38. I create my own update-alternatives to switch between intel and nvidia.
Really, all that does is point to the right set of OpenGL libraries and Xorg modules.

This disadvantage of my approach is that I have to manually switch between intel and nvidia depending on my monitor setup (by booting into “text” mode and using update-alternatives); however it gives me very precise control. Under the intel use case (mesa OpenGL), I have to ensure that CUDA applications see the correct nvidia libraries so they get their own LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

The benefit is that the nvidia files do not pollute the system directories and it looks like a regular ppa-less Ubuntu install. The nvidia files are easily nuke’d and I can revert to stock intel for troubleshooting. This also allows multiple versions of nvidia such as nvidia-319 / nvidia-325 to coexist, in case of regressions in my CUDA apps or to match a customer site.

It seems like what people are saying is gt the Intel driver for my HD4600 set up so it does what I need. Then add the nvidia GPU into the mix. I had assumed the Nvidia driver install did all that since I had an optimus setup?

two questions:

By not setting up the Nvidia card, no nouvouea or nvidia drive installed, is the card powered off?

Do I really need bumblebee to make the GPU play nice with the intel card?



No, it’s in whatever state the bios leaves it in, which is usually “powered on” from what I’ve seen. On modern (3.12+) kernels, in-kernel portion of the nouveau driver will be able to power down the card dynamically when it’s not in use.

No, if you have recent enough kernel and Xorg, you can also use nVidia PRIME offloading (see Currently nVidia’s PRIME implementation has some limitations, so there are different trade-offs in “playing nice” with Bumblebee vs PRIME.

Hi, I also would be happy if telcom would answear, what kind of debian distro, driver, kernel is using…

I have Dell 7537, with nvidia GeForce 750M and intel 4000, and I am looking for a distro in which is easy to set up and maintain the system with optimus tehnology, preferrably with the option to switch beetwen video cards.

Thanks :-)

I tried Ubuntu and it worked well, the only problem was with video tearing…So I droped.


It’s and it’s based off of Arch Linux, which is known for always pushing the latest updates. There is ways of achieving the same results in Ubuntu via xorg-edgers, but I’ve found xorg-edgers to be a bit unstable tbh… I was having serious issues with Xubuntu and screen tearing on my GTX 650M… so I think I’m going to try antegros on my Alienware M14x and see if it likes that better…

Also, on Xubuntu 14.04 using kernel 3.14? I could get nVidia Prime to work great same goes for CUDA 5.5 (for cudamining) yet I couldn’t get Bumblebee to work. :\

“best distro question” is pretty pointless, every updated distribution should do just fine and relatively few distributions do bad things to their packages that would differ them from “upstream”.

Since nvidia more or less only relies linux kernel (pretty standard) and xorg (pretty standard unless your distro is using bleeding edge and unsupported version by nvidia).

So short and sweet answer would be, any distro that is capable of installing these drivers should do equally fine ( can’t help myself: but GENTOO does it better!!! xD )

aralmim said:
I tried Ubuntu and it worked well, the only problem was with video tearing…So I droped.
rusty1 said:
check it out at has lots of positive things and its rolling distro too.

Yes, rusty1 said, and I tried antergos even for twice, but it’s installer crashes durring installation. I can’t chose gnome3 desktop environment.So it’s not a god distro for this.

Maybe linuxmint it’s beter, altough I don’t like ubuntu and debian based distros with no rolling relase, but it suports out of the box intel and nvidia.
The only problem is the tearfre problem even now.

Optimus and Linux aren’t friends. Until this changes all distros are equally bad.

it’s not an issue IF your hardware allows you to disable the intel igpu in the bios. ;) nvidia prime is the easiest way to enable switching to the best of my knowledge

mint and ubuntu should work best, use the driver manager on linux mint and install the nvidia drivers from there, no need for xorg-edgers PPA
after that, remove the useless prime-shit and install bumblebee with primusrun, cause apparently professional billion $ graphics card companies like nvidia can’t get v-sync and graphics-switching working, when amateurs working for free can