Due to my job I've been working with Linux servers for nearly a decade, but on desktop I've really only toyed with it here and there throughout the years. This whole time I've been a macOS user.

Now I'm switching full time to a Dell OptiPlex 7020 running Fedora 30 Linux, but I have questions pertaining to graphics and GPUs. My machine has an i5 with Intel HD 4600 graphics; on the back it has 1 VGA port and 2 DisplayPort ports. My dual monitors are connected to the DisplayPorts, one each.

I also have an NVIDIA GT 1030 in the machine with 1 HDMI and 1 DisplayPort.

I have very little need for the GT 1030's graphics capabilities except some gaming via Steam here and there. For anything else the Intel HD graphics seems to be more than capable of handling everything thrown at it and also seems to be more stable than the NVIDIA drivers.

So what happens when something needs the accelerated 3D rendering and power of the dedicated GPU but I'm connected via the motherboard's DisplayPorts? Does it still use the dedicated GPU to render? I noticed that if I start Gnome in Xorg mode it uses the GT 1030 (at least it says so in Gnome's "About" area in the settings) but if I use the default Gnome session it seems to fallback to the Intel HD graphics (also according to Gnome's "About" area in the settings). This has something to do with Wayland, correct? Any way around it? And should I even be looking for a way around it (due to my first question about rendering on the dedicated GPU)? Additionally, if I plug into the GPU's output ports and use the default Gnome (Wayland) session, will it render gnome and everything via the GT 1030 or will it still fallback to the Intel HD graphics?

If I ever want to play some games via Steam should I just log out of the standard Gnome session and log into a Gnome Xorg session or is there a less "involved" way of doing it? And do I have to plug my monitors into the GPU instead of the motherboard?

This is all kind of confusing and new to me as I have never really dealt with it before. On Macs I have never had to worry about GPU anything and on Windows I think the OS simply handles rendering on whichever device is most "appropriate" if I'm not mistaken.

Some insight and help would be greatly appreciated.

P.s. what's up with nouveau drivers instead of the proprietary drivers? Any good or should I stick to the proprietary drivers?


➜ sudo lshw | grep product | head -n1 && sudo dmidecode -s bios-release-date && sudo dmidecode -s baseboard-product-name && sudo dmidecode -s baseboard-manufacturer:

product: OptiPlex 7020 (05A5)
Dell Inc.

Fedora 30, Intel i5-4590 / Intel® HD Graphics 4600, NVIDIA GT 1030

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    @K7AAY done as requested see above. I'm not sure it outputted all the data you were looking for though, right? – Adriano C R Jul 8 at 22:50
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    Adriano C R, you done good. Also, unix.stackexchange.com/… will provide some background on video drivers. – K7AAY Jul 8 at 23:09
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    @K7AAY I read through several of those and what I got from it was "nouveau drivers are not supported on recent cards and the ones that they do support suffer like a 40 FPS penalty over the proprietary drivers" – Adriano C R Jul 9 at 13:15
  • nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/CodeNames shows the GT 1030 AKA NV138 (GP108) as belonging to the supported Pascal family. The Nouveau bug list for Pascal bugs.freedesktop.org/buglist.cgi?quicksearch=Pascal has the kind of items I would expect for an open source driver. Please consider anything you find should be checked for the Nouveau version number and/or date of report as some things may be fixed now; and, "your mileage WILL vary" so try them and see if any issues apply to your configuration instead of the reporter's. – K7AAY Jul 9 at 15:54

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