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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.

Identification

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

See HowToIdentifyADevice/PCI for more information.

Drivers

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.

Firmware

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.

Installation

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.

Troubleshooting

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

If files were unable to be loaded, ensure the firmware-linux-nonfree package is installed (refer to Installation).


If you are experiencing screen flickering / blinking in dual monitor mode with AMD/ATI video cards, this issue is cause by Flash player, the following steps might fix that issue.

  1. Using your browser view any webpage containing a flash video
  2. Right click on the video, select "Settings" option, uncheck "Enable hardware acceleration" option
  3. Close your browser, reopen it, right click on the video, select "Settings" option, check "Enable hardware acceleration" option

Thanks to krnb0iek for this solution

Configuration

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.

See Also