Select GPU to meet your needs. Use the NVIDIA GPU to drive maximum performance and support three 4K external monitors. Use the Intel GPU to maximize battery life. This guided solution applies only to Kubuntu Focus M1 and M2. Kubuntu Focus XE model has Intel integrated Iris Xe graphics.
Click on the System Tray GPU widget to change to your preferred GPU. One may also launch NVIDIA Settings from this interface. This is the simplest way to move between graphics modes. This is available only in 20.04 LTS.
We recommend selecting
NVIDIA (Performance Mode) or
Intel (Power Saving). We do not recommend using
NVIDIA On-Demand (also called Hybrid Graphics Mode) unless you are using the GPU for CUDA, OPTIX, or other GPGPU purposes. The reasons are discussed below.
The NVIDIA Max-Q RTX GPU is needed for demanding tasks such as deep learning, video editing, or gaming. However, if you aren't using those capabilities, switching to the integrated graphics can extend battery life by 2 hours or more in practice.
When the power cable is unplugged, the system takes actions to conserve power and extend battery life. The most obvious actions — all of which are Kubuntu Focus optimizations — include:
We do not recommend using
NVIDIA On-Demand (also called Hybrid Graphics Mode) in most circumstances; it keeps both the dGPU and iGPU running and can use significantly more power than Intel Mode alone even when idle. For this reason, we suggest using Intel Mode to conserve power and NVIDIA Performance Mode otherwise. The one exception is when you are using the GPU for CUDA, OPTIX, or other compute purposes. In this case, switching to On-Demand can provide additional VRAM for those jobs. Just remember to switch back when you are done.
NVIDIA On-Demand, if you wish to launch an app using the NVIDIA GPU and Vulkan:
NVIDIA On-Demand, if you wish to launch an app using the NVIDIA GPU and OpenGL:
This is usually faster than using a GUI. If you change the GPU selection, we recommend you reboot to avoid glitches.
The NVIDIA Settings app is not recommended for most daily tasks, as there are far friendlier mechanisms in place. See the GPU widget in the system tray (at bottom right) to change the GPU in use. See
Start Menu > Kubuntu Focus > Video Sync to eliminate video tearing. To adjust screens, see the Displays Guided Solution to select and change refresh rates. However, there are some advanced settings that may be explored here.
WARNING: The NVIDIA Settings app may encourage you to save an
/etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Please do NOT do this as it will, in most cases, disable the laptop panel and the ability to add and remove displays in real time. If you believe you have this issue, see the answer to Troubleshooting - Q: I booted my system and it never got past the splash screen to fix.
Q: This seems related to battery life. Where can I learn more?
A: See Battery Management to learn more.
Q: I booted my system and it never got past the splash screen. How do I fix this?
NVIDIA Settings and other applications may ask you to save an
xorg.conf file. Doing so may disable your internal display from functioning with a GUI upon logout or restart, and you will not be able to sign-in. If this happens, we recommend you remove this file:
sudo /bin/rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf, type your password when prompted.
sudo systemctl restart sddm && exit.
You should now be able to sign-in as usual.
Q: Recently with external monitors the display is slow. What could be happening?
A: This commonly happens to Deep Learning scientist who are using
NVIDIA On-Demand to maximize VRAM availability for compute jobs. Switch back to
NVIDIA Performance as shown above to fix this condition.
This is a partial revision history. See the
git repository for all entries.
2021-10-25 7bf9f4a5Revise nvidia-settings guidance
2021-10-10 5728326eReformat to 2-column
2021-09-22 dc862884Update link and headline colors
2021-08-23 681261b4Review and update codeblocks
2021-08-16 add4b857Update for XE model
2021-05-12 ef8b0ad5Detail on-demand
2020-12-11 ff311a4bUpdate to include system tray widget
2020-06-10 c4ed9299Restructure layout
2020-03-16 cffb5f61Add command-line alternative
2020-03-05 87cad77aFirst publication
We try hard to provide a useful solution validated by professionals. However, we cannot anticipate every situation, and therefore cannot guarantee this procedure will work for your needs. Always backup your data and test the solution to determine the correct procedure for you.
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