I was happy with my onboard graphics but I wanted to be able to run some games in this machine from time to time, so I bought a GT630 1GB DDR3 VRAM. When I boot into Windows everything is fine, gaming performance improved considerably. Consider this is a cheap card but still far better than my onboard GPU.

Now the problem is when I'm working in Ubuntu. From the start I noticed a suspicious behavior of the Unity Launcher. It's easy to tell that the launcher animation is dropping frames (animation with my onboard GPU was very soft). The most bothersome thing is that Flash Player based video players, including Youtube, are dropping a lot of frames, easy to detect by eye. My onboard GPU played them fine when in Linux, including 1080p content.

Driver: Gallium 0.4 on NVC1

Ubuntu 14.04 64 bits

When possible I prefer to accept the drivers the OS loads by default for a given device. I'm not expecting the same performance I get in Windows but less performance than with my onboard GPU has no sense.


While using the proprietary driver (as indicated in Hatoru's response) will definitely increase the performance, it will also increase the energy consumption (and therefore decrease the battery life).

So, if you want to get maximum performance for applications that require it, and maximise the battery life for the rest, the only option as of now is to use the proprietary driver (as indicated by Hatoru) in combination with Bumblebee. Installation instructions are detailed in https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee#Installation:

Enable the Universe and Multiverse repositories - you need to do this to allow the bumblebee and nvidia packages respectively to be installed.

Install the Nvidia proprietary driver (in this case 319, you should use the latest one available for your hardware in the Ubuntu repositories):

sudo apt-get install nvidia-319-updates nvidia-settings-319-updates

Install Bumblebee:

sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia primus linux-headers-generic

Configure Bumblebee, editing /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf:


Then restart, and you are ready to run programs using the Nvidia card with:

optirun command
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  • I didn't know about Bumblebee. I will try it. – Hatoru Hansou Oct 14 '14 at 11:46

I took courage and I installed the closed source drivers from NVidia. I used the Additional Drivers dialog to do it. This may provide a bit outdated driver than the one downloaded from the NVidia site but Its installation is totally automatic, you just need to watch the progress bar for a while and then restart the system.

I have to say that the performance gain is noticeable from the start. Even the Unity launcher animation is very soft, and my problem with Flash player is now solved. The only thing is that you have to use a closed source driver but just this once I gave It a try. As the contrast in performance to my onboard GPU with Its default drivers is so noticeable I could not accept that dedicated graphics perform worse than onboard graphics.

Then the answer to this question is: the graphics performance can be improved by using NVidia closed source drivers. They are not enabled by default by obvious reasons.

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  • Although Mr. Gómez answer is useful and Bumblebee can be added to the equation to enjoy better support of NVidia cards advanced features, the questions is about performance, and the answer is: to use proprietary driver or to accept the performance of open source one (depending on your priorities and fillings). I will mark this answer as the answer to the question. – Hatoru Hansou Oct 15 '14 at 23:20

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