How to get Nvidia-xRun on Debian

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I play with Steam on Linux, the problem is that my laptop is an Optimus laptop. This means that include 2 different video card and as default use the Intel one.

The problem with video game is to use the second one that is more powerful and consume more battery and resources, that is the reason why there are 2 video card.

A lot of games now require Vulkan supports so is not enough to use Bumblebee, because has very poor performance so a video game with high features needs more.

The way is to run a X Server using the second video card, in this way everything will get the best hardware from your computer.

So Nvidia-xrun is an easy way to get that, the problem is that is not supported officially on debian!

So after a lot of experimenting I got that working.

First of all, follow what is written on the Debian wiki about nvidia-xrun, it is a new page but is incomplete in mycase.

  • So I had to remove bumblebee at all or will not work, so is mandatory
  • Install the nvidia-vulkan-common package
  • Copy config/nvidia-xrun to /etc/default/nvidia-xrun
  • In case you are using like me KDE install Openbox
  • Create folders and files at ~/.config/X11/nvidia-xinitrc, copy the content like the readme of the GitHub repo

Now you can open a new TTY like CTRL+Alt+F6, run nvidia-xrun and Openbox will start, right clock with the mouse and start what you need like Steam. Now everything started on that TTY will use the other video card.

Let me explain the other steps that was missing for me (to get it working):

  • Bumbleee if preset crash the tool
  • The vulkan package add the missing file to get working vulkan with this solution
  • This missing setting file block the tool execution
  • If you run KDE in the new TTY will crash because there is already a xorg server and an instance of KDE running (and also openbox is very light so for games is good)
  • It is famous that launching a specific command with nvidia-xrun can not work always, instead launch a DE and from there launch the script with avoid this problem. That file is executed automatically and in case of no commands will start the DE.

After a lot I can finally play my favorite games that require Vulkan and get the best from my laptop with any game!

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