Ubuntu 12.10 and Hybrid Graphics on Sony VAIO S

Today I made a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.10.

After having read this thread on phoronix forums about the latest release of the proprietary AMD drivers, I decided (once more) to use the vgaswitcheroo solution.

The vgaswitcheroo module can be used to power off the discrete graphic card and use only the integrated one from Intel. Personally, I don’t have any advantage in using the discrete graphic as the integrated one is enough to play HD video, the most GPU consuming task I ever need.

So I confirm that the solution described in this post still works on 12.10.

I edited the two files, rebooted the notebook… and then there was silence!

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:

0:IGD:+:Pwr:0000:00:02.0
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