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Testing NVIDIA Optimus / DRI PRIME On Ubuntu 14.04

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  • Testing NVIDIA Optimus / DRI PRIME On Ubuntu 14.04

    Phoronix: Testing NVIDIA Optimus / DRI PRIME On Ubuntu 14.04

    With Ubuntu 14.04 LTS there is improved support for multi-GPU laptops (commonly what's branded as NVIDIA Optimus configurations) where there is a discrete NVIDIA GPU used for high performance workloads to complement the low-power Intel integrated graphics. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS features better support for these Optimus / DRI PRIME configurations on both the open and closed-source graphics drivers. Here's the Ubuntu 14.04 multi-GPU experience along with some OpenGL benchmarks and power consumption numbers between the different configurations.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=20315

  • #2
    Also, on my asus zenbook with 14.04 and binary blob, I didn't manage to enable vsync, so the frame rate is jumpy and irratic which isn't very nice. I hope they fix that soon... enabling vsync in environment variable or in nvidia-settings didn't help.,
    I assume the intel card is involved in providing a stable frame rate since everything passes through RAM?

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    • #3
      With bumblebee (Primus) you would have even better performance, but it was not tested here (I don't know why).

      The last time you tested Bumblebee was with Mesa 9.2, which had a bug limiting the performance of Bumblebee.

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      • #4
        DRI_PRIME and AMD

        Does this also effect AMD GPU carrying laptops with intel CPU/GPU?
        Because the open-source drivers on those cards might be more effective.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by phoronix View Post
          Phoronix: Testing NVIDIA Optimus / DRI PRIME On Ubuntu 14.04

          With Ubuntu 14.04 LTS there is improved support for multi-GPU laptops (commonly what's branded as NVIDIA Optimus configurations) where there is a discrete NVIDIA GPU used for high performance workloads to complement the low-power Intel integrated graphics. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS features better support for these Optimus / DRI PRIME configurations on both the open and closed-source graphics drivers. Here's the Ubuntu 14.04 multi-GPU experience along with some OpenGL benchmarks and power consumption numbers between the different configurations.

          http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=20315
          since people always claim that NVidia drivers are easier to install than the AMD blob, I decided to buy a laptop with an Nvidia card two months ago. What nobody seemed to mention/coviently forget was, that nearly all laptops nowadays have that stupid Intel GPU inside of it and you can't switch that stupid thing off (which idiot had that idea?! I guess the same that thought that the concept of the 'APU' was something people wanted or needed...).

          So I had to tinker two days until I finally found out that I needed all three packages for this thing to work: Primus, Optimus and the Nvidia blob. But not the Nvidia blob from Ubuntu's repository, but the latest blob from Nvidia's website. And to make it work, I've to start what I want to run on the Nvidia GPU with 'optirun' from the commandline. (for some reason my laptop also is not able to be started completely on the Nvidia GPU. I guess there are design differences.)

          Fuck Nvidia. Next laptop will be AMD again. At least that works without tinkering.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Detructor View Post
            since people always claim that NVidia drivers are easier to install than the AMD blob, I decided to buy a laptop with an Nvidia card two months ago. What nobody seemed to mention/coviently forget was, that nearly all laptops nowadays have that stupid Intel GPU inside of it and you can't switch that stupid thing off (which idiot had that idea?! I guess the same that thought that the concept of the 'APU' was something people wanted or needed...).

            So I had to tinker two days until I finally found out that I needed all three packages for this thing to work: Primus, Optimus and the Nvidia blob. But not the Nvidia blob from Ubuntu's repository, but the latest blob from Nvidia's website. And to make it work, I've to start what I want to run on the Nvidia GPU with 'optirun' from the commandline. (for some reason my laptop also is not able to be started completely on the Nvidia GPU. I guess there are design differences.)

            Fuck Nvidia. Next laptop will be AMD again. At least that works without tinkering.
            Heh. For some reason you think that there is no tinkering with Intel+AMD laptops. It's even more terrible over there. With OSS drivers you have to tinker with radeon's DPM to reduce heat from your system (even with AMD card in so said "disabled" state my system runs at 50C, thankfully to discrete cad). And no, for some reason I can't even use AMD card through DRI PRIME on it, xrandr providers only show intel card. If you want to go with fglrx you get even more headache because its a piece of shit: there is no guarantee you will be able to switch to Intel card (to increase battery life) or vice versa, and even if you do, you still have to hack OpenGL libraries since fglrx replaces mesa's ones. The only good thing in your laptop will be Intel card since OSS drivers are very good.

            Good luck using AMD's heating pads.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by magika View Post
              Heh. For some reason you think that there is no tinkering with Intel+AMD laptops. It's even more terrible over there. With OSS drivers you have to tinker with radeon's DPM to reduce heat from your system
              You should report that bug. For most people DPM works fin

              Originally posted by magika View Post
              (even with AMD card in so said "disabled" state my system runs at 50C, thankfully to discrete cad).
              If runpm works properly, i.e.
              Code:
              $ cat /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power/runtime_status
              suspended
              then it will actually electrically be powered off automatically
              If it isn't, you should report the bug.

              Originally posted by magika View Post
              And no, for some reason I can't even use AMD card through DRI PRIME on it, xrandr providers only show intel card.
              Obviously it's hard to tell from this, why. Everything should be recent enough of course, with HD 7xxx+ glamor should be installed and enabled in xf86-video-ati and for some reason you can not have a config in /etc/X11/ that contains a DRIVER section.

              Originally posted by magika View Post
              If you want to go with fglrx you get even more headache because its a piece of shit: there is no guarantee you will be able to switch to Intel card (to increase battery life) or vice versa, and even if you do, you still have to hack OpenGL libraries since fglrx replaces mesa's ones.
              There is no reason your distribution can not provide a package that doesn't interfere with mesa. If it doesn't, then you indeed do have to tinker a bit, but it's very possible to use bumblebee with amd alongside intel with no problems thanks to LD_LIBRARY_PATH and xorg's -config and -configdir switches and ModulePath setting. If your distribution doesn't offer it, you should suggest it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jaw^vovoid View Post
                Also, on my asus zenbook with 14.04 and binary blob, I didn't manage to enable vsync, so the frame rate is jumpy and irratic which isn't very nice. I hope they fix that soon... enabling vsync in environment variable or in nvidia-settings didn't help.,
                I assume the intel card is involved in providing a stable frame rate since everything passes through RAM?
                Just like nvidia manpage states, due to to fact that there is no cossbuffer support in randr-1.4 and xorg, this is unlikely to be supported right now.
                Phoronix article should have mentioned this I guess.

                Right now, the best you can do is to enable tripple buffering in intel driver, which slows performance a bit, but removes 'static' glitches.
                I do believe that nouveau should support vsync, but I haven't tested it myself.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by magika View Post
                  And no, for some reason I can't even use AMD card through DRI PRIME on it, xrandr providers only show intel card.
                  Let me guess: Using Ubuntu?
                  I have the same problem. I think Ubuntu's xf86-video-ati package is not compiled with gpu offloading support enabled, or they package an old version, or something like that.

                  Whenever I try another OS, xrandr correctly detects the other card.

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                  • #10
                    Good article but I'm a little surprised to not see bumblee + nvidia on the tests. I'm debating about installing 14.04 to use nvidia-prime instead of bumbleebee, but you show that nvidia-prime is the best, but nothing to say use primusrun over prime at this point.

                    I'll have to run my own benchmarks it seems . Poor Debian, keeps getting uninstalled for Ubuntu.

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