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radeon is a family of open source graphics drivers for AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards.

Hardware detection

To choose the right driver, first detect the graphics card. You can use lspci for this task:

root # lspci | grep -i VGA

Feature support

Family Chipset name Product name OpenGL OpenGL ES VIDEO_CARDS
R100 R100, RV100, RV200, RS100, RS200 7xxx, 320-345 1.3 No radeon r100
R200 R200, RV250, RV280, RS300 8xxx-9250 1.4 No radeon r200
R300 R300, R350, RV350, RV380, RS400, RS480 9500-9800, X300-X600, X1050-X1150, 200M 2.1 2.0 radeon r300
R400 R420, R423, RV410, RS600, RS690, RS740 X700-X850, X12xx, 2100 2.1 2.0 radeon r300
R500 RV515, R520, RV530, RV560, RV570, R580 X1300-X2300, HD2300 2.1 2.0 radeon r300
R600 R600, RV610, RV630, RV620, RV635, RV670, RS780, RS880 HD2400-HD4290 3.0 (3.1)1 2.0 radeon r600
R700 RV770, RV730, RV710, RV740 HD4330-HD5165, HD5xxV 3.0 (3.1)1 2.0 radeon r600
Evergreen CEDAR, REDWOOD, JUNIPER, CYPRESS, PALM (Wrestler), SUMO, SUMO2 HD5430-HD5970, all HD6xxx not listed under Northern Islands, HD7350 3.0 (3.1)1 2.0 radeon r600
Northern Islands ARUBA, BARTS, TURKS, CAICOS, CAYMAN HD6450, HD6570, HD6670, HD6790-HD6990, HD64xxM, HD67xxM, HD69xxM, HD7450-HD7670 3.0 (3.1)1 2.0 radeon r600
Southern Islands CAPE VERDE, PITCAIRN, TAHITI HD7750-HD7970 3.02 (3.1)1 2.0 radeon radeonsi
1) Needs testing packages: >=mesa-9.1
2) Work in Progress



You need to set the following kernel options:

Kernel configuration

Processor type and features  --->
    [*] MTRR (Memory Type Range Register) support
Device Drivers  --->
    Graphics support  --->

        If your card sits in an AGP slot, choose your AGP driver, e.g.:
        <*/M> /dev/agpgart (AGP Support)  --->
            <*/M> AMD Opteron/Athlon64 on-CPU GART support

        <*/M> Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support) --->
            <*/M> ATI Radeon
            [*] Enable modesetting on radeon by default

        -*- Support for frame buffer devices  --->
            < >   ATI Radeon display support


Microcode is required for R600 and newer GPUs. Install either x11-drivers/radeon-ucode or sys-kernel/linux-firmware (contains also other firmware), either:

root # emerge --ask radeon-ucode


root # emerge --ask linux-firmware

Also, with packages like these, which introduce a number of non-free blobs into your system, if you are security aware, it pays to use the savedconfig use flag, and do some removing of the unnecessary lines, or better yet uncommenting them, from the respective savedconfig file. See "How to install the linux-firmware package in Gentoo" in External resources in bottom.

However, savedconfig editing is entirely optional, if you are in a hurry. System will work the same, with or without the savedconfig editing.

If you compiled radeon directly into the kernel instead of as a module, make sure firmware for your model (check available ones in /lib/firmware/radeon) is included in kernel:

Kernel configuration

Device Drivers  --->
    Generic Driver Options  --->
        -*- Userspace firmware loading support
        [*] Include in-kernel firmware blobs in kernel binary
            (/lib/firmware) Firmware blobs root directory
radeon/<YOUR-MODEL>.bin should be replaced with the full list (space separated) appearing in front of your chipset's name in the table below (e.g. for Northern Islands/TURKS: (radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/TURKS_mc.bin radeon/TURKS_me.bin radeon/TURKS_pfp.bin radeon/TURKS_smc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin)

Below is a list of the firmware files needed for each family/chipset of cards:

Family Chipset name Product name Firmware
R600 R600, RV610, RV630, RV620, RV635, RV670, RS780, RS880 HD2400-HD4290 radeon/R600_rlc.bin
R700 RV710 HD4300 radeon/R700_rlc.bin radeon/RV710_smc.bin radeon/RV710_uvd.bin
RV730 HD4500, HD4600, HD5100, HD500V radeon/R700_rlc.bin radeon/RV730_smc.bin radeon/RV710_uvd.bin
RV740 HD4770 radeon/R700_rlc.bin radeon/RV740_smc.bin radeon/RV710_uvd.bin
RV790, RV770 HD4730, HD4830-HD4890 radeon/R700_rlc.bin radeon/RV770_smc.bin
Evergreen CEDAR HD5450, HD6350, HD7350, R5 220 radeon/CEDAR_me.bin radeon/CEDAR_pfp.bin radeon/CEDAR_rlc.bin radeon/CEDAR_smc.bin radeon/CYPRESS_uvd.bin
REDWOOD HD5550, HD5570, HD5670 radeon/REDWOOD_me.bin radeon/REDWOOD_pfp.bin radeon/REDWOOD_rlc.bin radeon/REDWOOD_smc.bin radeon/CYPRESS_uvd.bin
JUNIPER HD5750, HD5770 radeon/JUNIPER_me.bin radeon/JUNIPER_pfp.bin radeon/JUNIPER_rlc.bin radeon/JUNIPER_smc.bin radeon/CYPRESS_uvd.bin
CYPRESS HD5830, HD5850, HD5870, HD5970 radeon/CYPRESS_me.bin radeon/CYPRESS_pfp.bin radeon/CYPRESS_rlc.bin radeon/CYPRESS_smc.bin radeon/CYPRESS_uvd.bin
PALM (Wrestler) HD6250, HD6310, HD7310, HD7340 radeon/PALM_me.bin radeon/PALM_pfp.bin radeon/SUMO_rlc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
SUMO HD6290, HD6320 radeon/SUMO_me.bin radeon/SUMO_pfp.bin radeon/SUMO_rlc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
SUMO2 HD6370D, HD6410D radeon/SUMO2_me.bin radeon/SUMO2_pfp.bin radeon/SUMO_rlc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
Northern Islands CAICOS HD6450, HD64xxM, R5 235, R5 235X radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/CAICOS_mc.bin radeon/CAICOS_me.bin radeon/CAICOS_pfp.bin radeon/CAICOS_smc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
TURKS HD6570, HD6670, HD7550M/7570M/7650M radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/TURKS_mc.bin radeon/TURKS_me.bin radeon/TURKS_pfp.bin radeon/TURKS_smc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
BARTS HD6790, HD6850, HD6870, HD67xxM radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/BARTS_mc.bin radeon/BARTS_me.bin radeon/BARTS_pfp.bin radeon/BARTS_smc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
CAYMAN HD6950, HD6970, HD6990, HD69xxM radeon/CAYMAN_mc.bin radeon/CAYMAN_me.bin radeon/CAYMAN_pfp.bin radeon/CAYMAN_rlc.bin radeon/CAYMAN_smc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin
ARUBA HD7400D/G, HD7500D/G, HD7600D/G, HD7660D, HD8310G, HD8410G-HD8670G radeon/ARUBA_me.bin radeon/ARUBA_pfp.bin radeon/ARUBA_rlc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin
Southern Islands CAPE VERDE HD7750, HD7770, R7 250X radeon/VERDE_ce.bin radeon/VERDE_mc.bin radeon/VERDE_me.bin radeon/VERDE_pfp.bin radeon/VERDE_rlc.bin radeon/VERDE_smc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin
PITCAIRN HD7800, R9 270X radeon/PITCAIRN_ce.bin radeon/PITCAIRN_mc.bin radeon/PITCAIRN_me.bin radeon/PITCAIRN_pfp.bin radeon/PITCAIRN_rlc.bin radeon/PITCAIRN_smc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin
TAHITI HD7870 XT, HD7900, R9 280X radeon/TAHITI_ce.bin radeon/TAHITI_mc.bin radeon/TAHITI_me.bin radeon/TAHITI_pfp.bin radeon/TAHITI_rlc.bin radeon/TAHITI_smc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin
OLAND HD8550M-HD8790M, R7 240, R7 250 radeon/OLAND_ce.bin radeon/OLAND_mc.bin radeon/OLAND_me.bin radeon/OLAND_pfp.bin radeon/OLAND_rlc.bin radeon/OLAND_smc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin
HAINAN HD8970M radeon/HAINAN_ce.bin radeon/HAINAN_mc.bin radeon/HAINAN_me.bin radeon/HAINAN_pfp.bin radeon/HAINAN_rlc.bin radeon/HAINAN_smc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin
Sea Islands BONAIRE HD7790, R7 260, R7 260X radeon/BONAIRE_ce.bin radeon/BONAIRE_mc.bin radeon/BONAIRE_me.bin radeon/BONAIRE_mec.bin radeon/BONAIRE_pfp.bin radeon/BONAIRE_rlc.bin radeon/BONAIRE_sdma.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin
KABINI HD8180-HD8400 radeon/KABINI_ce.bin radeon/KABINI_me.bin radeon/KABINI_mec.bin radeon/KABINI_pfp.bin radeon/KABINI_rlc.bin radeon/KABINI_sdma.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin
KAVERI radeon/KAVERI_ce.bin radeon/KAVERI_me.bin radeon/KAVERI_mec.bin radeon/KAVERI_pfp.bin radeon/KAVERI_rlc.bin radeon/KAVERI_sdma.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin
HAWAII R9 290, R9 290X radeon/HAWAII_ce.bin radeon/HAWAII_mc.bin radeon/HAWAII_me.bin radeon/HAWAII_mec.bin radeon/HAWAII_pfp.bin radeon/HAWAII_rlc.bin radeon/HAWAII_sdma.bin radeon/HAWAII_smc.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin


Portage uses the variable VIDEO_CARDS for enabling support for various graphics cards in packages. Setting VIDEO_CARDS to e.g. radeon (see the feature matrix) will pull in the correct driver:



Check the USE flags of x11-drivers/xf86-video-ati:

→ Information about USE flags
USE flag Default Recommended Description
glamor No No (For Northern Islands and older cards) Disable Glamor OpenGL 2D acceleration
glamor No Yes (For Southern Islands and newer cards) Enable Glamor OpenGL 2D acceleration
udev Yes Yes Enable sys-fs/udev integration (device discovery, power and storage device support, etc)

After setting this you want to update your system so the changes take effect:

root # emerge --ask --changed-use --deep @world



If you have the USE flag acl enabled globally and are using ConsoleKit (i.e you're using a Desktop profile) permissions to video cards will be handled automatically. You can check the permissions using getfacl:

user $ getfacl /dev/dri/card0 | grep larry

A broader solution is to add the user you want to be able to access the video card to the video group:

root # gpasswd -a larry video

Note that you will still be able to run X without permission to the DRI subsystem, but usually not with acceleration enabled.


The X server is designed to work out-of-the-box, with no need to manually edit X.Org's configuration files. It should detect and configure devices such as displays, keyboards, and mice.

However, the main configuration file of the X server is the xorg.conf.

You can force the X server to use desired driver with:

File/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/radeon.confExplicit radeon driver section

 Section "Device"
   Identifier  "radeon"
   Driver      "radeon"

Advanced configuration

Power Management

Power management can be set in the sysfs filesystem as follows:

  • Check the current power method:
root # cat /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
  • Change the power method:
The "dynpm" method dynamically changes the clocks based on demand. (not effective as of June 27, 2012)
root # echo "dynpm" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
The "profile" method lets you set a profile on how the card should behave.
root # echo "profile" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
  • Check the current profile:
root # cat /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile
  • Change the profile:
Options for profile:
  1. "default" no change of clock speeds
  2. "auto" switches between "mid" and "high" power states based on the whether the system is on battery power or not. The "low" power state are selected when the monitors are in the dpms off state.
  3. "low" forces the GPU to be in the low power state all the time. Note that "low" can cause display problems on some laptops; this is why auto does not use "low" when displays are active.
  4. "mid" forces the GPU to be in the "mid" power state all the time. The "low" power state is selected when the monitors are in the dpms off state.
  5. "high" forces the GPU to be in the "high" power state all the time. The "low" power state is selected when the monitors are in the dpms off state.
root # echo "low" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile
  • Check the current GPU, Memory clocks and voltage (needs to have kernel debugfs enabled):
root # cat /sys/kernel/debug/dri/0/radeon_pm_info
With more than one monitor connected, the memory clock will always be on full speed.
On APU chipsets, those settings have little to no effect and give inconclusive results.
Power Management with Linux Kernel >= 3.11

Linux Kernel 3.11 introduces improved power management for some radeon cards, to activate it pass the parameter radeon.dpm=1 to the kernel.

Performance APU GPUs can be rapidly increased by enabling this option, which allow them use profiles with maximum clocks.
  • Check the dynamic power management state
root # cat /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_dpm_state
  • Change the dynamic power management state
root # echo "performance" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_dpm_state
Other valid options include "battery" and "balanced"

In order to verify that the new dynamic power management code is active check radeon_pm_info (see above), it should say something like

uvd vclk: 0 dclk: 0
power level 0 sclk: 25000 mclk: 15000 vddc: 900 vddci: 950
Using the new dynamic power management will disable the use of the power profiles mentioned above


I couldn't find a summary of all options available so feel free to add to this.

There are several options to tweak the radeon driver and some of these might break your desktop, so if you are uncomfortable with the console better stick to default.
Parameter Application Effect
radeon.pcie_gen2=1 kernel commandline Run at PCI-E 2.0 speeds per default kernel commandline Enable HDMI audio on some cards
radeon.dpm=1 kernel commandline Enable dynamic power management on some cards1
R600_STREAMOUT=1 Environment variable Enable the use of OpenGL 3.0/4.2 on some cards
R600_HYPERZ=1 Environment variable Enable the use Hyper-Z on some cards
R600_TILING=1 Environment variable Enable 2D Tiling on some cards (also needs the xorg.conf parameter set)
R600_SURF=1 Environment variable Enable 2D Tiling on some cards (also needs the xorg.conf parameter set)
R600_GLSL130=1 Environment variable Enable more features of the OpenGL 3.0 API
ColorTiling2D True xorg.conf parameter Enable 2D Color Tiling in conjunction with R600_TILING=1 and R600_SURF=1
Tuning with mesa from git

Mesa from git (=mesa-9999) offers a different way to tune the 3D driver. Use the environment variable R600_DEBUG with the following options

Parameter Effect
help List all of the configuration options

See mesa commit for more information.

  • Kernel parameters can be just added to the kernel commandline in grub.cfg or grub.conf.
  • Environment variables could be put into a file like /etc/env.d/99radeon to have them initialized during boot.
  • xorg.conf parameter are usual in the Device section for the card.
  • A full list of kernel parameters can be found here: X.Org Wiki - RadeonFeature
  • S3TC compression needed for some applications like most 3D games: media-libs/libtxc_dxtn
1) supported by Linux kernel 3.11


lm sensors can be used to monitor the cards temperature. It uses the I2C interface, which needs to be enabled in the kernel:

Kernel configurationIncluding radeon firmware

Device Drivers --->
    Graphics support --->
        <*> Support for frame buffer devices --->
            <*> ATI Radeon display support 
                [*] DDC/I2C for ATI Radeon support
R6xx and newer radeons have an internal thermal sensor that is exposed by the driver on most cards that utilize it. On pre-r6xx hardware, the thermal sensor was an external i2c chip, so you need to choose and load the appropriate i2c hwmon driver.

Audio over HDMI

Audio through the HDMI port is available for some cards. Check the X.Org Wiki - Radeon Feature Matrix for the model family. A recent 3.x kernel may be needed.

If you are using a kernel older than 3.13, HDMI audio must be explicitly enabled using the kernel commandline paramater In addition, ALSA typically does not use HDMI as the default audio, so one way to force this as the default is to add a config file:


pcm.!default {
  type plug
  slave.pcm "hdmi"

which may be moved to /etc/asound.conf to make HDMI audio the system-wide default.

Multichannel LPCM

If you want to enjoy full 5.1 HDMI sound on your gentoo rig try out anssi's HDMI audio patch as mentioned in the phoronix forums.

root # cd /usr/src/linux
root # patch -p1 < atihdmi5.patch
root # make && sudo make modules_install && sudo make install

Check your bootloader config to use the correct kernel and reboot.

See also

  • fglrx - Closed source binary driver for AMD/ATI graphic cards.
  • fglrx Quick Switch - Quickly switch between fglrx and this driver using GRUB 2 without downgrading xorg-server.
  • hprofile - Another method for switching between graphics drivers.


External resources