I can't understand how Optimus works

Hello everyone,
I’ve searched on the internet, watched some videos, read documentations. However, I can’t understand somehow how optimus works. Firstly, I have installed Fedora 33 on my laptop, and I have dual GPU(Nvidia/Intel). I didn’t do anything, Fedora did everything about drivers and probably installed open-source drivers. But I want to install non-free Nvidia drivers on my optimus laptop. Fedora docs directed me to rpm fusion webpage. I found this guide to install drivers by using rpm fusion on normal GPUs and also found for Optimus laptops. Now here is my questions:

  • How can I install Nvidia drivers according to rpm fusion guides? As far as I understand I just type this:
sudo dnf update -y # and reboot if you are not on the latest kernel
sudo dnf install akmod-nvidia # rhel/centos users can use kmod-nvidia instead
sudo dnf install xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-cuda #optional for cuda/nvdec/nvenc support

and then I don’t need to do anything. Because “On Fedora 30 and later, with NVIDIA driver 440.31+, there is nothing else to be done beyound normal driver installation.” is written. Is this method correct? Is there anything to do for optimus except this?

  • How does Nvidia PRIME work? I don’t want to set Nvidia as primary because then battery will be a problem. I want to use both Nvidia and Intel.

  • What is Dynamic Power Management? Should I enable it after the driver installation?

I know that I asked a lot of questions, but I am really confused about them, and I am not a hardcore Linux user. Thanks in advance.

1 Like

You are right. You should have to do nothing more. It should just work as is.

Nvidia Prime is simply the progression from Optimus as hardware gets better and drivers handle the switching better. Often you wont even see it switch GPUs, and you can (in gnome) right click on the icon and select to run the app with “dedicated GPU” if you want to use the nvidia gpu for a specific app.

Some find a problem with kernel hangs at times due to the switching between GPUs that occurs for graphics intensive apps, but other than that (and it seems rare) you should have no issues.

On mine I like the nvidia to be primary so I set it that way. I still get > 3 hours on the battery as long as I am not playing games which task the gpu and cpu, or compiling which tasks the cpu.


Thank you very much. What do you recommend about installing non-free drivers? Should I stay with open-source drivers or install non-free drivers? I don’t want to play games for now.

I prefer the nvidia drivers from Howto/NVIDIA - RPM Fusion
Simply following the steps there gives most people the best results. Don’t worry about the extra steps given for either the optimus or prime configs since I find them not necessary.

1 Like