Noob question. I have Nouveau, not nvidia drivers installed on a Skylake + Geforce GTX 960M Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 system.

When I go to the "Details" app it says "Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 530 (Skylake GT2)".

As I understood it, Nouveau is an open source driver for the Nvidia card. But it looks like the intel hardware + driver (i915_bpo) is being used instead.

It works, although I'd not say it's buttery smooth, but it's highlighted the fact that I don't really understand what's going on, and I would like to!

Here's my lshw -c display output:

     description: 3D controller
     product: GM107M [GeForce GTX 960M]
     vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
     physical id: 0
     bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
     version: a2
     width: 64 bits
     clock: 33MHz
     capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list rom
     configuration: driver=nouveau latency=0
     resources: irq:127 memory:dc000000-dcffffff memory:b0000000-bfffffff memory:c0000000-c1ffffff ioport:e000(size=128) memory:dd000000-dd07ffff
     description: VGA compatible controller
     product: Intel Corporation
     vendor: Intel Corporation
     physical id: 2
     bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
     version: 06
     width: 64 bits
     clock: 33MHz
     capabilities: pciexpress msi pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
     configuration: driver=i915_bpo latency=0
     resources: irq:126 memory:db000000-dbffffff memory:70000000-7fffffff ioport:f000(size=64)

So is nouveau being used? Is the GeForce card doing anything? What ways are there (if any) to control which gets used - while sticking with the open source software (the nvidia drivers just crash the whole thing!).


  • If the proprietary drivers crash, you may want to report that as a bug. 16.04 is still in development. – TheWanderer Mar 18 '16 at 20:30
  • Thanks, I've done that. – artfulrobot Mar 18 '16 at 20:49

Although the question being off-topic until Ubuntu 16.04 will be released in April, you are asking something that is a general topic. You are using the intel graphics, the NVIDIA card is not in use. Currently installed are intel and nouveau drivers, what you describe is normal and NOT a bug.

The reason is that you are having hybrid graphics, the integrated intel graphics and the dedicated NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 960M graphics. You only can use the NVIDIA graphics when you install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers and nvidia-prime, which provides NVIDIA Optimus support. Then you can switch between both graphics from NVIDIA X Server Settings (PRIME Profiles) application.

Here you find the information on how to properly install the NVIDIA drivers for your adapter :

Installation of the proprietary NVIDIA drivers for NVIDIA GEFORCE 9M series graphics

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  • So if I'm using, and can only use, Intel, what's the nouveau driver for? – artfulrobot Mar 19 '16 at 9:18
  • @artfulrobot : The nouveau drivers are the pre-installed open source drivers which are needed when you are having only a NVIDIA graphics chip and do not want to install the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers. – cl-netbox Mar 19 '16 at 9:29
  • Thanks, 361 nvidia drivers are already in repos for 16.04 and nouveau does not need nomodeset on my system to function (and I think we ascertained that nouveau is not being used anyway). But will try the ppa anyway. – artfulrobot Mar 19 '16 at 10:53
  • @artfulrobot : I know that that the NVIDIA drivers 361 are in the 16.04 repositories, but I have to answer according the Ask Ubuntu site rules, which define Ubuntu 16.04 as off-topic until the final release date. Nevertheless I wanted to give you an answer to your core question ... :) – cl-netbox Mar 19 '16 at 11:58
  • Ah, get you! Makes sense. Anyway thanks for your informative answer. FYI I was not suggesting use of Intel drivers was a bug, I just wanted to understand. There is a bug on the nvidia drivers (and I suspect nouveau too) which won't install but that was not what original q was about. Many thanks. – artfulrobot Mar 19 '16 at 12:03

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