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I have an Asus U36 laptop running Ubuntu 11.04 with two graphic cards - one from Intel which is quite sufficient for me, the second from NVIDIA which consumes a lot of battery while not even working.

How can I disable the NVIDIA graphics card?

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Disabling a card does not necessarily decrease it power consumption, you might as well remove the card from the laptop if that's an option for you. In the end, you're only concerning yourself for a few euro/dollar a year; unless you run a lot on battery. Isn't the laptop designed to automatically disable the one not in use? – Tom Wijsman Aug 18 '11 at 2:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Depending on which driver you are using for the nVidia card (nouveau, nv or nvidia) - you should be able to see it with lsmod - the solution is to blacklist it to udev. For example, if your driver is nouveau, edit the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf and append a line containing blacklist nouveau, then reboot and lsmod again - it shouldn't be there any more.

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what if I just rename nouveau.ko file to nouveau.ko.backup? Will it help? I read about this method on a forum but I can't check whether nvidia GPU still works – Sergey Aug 17 '11 at 6:29
The correct method is to blacklist it, not to remove it. Basically, no driver => no requests to phisical device => no extra power consumption (this could vary depending on manufacturer), so I would recommend trying this scenario and checking if battery drain is considerably lower. – O G Aug 17 '11 at 6:42
thanks, I'll check it out – Sergey Aug 17 '11 at 6:49

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