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By Manuel, 2022-Mar-31
update: 2022-Nov-14

Overview

A new Nvidia driver installer, nvidia-inst, replaces the old nvidia-installer-dkms.

Here’s the output of the nvidia-inst command with the help option:

$ nvidia-inst -h

nvidia-inst - help installing Nvidia graphics drivers

Usage: nvidia-inst [options]
Options:
  -h, --help              This help.
  -b, --bumblebee         Install bumblebee and Nvidia drivers for optimus cards.
  -f, --force             Force driver installation even if a nvidia card is not detected.
  -n, --nouveau           Install nouveau driver (open source).
  -p, --prime             Install also prime render offload.
  -q, --quiet             Suppress log messages.
  -t, --test              Test mode. Nothing in your system will be modified.
  -v, --version           Show version of this software.
  --32                    Install also support for 32-bit apps.
  --conf                  Create also file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf (might be needed on some systems).
  --drivers               Show supported NVIDIA driver series for your card.
  --ignore                Ignore all errors (useful for testing only).
  --legacyrepo            Add a third party repository for legacy (470 and 390 series) Nvidia drivers.
  --listopts              List options supported by nvidia-inst.
  --listseries            List Nvidia driver versions supported by nvidia-inst.
  --series                (Advanced) Use the given Nvidia driver version (for testing).

If you have used nvidia-installer-dkms before, the help output above should look rather familiar.

Options

With nvidia-inst you can install drivers for your Nvidia GPU. nvidia-inst detects which driver packages are needed. Additional features will be installed based on given options.

Likely the most important new options in nvidia-inst are

--prime

This option will install package nvidia-prime in addition to the Nvidia drivers.

--legacyrepo

Adds a third party repo that includes legacy Nvidia drivers like 470 and 390 series. If the legacy drivers are required, use this option to add this third party repo. Note that you may need to check the supported drivers using the option --drivers.

--drivers

List which Nvidia series drivers are supported with your Nvidia GPU.

--32

Includes also support for 32-bit apps, like certain games.

--conf

This option creates a simple Nvidia config file into folder /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d. By default, this file will not be created. Note that nvidia-installer-dkms usually created this file.

Other new options should be either self explanatory, or mainly meant for internal testing of nvidia-inst.

About the internal operation

If nvidia-inst is executed e.g. with option --nouveau, it will remove conflicting packages like the nvidia drivers, and then install the nouveau driver. A similar idea is used with all options that need to take care of conflicting packages and/or certain settings: conflicting stuff will be removed first, and then the new packages/settings will be installed.

This also means that if you have Nvidia related packages or settings that you want to save, you need to do that manually before using nvidia-inst.

References

Nvidia install on Discovery

Examples

Enable legacy drivers (older Nvidia cards)

Older Nvidia cards like GT 700 series are not supported by the latest Nvidia driver available from the official Arch repositories. For those cards there are a few alternatives:

  • the nouveau open source kernel driver
  • a legacy Nvidia driver from the AUR
  • a legacy Nvidia driver from the third party repository

For the older cards nvidia-inst supports nouveau (option -n), and a third party repository named kernel-lts by @Jonathon.

The third party repository can be initialized with command

nvidia-inst --legacyrepo

This command adds the kernel-lts repository permanently into your pacman.conf making certain Nvidia legacy (470 and 390 series) drivers available.

To see which of the legacy drivers is supported, run

nvidia-inst --drivers

Before actually installing the drivers, you should test (dry-run) the install to make 100% sure it will work. Use option -t:

nvidia-inst --series 390 -t
2022-04-25 23:45:00: Info: Running: nvidia-inst v1.0.3-1
2022-04-25 23:45:00: Info: Command line: nvidia-inst --series 390 -t
2022-04-25 23:45:00: Info: Selected mode: nvidia
2022-04-25 23:45:00: Info: Installing packages: nvidia-390xx-dkms nvidia-390xx-utils nvidia-390xx-settings
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMANDS TO RUN:
    pacman -Syuq --noconfirm --noprogressbar --needed nvidia-390xx-dkms nvidia-390xx-utils nvidia-390xx-settings
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

or if 470 is supported:
nvidia-inst --series 470 -t

if test (-t) runs without error, you can do real install:
nvidia-inst --series 390 or
nvidia-inst --series 470

After rebooting the drivers should be active. You will get driver updates as expected using pacman or yay.

Bumblebee (for old machines)

If you need to set up Bumblebee as detailed here: EndeavourOS Bumblebee wiki the nvidia-inst script can do that automatically too:

nvidia-inst -b

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New Nvidia driver installer, nvidia-inst

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