It is common knowledge among Linux users that Nvidia makes the best drivers for Linux users. As a result, most Linux users choose to go with Nvidia over AMD when running a Linux PC. Still, even though they make superior drivers, that doesn’t make them any easier to install. Despite them being of better quality than AMD’s Radeon drivers, users still manage to be confused as to how they can easily get Nvidia GPU drivers working on their Linux PC.
If you’ve ever had trouble getting your Nvidia graphics card working, worry no more, as we’ll be going over exactly what it takes to get all modern Nvidia GPU drivers working correctly.
Ubuntu users can easily get the latest Nvidia GPU drivers enabling a PPA. To enable this PPA, open up a terminal and enter:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
After adding this new PPA to the system, you’ll need to refresh the Ubuntu software sources to reflect the changes.
sudo apt update
When the software sources are up to date, you’ll need to also update your Ubuntu PC. Update the software on your system by running the apt upgrade command.
Note: be sure to add -y to the end of the command to avoid having to press “Y” on the keyboard during the update.
sudo apt upgrade -y
With everything up to date, install the latest Nvidia GPU drivers:
sudo apt install nvidia-graphics-drivers-390 nvidia-settings vdpauinfo vulkan libvdpau
Keep in mind that the latest version of Nvidia Linux drivers, as of writing this article is version 390. To change versions, look for “Additional drivers” in the application menu. It’ll show you different versions of the Nvidia driver you can install right away.
Debian Stable doesn’t have the “absolute latest” version of the Nvidia GPU drivers due to the nature of how Debian works. If you’d like to run the latest Nvidia drivers, you’ll first need to convert your Debian installation to the Unstable branch.
Note: be sure that “non-free” is enabled in sources.list or the Nvidia drivers will not install.
Convert to unstable by opening your sources.list file with Nano:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Convert every reference to “stable”, “wheezy” and other Debian release names to “unstable”. For example:
deb http://ftp2.fr.debian.org/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free
Save the file with Ctrl + O, and then run a distribution upgrade:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
When the upgrade is complete, install aptitude. This makes installing the drivers easier.
sudo apt install aptitude
You’ll also need to add the 32-bit architecture so that the 32 bit Nvidia drivers will install.
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
Lastly, install the latest Debian Unstable Nvidia drivers.
sudo aptitude -r install nvidia-kernel-dkms nvidia-settings libgl1-nvidia-glx:i386
Arch Linux Instructions
For current Nvidia GPUs, getting the latest driver on Arch Linux is as easy as:
sudo pacman -S nvidia
To get the latest 32-bit related packages (important for playing Steam games), enter the following:
sudo pacman -S nvidia nvidia-libgl lib32-nvidia-libgl nvidia-settings
Lastly, using the Nvidia drivers on Arch Linux requires enabling a “persistence” systemd service. The drivers will work fine without it, but enabling this file is important, or you may run into some errors.
sudo systemctl enable nvidia-persistenced.service
and start it with:
sudo sudo systemctl start nvidia-persistenced.service
There are many ways to install the Nvidia GPU drivers on Fedora, but the easiest way by far is to go with Negativo17.org’s methods. To start off, open up a terminal window and update all the packages on the system using DNF.
sudo dnf update
Fedora doesn’t support the proprietary Linux drivers, so when the upgrade finishes, you’ll need to add a new software repository.
sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo=https://negativo17.org/repos/fedora-nvidia.repo
With the Repo added, there’s nothing left to do in the terminal. Just open up Gnome software, search for “Nvidia Linux Graphics Driver” and install it. When the install finishes, reboot.
Suse has pretty great support for Nvidia. To get it working, open up a terminal and enter the following commands.
First, remove the drm-kmp-default package, as it conflicts with Nvidia packages on SUSE.
sudo zypper rm drm-kmp-default
Then, add the Nvidia driver repository for Leap 42.3.
sudo zypper addrepo --refresh http://http.download.nvidia.com/opensuse/leap/42.3 NVIDIA
Finally, install the drivers:
sudo zypper install-new-recommends
When the installation finishes, reboot your PC.
sudo zypper addrepo --refresh http://http.download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed NVIDIA sudo zypper install-new-recommends
Like Leap, when the installation finishes, restart. When you log back in, the Nvidia drivers should be working.
Generic Linux instructions
Nvidia has support for many Linux distributions by releasing a binary package for all Linux distributions. The process of installing these drivers is lengthy. So lengthy, in fact, that we’ve written up a separate tutorial just for it.
You should know that you don’t need to install the Nvidia Beta drivers. It’s entirely possible to head over to the official Nvidia website, and download the latest stable driver, then follow our instructions on the article anyway.