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Getting CUDA and OpenCL Working on nVidia Laptop in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 18

In this article, we will walk you through the process of setting up CUDA and OpenCL on an nVidia laptop running Ubuntu. This guide is intended for those who are using a laptop with an nVidia discrete card and Intel Integrated Graphics.

Quick Answer

To get CUDA and OpenCL working on an nVidia laptop in Ubuntu, you’ll need to install the nVidia drivers, the CUDA toolkit, and the SDK. If your laptop uses nVidia Optimus technology, you’ll also need to install Bumblebee. Once these tools are installed, you’ll be able to run CUDA programs and utilize your nVidia GPU.

Understanding Your System

Before we dive into the installation process, it’s important to understand your system’s configuration. If your laptop uses nVidia Optimus technology, you’ll need to install Bumblebee, a software solution that allows you to switch between the integrated and discrete graphics cards. If your system doesn’t use Optimus, you can skip this step.

Installing nVidia Drivers

The first step in the process is to install the nVidia drivers. If your laptop uses Optimus technology, the Bumblebee installation will handle this for you. If not, you can install the drivers from Ubuntu’s package manager using the following command:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-driver-xxx

Replace xxx with the version number of the driver you want to install.

After installing the drivers, you’ll need to disable the nVidia libraries. This can be done by following the instructions provided in the nVidia documentation.

Installing the CUDA Toolkit and nVidia Driver

Next, you’ll need to install the CUDA toolkit and the nVidia driver. You can download the installer from the nVidia website. Once downloaded, make the installer executable using the following command:

chmod +x cuda_xxx_linux.run

Replace xxx with the version number of the CUDA toolkit you downloaded.

You can then run the installer with the following command:

./cuda_xxx_linux.run

During the installation process, you’ll be asked to choose an installation path. After installation, add the CUDA library directory to your library search path. This can be done by adding the following line to your .bashrc file:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/local/cuda/lib64

Compiling CUDA Applications

If you want to compile CUDA applications, you’ll need to install the SDK. This can be done in a similar way to the toolkit. Download the SDK, make it executable, and run it. You’ll also need to make some changes to the common.mk file as described in the nVidia documentation.

Running CUDA Programs

To use CUDA, you don’t need an nVidia-driven X server. You can run your CUDA program using the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable. If you haven’t added CUDA to your library path, you’ll need to include the CUDA library paths when running a program.

If your CUDA program uses OpenGL for display, you’ll need to use optirun before the program command to enable the nVidia GPU. For example, optirun blender.

Conclusion

Setting up CUDA and OpenCL on an nVidia laptop running Ubuntu involves several steps, including installing the nVidia drivers, the CUDA toolkit, and the SDK. If your laptop uses nVidia Optimus technology, you’ll also need to install Bumblebee. With these tools installed, you’ll be able to run CUDA programs and take full advantage of your nVidia GPU.

Do I need to install Bumblebee if my laptop uses nVidia Optimus technology?

Yes, if your laptop uses nVidia Optimus technology, you’ll need to install Bumblebee to switch between the integrated and discrete graphics cards.

How do I install the nVidia drivers?

You can install the nVidia drivers from Ubuntu’s package manager using the command sudo apt-get install nvidia-driver-xxx, where xxx is the version number of the driver you want to install.

How do I make the CUDA installer executable?

You can make the CUDA installer executable by using the command chmod +x cuda_xxx_linux.run, where xxx is the version number of the CUDA toolkit you downloaded.

How do I add the CUDA library directory to my library search path?

You can add the CUDA library directory to your library search path by adding the line export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/local/cuda/lib64 to your .bashrc file.

How do I compile CUDA applications?

To compile CUDA applications, you’ll need to install the SDK. Download the SDK, make it executable, and run it. You’ll also need to make some changes to the common.mk file as described in the nVidia documentation.

Do I need an nVidia-driven X server to use CUDA?

No, you don’t need an nVidia-driven X server to use CUDA. You can run your CUDA program using the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable. If you haven’t added CUDA to your library path, you’ll need to include the CUDA library paths when running a program.

How do I enable the nVidia GPU for CUDA programs that use OpenGL for display?

To enable the nVidia GPU for CUDA programs that use OpenGL for display, you’ll need to use the command optirun before the program command. For example, optirun blender.

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