I have a new Lenovo t520 with 8gb memory and a i7 cpu. It's the first time I 'really' install Ubuntu on a pc. I have about six months of experience with Ubuntu as a guest OS on Windows in a VM.

Now what is really annoying me is how slow the visuals are on my laptop. Mostly noticeable when I have to resize or move a window. Also when scrolling text in vim/browsers it's not really as smooth as I would like it.

I read that Lenovo is using Optimus drivers for their new laptops and that these aren't supported. So I was wondering could using the integrated Intel gpu be the problem?

The CPU I have is the Core™ i7-2620M (2.70GHz, 4MB L3, 1333MHz FSB). I have tried to enable desktop effects but that didn't work.

  • Integrated GPU on new laptop are powerful enough to have good performance (if you're not planning to play 3d games). I have optimus on Asus 1215n and my nvidia card is not working. The intel handles everything and does it with smoothness. I think you just need to investigate about installing correctly your main card drivers :) – Pitto Apr 15 '11 at 13:58
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    The discrete card is Nvidia NVS 4200M (1GB VRAM) with Optimus. The processor is either i7-2820QM, i7-2720QM or i7-2630QM (taken from this datasheet.) – Lekensteyn Apr 15 '11 at 14:00
  • @Pitto: agreed, for general tasks it suffice. I've an i5-460M with a GT 425M and I can use all desktop effects. – Lekensteyn Apr 15 '11 at 14:02
  • So it might be that the integrated GPU isn't installed corrently? The CPU I have is the Core™ i7-2620M (2.70GHz, 4MB L3, 1333MHz FSB) – Pickels Apr 15 '11 at 14:10
  • I do believe so, my friend... Can you enable desktop effects? – Pitto Apr 15 '11 at 14:14

Have a look at the bumblebee solution in this page:
You will be able to use both the intel card for the desktop and the nvidia card for specific applications. Check the google-chrome FPS values for benchmarking:

sudo apt-get install git
# type password
git clone http://github.com/MrMEEE/bumblebee.git
cd bumblebee/
sudo ./install.sh
optirun glxgears
# check the speed and compare to running:
# If you have google-chrome installed, you can try it with/without optirun and report the FPS values on the mailing list:
optirun google-chrome http://webglsamples.googlecode.com/hg/aquarium/aquarium.html
  • These instructions (and the one for Bumblebee at hybrid-graphics-linux) are outdated, please see askubuntu.com/q/36930/6969 – Lekensteyn Oct 24 '11 at 8:45
  • Can you update the instructions? Installing this from git is not recommended and the repo is broken anyway. – Lekensteyn Jan 21 '12 at 15:31

The integrated GPU does indeed have worse performance compared to a discrete one. NVidia Optimus is completly unsupported in Ubuntu. If you're lucky, there might be a BIOS switch to switch between the discrete graphic card (nvidia) an the integrated GPU (i7).

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    There is now relatively good support with bumblebee: launchpad.net/~hybrid-graphics-linux – 719016 May 29 '11 at 7:52
  • Yes, there is a BIOS switch to control what graphics hardware should be enabled on Lenovo laptops. – codeape Oct 24 '11 at 7:47

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