Pop!_OS: The best Nvidia Support in Linux and the problems getting there

Conaire MeenanJul 16, 2019 · 3 min read

With Ubuntu recently announcing the inclusion of the proprietary Nvidia drivers in their future 19.10 update, they’re only catching up to who I believe offers the best Nvidia driver support, System76 and their Pop!_OS.

https://twitter.com/ubuntu/status/1149408101822541824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Up until the end of 2018, I had a very slow and outdated Dell Inspiron laptop, which while it had okay linux support, suffered from poor performance and constant screen tearing. After upgrading to the Xiaomi Mi Notebook pro, I stuck with the default installed windows for a while to test gaming performance which was a huge upgrade over the AMD A10 8700p featured in my old Dell Inspiron. Upon finally making the jump back to Linux with Manjaro 18 I had one massive problem. The Nvidia MX150 wasn’t recognised at all. I tried everything from reinstalling, disabling the Nouveau open source drivers, I even went to the forums and asked for help with nothing working.

Dedicated Nvidia Image

I then tried Ubuntu 18.04 which offered much better support but with animations, scrolling and windows moving at 30fps . This lasted a good while until the 19.10 update were upon installing Gnome became worse under the MX150. Launching apps while on Nvidia resulted in the system freezing for a few seconds as well as the slow animations and having to add to the Nvidia Modeset to prevent screen tearing. It was the same on Pop!_OS until recently. Pop!_OS offer a variety of features for Nvidia Card users including a dedicated Nvidia image on their page and special power options for switching between Intel and Nvidia graphics as well as different performance modes.

Pop!_OS using the Nvidia Graphics driver

Thanks to the most recent update of Pop!_OS everything has been running perfectly! The Nvidia drivers don’t require tweaking boot to allow it to install as well, The animations actually run smooth at a constant 60fps, as screen tearing being non-existent even without the tweak and the weird delay when opening apps and performing certain actions.

https://twitter.com/system76/status/1150823137489145858?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

System76 also just released the newest Nvidia 430 drivers for their Pop!_OS which adds support for the newest Nvidia Super Card.

In conclusion I feel like Nvidia should open source their drivers like their competitor AMD so that everyone who uses their cards under linux will benefit but this is probably the best option for now. Hopefully Nvidia under Wayland will drastically improve the situation.

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