2017/07/24 @ Fedora

Dealing with Nvidia Optimus

Battery Life Matters

Since the release of Fedora 26, Mesa doesn’t conflict with Nvidia anymore. Generally, the Nvidia driver can be installed from either Bumblebee or Negativo17’s repo. Both methods are easy to install, but the former one is likely to have more problems.

A brief comparison table:

Bumblebee Negativo17
Nvidia Driver Version Old Up to date
Usage Turn on when needed Always on with Nvidia Optimus
Status No updates since 2013 Still being maintained and has good support
Platform Wayland & X Only on X

I’d like to have more battery life with my laptop. Thus, Bumblebee seems to be a good choice at first glance. However, there are various issues with it. Some are listed here, and lots of them are listed here. A major reason is that the Bumblebee project has been lack of support for a looooong time. Also Bumblebee is not compatible with TLP(I have tried the recommended fix, but it was in vain.). At last, I gave up on Bumblebee.


How can I disable the Nvidia card without Bumblebee? The only way is to prevent the Nvidia modules from loading at boot time. After trying for days, I came up with the following solution:

  • Create a new Nvidia-enabled entry at the bottom of the Grub menu:
    • Add a new entry to /etc/grub.d/40_custom. Just simply copy the newest entry from /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg.
  • Disable Nvidia modules on all boot entries except customized ones:
    • Add modprobe.blacklist=nvidia,nvidia_drm,nvidia_modeset,nvidia_uvm to GRUB_CMDLINE in /etc/default/grub.
  • Regenerate Grub Menu:
    • sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg

This script does the work above. To run it, you have to disable Secure Boot.

I’ve made sure the method above is effective with tlp-stat. On my laptop, if the Nvidia card is on, the electric current will not be lower than 1300mA; Otherwise, it can be as low as 750mA.

As of now, my Nvidia card is usually off. And it can be turned on either using Nouveau or booting from the last entry in Grub.

Negativo17 Drivers Installation Shortcut

  1. dnf config-manager --add-repo=
  2. sudo dnf install nvidia-settings kernel-devel dkms-nvidia vulkan.i686 nvidia-driver-libs.i686
  3. sudo dnf install cuda-devel

TL;DR + Update(2018.02.26)

If you want Intel + Nouveau on daily use and need Nvidia Optimus sometimes, or vice versa, check out my Github repo.