Last updated on October 19, 2020 by Dan Nanni
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.
lspci, it's a good idea to update PCI ID list with the latest version as follows.
$ sudo update-pciids
Then use the following command to show the vendor/model names of your video card.
$ lspci | grep -E "VGA|3D"
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.
$ sudo lspci -v -s 00:02.0
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
$ sudo lshw -c video
*-display description: VGA compatible controller product: 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller vendor: Intel Corporation physical id: 2 bus info: [email protected]: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 on Ubuntu, Debian or Linux Mint desktop:
$ sudo apt-get install hardinfo
hardinfo on RedHat-based systems, use
yum command. Note that on CentOS or RHEL, you first need to enable Repoforge repository before running
$ sudo yum install hardinfo
hardinfo is installed, launch it as follows.
Then navigate to
PCI Devices ->
VGA compatible controller to view video card information.
To identify the name of video driver used, you can use
lshw command described above.
$ sudo lshw -c video | grep configuration
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.
$ modinfo i915
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 . . . . .