Install nvidia driver

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Contents

Introduction

The Nvidia video card will work on your computer without this driver, but in order to get 3D acceleration that is used by most games you need to install it. For some general video card information see Video card basics.

MEPIS 11

During install MEPIS should detect your Nvidia card and install the proprietary Nvidia driver by default. If it does not or you need different driver versions, please use sgfxi utility.

MEPIS 8.5 and eariler versions

Using the MEPIS X-Windows Assistant


NOTE: You may need an internet connection depending on the driver configuration you choose.

  1. Go to KMenu --> System --> MEPIS --> MEPIS X-Windows Assistant
  2. Go to nvidia tab. You have a choice of four drivers. (See Which Driver? section below):
    1. The new nvidia driver: This is a proprietary driver that works with newer nvidia cards
    2. The legacy nvidia driver: This is also a proprietary driver, but it works with older nvidia cards
    3. The NV driver: This is an open-source driver from xorg, but it lacks 3D support.
    4. VESA: This is a generic driver that provides very basic functionality (2D, 1024x768 resolution) to most video cards. Use it for troubleshooting.
  3. After you have configured it, click Apply.
  4. Wait until the driver is downloaded/installed (on slow connection be prepared to wait about 1 hour)
  5. Restart computer when done.
  6. If your screen resolution is not shown in your desktop configuration settings (right-click on desktop >>> Configure Desktop), you may need to install (via Synaptic) and run nvidia-settings to configure the correct resolution for your particular monitor/screen. Alternatively, you can manually edit the xorg.conf file.

Which Driver?:

  • If you want full 3D support you should pick either the new or legacy proprietary nvidia driver.
  • If you are uncertain whether to use the new or legacy nvidia driver see the full list of supported cards on nvidia site. Cards at the top of list can use the new driver and cards in the lower part use the legacy driver.

If you are using the proprietary drivers, you have other options you can set such as dual monitor settings or shadow cursor mode.


How to repair, in case KDE refuses to start (computer boots to text prompt or black screen):

  1. Boot the MEPIS LiveCd.
  2. Log in as root
  3. Go to KMenu > Run Command... type in "kdesu mutilities" (in MEPIS =>6.x it is mxconfig) without the quotes.
  4. Select from "Repair" category: "Reinstall X config file" and click apply. MEPIS 6.x: On "Repair" tab select the disk and root partition from the pull-down menu, and click Apply

Using the script smxi/sgfxi

The graphics driver installer script sgfxi, which is a component of smxi, provides a very simple Command line method of installing or upgrading an Nvidia driver. See directions for installation and use on this page. Most user should simply take the defaults when running the script.
Note that sometimes the newer nvidia cards choke on the default xorg.conf; in that case, run sgfxi with -z option to create a clean xorg.conf:

sgfxi -z

Official Nvidia/Debian Methods - Command Line

See:

Notes about this method:

A. If there are any NVidia legacy drivers installed, these must be removed before exiting X and using the installer script. The easiest way to remove them is to search Synaptic for any installed packages that contain the word "nvidia" and completely remove these packages. Then close down X. (Note: This applies only if you have a legacy NVidia driver installed, not merely an earlier versions of the NVidia driver. If you remove the legacy driver and something goes wrong thereafter, you will no longer have a video driver and you will not be able to restart X. You must then repair X using the Live CD.)

B. During the execution of the installer script with MEPIS 8.0, you may encounter the following error message:

The compiler used to compile the kernel (gcc 4.1) does not exactly match 
the current compiler (gcc 4.3). The Linux kernel module loader rejects kernel modules
built with a version of gcc that does not exactly match
that of the compiler used to build the running kernel.

If you know what you are doing and want to ignore the gcc version check, select "No" to continue installation. Otherwise, select "Yes" to abort installation, set the CC environment variable to the name of the compiler used to compile your kernel, and restart installation. Abort now? If such an error message occurs,

1. Immediately abort the installation, but stay in the CLI as root.
2. Execute the following command from the CLI:

export CC=/usr/bin/gcc-4.1

3. Retry the installation script.

Note that the error message may identify versions other than gcc-4.1 and gcc-4.3 that are in conflict. When changing the CC environment variable, use the version of gcc that was used to compile the kernel, as stated in the error message.

Check driver version and other settings

This command entered in the konsole will tell many things about your nvidia card, settings and which driver you are using:

cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep '(II) NVIDIA'  

(note if you get no output, then you aren't using the nVidia driver)

sample output (this case uses the version 96.43.07 driver):

(II) NVIDIA GLX Module  96.43.07  Wed Jul  2 12:30:36 PDT 2008
(II) NVIDIA dlloader X Driver  96.43.07  Wed Jul  2 12:18:58 PDT 2008
(II) NVIDIA Unified Driver for all Supported NVIDIA GPUs
(II) NVIDIA(0): Support for GLX with the Damage and Composite X extensions is
(II) NVIDIA(0):     enabled.
(II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA GPU GeForce FX 5200 at PCI:1:0:0 (GPU-0)
(II) NVIDIA(0): Detected AGP rate: 8X
(II) NVIDIA(0): Assigned Display Device: CRT-0
(II) NVIDIA(0): Validated modes:
(II) NVIDIA(0):     "1024x768"
(II) NVIDIA(0):     "800x600"
(II) NVIDIA(0): Virtual screen size determined to be 1024 x 768
(II) NVIDIA(0): Initialized GART.
(II) NVIDIA(0): Setting mode "1024x768"
(II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA 3D Acceleration Architecture Initialized
(II) NVIDIA(0): Using the NVIDIA 2D acceleration architecture

another sample output (this case uses the version 185.18.14 driver):

(II) NVIDIA GLX Module  185.18.14  Wed May 27 01:53:56 PDT 2009
(II) NVIDIA dlloader X Driver  185.18.14  Wed May 27 01:30:19 PDT 2009
(II) NVIDIA Unified Driver for all Supported NVIDIA GPUs
(II) NVIDIA(0): Support for GLX with the Damage and Composite X extensions is
(II) NVIDIA(0):     enabled.
(II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA GPU GeForce 6100 nForce 405 (C61) at PCI:0:13:0
(II) NVIDIA(0):     (GPU-0)
(II) NVIDIA(0): Assigned Display Device: CRT-0
(II) NVIDIA(0): Validated modes:
(II) NVIDIA(0):     "1440x900"
(II) NVIDIA(0): Virtual screen size determined to be 1440 x 900
(II) NVIDIA(0): Initialized GPU GART.
(II) NVIDIA(0): Setting mode "1440x900"
(II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA 3D Acceleration Architecture Initialized
(II) NVIDIA(0): Using the NVIDIA 2D acceleration architecture
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