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NVIDIA Driver with Improved Optimus Support Lands for Fedora 25+

By Andrew Powell, published 13/05/2017 in News

For those using an NVIDIA powered machine, especially those running Optimus laptops, a new NVIDIA driver stack has landed in the repo for Fedora 25 (and up) users.

In a blog post, user "slaanesh" announced the improvements:

"The Nvidia repository now contains all the remaining bits for the work done by Hans De Goede.

Making an Optimus laptop work as expected with the Nvidia drivers should be much less painful than it was a few years ago and most of the things should work out of the box on Fedora 25+.

Just enable the repository on a pristine Fedora installation, and after a while you should be able to search for Nvidia, CUDA, GeForce to Quadro to make the driver, control panel and other programs appear in your Gnome Software search[...]"

The blog goes on to say that the driver "should install and operate cleanly whether you are installing it on a system which has one or more discrete Nvidia cards or an Optimus laptop with an Intel and a Nvidia card".

So much so, slaanesh says, that one should be able to turn Optimus on or off in the BIOS (for systems that have BIOS' that support that) and things should still work pretty much automagically, with no extra fiddling around with configurations or text files.

There are some of the usual limitations apparently, however, such as when using the proprietary NVIDIA driver on an Optimus machine, you still can't turn off the Intel GPU. Unless, of course, you have the ability to do so in the BIOS.

The open source drivers (Nouveau), on the other hand, do not have this limitation, although obviously you'll have decreased 3D performance compared to the official NVIDIA blob drivers. So pick your poison, basically.

On the plus side, for those users who do use the open source drivers, you will get the rather nifty "Launch using Dedicated Graphics Card" dialog menu that's been integrated into GNOME Shell, which cuts out some of the command line tinkering to launch programs/games with your dedicated GPU.

Other improvements include automatic SLI enabling and proper handling of a Nouveau fallback if the official NVIDIA driver fails for any reason, hopefully preventing the Black Screen of Death.

More information and details on getting the upgraded drivers via the negativo17 blog post.

All in all, it looks to be a pretty decent improvement for Optimus users. I have an Optimus laptop myself and have not yet tried the drivers (or reinstalled Fedora yet, for that matter), but I know as well as anyone that the state of NVIDIA Optimus has been a bit rocky in the past, but hopefully from here on in things will keep improving.

About the author

Andrew Powell is the editor and owner of The Linux Rain who loves all things Linux, gaming and everything in between.

Tags: news nvidia optimus fedora negativo17 linux laptops
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