Free or non free for Nvidia GTX960?

I was reading at the wiki that as time passes older Nvidia cards might be able to work with free. Any ideas on that one?

What are you asking? Which driver to use, or whether the nouveau driver will get better over time? (or something else?)

no, I am attempting a new install on a newish laptop that has Nvidia GTX 960, would it be better to stick to proprietary or are are there other free options which will do the job?

It would make things easier if you can ask a question which doesn't need people to ask more questions to work out what your question is.

Can we assume this is an Optimus-based laptop? If so, you should be aware of the issues that some/most of these have.

That depends on what you're going to be using it for. It's impossible to answer that as it stands.

There's the nouveau driver, and there's the nvidia driver. That's it.

You might find success installing with free drivers, then afterwards setting up a different option if you want to. Or, it might work perfectly with the non-free driver option. There's absolutely no way to tell without either 1) trying it, or 2) someone having the exact same laptop and having done it already.

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It is not an optimus device as far as I know. It is the Dell 7559

I'm feeling a sense aggravation lately to my posts. I have evolved quite well in the Manjaro eco system, and while I use to ask questions before I screw up, I now ask them after. I thought the GPU was the info you needed and not more

My buddy. It's not just about when but how to ask a proper question. The more specific info you provide, the quicker and easier for advanced users to give you the best suggestions and/or solutions as soon as possible. Cheers! :hugs:


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Any process of diagnosis is easier when you are more specific.

For example, someone going to a doctor and saying:

"I don't feel well."
"OK, describe it."
"Well, it's my body..."
"Which bit of your body?"
"It was OK yesterday, but now it's not."
"What did you do yesterday?"
"Playing with my friends as normal."


Eventually the doctor will ask the series of questions to enable a diagnosis but it would be far less frustrating if the patient said:

"I was playing football yesterday and hurt my arm. I can't raise it above my shoulder."

Same situation described in a different way.

Depending on how many posts I've read on a given day I might respond differently. For example, if most posts have been the first type rather than the second I'll probably be less forgiving, so if you're on the "wrong end" of that I apologise. The underlying point is still valid, it just may come across a bit curt if I've written it several times already.


The only nvidia graphics cards that are anything near usable are Keplers.
(and even then, reclocking has to be performed manually)

Fermis as well.

We don’t dislike you, we just want to give you the best answer possible, and that requires all relevant info you can provide.


You can always try booting the livecd with "free" and seeing if it works well for what you need to do. AFAIK, the 700 series is the latest that Nouveau currently supports (aka the "Kepler" series that @mirh mentioned).

If that doesn't work to your liking, try "non-free". Non-free will likely work noticeably better (especially if you intend to run games and such).

If you encounter specific issues after that, those can be tackled at that time. Remember to include full system specs (the output of inxi -Fxxxz) so community members can provide additional assistance.

Free should be ok too now

after about a year and a half, NVIDIA has finally released the signed firmware images and support code for enabling the GeForce GTX 900 "Maxwell" series under the open-source NVIDIA driver.


Other news

from 2015

From October 2018

also I might have write an untrue thing about nvidia 7xx series some days ago

yes it is optimus.

i have the same exact model, do yourself a favor and avoid bumblebee (i somehow got it working with openbox but never once worked on any other version despite being setup exactly the same? :man_shrugging:). free drivers will install and work until the second any call to your gpu is made and then system hard locks. but for easy installation just to get it installed i go with free and then after setup nvidia proprietary/prime and it works great. optimus-manager is another option.

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Booting at all !=
showing desktop !=
having 3D that even work !=
reclocking (aka "a 1080 shouldn't be barely enough for Portal)" !=
??? !=
"intel or amd like, flawless driver situation"

Kepler is number 4 (with the nuisance of manual reclocking, that is). Also Maxwell fanless cards should be almost there.
Everything else is just a tad above 3 (if not already failing 2, in the case of Curie, in my humble experience)

Absolute rubbish my man my fermi has never had a problem free or nonfree drivers, out of the box on any Linux distro with no config editing even twin monitor is plug and play. please don't exaggerate.

That's... still among what I said?
You don't need "overclock" to run glxgears.

And last time I checked (there aren't a lot of "current" benchmarks unfortunately) it was still in a pretty raw state.

Thanks everyone. You have the same model running Manjaro?
It kind of makes sense, as mine hangs before I get a chance to get to the terminal! It just boots to the KDE screen and freezes. I did try both free and non free versions.
If you don't mind, can you tell me the steps you took to install. You started with non free and then which drivers exactly did you setup?
Also, since it hangs after each install, I guess I'll install, and come back with the live CD to install the drivers before it hangs on me again?
Thank you all!

I'll run the live CD and post the output.

Running Live CD from UEFI boot: Started TLP system startup/shutdown. It hangs here!
Booting from Legacy mode: Same as above, it hangs in the same place.

This laptop has 2 SSDs. 1 M2 with Win10 and 1 SSD Sata 3 2.5 inch.
I was hoping to install Manjaro directly to the 2nd SSD by installing it while the M2 is removed. That way I won't need dual boot, just press F12 and choose the drive to boot from.
Now, for what I thought was easier, I just ran the Live CD with both drives installed, as it would run in 'as new' state.
It just hangs there.

BIOS State: UEFI , Secure Boot: Disabled, Load legacy option rom: Enabled
2nd state: Legacy, Secure boot: Disabled, Load Legacy option ROM: enabled.

i was able to get openbox installed with non-free drivers which may work for kde also by using a kernel parameter s specific way, it would have to be exactly like this:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi_osi=\"!Windows 2015\""

if you use that parameter to launch the installer it should boot with either free or non-free option.
if you were aiming to use bumblebee, that would be the easiest way.
after choosing non-free, hit "e" and edit the line beginning with linux and add the parameterexactly as shown.
acpi_osi=\"!Windows 2015\"

.if your planning on setting up prime use the free option, it doesnt install any of bumblebee crap along with it and makes it easier after install to remove video-linux, install video-nvidia and follow the PRIME tutorial.

note: right now i have openbox using bumblebee and i use prime with kde, prime works much better IMO but it depends on what you use your laptop for and if you want to squeeze every bit of batter life out of it, for that BB is better, or optimus-manager (never got it working, only briefly tried)

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