How To Make NVIDIA’s Optimus Work In Linux With Bumblebee

Nowadays, most new laptops come with NVIDIA’s Optimus technology and the laptop includes both a discrete NVIDIA GPU for gaming power and an onboard Intel GPU for power savings. The laptop switches between the two when necessary.

Since NVIDIA Optimus is not working on Linux and NVIDIA is still working on official support.

However, you can use the Bumblebee project’s solution to enable Optimus on Linux today.

Installing Bumblebee
For installing on many other Linux distributions, you can find instructions on the Bumblee project’s website at http://bumblebee-project.org/. The page includes instructions for Fedora, Debian, Arch, Mandriva, and Gentoo.

Here are the steps for installation instructions for Ubuntu.

(1) Run the following command in a terminal window to add the Bumblebee project’s software repository to your Ubuntu system:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable

(2) Then, run the following command to download updated information about available packages:
sudo apt-get update

(3) Run the following command to install Optimus support:
sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia

(4) Restart your computer or logout and log back in after running this command.
Switching Between Integrated Graphics and NVIDIA
(1) Your laptop will now use its integrated Intel graphics most of the time, cutting off power to the NVIDIA graphics card and improving your battery life.

(2) When you want to run a program that takes advantage of your NVIDIA graphics, you’ll need to run it with the optirun command.

(3) For example, if you want to run a game named say abcde with NVIDIA graphics support, you’d run the following command in the terminal:
optirun abcde

(4) While the game is running with the optirun command, the NVIDIA graphics will be enabled.

(5) When the game quits and optirun is no longer running, your notebook will switch to integrated graphics.

(6) You should only use this command with games and other applications that require 3D graphics acceleration.

NOTE : Don’t use the command with an application that runs most of the time, such as your window manager, or you won’t see any power savings because the NVIDIA graphics will be in-use all of the time.

Testing
To test whether it’s working, you can try using the glxspheres graphics demo.
(1) Run it without optirun:
glxspheres

(2) Then, run glxspheres with optirun:
optirun glxspheres

(3) You will see higher FPS with the second command, as it’s using your NVIDIA graphics.

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