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Is there an easy way to find out if I should run a program with primusrun? For example - Wolfram Mathematica - it can do without it but what if it runs smoother with it?

Would it be bad to always use primusrun, as bumblebee's purpose, if I'm understanding it correctly, is to actively select when to use the GPU? Shouldn't it not matter, then, in terms of energy consumption, if every program I run, graphics-intensive or not, uses primusrun?

In other words, is there a programtical way of seeing whether a program uses OpenGL? Can this be utilized to make the command if [ uses opengl x ]; primusrun x; else x; run every time I run an application?

  • Yes it matters. If you run an application with any of them, they should start your dedicated gfx card and let it stay on until your application terminates (this depends on your specific configuration: you can have your gfx always on, but unless you use primus/optirun the applications would not use it). – Salem Jul 17 '13 at 16:21
  • @Salem thanks for the info - I'd appreciate if you make it an answer. How do I find out about my specific configuration? I certainly don't want to have my graphics card always running (but if it is, always using primus is the way to go, right?) – VF1 Jul 17 '13 at 16:24
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According to the Wiki from the Bumblebee project, Bumblebee is designed to allow you to switch when you need it. From what I read, it is purely for energy saving. So basically, if you had the option in your BIOS, you could run NVidia graphics alone, but it's not very efficient. So in short, you can use it whenever you feel you need extra graphical power and are willing to sacrifice a little extra energy for it

  • I don't think it's for energy saving alone... Before it I couldn't use my Nvidia card at all. And by "when you need it" do you mean "when my programs need it and ask for it automatically" or when I turn it on from terminal? – VF1 Jul 17 '13 at 16:22
  • I meant if you use the command from the terminal, I don't think Bumblebee can determine exactly when it is required. As for my thoughts that it was for energy saving alone, it was based on this statement from the Bumblebee Wiki: ' Can I use my Nvidia card only? I don't care about power consumption. In short, no. A few laptops came with a BIOS option to do so, if that's the case of yours, then you can use it and not install Bumblebee.' [link]github.com/Bumblebee-Project/Bumblebee/wiki/FAQ – Xtremesupremacy3 Jul 17 '13 at 16:50
  • OK. But if your answer is "you feel you need extra graphical power and are willing to sacrifice a little extra energy for it" - then I am still at a loss - I don't want to have a "feeling" for when I need my extra GPU. I was hoping there was some objective measure for which programs need it - I'd expect that it would be possible to find out if a program does use OpenGL extensively. – VF1 Jul 17 '13 at 16:53
  • Oh I apologize, I misunderstood, and thus gave an odd answer. As far as I can tell, there is no application that can tell that (at least not after my search), although there is a list here: link but I don't think that will be up to date. My rule of thumb has always been that if it runs slow, use Bumblebee, not very scientific I'm afraid though. I hope maybe that link helps a little, if anyone has any other suggestions then maybe they are more useful. Good luck though – Xtremesupremacy3 Jul 17 '13 at 20:01

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