I have an Intel onboard GPU and NVIDIA GPU. I am running Ubuntu 18.04.

How do I configure a dual GPU setup so that Intel onboard iGPU will drive the monitor, leaving NVIDIA GPU exclusively for Machine Learning CUDA work?

  • You should split this up into a question and an answer and mark your own answer as accepted.
    – mook765
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 11:19
  • Thank you, @mook765. I did so and also updated the info for cuda-10.0.
    – stason
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 5:50

4 Answers 4


I first installed NVIDIA drivers and CUDA packages following this guide. Except, after a reboot I ended up with /usr/lib/xorg/Xorg showing up in the output of nvidia-smi. This wasn't good, since I needed to have all of NVIDIA GPU RAM available to my work.

After some research I found a solution that solved my problem:

I created /etc/X11/xorg.conf with the following content:

Section "Device"
    Identifier      "intel"
    Driver          "intel"
    BusId           "PCI:0:2:0"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier      "intel"
    Device          "intel"

(if you try to do the same, make sure to check where your GPU is. Mine was on 00:02.0 which translates to PCI:0:2:0)

% lspci  | grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 3e92
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GP104 (rev a1)

After rebooting, xorg and other programs no longer appeared in the output of nvidia-smi. And I was able to use pytorch with CUDA-10.0.

Note, that I still have all the NVIDIA drivers installed, but they don't interfere.

update: for Ubuntu 20.04 some extra changes are needed for this to work. You will find the full details here.

  • 2
    Confirmed: it works on Ubuntu 19.04 nvidia-driver-418 and NVIDIA Quadro GV100
    – RedEyed
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 9:52
  • 3
    Bro, you saved my day... I spent like ten hours trying to figure it out on Ubuntu 19.04... I uninstalled NVIDIA drivers and can never get it back properly! and I re-installed Ubuntu 19.04 and used your method. Work like a magic! Commented May 16, 2019 at 13:21
  • This works fine on my XNG NEO 15 using Linux Mint 19.3, thank you. However, when using this method external monitors are not recognized - do you have any additional info on that? Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 16:58
  • @ChristophHenkelmann, I shared all the bits I used. I know other solutions are available, for some extra ideas please see this thread.
    – stason
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 18:29
  • @ChristophHenkelmann did you manage to solve the external monitor not being recognized?
    – Pandian Le
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 16:27

Let me share my recipe which helped me on Razer Blade 15 laptop with Arch Linux and Gnome desktop environment.

Initially I started Gnome with Wayland session which at that time was incompatible with NVIDIA driver, so naturally I had integrated graphics adapter for display and NVIDIA GPU for deep learning. But after recent update GDM session started to fallback to Xorg with NVIDIA GPU as primary GPU. The problem was that:

  • it reduced available GPU RAM
  • it bogged down the whole system during a neural network training
  • it increased power consumption (= less battery life)

I ran nvidia-smi after startup. I expected to see No running processes found, but I saw a list of Xorg processes that used my NVIDIA GPU. That means Gnome Display Manager used Xorg session with NVIDIA GPU as primary GPU.

I examined /var/log/Xorg.0.log:

(II) xfree86: Adding drm device (/dev/dri/card1)
(II) systemd-logind: got fd for /dev/dri/card1 226:1 fd 11 paused 0
(II) xfree86: Adding drm device (/dev/dri/card0)
(II) systemd-logind: got fd for /dev/dri/card0 226:0 fd 12 paused 0
(**) OutputClass "nvidia" ModulePath extended to "/usr/lib/nvidia/xorg,/usr/lib/xorg/modules,/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
(**) OutputClass "nvidia" setting /dev/dri/card1 as PrimaryGPU

(**) means that the setting had been read from config file! I found out that the config file was /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-nvidia-drm-outputclass.conf. I changed the config file to set Intel integrated graphics adapter as primary GPU:

Section "OutputClass"
    Identifier "intel"
    MatchDriver "i915"
    Driver "modesetting"
    Option "PrimaryGPU" "yes"                   # <<<<<< add this string

Section "OutputClass"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    MatchDriver "nvidia-drm"
    Driver "nvidia"
    Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration"
#   Option "PrimaryGPU" "yes"                   # <<<<<< comment this string
    ModulePath "/usr/lib/nvidia/xorg"
    ModulePath "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
  • This was very helpful for me. I was doing basically the same things (Antergos Arch, not vanilla). I have not processes now with nviddia-smi. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 12:08
  • However, I still get echo $XDG_SESSION_TYPE returns x11 instead of wayland. Ideas? Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 12:08

As I don't have the reputation to comment I share here results related to the answer of Maksym Ganenko: I tried the solution on my ubuntu 18.04 where I run gdm3 with kde-plasma or ubuntu. The file you mentioned /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-nvidia-drm-outputclass.conf is on my system called /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/11-nvidia-prime.conf, probably because I had nvidia-prime installed for some time. The problem with editing this file is the fact that on my installation /usr/bin/gpu-manager is generating this file when starting a new xsession and so all edits are lost. As described here avoid using nvidia card for Xorg with plasma following the advice given here gpu-manager overwrites xorg.conf the solution is to protect the generated file against changes by means of

chattr +i /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/11-nvidia-prime.conf

Could be a chmod 444 would do the same thing, but I simply used the solution proposed in gpu-manager overwrites xorg.conf.


I would like to add another way in which I am currently preventing Nvidia card from handling my display. I am simply booting to gnome by selecting Wayland instead of Xorg. Since Nvidia does not support Wayland, after logging in, nvidia-smi shows no process running.

However, I can still use Nvidia for stuff like Tensorflow.

  • It worked for me too by default, but since the last update Gnome Display Manager fallbacks to Xorg and so NVIDIA driver started to use iGPU as primary GPU (Arch Linux on Razer Blade 15). Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 20:42

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