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Graphics Switching (Pop!_OS)

Many laptops these days have switchable graphics, which allow users to switch between several GPU modes spanning power use and performance. The following System76 laptops have these switchable graphics capabilities:

  • Adder WS (addw1, addw2)
  • Galago Pro (galp5 - NVIDIA models only)
  • Gazelle (gaze14, gaze15)
  • Oryx Pro (oryp4, oryp4-b, oryp5, oryp6, oryp7)

Pop!_OS includes utilities for switching between these modes, which you can learn more about below.

Graphics modes

Integrated

Integrated graphics mode uses the integrated GPU only and turns off the NVIDIA GPU. This mode uses less power, leading to a longer battery life and less fan noise.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA graphics mode uses the discrete NVIDIA GPU only. This provides a better graphical experience, but reduces battery life. Most external display ports on System76 laptops are connected to the NVIDIA GPU only. (Some models, such as the Gazelle, may also have external ports connected to the integrated GPU.)

Hybrid

Hybrid graphics mode uses both the integrated GPU and the discrete NVIDIA GPU. Applications will use the integrated GPU unless explicitly requested to use the discrete GPU.

Vulkan applications must be launched with this command to be rendered on the dGPU (NVIDIA):

__NV_PRIME_RENDER_OFFLOAD=1 <application>

GLX applications must be launched with this command to be rendered on the dGPU (NVIDIA):

__NV_PRIME_RENDER_OFFLOAD=1 __GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME=nvidia <application>

Hybrid graphics mode is available on 19.10 and later.

Compute

Compute graphics mode uses the integrated GPU for all rendering. The NVIDIA GPU is left available, allowing it to be used as a compute node.

Switch graphics

Pop!_OS by System76 includes the system76-power package, which includes the ability to switch between integrated, NVIDIA, and hybrid graphics modes.

From GNOME Desktop

Click the system menu in the top right corner of your screen to access graphics switching.

Graphics

Click on NVIDIA, Integrated, Hybrid, or Compute depending on your use case.

Once you select a mode, you will be prompted to reboot.

From the command line

If you are not using the GNOME Desktop Environment, you can use the system76-power command line tool. You can see the options with this command:

system76-power help

For seeing which graphics mode the system is using:

sudo system76-power graphics

For switching to NVIDIA graphics:

sudo system76-power graphics nvidia

For switching to integrated graphics:

sudo system76-power graphics integrated

For switching to hybrid graphics:

sudo system76-power graphics hybrid

For switching to compute mode:

sudo system76-power graphics compute

Sources

The source code for the system76-power utility and the GNOME Shell extension can be found on GitHub: