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Old 07-23-10, 04:22 AM   #1
cedricv
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Question No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Hi all,

I've posted in a previous thread all necessary info/logs but I have yet to get a definitive answer about what to do or what to expect about using the NVidia GPU on an Asus U30JC.

Maybe this is related to "NVidia has no plans to support Optimus on Linux at this time" (quoted) ...
However this sentence is unclear with regards to what to expect from NVidia on all the new laptops that are sold with Optimus (probably the majority of NVidia-powered laptops in the near future...).

Optimus being a technology to dynamically switch between GPU depending load and open applications, no support on Linux can mean two things :
1) no support for dynamic adaptive GPU switching, which is the raison d'etre of Optimus : bringing substantial power savings.
2) no support at all, the NVidia GPU is completely OFF and cannot be ever turned ON under Linux.


I understand (1), especially since GPU switching in Linux is still a moving target when it comes to kernel and/or X.org support... so it would be a lot of work for NVidia to implement something like this.

However (2) is quite a stretch that I can't believe to be true, as this will completely obliterate NVidia on Linux on pretty much all future laptops, and support for this likely being much less difficult to do (ie. 'just' have to setup the routing to Intel's framebuffer and make NVidia the primary GPU once and for all - no dynamic switching involved).


Any clarification possible from NVidia about this ?


Regards,

Last edited by cedricv; 07-23-10 at 04:31 AM. Reason: fix title
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Old 07-23-10, 06:39 AM   #2
[Knuckles]
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Yeah, I too am very interested on knowing this.

As I've said over at phoronix, I'm a big nvidia fan, have a crapton of nvidia cards, from riva tnt's to a couple of 9400's, and I think you can't beat nvidia if you want performance, stability, and nice video playback on linux.

If most laptops from now on only offer optimus, does this mean that it'll basically be useless for linux users to buy such laptops?

Last edited by [Knuckles]; 07-23-10 at 06:41 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-23-10, 10:28 AM   #3
AaronP
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

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.
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Old 07-23-10, 10:49 AM   #4
cedricv
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Thanks Aaron for your clarification

Do you know by any chance if Asus U30JC has hardware mux ? (meaning asking the right people at Asus might give results, ie. a bios with such option)

However it seems you believe it should be possible to use CUDA _anyways_, but how is it possible if the nvidia driver doesn't load at all? (video bios cannot be loaded error as seen in the logs in my previous thread)
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Old 07-24-10, 05:34 AM   #5
sharky3
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
..
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...
Hello everybody,

Everybody who spent recently extra hundreds of Euros to have Nvidia graphics inside already knows that.

We do receive the same answer from you - "we don't support optimus" and from the laptop manufacturers "we don't support Linux".
English is not my first language, however - "don't support" should not mean "prevent users from ever using it".
It's not a matter of using hot-switching optimus features, is just using the card at all.
What I don't understand is how comes that it can be used in Windows? (I know the extra-layer mambo-jumbo theory..) Who is responsible for making it work (Intel, the laptop manufacturer that alters the Nvidia driver)?
And how comes Nvidia agrees his hardware and drivers to be misused in such a manner, with no prior warning for people when they purchase those.
I have an Asus N61jv. If installing cuda, nvidia driver gets also installed so intel driver won't work well anymore.

Thanks for your understanding,
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Old 07-24-10, 06:03 AM   #6
cedricv
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Actually being able to use CUDA and/or offscreen rendering is not possible right now afaik, so getting clarification that it should be possible is a step in the good direction and I'm looking forward to get details from Aaron and/or Nvidia about this
(ie. how to enable it with current drivers and/or have to wait for a minor bug-fix release about this)


Actually given this 'workaround', being able to at least use the GPU for offscreen rendering (via pbuffers? FBOs?) might even handy enough to start implementing an Optimus-like Mesa 'proxy' driver that accelerates (through Nvidia GPU) select GLX contexts only... which is still better than nothing when it comes to OpenGL development even if then necessarily 'manual/software' framebuffer copy (from offscreen surface to 'onscreen') won't give optimal performance it will probably be still much better than Intel-only in both performance and features.

Regards,
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Old 07-27-10, 10:28 PM   #7
cedricv
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Aaron, can you please elaborate on how to use the Nvidia GPU for CUDA and/or offscreen rendering on Optimus platforms ?


Also is newly released 256.38.02 with OpenGL 4.1 strictly a feature release or might contain some bug fixes ? (releases notes only talks about new 4.1 features added)
[I'm asking because my connection is not so good these days so I'd rather avoid downloading ~50MB for nothing ]


Regards,
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Old 07-30-10, 04:02 AM   #8
cedricv
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Same question with regards to just off the press 256.44

How to use CUDA and offscreen rendering when the driver does not load ?
(ie. "NVRM: failed to copy vbios to system memory.", full logs here : http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...21&postcount=7 ) ?
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Old 08-03-10, 08:02 AM   #9
milmly
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

This problem needs solution! I bought Asus N61JV in april this year and still can't use nvidia gpu. Is it so problmatic to provide drivers for this optimus thing for linux? It's not fair and you discriminate users of other operating systems.
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Old 08-14-10, 08:19 PM   #10
openjv
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Unhappy Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cedricv View Post
Hi all,

Optimus being a technology to dynamically switch between GPU depending load and open applications, no support on Linux can mean two things :
1) no support for dynamic adaptive GPU switching, which is the raison d'etre of Optimus : bringing substantial power savings.
2) no support at all, the NVidia GPU is completely OFF and cannot be ever turned ON under Linux.
Quote:
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 think this says it all. Unfortunately this will be the end of Nvidia products for me and thousands of other Linux users.

I really wanted to buy an Optimus solution, but i guess Ati wants my money more.
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Old 08-19-10, 02:21 PM   #11
Alejandro Nova
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

I think this is about licensing. After all, we are talking about an opensource-with-some-closed-source-blobs Intel driver trying to send pixmaps to be processed by Optimus. Does GPL apply here?

If it applies in some form, then we are screwed and Optimus won't happen under Linux unless the Nouveau guys implement it.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:21 AM   #12
gpuser
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Default Re: No Optimus support means NO Nvidia at all or no dynamic switching?

Dear AaronP,

You should really talk to the nVidia marketing department. I am a Linux nVidia enthusiast and I don't see in the current conditions how I could recommend to buy nVidia inside my company or to my customers.

Here is what will happen if no action is taken from nVidia to support hybrid graphics system under Linux:

First, people will buy an hybrid graphics system with an nVidia because they like the strong commitment of nVidia for the Linux platform and don't know about the issue. They will try to install Linux and will be upset by the missing support and will feel they waste a lot of money for a brick (in my case a Sony Vaio VPCZ12EGX). nVidia will not see any sell drop at this point, just complains, for example on this forum. We are at this stage right now.

More and more people will face this issue and will pass the word to their friend, co-workers, customer to not buy a laptop with hybrid graphics and nVidia cards. This is what I have to do right now: warn co-workers and customers to make sure their laptop is nVidia only not with an hybrid graphics card.

Few months later, nVidia will suddenly see a drop in its laptop sells. It will be too late.

Your marketing department should push for hybrid graphics support under Linux as a strategic action.

Best Regards,
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