Graphics Card Driver FAQs

Graphics Card Driver FAQs

Wikis > Graphics Card Driver FAQs

Graphics Cards

Many new Bodhi Linux users seem to have the same questions relating to Graphics Cards (especially Nvidia), so here are the answers to a few of them.

Determining Graphics Card Model:

If you are unsure which graphics card your computer possesses open Terminology and run the following commands. The first command will update your database of PCI IDs, the second interrogates all PCI device in your computer, looking for specified keywords (relating to graphics cards):

Nvidia Specific

sudo update-pciids
lspci | grep -i E "nvidia|video|vga|3d"

Generic (all graphics Cards)

sudo update-pciids
lspci | grep -i E "video|vga|3d"

If a PCI graphics card has been identified, the output will look something like this (though not exactly like this!):

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GT216M [GeForce GT 330M] (rev a2)

NOTE: the output from lspci may also include output from other PCI devices (for example Nvidia HDMI audio), these additional miscellaneous items can be ignored in this context of this article.

In the sample output from lspci, we can establish the Product Type is GeForce and the Model number is GT 330M (GT216M is the code name).

How do I Install Nvidia’s Proprietary Drivers?

Overview

Before installing proprietary/closed source Nvidia® drivers you need to determine if your graphics card is supported by the current GeForce® driver and if so, which version of the driver.

NOTE: If the proprietary Nvidia graphics driver fails to load on reboot, or you see the kernel driver being used is nouveau, then see the FAQ entry below titled How do I blocklist nouveau drivers?

Identify Nvidia graphics Card

Use the guide (above), named: Determining Graphics Card Model.

Next, we need to establish the product series, this is easily achieved by locating your exact model number (ie GT 330M) from within this following web page Nvidia graphics cards. Search the page content (press F4) and type in your model number. In this example, the product series is GeForce 3xxM.

Identify Nvidia’s Recommended Driver

Having established the Nvidia card’s Product Type, Name, and Series, the next step is to identify which Linux driver is needed. This is best achieved by cross-referencing the gathered details against Nvidia’s driver download page.

NOTE – The intent here is not to download the driver from the Nvidia website, we’re simply using their information to establish what driver to install (from Bodhi’s package repositories).

From the Nvidia driver download page, select Product Type, Product Series and Operating System (Linux 64-Bit/32-Bit appropriate to your Bodhi installation), now click the search button.

Nvida Driver Selection

NOTE: Do toggle the Nvidia web page item labelled “download type” between long-lived or short-lived to determine the very latest driver version (or if no driver is listed initially).

The information returned will identify the latest driver version relevant to your graphics card. In this example, this is Version:340.108; Date: 2019.12.23. The key piece of information we’re gleaning from this web page is the major part of the Version number (ie: 340). The next step will be to install Nvidia driver version 340 from the Bodhi package repository.

Nvidia Driver Version

Installing GeForce Driver from Repository

You now have all the information needed to install the Nvidia driver. Open Terminology and run the following command (substitute driver version as appropriate):

sudo apt install nvidia-340

NOTE – 1: The naming of the Nvidia driver packages changed a few years back from nvidia-<version> to nvidia-driver-<version> if the above command returns: “unable to find package nvidia-340“, try installing the driver using the more recent naming convention, ie nvidia-driver-340

NOTE – 2: If you continue to have issues with “unable to find package” you will need to add the NvidiaPPA Driver Respotiory (see the section below) and try again.

Once the driver installation has completed, you will need to reboot for the Nvidia drivers to become active.

sudo reboot

Install Nvidia PPA driver Repository (optional)

If the Nvidia driver package you need cannot be found or perhaps you simply want access to the very latest driver packages from Nvidia (for modern graphics cards). Either way, you will need to install the Offical driver PAA for Nvidia Drivers. A PPA (Personal Package Archive) is an application repository used to upgrade and install packages from non-ubuntu/Bodhi sources. To read more about PPA’s click here.

The official web page of NVIDIA PPA is https://launchpad.net/~graphics-drivers/+archive/ubuntu/ppa.  To add the PAA, open Terminology and run these commands :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt update

NOTE: if you have Nvidia drivers already installed then run the following command to ensure you update to the very latest revision within the major driver version installed. It is also recommended to verify which driver version is recommended by Nvidia for your specific hardware. See the steps titled “Identify Nvidia’s Recommended Driver” (above) for more information.

sudo apt update

NOTE: If you were unable to install the Nvidia recommended driver prior to PPA repo install, repeat the driver install step established above, ie:

sudo apt install nvidia-340

Which kernel driver is being used for Graphics?

To establish which kernel driver is being used for your graphics card run the following command in Terminology.

NOTE: if you have multiple graphics cards you may need to modify the keywords “vga|3d” to get the expected output

lspci -v | grep -iEA10 "vga|3d"

How do I blocklist nouveau drivers?

It’s not uncommon to find that the open-source nouveau Nvidia drivers have been installed. You may need to “blocklist” these in order to successfully install the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Using Terminology, enter the following commands:

sudo bash -c "echo blacklist nouveau > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nvidia-nouveau.conf"
sudo bash -c "echo options nouveau modeset=0 >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nvidia-nouveau.conf"
sudo reboot
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