Linux Mint 13 Maya: How to install Nvidia drivers for Geforce GT 645M

Hi experts!

My Notebook has the above mentioned graphics card and after many years of Windows NT ... 8 I started with Linux. Now everything "is a bit different" and I would like to know how to properly set up the drivers (want to use second monitor) for this card. Also I would like to know, if it is possible to activate Nvidia Optimus technology as this notebook supports it.

I need a step-by-step instruction as I assume such drivers can be a bit tricky on Linux and I dont't (yet) know what I am doing if I do something...
iThmsAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
You have to options with this. Ans it is not tricky at all, you have to know the difference though.

1.) install the drivers via http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html - these are definitly the lastest working version.

2.) use your packet manger for that. This might give you an older version.

I recommend 2.) by any means. This is because the nvidia driver is a kernel module with is, therefore, depended on the kernel version you are using. Meaning you would need to reinstall it every time you install a new kernel. I think on Ubuntu/Mint there is only this 'akmod' way.

Please follow this guide to install it:
http://www.techlw.com/2012/03/install-nvidia-drivers-on-ubuntu-1204.html

Here the 4 easy steps:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current
reboot
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
rindiCommented:
Normally Mint installs the nouveau driver which is open source for nvidia cards. This should fit most of the requirements. But there is also a tool included for "non-free" drivers. If I remember properly for your version of mint, it is a separate utility. Just look for it and start it, then it should list the possible drivers available that should be compatible for your hardware, and then you can activate it (if there is a green dot there, it is already active).

What optimus does, I don't know, but if you open synaptic package manager and enter nvidia in the search box, it'll list what is available. You can then just select what you want and it gets installed.
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
Hello Helge!

Thanks for the quick answer! The driver you pointed out is for the following cards:

GeForce GTX 680
GeForce GT 630M
GeForce GT 620

My card is a GT 645M so will this driver work? Or can installation of a "wrong" driver cause any damage to the Linux setup? I still have the impression that all this is quite fragile contrary to Windows that nowadays feels very robust...
0
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
The wrong driver will case a blank screen when starting graphical mode.
I would personally go for the non-free driver from nvidia; while nouveau works out of the box it may cause a lot of headache (see below)

But the GT645M is supported in the official driver since nearly a year. If you add this repository, you will most probably get a much later version as 304.51.
Apt-get tells you the version when installing.

You should be aware though it might be impossible to get Optimus to work. I tried this a while back with no success. The most promising project I know is bumblebee. This enabled me to at least switch off the nvidia cart at boot.

Explanation: Optimus is a tech by nvidia witch lets you dynamically switch between The intel build in graphics and the nvidia adapter for power consumption reasons.
This works not even really well
in windows with native nvidia drivers. In Linux I did disabled the Nvidia card in the end because even if unused it was drawing 4W power every time and I did not need 3d power at all.
0
rindiCommented:
Just use the utility provided by Linux Mint to get and install the correct driver. That is the best and easiest way to get it installed. Don't get the driver manually from the nvidia site.
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
@Helge: I do not need 3D Power at all, so maybe it is the best for me, too, to disable the NVidia card. How to do that in Linux?

Will I still be able to drive an external monitor with the built-in Intel graphics?
0
rindiCommented:
I have meanwhile downloaded and installed Linux on a PC, and the utility for installing the drivers is called "Additional Drivers", under "Settings". When installing nvidia or wireless cards 3rd party drivers, always use that tool. It downloads them and installs them from the mint repositories.

The nouveau driver which gets used by default should give you all the functions you need though, even some 3d functions. There are no  problems attaching 2nd displays.
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
The easiest way to disable the nvidia card is to do so in your BIOS. If you have windows on a second partition, then it might be you have to do that every time after you booted windows (I this depends on your BIOS options however).

If you want to disable it at runtime, there are several steps you have to do. First, make sure the nouveau is blacklisted. You will not be able to unload this kernel module at run time (the most urgent problem I have with nouveau/optimus).
One way would be to blacklist it in grub.cfg kernel command line:
rdblacklist=nouveau

Open in new window


Then, make a script witch does this at boot time:
echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

Open in new window


Please have a look at the ubuntu documentation for vgaswitcheroo
Be aware this command does not work if nouveau kernel module is loaded!
Have a look at your power consumption with powertop before and after the command.

As for the intel HDxxxx driver on Linux, I have never had any problems. All  will work as expected right away.
The support is very good because of intel's more open approach then Nvidia's. (nouveau had to be reverse engineered and all the copy righted stuff from nvidia removed. Though quite admirable this is the reason for nouveau's often bas behaviour)
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
@helge:

I have UEFI-Bios, I do not see an option to disable the graphics card...
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Witch notebook do you have?
All notebooks I have seen so far (ok, dont count MacBooks) with discrete graphics have the option to disable the graphic card or to set the primary adapter. Just hit one of the usual suspects (DEL, F1, F12) during boot.
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
I can hit F2 and then enter the BIOS settings, but they seem to be limited by the vendor (Medion MD99075 notebook). Just some SATA settings, some security settings, some legacy USB settings. No graphic cards options.
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Then do this at Run time. Edit your grub.cfg and add the blacklist for nouveau in the kernel command line parameters, reboot. Make sure to add it to all listed kernels if you have already more then one installed.
Also make sure you uninstall the nvidia drivers you might have installed.

Use apt-get to install 'powertop'
Make sure nouveau is not loaded, use lsmod | grep nouveau. If you see no output, you are fine.
Now run 'powertop'. At the first page look if something from nvidia is listst with 100 or something. If it is not there, you are fine and the adapter is already disabled because no diver was loaded.

If you see the graphic card, remember the power drain listed in W on the top, quit powertop, use the vgaswticheroo command I gave you and start powertop again. I is it gone now? You should see a significant drop in power consumption. This is not permanent though. Get back here to make this permanent.
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot!

I will try to do this, but this can take some days until I find enough quiet time for such a special operation and I will make a complete backup before!
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
I am sorry, but I don't know how to get started with Powertop. i need some basic instructions how to install / start it. Thanks!
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
powertop is a Utility to measure power drain, esp. useful for notebooks.
You may need to add a repo to apt:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install powertop

Then run it with
$ sudo powertop

The interesting part is alrady in the first tab
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
Here is the report. So what exactly are the "interesting" parameters?
I also see that there are recommendations for parameters that need tuning. I can open another question for that (if tuning makes sense with reasonable effort), so please just give me a hint.

https://app.box.com/powertop  [This Link will expire on Sunday, 15th Sept. 13]
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Have you already blacklisted nouveau?
For sure you are only running on Intel graphics, I cannot find any nvidia/nouveau stuff. From this printout I would say it is disabled.
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
@Helge:

You wrote:
If you want to disable it at runtime, there are several steps you have to do. First, make sure the nouveau is blacklisted. You will not be able to unload this kernel module at run time (the most urgent problem I have with nouveau/optimus).
One way would be to blacklist it in grub.cfg kernel command line:

grub.cfg has a header that tells me not to edit this file as it is composed from other files. Should I do this nevertheless?

Concerning vgaswitcheroo: It is not available, so as it seems I really need to stop nouveau first.

I read other posts that suggest bublebee to disable the NVidia via bbswitch, but this also does not seem to work.


By the way: I can open up a new question, for example on removing nouveau / disabling NVidia. I do not expect you to write answers here going on and on ;-)
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Hm, I think it would be best to open a new question for that.
But, since powertop is negative, I do not think you need to do anything. The dedicated graphic card is disabled.

I have little experience on Mint; and I had the power drain issue only on my Fedora notebook so far. Seems the Ubuntu guys do a far better job in the desktop part there ;)
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
nouveau is there:

it@IT-NB1 ~ $ lsmod | grep nouveau
nouveau               775039  0 
ttm                    76949  1 nouveau
mxm_wmi                13021  1 nouveau
drm_kms_helper         46978  2 nouveau,i915
drm                   241971  7 nouveau,ttm,i915,drm_kms_helper
i2c_algo_bit           13423  2 nouveau,i915
video                  19651  2 nouveau,i915

Open in new window

]
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
So I will post a new question soon and link to it
0
Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Maybe I was not clear with my last comment, sorry. Though loaded, the card is not active. This should be the intended behavior. You do not need to change anything.  But if you want to disable nouveau, lets continue in another post. I keep eye out!
0
iThmsAuthor Commented:
There is another way to blacklist nouveau, if I do understand it correctly:

in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf   simply enter

"blacklist  nouveau"
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Components

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.