Installing Nvidia drivers

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Table of contents

Introduction

Nvidia have a distro independent driver scheme for the entire Nvidia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia) GeForce (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geforce) family of graphics cards. The drivers enable hardware support for OpenGL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL) which will make 3D environments and certain desktop environment effects run smoothly.

Get the drivers

The closed source drivers are available from the Nvidia website here (http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html). The drivers on this page are the latest stable Nvidia Linux drivers. When choosing your driver, ensure that you select the correct CPU instruction set; if you are not sure, then chose the IA32 drivers, unless you know you're running a distro with 64 bit extensions. Make a note of where you downloaded the drivers.

Installing the driver

Naturally you'll want to read the terms and conditions before you begin this process ;)

Installing the driver is fairly quick and easy: first, ensure the X server and any OpenGL tasks are not running (this is a distro dependent task), and then log on as root. Then go to the driver directory:

cd <driver directory>

And run the driver executable (XXXX denotes the driver version):

sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-XXXX-pkg1.run

You should see a fancy console based interface. From here on, simply confirm all dialog prompts, and voila, after a short while a confirmation dialogue will appear, and the program will end.

N.B. You can use <TAB> after typing sh N (to auto complete the driver name)

Setting up X

To use the drivers, you must edit your xorg.conf. There may well be automatic tools with your distro to setup your xorg.conf (EG: xorgsetup in slackware) but this section will cover changing it manually. Either way is good :)

Using a console based text editor (eg: vi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi), vim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vim_(text_editor)), pico (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pico_(text_editor)) etc) open the xorg.conf file - this is usually located at /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Find and remove:

driver="nv" (or whichever driver is currently being used, eg: VESA etc..)

Replace it with:

driver="nvidia"

Then find and remove:

Load "dri"

Load "GLcore"

And in the module section of the file add:

Load "glx"


Then exit and save (in vi type :q <enter> and you should be prompted to save changes). Most editors will show the key combination to do this at the bottom of the screen.

For the most part, you're done - the drivers are installed and the X server is using them. Now restart (or startx etc) and reap the benefits of hardware acceleration. (EG: play doom3 ;))

NOTE: SUSE has a different install process. Instructions are located here (http://www.suse.de/~sndirsch/nvidia-installer-HOWTO.html)

Have fun :)

--Butmunch 11:47, 10 Nov 2005 (GMT)