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I'm about to buy a new laptop that is being used with Linux only. Unfortunately finding a Linux laptop is not simple at all, and it seems the only option I found includes a nvidia Quadro M1200 and an Intel HD 630.

I know that it is very complex/impossible to properly run wayland (Ubuntu for instance) on nvidia. Actually I don't care in any way about the nvidia GPU, the Intel GPU should be more than sufficient. But is it possible to completely disable the nvidia GPU to let wayland run properly on the Intel GPU? I read about nvidia prime: can I use it like this? Can I completely disable nvidia and just forget about it, like it was not even there?

  • IIRC the nVidia GPU just writes into the Intel GPU framebuffer, so blacklisting the nVidia-related kernel modules should suffice. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 4 '17 at 9:25
  • So blacklisting the driver forces a fallback to the integrated Intel GPU which should allow me to properly run wayland? Would be great! Someone actually doing this succesfully? – Luca Carlon Nov 4 '17 at 9:33
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The answer was simple: just install nvidia drivers, open the nvidia settings page and set to use the Intel HD GPU only. Login again and you are done. Works perfectly. Battery lasts much much longer and wayland works properly.

As soon as the nvidia GPU is enabled, it seems that the fan turns on immediately, and keeps running even when idle. That is probably a large part of battery consumption. I'm wondering if that is reasonable or not: is that fan really always needed?

  • 2
    Where is that option (to use Intel HD only) in the settings pages? – Richard Dec 19 '18 at 20:45
  • On the left I have "PRIME profiles". On the right two option buttons appear. – Luca Carlon Dec 19 '18 at 21:57
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I am just here to answer this question

Although I have not used a Optimus laptop for years. Bumblebee community created a kernel module bbswitch

https://github.com/Bumblebee-Project/bbswitch

You can turn off the nvidia card as long as a driver is not loaded.

 # to check status 
 $ cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch  

 # to turn off or on respectably
 $tee /proc/acpi/bbswitch <<<OFF
 $tee /proc/acpi/bbswitch <<<ON

If I knew there was a thread, I would had posted the answer much earlier.

I guess I am fighting against https://xkcd.com/979/

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On some notebooks (the venerable Lenovo TP 520W being an example), one can select which graphics board to use in the BIOS setup (in this example "Auto", "Discrete" (NVIDIA), "Internal" (Intel) - IIRC).

Setting to internal will save a lot of power, make installation easier, but might impede the use of external displays.

  • I would prefer not to rely on this as Dell is not probably providing this feature. – Luca Carlon Nov 4 '17 at 11:14
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To gather information about the laptop model, install dmidecode. For the DSDT/SSDT files, install the acpidump and iasl tools:

sudo apt-get install acpidump iasl dmidecode

or (on Fedora):

sudo yum install pmtools iasl dmidecode

Then use the script from http://lekensteyn.nl/files/get-acpi-info.sh to create the tarball containing information about the laptop model, PCI hardware and ACPI tables. To do so, run the following commands in a terminal:

wget http://lekensteyn.nl/files/get-acpi-info.sh
sh get-acpi-info.sh

This will create a tar.gz file that you can attach to the bug report. In the comment itself, please include a link to the product page of the model (if available).

Given this information, it will be possible to know if there is any existing software that can switch off your Nvidia graphics card or if the software needs to be adapted to be compatible with the BIOS of your laptop.

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