Thursday, June 27, 2013

Making Ubuntu Studio 13.04 + NVIDIA TopEnd Graphics card work with the latest LowLatency Kernel

During my last trip, my HP Laptop that has been my side-kick for the last 6 years died on me.
Guess it was time to find a new laptop...and it was everything but easy, but that's subject for another post.
Having received my brand new ASUS ROG G750Jx (a true monster, from the looks to the size and weight of the thing) all pumped up with a 4rth Gen CoreI7 4700HQ, 32Gigs of ram, 256Gb SSD and 750Gb 7200rpm standard hdd, blueRay and a Geforce GTX770m with dedicated 3Gb GDDR5.
It's the ONLY machine I could find with GOOD specs for heavy virtualization and graphics usage and with affordable pricing. The only problem is the "I'm a kid and this is my gaming rid" looks.

It came with Windows8Pro, and thought I think this Microsoft Kernel is a lot better, I still think it's not close the the efficiency and footprint levels I consider efficient...and then there is the Metro GUI...ughhhh.
So as expected, I used Clonezilla to backup the entire 2 HD partitions, setups, and data into a single Image to my external backup drive, and on to wiping it clean.
I then decided to use the SSD drive for /boot, / and SWAP partitions, and having 32GB of ram, my swap ended up having 64Gb of ram, so this should be a really strong virtualization environment.
I then configured the 750Gb Hd as my /home and Ubunto Studio 64 13.04, here we go!
It's a beast. System loads in under 12 seconds after touching the power button, and everything feels under instantaneous in response time. I'm just amazed...this level of performance makes-me me forget and forgive the looks.

It installed beautifully, but then after the update to Kernel 3.8.0-25-lowlatency, XFCE stopped working.
With nothing but the command line, it was not that easy to grab hold of the latest NVIDIA drivers (not from the repository but rather the NVIDIA site).
While running the NVIDIA drivers everything got clear to me, so here is the recipe to AVOID all the mess of the Noveau modules incompatibility with NVIDIA drivers:

1 - Install Ubuntu 13.04 from the ISO and allow it to perform the first package update (no kernel).
2 - Then, download the latest NVIDIA drivers form NVIDIA website. Use your file manager to allow the file to have execute permissions and leave it in the download folder.
3 - Shift screen (ctrl+alt+F1) to command line, login and kill the XFCE issuing the command:
        sudo service lightdm stop
4 - cd to your home/downloads where you should fing the nvidia driver and start it issuing:
        sudo sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86......(your version here)
     This will lead to the Nvidia setup that will start firing errors. Don't worry! One of those errors is the Incompatibility warning with the "noveau kernel module". Just kick next and you'll be presented with a request to attempt to bypass loading of noveau kernel modules. Just say yes. Installer will continue and fail as the modules are still loaded.
5 - Reboot your computer. You'll probably end up with a no XFCE boot direct into command line, if so just continue and re-do step 4, if not, repeat steps 3 and then 4.
     This time, the installed will succeed.
6 - Reboot and you'll find yourself back in XFCE with NVIDIA power boosting the already light DesktopManager. Be happy and NOW you can run the remaining updates (the new linux kernel)
7 - Reboot and enjoy a blazing fast kernel on a blazing fast DesktopManager.

That's it!