Ubuntu – How to turn off the Radeon GPU on the HP Pavilion DM4


I have a HP DM4 Beats Edition running Ubuntu 11.10. The HP Pavillion runs on-board Intel graphics as well as Radeon GPU.

From what I have read it appears that the Radeon GPU is draining my battery and also causing the laptop to overheat. Battery life is down to under two hours when using the machine for simple tasks and the unit is heating up excessively.

I tried activating the ATI FGLRX driver – but it was not successful. I also have installed the CPU control applet.

For now i just want to disable the GPU and use the Intel on board graphics.

Is there a way that I can force the system to just use the Intel Graphics?

I am very new to Ubuntu and need some basic help.

Best Answer

Ubuntu comes with vgaswitcheroo since 10.10. Therefore you can although it is far away from working as smooth as on Windows. Yet it's enough to turn off either one of the cards and/or switch to using the other ones.

You find more information on this topic on help.ubuntu and this linux.blogspot.

Since you are fairly new to Ubuntu, I'll tell you the essential commands:

chmod -R 705 /sys/kernel/debug # this isn't noted on the help.ubuntu-page, yet I had to do this since 11.04
chown -R $YOURUSERNAME:$YOURUSERNAME /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo # where $YOURUSERNAME is your user name
echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch # this will turn off your currently unused card. This is normally the discrete one.

These commands shouldn't work with fglrx installed I guess, because it has its own switching mechanism (which doesn't work for me).

For switching between cards, you would write DDIS (for discrete) and DIGD (for integrated) instead of OFF. Note that you will see a change only after you have logged off. Still the other card will already be turned on; consuming power and spinning its fan.

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