Bad graphical behaviour with Nvidia GeForce 9200M GS

June 5, 2009

The following applies for those that, running a lspci, get:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G98 [GeForce 9200M GS] (rev a1)

When trying to play a DVD or a divx movie at fullscreen, the image movement were not fluent, just like a 25fps movie played at 11fps. Similiarly, the 3D screen-savers were slow. Checking the /var/log/Xorg.0.log file everything seemed ok, since the default NV drivers included in Xorg are capable of recognizing the NVidia graphic card. Unfortunately, those driver are definitely not optimized and they perform very bad. NVidia released some alternative drivers for linux and -still- unfortunately, they are propertary. It’s your choice to use the free unoptimized drivers or the propertary optimized ones. Anyway, here follows the procedure to install the propertary ones.

Drivers depends on the architecture used by your system. Nvidia releases driver only for x86 and AMD64 CPUs. To check what’s your architecture, type

uname -r

If your kernel version ends with -*86, follow the blue steps, otherwise if it ends with -amd64 follow the red steps. (NOTE: if you have this video card and are using a x86 kernel, you are probably not using all your PC potential. Consider installing an AMD64 distribution. More information here.)

  1. Get into a non-X shell (typing CTRL+ALT+F1) and log in as root.
  2. Install the linux-kernel headers:apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  3. stop the Gnome Desktop manager:/etc/init.d/gdm stop
  4. take the NVIDIA propertary drivers:
    for x86: wget
    for AMD64: wget
  5. make the driver installer runnable:
    for x86: chmod a+x
    for AMD64: chmod a+x
  6. run the installer:
    for x86: ./
    for AMD64: ./
    accept everything and when asked to update the /etc/xorg.conf file, answer yes.
  7. restart gdm:
    /etc/init.d/gdm start
  8. (now Gnome should start, but you still have an open root shell. Type again CTRL+ALT+F1 and close it, then CTRL+ALT+F7 to go back to Gnome.)

The NVidia drivers should be now loaded and the movies should play fine. If you want to run a 3D test, try:

apt-get install mesa-utils

and then run from a console:


The tool will print the FPS rate, that should be around 3000 frames/sec

Enjoy your movies and 3D games, and reclaim your optimized free drivers from your hardware vendor!

Filed under: debian


June 2009
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