Ubuntu – How to check if Ubuntu is using the NVIDIA graphics card


The reason I'm asking is that none of the games I've installed through software center that require 3D accelartion like TORCS for instance will run. When I try to run then, nothing happens. I have a Dell Inspiron N5110 with a nVidia GeForce GT 525M.

I tried the following which I were some suggestions for people with similar problems:

lspci -v

Which gave me:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0df5 (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
    Subsystem: Dell Device 04ca
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 16
    Memory at f5000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
    Memory at e0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
    Memory at f0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=32M]
    I/O ports at e000 [size=128]
    Expansion ROM at f6000000 [disabled] [size=512K]
    Capabilities: <access denied>
    Kernel driver in use: nvidia
    Kernel modules: nvidia_current, nvidia_current_updates, nvidia, nouveau, nvidiafb

I also tried:

egrep -i " connected|card detect|primary dev" /var/log/Xorg.0.log

Which gave me:

[    20.873] (II) intel(0): Output LVDS1 connected


nvidia-smi -a

Which gave:

NVIDIA: could not open the device file /dev/nvidiactl (No such file or directory).
Nvidia-smi has failed because it couldn't communicate with NVIDIA driver. Make sure that latest NVIDIA driver is installed and running.

I don't really understand what all this means.

Best Answer

I know the question is old, but I found a solution which I haven't found on any other topic.

Open a terminal and type

lspci -vnnn | perl -lne 'print if /^\d+\:.+(\[\S+\:\S+\])/' | grep VGA

Your output will be something like that:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller [8086:0166] (rev 09) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller]) 

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Chelsea LP [Radeon HD 7730M] [1002:682f] (rev ff) (prog-if ff)

Now look for the [VGA controller] at the end of each device. Whichever device has it, is the active GPU. In my case it's the i7 processor (HD 4000) that's handling the work.

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