My CPU usage is high when I do trivial things such as scrolling through a PDF file. So I think my video driver is not properly installed.

I want to confirm that by checking the information of my currently installed video driver, such as if there's a driver installed and what version it is. Then I could decide whether to install a new one if it is not up to date.

On Windows, I could use the device manager, how to do that on Ubuntu Linux? I don't expect a GUI solution for this. Command line will be just good enough.

migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 25 '11 at 14:58

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.


In Linux, there is two parts for the video driver, the kernel part and the X server part.

  1. Let's identify your hardware first. By typing lspci | grep VGA in a terminal, you should see a line with you graphic card description (even if not configured at all).
  2. Let's check the correct kernel driver is loaded find /dev -group video.
  3. Let's check the correct X driver is loaded glxinfo | grep -i vendor.

If you want more help, I would like the result of following commands: (Remember, never trust command line that people ask you to execute without knowing what it does.)

lspci | grep VGA
lsmod | grep "kms\|drm"
find /dev -group video
cat /proc/cmdline
find /etc/modprobe.d/
cat /etc/modprobe.d/*kms*
ls /etc/X11/xorg.conf
glxinfo | grep -i "vendor\|rendering"
grep LoadModule /var/log/Xorg.0.log
  • 1
    Is this tow part thing the linux video driver model? – smwikipedia Feb 14 '11 at 16:20
  • 4
    If you copy-paste the last 4 lines in a terminal and add the result at the end of your question (edit), it will be easier to answer your question. But remember not to execute untrusted commands. Perhaps some stackoverflow trusted users could proof read them and acknowledge in comments. – shellholic Feb 15 '11 at 0:31
  • 5
    If the glxinfo command is not available, run sudo apt-get install mesa-utils. – JJD Jun 19 '14 at 8:30
  • 1
    grep VGA will not always show all the devices. – Pilot6 May 17 '17 at 17:43
  • Thanks for reminding people to not blindly execute commands they find online. – bartgol Apr 5 at 15:41

I use this command to see what Xorg is currently using:

egrep -i " connected|card detect|primary dev|Setting driver" /var/log/Xorg.0.log

The easiest way is to run

lspci -k | grep -EA3 'VGA|3D|Display'


00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 530 (rev 06)
    Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. HD Graphics 530
    Kernel driver in use: i915
    Kernel modules: i915
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GM107M [GeForce GTX 950M] (rev a2)
    Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. GM107M [GeForce GTX 950M]
    Kernel driver in use: nvidia
    Kernel modules: nvidiafb, nouveau, nvidia_375_drm, nvidia_375

This command will show all video PCI devices and kernel modules installed and in use.

Only VGA is not good enough, because Nvidia mobile adapters are shown as 3D and some AMD adapters are shown as Display.


Here is an easier solution, using GUI instead of command line. on the Ubuntu desktop, choose:

System Settings > Software and updates (in the bottom) -> Other drivers (the right most tab).

This is a list of your video driver's information. my video driver's information


I'm running a 64bit Ubuntu 10.04 here. Here's what I found out:

lspci will give you a list of found devices. Usually the video card is listed as "VGA controller" or somesuch, on my system it says:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G92 [GeForce 9800 GTX] (rev a2)

If you meant X.org's video driver, see /etc/X11/xorg.conf and look for Driver in Section "Device" (there might be multiple):

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9800 GTX/9800 GTX+"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9800 GTX/9800 GTX+"
    BusID          "PCI:1:0:0"
    Screen          1

If you need to find out the specific location of driver-file and version X.org's using, try cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log and look for line which says something like LoadModule "'Driver in the Device-section of xorg.conf', in my case:

(II) LoadModule: "nvidia"
(II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/extra-modules/nvidia_drv.so
(II) Module nvidia: vendor="NVIDIA Corporation"
    compiled for 4.0.2, module version = 1.0.0
    Module class: X.Org Video Driver
(II) NVIDIA dlloader X Driver  195.36.24  Thu Apr 22 19:18:54 PDT 2010
(II) NVIDIA Unified Driver for all Supported NVIDIA GPUs
(II) Primary Device is: PCI 01@00:00:0
  • 4
    This answer only applies to older distros. The newer versions appear to have moved away from xorg.conf – spuder Jul 18 '13 at 17:50
  • 1
    I'm on 12.04 and xorg.conf doesn't seem to exist, only xorg.conf.failsafe and xorg.conf.backup. – Aditya M P Oct 13 '13 at 14:20
  • X.org auto-probes everything these days so there is no xorg.conf configuration file (unless you've explicitly made one). *However the part about inspecting the X server log is still perfectly valid: less /var/log/Xorg.0.log – Stephan Henningsen Feb 22 '17 at 19:44

This should work with any unix-like operating system.

First to list all PCI devices, run:

lspci -nn

-nn flag tells lspci to show PCI vendor and device codes as both numbers and names.

00:00.0 Host bridge [0600]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RS400 Host Bridge [1002:5a33] (rev 01)
00:02.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RS4xx PCI Express Port [ext gfx] [1002:5a34]
00:11.0 IDE interface [0101]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB400 Serial ATA Controller [1002:437a] (rev 80)
00:12.0 IDE interface [0101]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 Serial ATA Controller [1002:4379] (rev 80)
00:13.0 USB controller [0c03]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 USB Host Controller [1002:4375] (rev 80)
00:13.2 USB controller [0c03]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 USB2 Host Controller [1002:4373] (rev 80)
00:14.0 SMBus [0c05]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 SMBus Controller [1002:4372] (rev 81)
00:14.1 IDE interface [0101]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 IDE Controller [1002:4376] (rev 80)
00:14.2 Audio device [0403]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 High Definition Audio Controller [1002:437b] (rev 01)
00:14.3 ISA bridge [0601]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] IXP SB4x0 PCI-PCI Bridge [1002:4371] (rev 80)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation G96 [GeForce 9500 GT] [10de:0640] (rev a1)
02:02.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8100/8101L/8139 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter [10ec:8139] (rev 10)

Here in my case it is:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation G96 [GeForce 9500 GT] [10de:0640] (rev a1)

Finally run

sudo lspci -vvv -d 10de:0640

sudo and -vvv make it more verbose and helps display everything that it is able to parse. -d is for device in the format [<vendor>]:[<device>]

The final command will list out all the possible capabilities and the kernel driver in use.

  • 2
    -k is more useful that -nn in this case. – Pilot6 May 17 '17 at 17:44

For nvidia drivers at least, I usually use the following command in the terminal:

cat /proc/driver/nvidia/version

Which will output something similar to the following:

NVRM version: NVIDIA UNIX x86_64 Kernel Module  346.96  Sun Aug 23 22:29:21 PDT 2015
  • 1
    It says, No such file or directory – opu 웃 Feb 9 '16 at 3:33

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