How do I turn off the Intel integrated graphics and only use my discrete nvidia 960m card?

I know I can install bumblebee and then use optirun, but I want to use the nvidia card by default. I always use my laptop with the power cord plugged in so power savings I do not care about. I just want to maximize my computer.

For instance, I want unity to run with my nvidia card. I preferable do not want to fiddle around in the boot script and find where unity is launched, and then prepend with optirun.

Is there any way to do this?


Do I even need bumblebee? I read somewhere that the nvidia-settings have the option to change between the nvidia card and the integrated one. But it shows up empty for me. Is this because bumblebee blocks nvidia? So if I remove bumblebee, then nividia drivers will be launched and then I can change to use the card in nvidia-settings?

After some more investigation (link):

Anyway, basically the official NVIDIA proprietary driver for Linux does now include an option (as long as nvidia-prime and/or Xorg is setup correctly) to switch between the Intel GPU and the NVIDIA GPU in the NVIDIA Control Panel. However, this is not real-time switching. You do have to log out and log back in for the change to take effect, so in the end you can only choose to use one GPU or the other at any one time. There is no dynamic switching. On the other hand if you don't care about battery life or heat or they aren't really a factor for you, you could just choose to use the NVIDIA GPU all the time, which is probably what a lot of heavy gamers would choose to do.

So I guess I should be able to switch to the nvidia card in the nvidia-settings, but the bumbleebee/nvidia-prime/nouveau is blocking it. Stuff also gets installed automatically when I installed from scratch (both 14.04 and 15.04) so I guess I have to look what it is using, then purging bumbleebee/nvidia-prime/nouveau and installing the nvidia drivers from official repo, should make it come up in the nvidia-settings.

  • This is usually easiest done in the BIOS. Have you tried that? – Seth Sep 29 '15 at 13:46
  • @Seth Yes, I could only allocate more RAM to the integrated card (64 up to 512mb). But nothing else. – Simon Zettervall Sep 29 '15 at 13:48
  • nvidia-prime is auto installed from Ubuntu driver packages. It cannot work properly with bumblebee installed so remove bumblebee & primus. You should probably use the nvidia drivers from this ppa - launchpad.net/~graphics-drivers/+archive/ubuntu/ppa , the 355 one would be best. – doug Sep 29 '15 at 19:28
  • If after getting set up screen tearing bothers you then you could try my test ppa to eliminate most tearing, instructions on page. If just staying with nvidia, ie. no switching back & forth, then ppa page shows xorg.conf edit that the package will do. (purpose of ppa is to auto set xorg.conf when changing back & forth rather than have to do manually each time.. launchpad.net/~mc3man/+archive/ubuntu/tearfree-test Tested here on Ubuntu & Ubuntu-Gnome – doug Sep 29 '15 at 19:33

Use this command line to purge the integrated graphics driver:

sudo apt-get --purge remove xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

Warning: This will remove the Nouveau driver completely, if you only wish to switch between Nouveau and NVidia please read https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HybridGraphics

  • nouveau is the open source (reverse engineered) driver for nVidia hardware. To use this method, remove the intel drivers instead. – Ted Percival Mar 16 '16 at 19:24

Forget the bumblebee package if you just want to run the Nvidia hardware full time. Install the suggested (latest, tested) Nvidia driver from the Software & Updates program under the Additional Drivers tab. If you really need a later version of the driver than the one offered, first try the graphical-drivers ppa, and lastly, the vendor's download. The drivers offered by Canonical will have the scripting to get updated with every kernel update -- the others, well, you may be on your own (reinstall).

One last thing, which lately became available in Ubuntu 18.04, don't use the wayland login choices. Formerly, the Wayland choices were not even offered when Nvidia drivers were installed, but now they are, and choosing Wayland will switch to the integrated video (Intel,...).

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