Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ubuntu on Lenovo P50: using NVidia proprietary drivers

I managed to dual boot Ubuntu (Kubuntu 14.04, actually) on my shiny new Lenovo P50. With the default Nouveau driver, the experience left a lot to be desired. Graphics performance was slow and suspend-resume worked only once. For every boot, suspend will work once. After that, suspending will do nothing—the machine will just stay on forever.

I followed the prompts to install the proprietary drivers, which didn’t really help. After installing the drivers, X would simply not start. So I had to revert to the open source Nouveau driver. (You’d do this by getting a root shell from recovery boot and purging all Nvidia packages.)

Today, as a wild guess, I decided to install the proprietary driver and disable the Intel GPU altogether. (You’d do this by choosing Discrete Only option in BIOS display settings. The default is Hybrid, which keeps both Intel and NVidia GPUs active.) Maybe that could help, I thought, and to my surprise it did work. Graphics is now fast, and suspend-resume works too. Initial display of LightDM and logging into KDE are a bit slow, but everything else is nice and snappy.

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