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I have an Asus EEE1015PN intel N550 with two GPU's: GMA3150 and Nvidia ION2.

If I use (but I don't want to) windows 7 and I want to watch a full hd movie, then it switches to the bigger GPU.

If I want to use Ubuntu 11.04, then can I switch between the two GPU's on-the-fly in a similar way as Windows 7 - if yes, how do I do this?

If no, what progress is being made towards achieving the same capability as Windows 7?

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Whith I think I succeded to switch between the two GPU's (after i run the disable-nvidia script AND REBOOT i get a glxgears result: ~60 fps, and if i run the enable-nvidia and reboot i get about ~450 fps) - but aren't there any methods to do this without rebooting? – LanceBaynes Jul 10 '11 at 17:03
You shouldn't need to reboot - simply restarting gdm should be sufficient. Try running sudo service gdm restart next time - make sure you don't have anything open though since it will log you out. – Nathan Osman Jul 10 '11 at 20:23
@LanceBaynes, At they do mention that bumblebee now has its own Launchpad PPA specifically for Ubuntu users. Are you already using that version? – Christopher Kyle Horton Jul 11 '11 at 2:39
i tried the ppa version....but it didn't work. i had to "git clone ....." etc. and use the latest version. – LanceBaynes Jul 11 '11 at 3:42
@LanceBaynes Related: – Lekensteyn Jan 21 '12 at 13:22

I would recommend you take a look at the Ubuntu Help page on Hybrid Graphics. It seems to be very informative and exactly what you're looking for. I'll break it down for you as best I can though right here... :-)

As the original how-to post is almost two pages long I won't post it in it's entirety on using and enabling it. Rather, I'll just post the relevant links for you that belong to each section.

Please note: I had no hand in writing the afore mentioned how-to/tutorial, I am just quoting the original author. All credits go to said person.

Enabling VGA Switcheroo

The links for Switching and Enabling the VGA Switcheroo are listed as the following...

  1. Hybrid Graphics: Switching the CPU

  2. Hybrid Graphics: Enabling VGA Switcheroo

Using vga_switcheroo

The links for using VGA Switcheroo are listed as the following...

  1. Hybrid Graphics: Using VGA Switcheroo

  2. Hybrid Graphics: Use inside of an X Session

  3. Hybrid Graphics: Script for use during Boot

Various Small Fixes

And finally the link for the Small Fixes Section can be found below...

That should get you halfway there at the very least, if it doesn't help you at all please do let us know! And if it does help you let us know that too!

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thanks but it doesn't help. – LanceBaynes Jul 13 '11 at 9:02
That guide is a bit outdated/confusing, from the parts that I tried: vga_switcheroo is installed by default in Ubuntu, but you need a root terminal to access /sys/kernel/debug/* which is no were mentioned on the "main part" and that chown trick doesn't work (on "Script for use inside an X session") because the group has no write permission to the file (chown && chmod won't work either because then AppArmor won't let you boot into Ubuntu). – sergio91pt Jul 13 '11 at 14:20
@sergio91pt Thanks for that, I shall look into updating the aforementioned guide. I didn't write it originally but that doesn't mean I can't fix it! Thanks again! – zkriesse Jul 13 '11 at 15:09

You're saying you run bumblebee, but you can only switch by disabling NVidia. Did you try "optirun glxgears" ?

If not, that should probably do the trick. If yes, you're pretty much stuck. As far as I know, bumblebee is the most fruitful effort to hotswitch gpu's.

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??????????????? – LanceBaynes Jul 17 '11 at 9:22
If you have bumblebee running, using the command optirun, followed by the program you want to run with your Nvidia, it should excecute that program with the nvidia card. So if you want to watch a HD movie, you optirun [video player command] – aureianimus Jul 17 '11 at 10:33

If I want to use Ubuntu 11.04, then can I switch between the two GPU's on-the-fly in a similar way as Windows 7 - if yes, how do I do this?

The EeePC-1015PN is a corner case of hybrid graphics. As you know this Laptop defaults to nvidia - only mode in Linux (the intel GPU is not visible via lspci) but via sending a specific acpi-call you can set the VGA Mode for the next boot cycle manually.

This laptop has a rather unusual hybird setup. The nvidia chip is directly wired to the display device and hdmi port (most muxless hybrid setups are build without this feature) allowing this model to switch the GPU modes manually or use a dual gpu mode (there is no bios change required to set the gpu mode)

Available VGA Modes are:

  1. Intel only Mode (the nvidia chip is powered off and not visible via lspci)
  2. Nvidia only Mode (the intel chip is not visible via lspci)
  3. Optimus Mode (both chips are visible via lspci => bumblebee works only in this mode)

We are discussing this model since some time in a ubuntuforums thread (1), and prepared some helper scripts to set the VGA Mode for this model. To get bumblebee working, you need to install the eee1015pn-acpitools package first. Those scripts allow you to manage the VGA Modes of this model.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mtron/eee1015pn
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install build-essential eee1015pn-acpitools

Start the 'VGA-Selector' gui and set the VGA Mode for the next boot to "Optimus"

To use Optimus as default GPU mode, click on the 'Set Default GPU' button in the Settings Window. Also disable the auto-power down of the nvidia chip in optimus mode. The 'bbswitch' daemon shipped with bumblebee takes control over the power state of the nvidia gpu.

Screenshot 2

Now reboot and your laptop should be in Optimus mode.

install bumblebee via it's ppa:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade 
sudo apt-get install bumblebee
sudo usermod -a -G bumblebee $USER

To test if the nvidia gpu works try to start an application by prefixing it with optirun. e.g. glxspheres will use the intel gpu to draw the benchmark optirun glxspheres will use the nvidia GPU

Limitations of bumblebee:

  • Performance of the nvidia chip via bumblebee is bad. glxsperes runs 3 times slower via bumblebee (compared to nvidia only Mode)
  • HDMI port is not usable via bumblebee (the nvidia chip is directly wired to the HDMI port).
  • no video acceleration. va-api is not supported on the intel GMA3150, and the nvidia vdpau technique is not useable via bumblebee

what progress is being made towards achieving the same capability as Windows 7?

The bumblebee Project is just a temporary hack for hybrid-graphics on Linux. Quoting from Ubuntu's hybrid-graphics support strategy:

The kernel DRM work required for sharing GPU objects is not too complicated, according to Airlie. (2)

The biggest blocker at the moment is that the X server has limitations which prevent using GPU’s without attaching a screen to them. Airlie proposed changes to the X server on the xorg-devel mailing list (3), and he has been doing some work on this area (4).

Upstream (NVIDIA/AMD) Schedule: Once the X server re-architecting is finished and released, the drivers just need to add support for the new ABI in order to work. Highly dependant on when the actual X server release is, of course. Aaron Plattner from NVIDIA has already showed interest in helping with the redesign work (5), so it’s likely that at least NVIDIA has support for it right from the start.

So a real solution will take some time, but people are working on it.

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