I have the ASUS N552VW-FY136T with the NVIDIA GTX 960M (Optimus technology). Without installing bamblebee or any other particular driver I can login (I am using cinnamon) and normally use the computer (I had to blacklist nouveau module because it was sometimes slowing the boot process), I think because it is doing software rendering. In fact, if I type the command:

glxinfo | grep OpenGL

I get:

OpenGL vendor string: Intel Open Source Technology Center
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI Intel(R) HD Graphics 530 (Skylake GT2) 
OpenGL core profile version string: 4.3 (Core Profile) Mesa 12.0.4
OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 4.30
OpenGL core profile context flags: (none)
OpenGL core profile profile mask: core profile
OpenGL core profile extensions:
OpenGL version string: 3.0 Mesa 12.0.4
OpenGL shading language version string: 1.30
OpenGL context flags: (none)
OpenGL extensions:
OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.1 Mesa 12.0.4
OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 3.10
OpenGL ES profile extensions:

I tried to install Bamblebee with free nouveau driver:

sudo apt-get install bumblebee primus

then I rebooted but it didn't work, the laptop just doesn't start. So I started in recovery mode, removed nouveau and bumblebee, blacklisted nouveau module and installed bumblebee-nvidia:

sudo apt-get install bumblebee-nvidia primus

computer starts without problems but, after the login, the fan start going at max speed and if I open the shell and type again:

glxinfo | grep OpenGL

computer freezes and I have to manually shutdown the computer!

I don't know what else to try, any idea? did anyone had the same issue?


I have always had the best luck running Nvidia proprietary drivers on my machines.

Nvidia driver installation:

The latest driver can be downloaded from here (http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx), but generally unless you have a specific reason to have the latest driver, it is always easier to use the one included in your distribution (sudo apt-get install nvidia-driver in debian for instance).

(At the time of this writing however, the latest driver release (375) has a couple major fixes for the "Prime Sync" functionality--eliminating screen tearing and proper handling of external screens--which makes the latest driver quite a bit more valuable in your circumstance.)

Note that if you choose to do the binary installation from Nvidia's website, you will have features like up-to-date CUDA support at the cost of re-installing the driver every time you update your kernel. Therefore, if you go that route, keep the installer script for the Nvidia driver in an easy-to-find location.

Making sure that nouveau isn't running

If Nouveau runs, it will take ownership of your graphics card and the nvidia driver will be unable to operate. Since the nouveau module comes with Linux by default, you can't uninstall it, but you can blacklist it. Step one is to add the line blacklist nouveau to the file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf. Step two is to run sudo update-initramfs -u (in debian/ubuntu). This step propagates the blacklist config change into the grub boot sequence or something.

Note that bumblebee, bbswitch, and primus work only with the nouveau and should be uninstalled. See edit at end of post for more detailed information.

Configuring Nvidia driver to work in Prime Sync mode

Nvidia Optimus laptops have two graphics cards: the Intel integrated graphics card which is attached to the screen, and the Nvidia discrete graphics card which is not attached to the screen (though is often attached to external outputs). Therefore you need to configure the Nvidia card to generate graphics, but to pass them to the Intel card to be displayed on the screen.

Try changing your /etc/X11/xorg.conf to the following (substituting in the PCI BusID of your graphics card, usually "PCI:1:0.0", with quotes):

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "layout"
    Screen 0 "nvidia"
    Inactive "intel"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Driver "nvidia"
    BusID "<BusID for NVIDIA device here>"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Device "nvidia"
    Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "intel"
    Driver "modesetting"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "intel"
    Device "intel"

Then you will need to run two commands after your X server has started before you can actually use the X server (so put them in a file where they run automatically):

xrandr --setprovideroutputsource modesetting NVIDIA-0
xrandr --auto

I start my x server manually from the command line using startx, so I place those commands in my ~/.xinitrc config file. If you boot into a graphical environment, you could probably put them in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc. I have never tried that myself.

Information is from Nvidia online documentation (http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/375.20/README/randr14.html)

Extra Info

The steps I describe here use Nvidia's proprietary driver, using what is called the "Prime Sync" functionality. It renders all graphics on the GPU but pushes them through a buffer to the Intel integrated gpu for actual display. This Prime Sync system is not complementary to bumblebee at all. Note that the Debian instructions may still be correct, because they do not set up the Nvidia Prime Sync functionality. I am much less familiar with the way they suggest. I generally come from the "latest proprietary driver is best" because I generally want to run the latest CUDA on fairly new GPU hardware. I suggest this strategy to you because you are having trouble with the open-source driver setup.

Also worth mentioning is the bbswitch program, which doesn't care about displays or drivers, it just turns the Nvidia GPU on and off. It should not be used at all with Nvidia's Prime Sync functionality because with Prime Sync, turning off your GPU means you have no more graphics :(

  • Do I have to install bumblebee and primus or can I install only nvidia-driver? – Giorgio Dec 4 '16 at 15:28
  • Sorry, I will edit the answer. Bumblebee and primus are a part of the open-source nouveau driver setup. The nvidia driver should be sufficient alone. – rexroni Dec 4 '16 at 16:22
  • Ok then why in debian wiki it is stated that to get it working with nvidia proprietary drivers also bumblebee must be installed? – Giorgio Dec 4 '16 at 16:39
  • Not sure. I will ask a friend. But I am sure it can be done without bumblebee because I have seen me do it. – rexroni Dec 4 '16 at 16:51
  • any news from your friend? – Giorgio Dec 6 '16 at 8:31

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