In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to determine and install the right NVIDIA driver for your Ubuntu system. This process involves using the terminal to identify your graphics card model, find the recommended driver, and install it.
To determine the right NVIDIA driver for your Ubuntu system, you can use the terminal to identify your graphics card model, check for the recommended driver using the "ubuntu-drivers" tool, and install it either automatically or manually. After installation, verify that the correct driver is in use by running the "nvidia-smi" command. If you have both an NVIDIA and Intel graphics card, you can switch between them using the "prime-select" tool.
Identifying Your Graphics Card Model
First, you need to identify the model of your NVIDIA graphics card. This information is crucial as different models may require different drivers. To do this, open a terminal and run the following command:
lspci | grep -i nvidia
This command lists all PCI devices and filters out NVIDIA-related entries. The output will include the model of your NVIDIA graphics card.
Checking the Recommended Driver
Ubuntu provides a handy tool to recommend the suitable driver for your NVIDIA card. In the terminal, run:
This command lists all devices that need drivers, and recommends drivers if applicable. Look for the line that says
driver: nvidia-xxx (where ‘xxx’ is the version number). This is the recommended NVIDIA driver for your system.
Installing the Recommended Driver
Once you’ve identified the recommended driver, you can install it using the
ubuntu-drivers tool. To automatically install the recommended driver, run:
sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall
This command installs the recommended driver automatically. You will need to enter your password because the
sudo command requires administrator privileges.
If you want to install a specific driver version, you can do so with the following command:
sudo apt install nvidia-xxx
Replace ‘xxx’ with the version number of the driver you want to install.
Verifying the Installation
After the installation is complete, you should verify that the correct driver is in use. Restart your computer and run the following command in the terminal:
This command displays information about your NVIDIA driver and graphics card. The driver version should match the one you installed.
Switching Between Graphics Cards
If your system has both an NVIDIA and an Intel graphics card, you can switch between them using the
prime-select tool. To check which graphics card is currently in use, run:
To switch to a different graphics card, use the following command:
sudo prime-select intel
sudo prime-select nvidia
Replace ‘intel’ or ‘nvidia’ with the name of the graphics card you want to use. You will need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Determining and installing the right NVIDIA driver for your Ubuntu system can seem daunting, but with the right commands and tools, it’s a straightforward process. If you encounter any issues, consult the official NVIDIA documentation or seek support from the Ubuntu community.
Remember, keeping your graphics drivers up-to-date is essential for system performance and stability, especially if you use graphics-intensive applications or games. So make sure to check for driver updates regularly.
To open a terminal in Ubuntu, you can press
Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can search for "Terminal" in the applications menu and click on it to open.
lspci | grep -i nvidia command does not show any output, it means that your system is not detecting an NVIDIA graphics card. Make sure that you have an NVIDIA graphics card installed and properly connected to your system. If you are using a laptop, it is possible that your system is using integrated graphics instead of a dedicated NVIDIA card.
While it is possible to install NVIDIA drivers from the official NVIDIA website, it is generally recommended to use the drivers provided by Ubuntu. The drivers available in the official Ubuntu repositories are tested and verified to work well with Ubuntu systems. Installing drivers from the official NVIDIA website can sometimes lead to compatibility issues or difficulties with system updates.
It is a good practice to check for driver updates regularly, especially if you use graphics-intensive applications or games. NVIDIA releases driver updates periodically to improve performance, fix bugs, and add new features. Checking for updates once every few months or whenever you encounter issues with your graphics card is a reasonable frequency.
Switching between NVIDIA and Intel graphics cards is typically not possible on a desktop computer. The ability to switch between graphics cards is usually available on laptops with hybrid graphics systems. Desktop computers generally use a dedicated graphics card and do not have the option to switch to integrated graphics.