The increasing popularity of Linux and Linux-native gaming platforms such as Steam is bringing mainstream gaming to Linux. If you are a hardcore gamer, you will probably pay great attention to the performance of the graphics card on your system. Many of you may be willing to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for high-end video cards to enjoy maximum gaming experience.
In this tutorial, I will describe how to find information about a video card and video driver used in Linux system.
The first method to determine what graphics card you have is by using lspci which a command-line tool for showing all PCI devices.
Before using lspci, it's a good idea to update PCI ID list with the latest version as follows.
Then use the following command to show the vendor/model names of your video card.
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09)
Once the PCI domain of your card is identified (e.g., 00:02.0 in the above example), you can get more detailed information about your card by using the following command. The example output shows that the video card has 256MB video RAM.
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller]) Subsystem: Dell Device 0569 Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 45 Memory at b0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M] Memory at c0000000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4M] I/O ports at 3000 [size=64] Expansion ROM at
[disabled] Capabilities:  MSI: Enable+ Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit- Capabilities: [d0] Power Management version 2 Capabilities: [a4] PCI Advanced Features Kernel driver in use: i915 Kernel modules: i915
Another way to detect a video card on Linux is via lshw command.
*-display description: VGA compatible controller product: 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller vendor: Intel Corporation physical id: 2 bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0 version: 09 width: 64 bits clock: 33MHz capabilities: msi pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom configuration: driver=i915 latency=0 resources: irq:45 memory:c0000000-c03fffff memory:b0000000-bfffffff ioport:3000(size=64)
You can also get information about a graphics card via a GUI program called hardinfo.
To install hardinfo on Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint:
To install hardinfo on RedHat-based systems, use yum command. Note that on CentOS or RedHat, you first need to enable Repoforge repository before running yum.
Once hardinfo is installed, launch it as follows.
Then navigate to "Devices" -> "PCI Devices" -> "VGA compatible controller" to view video card information.
Find What Video Driver is Used on Linux
To identify the name of video driver used, you can use lshw command described above.
configuration: driver=i915 latency=0
The name of video driver is shown in "driver=<XXXX>". Then you can check the detail of the video driver as follows.
filename: /lib/modules/3.5.0-18-generic/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915.ko license: GPL and additional rights description: Intel Graphics author: Tungsten Graphics, Inc. license: GPL and additional rights . . . . .
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