Ubuntu 12.04 and Hybrid Graphics on Sony VAIO S

As an update to this post, I confirm that using vgaswitcheroo to shutdown the discrete AMD/ATI card on the new Sony Vaio S, works perfectly also in 12.04 (Precise Pangolin).

Quick reference:

  1. Edit the file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf (replace “gedit” with your favorite editor):
    sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
  2. Add the following lines at the end of the file:
    # radeon
    blacklist radeon
  3. Edit the file /etc/rc.local (replace “gedit” with your favorite editor):
    sudo gedit /etc/rc.local
  4. Add the following lines just before exit 0:
    modprobe radeon
    chown -R $USER:$USER /sys/kernel/debug
    echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

After a restart, use this command to verify that the AMD/ATI discrete graphic card has been shutdown:

sudo less /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

Your output should be similar to this:

1:DIS: :Off:0000:01:00.0

Where the + sign indicates that the Integrated card (Intel) is currently in use and the Off keyword in the 1:DIS: entry indicates that the discrete AMD/ATI card is powered off.

The benefits I’ve noticed when using this setup are:

  • The notebook is much less noisy
  • The battery lasts longer
  • The notebook is cooler

14 thoughts on “Ubuntu 12.04 and Hybrid Graphics on Sony VAIO S

  1. Glad you’ve worked this out, I feel happy to order mine now… Lets hope that the ATI linux drivers aren’t to far away! It would be nice to be able to take advantage of the shiny 1G GPU…

  2. Glad you’ve worked it out, I feel safe ordering mine now! Lets hope ATI get the drivers sorted soon, I’d like to use the shiny 1G GPU…

  3. Acabei de realizar o procedimento e funcionou 100% gostaria de ressaltar que sou do brazil e o seu tutorial já esta ajudando os usuarios em todo o mundo !!! muito obrigado.

    I ended up performing the procedure and it worked 100% would like to emphasize that I am of Brazil and its tutorial already helping users worldwide! thank you very much.

  4. Does this still work for you?
    …doesn’t for me (12.10). I’ve tried a dozen of tutorials, including yours, but still aprox 30W power consumption, fan running like crazy. I get the same output, so ATI is definitely not in use. I just can’t figure out what the problem is, it really drives me crazy. It has to be the graphic card. In Windows the VAIO works perfect.

    1. I confirm this still works.
      Can you please check that the output of “sudo less /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch” shows that the discrete card is powered off?

  5. same like you:
    1:DIS: :Off:0000:01:00.0

    Before I used switcheroo it was definitely Pwr, so it changed, but for some reason the radeon doesn’t care. I also tried some other ways to use switcheroo, because it seems there are many ways to use it (also other vaio SB users), but I get always the same result.

    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:0116] (rev 09)
    Subsystem: Sony Corporation Device [104d:907b]
    Kernel driver in use: i915

    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Caicos [Radeon HD 6400M/7400M Series] [1002:6760] (rev ff)
    Kernel driver in use: radeon
    Kernel modules: radeon
    I also tried to install catalyst to turn it off with that, but I don’t get it running.
    any further ideas?

  6. Does it work with fedora 17?
    I suffered from the overheating problem on my vpcsa Vaio in Ubuntu and then migrated to fedora 17. the overheating issue seems less annoying, However it is not comparable with windows efficiency in power consumption.
    If this is not supported for fedora, what you suggest to do?
    Thanks in advance.

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