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Blacklist i915 for Wayland eGPU  

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nu_ninja
(@nu_ninja)
Estimable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 173
March 3, 2019 3:06 am  

I stumbled across this method of getting full, non-Prime eGPU acceleration, which also works for me in (some) Wayland implementations. Here's how it goes:

Process:

To get eGPU working:
1) Blacklist iGPU module
For Intel integrated graphics this is the module called "i915". I blacklisted it by adding the following to the file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

install i915 /bin/false

this ensures the module can't be installed. Note if you have a different type of integrated graphics you could replace the "i915" with whatever module controls your iGPU, however, it can't be the same one that controls your eGPU. For example, "amdgpu" controls all AMD graphics devices so blocking it on a laptop with an AMD APU would also prevent an AMD eGPU from working.

2) Update initramfs image
For the Ubuntu installation I'm testing, this is done with the command:

sudo update-initramfs -u

3) Restart with eGPU connected
Now that the iGPU can't work anymore, the computer should see only the eGPU and its outputs. This means a blank internal display and fully eGPU accelerated external displays.

To return to normal and get the iGPU working again, simply remove the line added to the file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf then repeat step 2 and restart.

Complications:

If you don't already have automatic login, you will likely be greeted with a black screen after restarting. Auto login was the easiest way I found to get around this issue, though other methods could be used to show the login screen on the external display. Beyond this there were occasional graphics glitches when logging in or starting a new application. Finally, while KDE Plasma (Wayland) worked under this method, I couldn't get the GNOME Wayland desktop working. On attempting to login, the screen would just flash black and return to the login screen.

Overall, I definitely wouldn't choose this method over our current scripts for X11 implementations, however, these scripts obviously only work for X11 and not Wayland. If you really want to use a Wayland desktop, this seems to be a much better method for it than the previous way of simply setting DRI_PRIME=1.

Mid-2012 13" Macbook Pro (MacBookPro9,2) TB1 -> RX 460/560 (AKiTiO Node/Thunder2)
+ macOS 10.14+Win10
+ Linux Mint 19.1


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