nouveau (Open Source Driver)

This driver is developed mostly by the community, with little input from Nvidia, and is not as performant as the proprietary driver. It is required in order to run most Wayland compositors.

Install the mesa-dri driver or the xf86-video-nouveau driver.

Xorg can make use of either of the above mentioned drivers. The latter is older, more stable and generally the recommended option. However, for newer devices you might get better performance by using the mesa-dri provided driver.

Note: xf86-video-nouveau is already included in the xorg meta-package, but is needed when installing via xorg-minimal.

For using Wayland, users should install the mesa-dri provided driver.

nvidia (Proprietary Driver)

The proprietary drivers are available in the nonfree repository.

Check if your graphics card belongs to the legacy branch. If it does not, install the nvidia package. Otherwise you should install the appropriate legacy driver, either nvidia390 or nvidia340.

BrandTypeModelDriver Package
NVIDIAProprietary300/400/500 Seriesnvidia390
NVIDIAProprietaryGeForce8/9 + 100/200/300 Seriesnvidia340

The proprietary driver integrates in the kernel through DKMS.

This driver offers better performance and power handling, and is recommended where performance is needed.

32-bit program support (glibc only)

In order to run 32-bit programs with driver support, you need to install additional packages.

If using the nouveau driver, install the mesa-dri-32bit package.

If using the nvidia driver, install the nvidia<x>-libs-32bit package. <x> represents the legacy driver version (340 or 390) or can be left empty for the main driver.

Reverting from nvidia to nouveau

Uninstalling nvidia

In order to revert to the nouveau driver, install the nouveau driver (if it was not installed already), then remove the nvidia, nvidia390 or nvidia340 package, as appropriate.

If you were using the nvidia340 driver, you will need to install the libglvnd package after removing the nvidia340 package.

Keeping both drivers

It is possible to use the nouveau driver while still having the nvidia driver installed. To do so, remove the blacklisting of nouveau in /etc/modprobe.d/nouveau_blacklist.conf, /usr/lib/modprobe.d/nvidia.conf, or /usr/lib/modprobe.d/nvidia-dkms.conf by commenting it out:

#blacklist nouveau

For Xorg, specify that it should load the nouveau driver rather than the nvidia driver by creating the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nouveau.conf with the following content:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Nvidia card"
    Driver "nouveau"

You may need to reboot your system for these changes to take effect.