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 Identifier "My GPU"

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AMD/ATI Open Source Drivers (radeon, r128, mach64)

This page describes use of the open source display drivers for ATI/AMD graphics hardware on Debian systems. For information on the proprietary driver, see ATIProprietary.


The AMD/ATI graphics processing unit (GPU) series/codename of an installed video card can usually be identified using the lspci command. For example:

  • $ lspci -nn | grep VGA
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Barts PRO [Radeon HD 6850] [1002:6739]

See HowToIdentifyADevice/PCI for more information.


Support for AMD (nee ATI) graphics hardware is provided by the xserver-xorg-video-ati driver wrapper package, which depends on three hardware-specific driver packages:

The ati wrapper driver autodetects whether your hardware has a Radeon, Rage 128, or Mach64 or earlier chip and load the radeon, r128, or mach64 xorg video driver as appropriate.

Supported Devices

The radeon driver in Debian 7 "Wheezy" supports R100 to Cayman (Radeon 7000 - Radeon HD 69xx) GPUs. See the radeon(4) manual page and the radeon page on the X wiki for more information.


Proprietary, binary-only firmware (aka microcode) was removed from the Debian kernel's radeon DRM driver in linux-2.6 2.6.29-1, to resolve Debian bug 494009. The firmware can be provided by installing the firmware-linux-nonfree package.

Without this package installed, poor 2D/3D performance in the radeon driver is commonly experienced. Some GPUs may require firmware to operate the X Window System.


The following procedure will install the open source display driver packages, DRI modules (for 3D acceleration) and driver firmware/microcode:

  1. Add "contrib" and "non-free" components to /etc/apt/sources.list, for example:

    # Debian 7 "Wheezy"
    deb http://http.debian.net/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free
  2. Update the list of available packages:

    # apt-get update
  3. Install the firmware-linux-nonfree, libgl1-mesa-dri and xserver-xorg-video-ati packages:

    # apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree libgl1-mesa-dri xserver-xorg-video-ati
  4. Restart your system to load GPU device firmware.


  • Use of firmware/microcode used by the radeon DRM driver can be verified using the dmesg command. For example:

    $ dmesg | grep -E 'drm|radeon' | grep -iE 'firmware|microcode'
    [    3.685235] [drm] Loading BARTS Microcode
    [    3.768988] platform radeon_cp.0: firmware: agent loaded radeon/BARTS_pfp.bin into memory
    [    3.861487] platform radeon_cp.0: firmware: agent loaded radeon/BARTS_me.bin into memory
    [    3.929626] platform radeon_cp.0: firmware: agent loaded radeon/BTC_rlc.bin into memory
    [    4.442259] platform radeon_cp.0: firmware: agent loaded radeon/BARTS_mc.bin into memory
  • Screen flickering with Adobe Flash: see FlashPlayer#flickering.


In most cases, manual configuration for the open source display drivers is not required, as the Xorg X server automatically detects and configures available hardware.

The following optional configuration can be used to increase 3D performance. See the xorg.conf(5) and radeon(4) manual pages for more information.

  • Section "Device"
     Driver "radeon"
     Identifier "My GPU"
     Option "AccelMethod" "XAA"
     # XAA/EXA
     Option "AccelDFS"    "1"
     # 1/0 On for PCIE, off for AGP
     # Manpage: Use  or  don't  use accelerated EXA DownloadFromScreen hook
     # when possible.
     Option "AGPMode" "1"
     # 1-8 Does not affect PCIE models.
     Option "AGPFastWrite" "1"
     # 1/0 Does not affect PCIE models. Not recommended.
     Option "GARTSize" "64"
     # 0-64 Megabytes of gart (system) memory used.
     # Wrongly defaults to 8MB sometimes, see your logfile.
     # Bigger seems better.
     Option "EnablePageFlip" "1"
     # 1/0 Increases 3D performance substantially
     # seemingly in XAA mode only
     Option "ColorTiling" "1"
     # 1/0 Increases 3D performance substantially
     # affected stability only positively on my system

See Also