Upgrade buggy Kubuntu 12.04 Nvdia driver 295.40 to use KDE Desktop Effects


When I upgraded the machine from 11.10 Kubuntu 64-bit to 12.04, my machine essentially became unusable until I turned desktop effects off (ALT-SHIFT-F12). The story was well documented on the internet (http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTA4ODQ - Good story on the failings of the 295.40 Nvidia driver that shipped with 12.04 LTS Kubuntu). I suffered along not wanting to custom a version of Kubuntu expecting Canonical to relatively quickly update the version in the repositories - after all this is an LTS version.

After 3 months of running my video on Kubuntu 12.04 by running desktop effects under the compositing type "xrender" for my Quadro NVS 210S/GeForce 6150LE graphics card instead of "OpenGL", I was fed up. Running under xrender was just as good as turning them off. I wasn't up to downgrading my drivers to the previous version or suffering through the continued development on the Nouveau drivers.  I even contemplated getting a new video card, but decided to do more digging.

I finally realized how bad it was when I did some benchmarks.
grep VGA /proc/pci || lspci | grep VGA | colrm 1 4 ; egrep "model name|MHz" /proc/cpuinfo ; xdpyinfo | egrep "version:|dimensions|depth of" ; glxinfo | egrep -A2 "direct rendering|OpenGL vendor" ; uname -sr ; vblank_mode=0 glxgears & sleep 30 ; killall glxgears
I was getting 5 FPS (frames per second) using the a Google gears script (Google Gears is not a perfect benchmark from what I read, but fine for a quick test):

I decided to take the plunge an install a third party Nvidia PPA repository, since I have had issues with direct installs of the proprietary drivers from Nvidia in the past conflicting with Ubuntu upgrades. I chose to install the x-swat repository that seemed to have a good reputation after numerous Google searches on the subject (https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat/+archive/x-updates/). The PPA had a good reputation had been there awhile, was not on the bleeding edge, and was receiving regular updates.

You can update your drivers with x-swat ppa and to install Nvidia card latest drivers use this PPA.

To install/Update Nvidia card drivers open Terminal (Press Alt+F2 and type: konsole) and copy the following commands in the terminal:
  sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
  sudo apt-get update
  sudo apt-get install nvidia-current
When the driver installation completed I restart KDE (or just restart your PC). To check that things were better, I reran the script above and I'm getting ~1200 FPS with my Quadro NVS 210S / GeForce 6150LE using the 302.17 Nvidia driver.

My machine once again feels "snappy". No need to buy hardware that I don't really need, that may come with it's own set of new challenges, plus I can re-enable all the eye candy desktop effects that I'd come to appreciate in Kubuntu.

Now I just need to be careful when the next version of Kubuntu comes out. I'll be using some fine PPA purge routine to remove the XSWAT PPA (http://hackedbellini.org/applications/ppa-purge-the-best-friend-for-people-who-lives-on-bleeding-edge/).

References used to pull this together:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTA4ODQ - Good story on the failings of the 295.40 Nvidia driver that shipped with 12.04 LTS Kubuntu
https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat/+archive/x-updates/ - Direct link to PPA an limited information there
http://www.noobslab.com/2011/09/nvidia-drivers-for-ubuntu-1110-oneiric.html - Basic information on how to add the PPA to you list of repositories and update
http://hackedbellini.org/applications/ppa-purge-the-best-friend-for-people-who-lives-on-bleeding-edge/ - PPA purge suggestion

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