Most modern Linux Desktop systems like Linux Mint have an NVIDIA driver pre-installed in the Nouveau open-source graphics device driver for Nvidia video cards. For the most part, this is acceptable; however, if you are using your Linux system for graphical design or gaming, you may get better drivers.
Historically, the Nouveau drivers are slower than NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers, lacking the latest graphics card hardware’s latest features, software technology, and support.
Currently, NVIDIA 510 Drivers are available to install, which bring many new features improvements to the very latest and existing supported graphic cards with better Linux Kernel support, ReBAR indicator, GBM API support, and much more.
The following tutorial will teach you to install the latest bleeding-edge 510 Nvidia Graphic Card Drivers on Linux Mint 20 LTS using various installation methods.
Table of Contents
The NVIDIA Properiarty Drivers only support X11 and not Wayland.
The NVIDIA 510 Graphic Card drivers have been officially released, the beta was 510.37.xx, and the release versions are now from 510.47.xx onwards.
This tutorial uses a stock standard installation of the Linux Mint 20 LTS that tested all methods shown. Heavily modified systems may encounter issues not supported in this tutorial, nor are alternative desktops or other systems.
Timeshift is installed by default. Take a backup before installing any drivers. It only takes a few minutes for most users.
Determine Graphics Card
The first step for users with aging NVIDIA Graphics cards is to determine what it is and if it is supported, users with brand new cards can skip this part as no doubt they will be supported.
First, find your graphics card module.
lspci | grep -e VGA
03:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation TU117 [GeForce GTX 1650] (rev a1)
Next, visit the supported NVIDIA GPU 510 supported chips section and verify your card is listed before moving on. For example, the tutorial uses an older GeForce GTX 1650, which is still kept in that list.
Option 1. Install NVIDIA Drivers – Linux Mint Driver Manager
The first option and the one that is recommended for all Linux Mint users that prefer not to use the Linux terminal is to install the drivers using the Linux Mint driver manager.
The location where this can be found in Taskbar > Administration Driver Manager.
Once inside the driver manager, install the NVIDIA drivers with the prompts. This is perhaps one of the safest options.
Remember, you must reboot your system after installation of any NVIDIA drivers or removal.
Option 2. Install NVIDIA Drivers – PPA Repositories
The second and most straightforward method for Linux Mint users using the terminal is to install the PPA Graphic Drivers, which contains the latest updates to any current support stable NVIDIA drivers. The only downside to this PPA is that it does not include beta drivers, but this is not an issue for the majority.
To complete the installation, you will need to install the following software packages by using the following command in your terminal.
sudo apt install software-properties-common -y
Install NVIDIA Drivers
First, import the PPA using the following command.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa -y
Note there is another PPA option near the end of this section as an alternative.
Next, run an APT update.
sudo apt update
Install the NVIDIA 510 drivers using the following command.
sudo apt install nvidia-driver-510 -y
Once installed, reboot your PC.
Once logged back in, use the following command to confirm the NVIDIA drivers are installed.
Alternative Method PPA – Pop!_OS Proprietary
An alternative method can be installing Pop!_OS PPA as Ubuntu is its base on which Linux Mint is based. Installing packages from this PPA can be very useful and works well. Another benefit is installing other packages from this proprietary PPA, such as Discord, Slack, and more.
First, import the PPA GPG KEY.
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 63C46DF0140D738961429F4E204DD8AEC33A7AFF
Next, import the PPA.
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary focal main"
Next, run an apt update.
sudo apt update
Install the NVIDIA 510 drivers as follows.
sudo apt install nvidia-driver-510 -y
For users that want to install NVIDIA 510 headless, use the following command.
sudo apt install nvidia-headless-510 -y
Option 3. Install NVIDIA Drivers – NVIDIA Repo
WARNING, X86_64 ARCHITECTURE IS ONLY SUPPORTED IN THIS METHOD FROM NVIDIA.
FOR THE NEW USERS TO LINUX, IT IS ADVISED TO USE DRIVER MANAGER OR PPA’S FIRST BEFORE THIS METHOD.
THE NVIDIA REPOSITORY BENEFIT IS THAT YOU CAN FREELY GET BETA/PREVIEW DRIVERS ANYTIME IN THE FUTURE STRAIGHT AWAY.
For users who do not want the work involved in compiling kernels and manually downloading every time an update occurs, an easier way to install the latest kernel available for your system is to import the NVIDIA repository directly.
This may not be suitable for some secure systems using third-party repositories. Still, the following steps will be reasonable for most daily desktop users that are into gaming especially.
First, import the GPG key.
sudo apt-key adv --fetch-keys https://developer.download.nvidia.com/compute/cuda/repos/ubuntu2004/x86_64/7fa2af80.pub
Second, import the repository for your apt sources.
sudo add-apt-repository "deb https://developer.download.nvidia.com/compute/cuda/repos/ubuntu2004/x86_64/ /"
Next, download the PINNING file for the drivers and move it to its location.
wget https://developer.download.nvidia.com/compute/cuda/repos/ubuntu2004/x86_64/cuda-ubuntu2004.pin sudo mv cuda-ubuntu2004.pin /etc/apt/preferences.d/cuda-repository-pin-600
Update your APT-CACHE.
sudo apt update
Next, install the latest NVIDIA drivers which are 510 series at the time of this tutorial, using the following command.
Install NVIDIA without CUDA:
sudo apt install libglvnd-dev pkg-config dkms build-essential nvidia-driver-510 nvidia-settings nvidia-utils-510 linux-headers-$(uname -r) -y
Install NVIDIA with CUDA:
sudo apt install libglvnd-dev pkg-config dkms build-essential cuda nvidia-driver-510 nvidia-settings nvidia-utils-510 linux-headers-$(uname -r)
For users that do not install CUDA on the first go, do not worry; install the CUDA package later on.
Note a possible prompt for users with pre-existing installations before the installation continues.
Select Yes to remove any existing drivers, failure to do this may cause system instability.
Once done, the installation will be complete.
Lastly, reboot your system once done.
Verify the installation by running NVIDIA-SMI as the manual installation steps showed beforehand.
Comments and Conclusion
Congratulations, you have installed the latest NVIDIA 510 Graphic Card Drivers on Linux Mint 20 LTS.
Overall, installing the driver manager and PPA’s are the recommended installation options. With the NVIDIA repository coming last, given more can go wrong with it for inexperienced users, there is no point when you can use better options that are safer.