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Supported Cards

At least 64 MB of VRAM for the graphics card is recommended, even though compiz can run with less, there may be potential problems. The graphics drivers must support at least the X Composite and GL_EXT_texture_from_pixmap OpenGL extensions. Even if the required extensions are not supported by your card's driver, software solutions such as Xgl may be able to provide them though Xgl is very outdated.

Tested OK

Cards tested to work, driver required, and performance notes:

  • (card / driver / notes)

Compatible Specs

Cards theoretically compatible by specs, driver required, and performance notes:

  • (card / driver / notes)

Tested FAIL

Cards tested to fail, driver(s) tested, and specific failures:

  • (card / driver(s) / notes)

Available Drivers

  • Proprietary Latest (190.xx)

  • Proprietary New Legacy (1.0.96xx)

  • Proprietary Legacy (1.0.7xxx)

  • Experimental Open Source Noveau driver.

System Setup

For information about whether your driver can be used directly with the X.Org server or must be used with Xgl to provide support for missing functionality, please refer to the Setup article.

Additional Configuration with the Proprietary Driver

Some of the following options may be worth trying to improve performance or fix bugs:

  • The following option improves performance. As of nvidia driver version 1.0-9746, it has been enabled by default.

    Option "RenderAccel" "True"
  • The following option is necessary to make window borders visible with nvidia driver versions prior to 100.xx.

    Option  "AddARGBGLXVisuals"  "True"
  • The following option improves performance. It is currently incompatible with SLI and MultiGPU modes. As of nvidia driver version 100.14.09, it has been enabled by default.

    Option "DamageEvents" "True"
  • Use the following option with caution as it may not work on all systems.

    Option "UseEvents" "False"
  • Do NOT use the following option if you have less than 128MB of video memory, and always use it with Sync to VBlank enabled in nvidia-settings both for OpenGL and XV.

    Option "TripleBuffer" "True"
  • Use the following option with caution as it may not work on all systems, especially with 6 series GeForce cards (it is known to cause freezes with compiz) but give it a try because it helps performance. It can also break Xinerama.

    Option "BackingStore" "True"

    The BackingStore option is an option provided by the X.Org server, not specific to the nvidia driver. It is used to enable the server's support for backing store, a mechanism by which pixel data for occluded window regions is remembered by the server thereby alleviating the need to send expose events to X clients when the data needs to be redisplayed. Note that this can significantly increase performance in nVidia TwinView setups.

{i} For further information about these settings, please refer to the README file of the particular nvidia driver version you are using. It can be found on your hard drive at /usr/share/doc/NVIDIA_GLX-1.0/README.txt , or online at http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/DRIVER_VERSION_NUMBER/README/chapter-11.html .

Setting up nvidia-settings to start on login

This information is intended to help you start nvidia-settings options on login.

We can set AA and FSAA settings using an export command in various locations, including the following:

  • manually in a terminal after login
  • in one of the following files:
    • /etc/init.d/xdm

    • /etc/profile

    • /etc/env.d/03opengl

    • /home/user/.bashrc

However, this does not help us with the other options available to us in nvidia-settings, including Cursor Shadows, Vibrance Controls, and others.

To address this issue, it is possible to execute the settings file itself from ~/.kde/Autostart or Gnome session manager. To accomplish this, you will need to have nvidia-settings installed. It can then be used to set the desired options. Once this is done, create a bash script 'my-nv-settings.sh`. We will use this script to start the nvidia-settings config file without starting the application. Do not use the '>' character in the script.

>#!/bin/bash
>/usr/bin/nvidia-settings -l &

Please be aware that the "-l" part is a lowercase "L" and not an uppercase "i". You can also add a third line to verify that the script is actually running 'touch ~/nvidia'. Next time you login this will create an empty file called ~/nvidia. If it is there then you know the script ran and you are ok. Now make the script executable with 'chmod a+x ~/my-nv-settings.sh'. If using KDE simply move/copy the script to ~/.kde/Autostart. If using Gnome you do not need the script. For Gnome simply insert '/usr/bin/nvidia-settings -l &' into Gnome session manager. You must make sure that nvidia options are started before compiz in order for this to work properly.

Keep in mind this can also be added to /etc/init.d/xdm or /etc/profile to make the settings global; however, your settings file would also have to be in /root, making this second approach less than ideal.

There is also a Texture Filtering option in CCSM which can be adjusted. From CCSM, go to General Options -> Display Settings -> Texture Filter -> Best.

Finding the correct settings for your card

The environment variables you can set to adjust the behaviour of VBlank syncing, anisotropic filtering, and full-screen anti-aliasing, as well as the meaning of the values you can set, are documented in Chapter 11 of the README file for your driver. It can be found on your hard drive at /usr/share/doc/NVIDIA_GLX-1.0/README.txt , or online at http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/DRIVER_VERSION_NUMBER/README/chapter-11.html .

To understand these settings and figure out how best to set them, pages 9 through 11 of the following guide is recommended: http://www.tweakguides.com/Graphics_1.html

(!) When full-screen anti-aliasing is enabled and set to a multisampling mode, you may notice visual corruption when resizing a window.

Dynamic TwinView and NVIDIA Xinerama Extensions

Xinerama is the method which the X Window System uses to inform the window manager (such as Compiz) about the number and size of multiple monitors. NVIDIA's driver does not use X's native Xinerama implementation; rather, it implements its own Xinerama extensions.

When NVIDIA's Xinerama extensions are working properly, you can maximize windows on one monitor only (instead of across all monitors) and snap windows to the edges between monitors. Also, for plugins with a Multi Output Mode setting (eg. Desktop Cube, Expo, Place Windows, Scale, Shift Switcher), options to do with using the outputs separately (eg. having one cube per output, or scaling windows on only one output) will work correctly.

However, when X is started with only one active monitor, NVIDIA's driver deactivates its Xinerama extensions. So, if you enable a second screen using "Dynamic TwinView" via nvidia-settings, windows will maximize across both monitors and you cannot snap windows to the edges between monitors; your entire desktop is treated as being on one monitor.

The only solution is to start X with multiple active monitors. The following option will enable TwinView on X startup. Even with this option, however, if only one monitor is activated on X startup, Xinerama extensions will be disabled.

Option "TwinView" "true"

As long as you start X with multiple monitors activated, you may use the "Dynamic TwinView" features of nvidia-settings and the Xinerama info will update dynamically and work correctly.

This behavior was added to NVIDIA's driver to work around a bug in older versions of the Metacity window manager. They are now aware of the issue and it may be resolved in future versions of their driver.

Hardware/NVIDIA (last edited 2010-07-27 05:24:55 by SamSpilsbury)