nvidia-xrun

by Witko

Witko /nvidia-xrun

Utility to run separate X with discrete nvidia graphics with full performance

427 Stars 57 Forks Last release: almost 4 years ago (0.3) GNU General Public License v2.0 97 Commits 3 Releases

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nvidia-xrun

These utility scripts aim to make the life easier for nvidia cards users. It started with a revelation that bumblebee in current state offers very poor performance. This solution offers a bit more complicated procedure but offers a full GPU utilization(in terms of linux drivers)

Usage:

  1. switch to free tty
  2. login
  3. run
    nvidia-xrun [app]
  4. enjoy

Currently sudo is required as the script needs to wake up GPU, modprobe the nvidia driver and perform cleanup afterwards.

The systemd service can be used to completely remove the card from the kernel device tree (so that it won't even show in

lspci
output), and this will prevent the nvidia module to be loaded, so that we can take advantage of the kernel PM features to keep the card switched off.

The service can be enabled with this command:

# systemctl enable nvidia-xrun-pm

When the nvidia-xrun command is used, the device is added again to the tree so that the nvidia module can be loaded properly: nvidia-xrun will remove the device and enable PM again after the application terminates.

Structure

  • nvidia-xrun - uses following dir structure:
  • /usr/bin/nvidia-xrun - the executable script
  • /etc/X11/nvidia-xorg.conf - the main X confing file
  • /etc/X11/xinit/nvidia-xinitrc - xinitrc config file. Contains the setting of provider output source
  • /etc/X11/xinit/nvidia-xinitrc.d - custom xinitrc scripts directory
  • /etc/X11/nvidia-xorg.conf.d - custom X config directory
  • /etc/systemd/system/nvidia-xrun-pm.service systemd service
  • /etc/default/nvidia-xrun - nvidia-xrun config file
  • /usr/share/xsessions/nvidia-xrun-openbox.desktop - xsession file for openbox
  • /usr/share/xsessions/nvidia-xrun-plasma.desktop - xsession file for plasma
  • [OPTIONAL] $XDGCONFIGHOME/X11/nvidia-xinitrc - user-level custom xinit script file. You can put here your favourite window manager for example

Setting the right bus id

Usually the 1:0:0 bus is correct. If this is not your case(you can find out through lspci or bbswitch output mesages) you can create a conf script for example

nano /etc/X11/nvidia-xorg.conf.d/30-nvidia.conf
to set the proper bus id:
Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Driver "nvidia"
    BusID "PCI:2:0:0"
EndSection

You can use this command to get the bus id:

lspci | grep -i nvidia | awk '{print $1}'

Note that this prints your bus id in hexadecimal, but the Xorg configuration script requires that you provide it in decimal, so you'll need to covert it. You can do this with bash:

# In this example, my bus id is "3c"
bash -c "echo $(( 16#3c ))"

Also this way you can adjust some nvidia settings if you encounter issues:

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Device "nvidia"
    #  Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "Yes"
    #  Option "UseDisplayDevice" "none"
EndSection

In order to make power management features work properly, you need to make sure that bus ids in

/etc/default/nvidia-xrun
are correctly set for both the NVIDIA graphic card and the PCI express controller that hosts it. You should be able to find both the ids in the output of
lshw
: the PCIe controller is usually displayed right before the graphic card.

Automatically run window manager

For convenience you can create

nano ~/.config/X11/nvidia-xinitrc
and put there your favourite window manager:
if [ $# -gt 0 ]; then
    $*
else
    openbox-session
#   startkde
fi

With this you do not need to specify the app and you can simply run:

nvidia-xrun

AUR Package

The Arch Linux User Repository package can be found here.

COPR Repository for Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Mageia, and openSUSE

The RPM packages and repository details for all supported distributions can be found on the ekultails/nvidia-xrun COPR overview page.

Install (Enterprise Linux and Fedora)

sudo dnf copr enable ekultails/nvidia-xrun
sudo dnf install nvidia-xrun

Troubleshooting

Steam issues

Yes unfortunately running Steam directly with nvidia-xrun does not work well - I recommend to use some window manager like openbox.

HiDPI issue

When using openbox on a HiDPI (i.e. 4k) display, everything could be so small that is difficult to read. To fix, you can change the DPI settings in

~/.Xresources (~/.Xdefaults)
file by adding/changing
Xft.dpi
setting. For example :
Xft.dpi: 192

nouveau
driver conflict

nouveau
driver should be automatically blacklisted by
nvidia
but in case it is not,
nvidia
might not get access to GPU. Then you need to manually blacklist
nouveau
following Arch wiki https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/kernel_modules#Blacklisting.

avoid
nvidia
driver to load on boot

nvidia
driver may load itself on boot, then
nvidia-xrun
will fail to start Xorg session. To avoid that, you should blacklist it (see link above). Also sometimes, blacklisting is not enough and you should use some hack to really avoid it to load. For example, adding
install nvidia /bin/false
to
/etc/modprobe.d/nvidia.conf
will make every load to fail. In that case, you should add
--ignore-install
to
modprobe
calls in
nvidia-xrun
script.

Vulkan does not work

Check https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Vulkan * remove package vulkan-intel * set VKICDFILENAMES=/usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/nvidia_icd.json

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