Why is it that I don't see my NVIDIA graphic adapter under VGA compatible controller but under 3D controller when I use lspci -vnn? What's the difference between the two and under which section should it actually be?

Edit : Output Of lspci -k | grep -EA2 'VGA|3D'

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0b)
    Subsystem: Dell Device 0662
    Kernel driver in use: i915
08:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GF117M [GeForce 610M/710M/810M/820M / GT 620M/625M/630M/720M] (rev a1)
    Subsystem: Dell GeForce 820M
  • Please edit your question and add output of lspci -k | grep -EA2 'VGA|3D' terminal command.
    – Pilot6
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:38
  • @Pilot6 Just edited as you asked.
    – 7_R3X
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


It depends on the adapter firmware how it declares itself to PCI bus.

Some Nvidia laptop adapters declare themselves as a 3D controller.

That does not make any practical difference.

The reason for that is probably because in an Optimus dual graphics systems, the Nvidia chip is not a real adapter. It outputs through the Intel adapter anyway and does only hardware acceleration.

You can install a proprietary driver in System Settings -> Software & Updates -> Additional Drivers (nvidia-352), or in terminal:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-352

Both methods do the same. This will install the stable recommended driver.

If you need "the latest" drivers, you can install them by

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-361 nvidia-prime

at your own risk.

  • binarytides.com/install-nvidia-drivers-ubuntu-14-04 describes the process of installing latest nvidia drivers for ubuntu. Would it work if my adapter describes itseld as 3D controller?
    – 7_R3X
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:32
  • Driver installation is the same. But the manual is outdated and will not work. xorg-edgers does not contain Nvidia drivers now. Why not install recommended driver from Ubuntu repositories a normal way.
    – Pilot6
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:35
  • Err.. I have no idea how to go that normal way. I searched google and that was the first result I found. Mind telling me about it?
    – 7_R3X
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:37
  • Go to System Settings -> Software & Updates -> Additional Drivers and select a driver there.
    – Pilot6
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:39
  • For some reason, this doesn't seem to work. For last many months, even after updating and upgrading my system, Additional Drivers continues to show the same version and I doubt if they're the latest version.
    – 7_R3X
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:44

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