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NVIDIA just launched new versions of most of their GeForce drivers. I heard they give performance improvements up to twice a fast.

The NVIDIA GeForce driver website mentions that it's possible that the new drivers are not yet fully working in certain distributions.

So, how fast does the Ubuntu team usually adopt such driver updates? Or can I just install them without any risk?

(I have a MacBook Pro, and I read in this question that someone else already has problems by installing the new driver; I want to avoid that...)

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3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Yes, we are providing and supporting updated NVIDIA drivers in Ubuntu.

Update your system, then look in Additional Hardware Drivers to see the available update options. (Scroll down if necessary.)

additional drivers

  • nvidia-current (version current) is what was stable at the time of the ubuntu release. This is your baseline driver. We never update this driver (except for critical packaging fixes) post-release.

  • nvidia-current-updates (post-release updates) is a newer version which our testing has found to be reasonably stable. We can't guarantee that, which is why we provide it via this opt-in package. We update this driver periodically, usually within a few weeks of an update becoming available.

  • nvidia-experimental-304 should be ignored. We may provide some updates here but these won't be that interesting.

  • nvidia-experimental-310 (experimental beta) is a very new, unstable, bleeding-edge version that we have done no testing on. But it will give you the latest and greatest NVIDIA support, and if you want to run Valve Steam games at maximum performance this is what you want. Once you install this package, as new versions are released by NVIDIA we'll include them here, so when you do routine system updates it'll pull in updates for you. In theory each update of this package should become more and more stable. We are hoping to update this package in precise within a week or so of a new update becoming available.

The above options are what I'd call officially supported versions. We'll accept bug reports about them and work with NVIDIA towards finding fixes (time permitting...)

There are also PPA options via x-updates and xorg-edgers. x-updates is semi-official in that we try to keep it to known-stable versions and we accept bug reports (at low priority for fixing). xorg-edgers really should be used only by people who know what they're doing - it's really just for testers, not users. We don't accept bug reports for xorg-edgers.

For directions and more information on installing drivers for Valve Steam see http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Valve

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Is there a difference between nvidia-experimental-310 and nvidia-experimental-304, because 304 is showing up in my Driver section. –  Steven Roose Nov 6 '12 at 22:30
    
@StevenRoose 310 features significant performance increases –  Glutanimate Nov 7 '12 at 0:53
    
Both -304 and -310 should be there. If not, a) update, and b) scroll down in Additional Drivers. For Valve Steam games you likely do want -310. –  Bryce Nov 7 '12 at 8:07
    
310 is in proposed right now, so you have to enable it first! –  Timo Nov 9 '12 at 17:34
    
Does enabling "proposed" updates automatically opts me in for pre-released updates on all packages I'm using? I only want the -310 driver, I don't want my Ubuntu installation to be completely bleeding edge :) –  Steven Roose Nov 12 '12 at 22:12

The new drivers will probably be made available in an unofficial form via a PPA fairly soon, though that mainly depends on how quickly they are built and tested against the Xorg server.

Some likely sources for getting the latest available drivers:

https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat/+archive/x-updates

https://launchpad.net/~xorg-edgers/+archive/ppa

Read the warnings on those pages before using them!

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Was about to add those links to my answer so +1 ;) –  Rinzwind Nov 6 '12 at 20:49
1  
+1 for the warning disclaimer –  FuzzyQ Nov 7 '12 at 8:31

It turns out Quantal (Ubuntu 12.10) still doesn't have the 310 drivers, except in proposed. Hopefully they'll land soon.

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Yeah, it's stuck somewhere in SRU review. –  Bryce Nov 13 '12 at 23:47
    
It would be more helpful if you tell the user how to (optionally) enable proposed. –  RolandiXor Nov 16 '12 at 20:31

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