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Installing Nvidia Drivers on 20.04 Headless Server: Which Package to Choose?

Ubuntu 4

In this article, we will be discussing the process of installing Nvidia drivers on a 20.04 headless server, and which package you should choose for optimal performance and stability.

Quick Answer

For a headless server running Ubuntu 20.04, the recommended Nvidia driver package to choose is nvidia-headless-450-server. This package is specifically designed for server environments and includes the necessary drivers and components for optimal performance and stability.

Understanding Nvidia Driver Packages

Before we delve into the installation process, it’s essential to understand the different Nvidia driver packages available. Nvidia provides multiple driver packages, each designed for specific use cases. The two main packages we will focus on are nvidia-driver-450 and nvidia-driver-450-server.

The -server suffix in the nvidia-driver-450-server package indicates that it is specifically designed for server environments. It includes the necessary drivers and components for headless servers, where there is no desktop environment installed. On the other hand, the nvidia-driver-450 package includes additional components related to the GNOME desktop environment.

If you do not want to install any desktop environment on your server, you can use the nvidia-headless-450 or nvidia-headless-450-server metapackages. These metapackages are designed to provide the necessary drivers for headless servers without including any unnecessary dependencies related to desktop environments.

Installing Nvidia Drivers

Before installing the Nvidia drivers, make sure that your system is up to date by running the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

The sudo apt update command updates the list of available packages and their versions, but it does not install or upgrade any packages. The sudo apt upgrade command actually installs newer versions of the packages you have.

Next, install the appropriate Nvidia drivers. If you are running a headless server, you can install the nvidia-headless-450-server package using the following command:

sudo apt install nvidia-headless-450-server

After the installation is complete, reboot your server to ensure that the new drivers are properly loaded:

sudo reboot

Verifying the Installation

After your server has restarted, you can verify that the Nvidia drivers are correctly installed and loaded by running the following command:

nvidia-smi

The nvidia-smi command should display information about your GPU and the installed Nvidia drivers. If you see your GPU listed and the driver version matches the one you installed, then the installation was successful.

Conclusion

Choosing the right Nvidia driver package for your Ubuntu 20.04 headless server can significantly impact your server’s performance and stability. By understanding the differences between the available packages, you can make an informed decision and ensure that your server is running optimally.

Remember, it’s always recommended to refer to official documentation and consult the Nvidia support resources for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding driver installations.

What is a headless server?

A headless server is a server that does not have a graphical user interface (GUI) installed. It is typically operated and managed remotely through a command line interface or accessed via network protocols.

Why should I choose the `nvidia-driver-450-server` package for a headless server?

The nvidia-driver-450-server package is specifically designed for server environments without a desktop environment. It includes the necessary drivers and components for headless servers, providing optimal performance and stability without any unnecessary dependencies related to desktop environments.

Can I install the `nvidia-driver-450` package on a headless server?

Yes, you can install the nvidia-driver-450 package on a headless server. However, this package includes additional components related to the GNOME desktop environment, which may not be necessary for a headless server. It is recommended to use the nvidia-driver-450-server package for optimal performance and stability.

What are the `nvidia-headless-450` and `nvidia-headless-450-server` metapackages?

The nvidia-headless-450 and nvidia-headless-450-server metapackages are designed to provide the necessary drivers for headless servers without including any unnecessary dependencies related to desktop environments. They are a lightweight option if you do not want to install any desktop environment on your server.

How can I verify if the Nvidia drivers are correctly installed on my server?

After your server has restarted, you can verify the installation by running the command nvidia-smi. This command will display information about your GPU and the installed Nvidia drivers. If you see your GPU listed and the driver version matches the one you installed, then the installation was successful.

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