I'm a long term Debian/Ubuntu user, but recently I aquired an Optimus Notebook (which has 2 video cards: an Intel integrated video card + a Nvidia dedicated video card) and I find out that it simply won't work properly on Debian Jessie and Ubuntu 13.10, even with Bumblebee. I finally got it working on OpenSUSE 13.1 + Bumblebee, I can play any game I want directly from Steam - which is kind of a dream comming true lol. But I like .deb distros :/

What about the recently launched Ubuntu 14.04? Do Optimus Notebooks work properly now? Could someone who have an Optimus Notebook tell your experience using it to play games in this new Ubuntu release? Does Bumblebee or Nvidia-prime work properly?

1 Answer 1


I'm using 14.04 on an Asus N76VB with a NVIDIA GeForce 740M.

Every time I try to install Bumblebee I end up with a totally broken system at least once. When this happened on my fresh 14.04 installation I read something about nvidia-prime, and decided to give it a try.

Installation is really easy. Just install the NVIDIA driver using the GUI or the CLI (sudo apt-get install nvidia-331). That's all.

You can switch using sudo prime-select intel, sudo prime-select nvidia or using NVIDIA's control panel. You can also install an applet to quickly switch between your cards and it always shows you the card that you're currently using (Google for prime-indicator).

My performance using the NVIDIA driver from Ubuntu's repository was horrible. Every 5 seconds or so I had huge framedrops.

Now I'm using the xorg-edgers PPA and performance is much better. However, NVIDIA's control panel is broken in their packages, so you'll have to use one of the other methods to switch cards.

  • I have 2 questions. 1. When using nvidia-prime, switching the card usage (ex: #prime-select nvidia) will be global? I mean, every single application I start after activating nvidia will use my nvidia card? Or can I specify the program I want to use nvidia, like in bumblebee (ex: $ primusrun dota2)? 2. You said your performance was horrible. Which driver were you using, proprietary or nouveau? Thanks for posting.
    – renatov
    Apr 30, 2014 at 21:52
  • 1. You'll use the card you select for everything you run. The only downside is that you've to restart the X server to switch, so logging out and back in is a must. If you want to run specific programs on your NVIDIA card or don't want to log out to switch you'll still have to use Bumblebee. You can't use both. 2. I was using NVIDIA's proprietary driver. I don't think nvidia-primus works with Nouveau. Apr 30, 2014 at 21:57
  • Oh my god, do I have to logout and login again to be able to switch video cards? This isn't viable for me.
    – renatov
    Apr 30, 2014 at 22:03
  • Yes, it is annoying but I personally like it more than Bumblebee. I'm sure you can use it without logging out in the future (I thought I read it would be soon), but not yet. They both have their cons and pros. Apr 30, 2014 at 22:05
  • What are the pros and cons of nvidia-prime, besides loging in and out? I immensely appreciate your report on your Optimus experience. As soon as I reach 15 points I'll rate all your answers.
    – renatov
    Apr 30, 2014 at 22:32

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