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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 11-29-2010, 02:34 PM   #1
fhsm
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T410s Nvidia Switchable Optimus Graphics - a problem?


I'm interested in buying a Lenovo t410s. I've read a lot about the switchable Nvidia Optimus NVS 3100M 512mb graphics card and it sounds like a potential problem. All of the switching is Windows only right now and Nvidia has no plans to extend support to the Linux drivers.

I don't mind having to reboot to switch from one chipset to the other via the BIOS; however, I'm wondering how much additional configuration will be required to be able to use the card I select via the BIOS and if it can be automated. So far this post is the "easiest" explanation I've found, but I'm not sure I could follow it.

Over the past few months I've started branching out and trying new distros so I'd like to get a feeling for what would be involved without assuming a particular distro.
 
Old 12-10-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
mjmwired
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I have a Thinkpad T61 (very similar to the T410) and I purchased it with Nvidia. I paid extra for it, but now I regret it. The configuration and settings have just been a pain for me. I once thought Nvidia provided the best support but now I realize they only have the best performance.

Unless you *really* require high-end 3D performance, I would recommend just skipping Nvidia on the laptop altogether. When I buy my next Thinkpad (maybe next year) I will pick Intel video. It's cheaper and much better on battery life.

Also I should add my Nvidia video burned out on me once in the past, and just recently the video has been acting up on me again.

I just bought a T410 for a family member with Intel video and she's perfectly happy with it.
 
Old 12-10-2010, 09:27 PM   #3
Drakeo
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there should be no problem if running a card that uses the same driver. if using cards that run different drivers anything past 6000 series up use the same driver.
if you do not mind rebooting. If you do not want to reboot then you need to set up so one card can come down while the other is running. two card to monitors.
This is not a night mare. just a little work and understanding how the modules load.
On my computer I have two cards and I can run both at the same time on different monitors.
I do not know where you heard nivida does not support linux. It has a whole team of code writers that do a great job keeping up with the ever changing linux kernel.
The lastest driver for that card is
Quote:
Version:

260.19.21 Certified
Release Date:

2010.11.11
Operating System:

Linux 64-bit
Language:

English (U.S.)
File Size:

45.7 MB
and
Quote:
Version:

260.19.21 Certified
Release Date:

2010.11.11
Operating System:

Linux 32-bit
Language:

English (U.S.)
File Size:

27.1 MB

Last edited by Drakeo; 12-11-2010 at 08:14 PM.
 
Old 12-11-2010, 10:43 PM   #4
fhsm
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Drakeo would you mind elaborating? Yours is one of the only assessments that this will be easy I've read. For the Optimus counter point:

Quote:
We have no plans to support Optimus on Linux at this time.
- From AaronP / NVIDIA Corporation (source)

Quote:
Optimus is a whole different story, I assume it'll still have a _DSM method to turn on/off the GPU, but there is no output mux to switch, so there is no way without a major rearchitecture of the X.org and DRI stacks we can support optimus anytime soon.
- Dave Airlie at RedHat (source)

Are you simply pointing out that by accepting a reboot to switch the "Optimus problem" goes away and we've got proprietary drivers for this chipset?

It looks like you've pasted in driver info from the Nvidia driver search site (ex) using:
Code:
Product Type: Quadro
Product Series:	Quadro NVS Series (Notebooks)
Product: NVS 3100M
I'm under the impression these drivers simply make the card work, but do not address switching. Have I misunderstood your point / the drivers?

As I said in the OP I'm willing to reboot / accept Optimus behavior isn't coming anytime soon. I've read reports that say when used as two independent graphics systems - only one of which is enabled at a time with switching done in the bios - each individual card will work.
This leaves me with two questions:
  1. What sort of configuration would have to be changed in my distro to go from a system that on one boot found it was running integrated Intel graphics and on the next found it had discrete Nvidia graphics requiring proprietary drivers?
  2. What can be done to simplify / automate this config switching?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:57 PM   #5
Drakeo
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thank you
 
  


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