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I am looking for a new laptop that I would like to be a bit polyvalent. However, I will use it mainly for research work (programming, mathematica/matlab/python, heavy files analysis) and up to now, I considered to continue to use Ubuntu which fulfill all my work tasks except presentation stuffs (Openoffice/libreoffice is definitively NOT as better as Powerpoint, so I had to install a windows virtual box). I usually do not play on Linux, I reserve this to Windows.

I have made a selection of laptop, including the possibility to switch to Macbook Pro. I absolutely want a matt screen (not glossy) My preference is going to Asus N55SF-S2190V with Optimus and Sony Vaio SE1V9E (AMD Radeon HD 6630M) and they have this Hybrid system for the graphic card.

My questions:

  • Concerning the Vaio serie S with the AMD Radeon HD 6630M, is there also the same problem with Ubuntu as with the Optimus system ?
  • One of the solution that I see is that I will not use probably the nVidia/AMD graphic card for the my work, i will use it for game under windows. After the installation of Ubuntu, which card is detected : the Intel or the NVidia/AMD ? I am thinking to have the dual boot and use the Intel graphic card on Linux and the other one while I am under Windows for playing game/video etc..
  • Does the discrete graphic card nVidia/AMD consume power when it is not used under Ubuntu (without installing Bumblebee)
  • Then, once Bumblebee is installed, how goes the autonomy ? I imagine that the automony is going down while switching on the dedicated card, but what about when it is switched off, ie when ubuntu uses only the Intel graphics card with Bumblebee?

I am not against to write command lines in the terminal but I am not a linux expert, I use it for my work because it is really practical and free.

Thank you in advance.

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1) No, Optimus actually works (sorta) AMD hybrid Models don't. 2)Both are detected but only the intel is in use. 3)i believe so, it is working but it's not used. 4)Battery drain all the way, and the switching is manual. –  Uri Herrera Nov 30 '11 at 11:30
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1 Answer

In my experience (Asus U30) when you install Ubuntu in a laptop with Optimus technology the two cards will be detected, but only discrete card will be effectively used. The dedicated card, although not being used its turned on, so it will drain power. Bumblebee let you use the dedicated card, but not in the same way it is used in Windows(no automatic switching between cards) and lets you turn off it to save battery (but this is something experimental...).

Also please note that some laptops with Optimus let users turn on and off the dedicated card in BIOS.

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