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Nvidia Optimus: The End for nvidia on linux laptops?

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  • Nvidia Optimus: The End for nvidia on linux laptops?

    I have been waiting for an asus laptop to be released (the UL30Jt), and now the specs show that it uses optimus. There's more and more laptops with nvidia optimus being announced and coming out.

    This got me poking around, and, as it has been discussed on other threads, nvidia's Aaron Plattner has stated (source):
    We have no plans to support Optimus on Linux at this time.
    What does this mean? With optimus (as far as I could find out and as stated by Dave Arlie) there will be no way to physically connect the nvidia card to the laptop panel or other outputs. Because really, when it is working, there's no need to.

    So we know that going forward almost all of intel's processors will feature integrated graphics, except from very-high-end. If optimus really performs as well as nvidia presents, there won't be any reason to not have it, except on high-end gamer laptops and such.

    Put all of these together and you get a very bleak picture: most, if not all new latops will probably have optimus, and that's the end of the line for nvidia on linux laptops. You might as well throw a rock inside your laptop case and it will perform the same.

    These prospects scare me a lot. I am a big nvidia fan (I have a crapton of nvidia cards, from riva tnt's to 9400M's and not-M's), and their linux support is very good in terms of performance, vdpau works great, etc etc, but I'm afraid that soon we won't be able to have any nvidia support on laptops.

    Just wanted to get this out there, hoping that I am wrong or that we can do something to change this.

  • devius
    replied
    Originally posted by RobbieAB View Post
    This kind of behaviour is, essentially, what RMS is referring to in his arguments about closed source software meaning accepting someone as your master.
    And he featured the very famous "Don't buy from ATI enemies of our freedom" campain. Nowadays he would probably have to replace ATI with NVIDIA. Who would have thought, three years ago, that by now the best option for linux graphics would be ATI/AMD. Even Intel graphics are becoming more difficult to recommend, due to the low performance linux driver and the poulsbo mess. Maybe in a few years we will all be recommending S3 graphics, or Trident, or Number9 Who knows...

    Leave a comment:


  • pingufunkybeat
    replied
    This is a very sad situation for people owning such laptops.

    It was only a few days ago that people vehemently argued that Nvidia would never drop Linux support. Well, probably not completely, but there is always danger of ending in this sort of situation and having absolutely no way of using your hardware.

    Leave a comment:


  • RobbieAB
    replied
    Not wishing to be cynical or fanatic here, but,,, I would say avoid any graphics company that doesn't provide ANY form of open-source support. This wouldn't be such a big problem for ATI graphics for the simple reason someone would get it working in the Foss drivers even if AMD/ATI don't.

    This kind of behaviour is, essentially, what RMS is referring to in his arguments about closed source software meaning accepting someone as your master.

    Leave a comment:


  • [Knuckles]
    replied
    So, it seems Aaron Plattner has confirmed some of our fears:
    Apparently, this depends on the laptop. Some laptops have a hardware mux that allows you to switch the display to the NVIDIA GPU, similarly to how the old Hybrid Graphics worked. On those laptops, there should be a BIOS setting.

    On laptops that don't have that hardware mux (i.e. where the display is hard-wired to the Intel display engine), then you currently cannot use the NVIDIA GPU for display, though you should still be able to use it for CUDA and offscreen rendering.

    We currently do not have plans to support display on Optimus systems where the display is connected to the Intel hardware, but as you said, it's something we'll probably end up having to look into in the future, to at least provide some basic display sharing. I can't promise anything, though.
    I hope it really starts working again in the future. In the meantime, I would say avoid optimus unless you can try out the laptop and see that there is a bios option for choosing the nvidia gpu...

    Leave a comment:


  • gamesfan
    replied
    Originally posted by [Knuckles] View Post
    You're right. I hope nvidia can clarify this. If not, at least we could ask Michael to raise the visibility of this subject, so users at least know what to expect.
    Very good idea indeed.
    Until now, people expect good Linux support from Nvidia, I've been really surprised when I realized I could not use at all the GPU on my new "Optimus-disabled" Asus U30JC...
    If I knew beforehand about this I might have gone for another NVidia-only model (at least, while they do still exist as you very well said... :/ ), so it would be nice for more people to know and not feel cheated after the fact.

    Leave a comment:


  • [Knuckles]
    replied
    Originally posted by gamesfan View Post
    I've sent email to Asus support, the best answer I could get that no BIOS option is available to do switching...
    I've also posted weeks ago on the 'official' NVidia Linux Support forum here :
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=152049
    Still no answer from anyone at Nvidia...

    I'm opening a new thread to ask them to clarify their position about Optimus on Linux :
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...02#post2291702


    Please voice yourself up there since there's much more probability it will be seen by NVidia people there than over here at Phoronix
    You're right. I hope nvidia can clarify this. If not, at least we could ask Michael to raise the visibility of this subject, so users at least know what to expect.

    Leave a comment:


  • gamesfan
    replied
    Clarification needed

    I've sent email to Asus support, the best answer I could get that no BIOS option is available to do switching...
    I've also posted weeks ago on the 'official' NVidia Linux Support forum here :
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=152049
    Still no answer from anyone at Nvidia...

    I'm opening a new thread to ask them to clarify their position about Optimus on Linux :
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...02#post2291702


    Please voice yourself up there since there's much more probability it will be seen by NVidia people there than over here at Phoronix

    Leave a comment:


  • gamesfan
    replied
    I've sent email to Asus support, the best answer I could get that no BIOS option is available to do switching...
    I've also posted weeks ago on the 'official' NVidia Linux Support forum here :
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=152049
    Still no answer from anyone at Nvidia...

    I'm opening a new thread to ask them to clarify their position about Optimus on Linux :
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...02#post2291702


    Please voice yourself up there since there's much more probability it will be seen by NVidia people there than over here at Phoronix

    Leave a comment:


  • [Knuckles]
    replied
    Originally posted by gamesfan View Post
    Sadly it seems it is the end indeed.
    I always bought NVidia-powered laptops for their great Linux support but I really feel cheated with my new Asus U30JC where I cannot use AT ALL the Nvidia GPU I paid for... they must be a lot of people in this case, it's hard to know in advance that Optimus is not the latest marketing term for basic GPU switching (hybrid power, etc... which work on Linux) but a complete new kind of wiring

    Really hope NVidia will pull something out of his hat in a next driver release.
    I don't care about proper Optimus support, as in dynamic adaptive switching of the GPU used to render things, I just want to be able to switch to the NVidia for everything.
    Damn. Nvidia, what are you doing!?

    I hope Nvidia isn't pulling a "Creative Labs" on us... Once the indisputable #1 for all things pc sound, they're just a bunch of nobodies these days, for making stupid after stupid decisions like this.

    Leave a comment:

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