“nvidia-smi” is dependent up on a PCI bus, and talks to a GPU via PCI (a discrete “dGPU”). The GPU on any Jetson is directly wired into the memory controller and does not use PCI (an integrated “iGPU”). Thus there is no possibility of nvidia-smi ever working on an iGPU which does not use PCI…the wiring and PCI structure is literally missing.
You might want to provide more detail on your problem you want to work around. In the case of being tied to a GUI (a “context”), this is usually related to the user space driver being loaded into the X11 application, and not into the kernel. There may be other cases (which I cannot describe) which directly access the GPU.
Many people are under the misunderstanding that X11 is a GUI environment. Think of X as really being an API defined interface to a buffer space which has certain characteristics which a video display would require. One does not necessarily have to have a GUI to run a virtual X server in which no real display exists as X and the GPU do not really care if there is a monitor attached, nor is there any requirement for such a buffer to have desktop software running on it. X itself does not provide logins, does not provide windowing, so on…but a desktop application such as Gnome or KDE can run on X and all of those properties are associated with that desktop manager or login manager…don’t run those applications, and the buffer is still there, but without a desktop environment running. X runs only one application, but if that application is a desktop, then suddenly you are able to run a full GUI…but it is the desktop doing this, not X.
I have no recommendations on a particular X virtual desktop, but others probably do. Someone else may also be able to mention how some applications may function without a
$DISPLAY environment variable (which is what points at an X server instance, the “context”).