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radeon is a family of open source graphics drivers for older AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards. Cards based on Graphics Core Next (GCN) 2.0 "Sea Islands" are also fully supported by the newer AMDGPU driver, which also features experimental support for GCN1.1 (Southern Islands). Neither this nor the AMDGPU article cover installation and configuration of the closed source drivers (see the next paragraph).

Be aware AMD has dropped the support for closed source fglrx drivers (called Catalyst on Windows). The fglrx drivers only work with certain versions of the X server. This is contrary to the open source drivers, which are now compiled against the system's currently installed kernel and X server.

Those interested in the new closed source AMDGPU-PRO drivers (called Crimson on Windows) should head over to the AMDGPU-PRO article.



Hardware detection

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

root #lspci | grep -i VGA

Feature support

Family Chipset name Product name OpenGL OpenGL ES VIDEO_CARDS
R1006 R100, RV100, RV200, RS100, RS200 7xxx, 320-345 1.3 No radeon r100
R2006 R200, RV250, RV280, RS300 8xxx-9250 1.4 No radeon r200
R300 R300, R350, RV350, RV370, 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 3.3 2.0 radeon r600
R700 RV770, RV730, RV710, RV740 HD4330-HD5165, HD5xxV 3.3 2.0 radeon r600
Evergreen CEDAR, REDWOOD, JUNIPER, CYPRESS, PALM (Wrestler/Ontario), SUMO, SUMO2 (Llano), SUMO2 (Llano) HD5430-HD5970, all HD6xxx not listed under Northern Islands, HD7350 3.3/4.21 2.0/3.2 radeon r600
Northern Islands ARUBA, BARTS, TURKS, CAICOS, CAYMAN HD6450, HD6570, HD6670, HD6790-HD6990, HD64xxM, HD67xxM, HD69xxM, HD7450-HD7670, HD8450, R5 230 3.3/4.51,2 2.0/3.2 radeon r600
Southern Islands3 CAPE VERDE, PITCAIRN, TAHITI, OLAND, HAINAN HD7750-HD7970, HD8550M-HD8790M, R9 270, R9 280, R9 370X, R7 240, R7 250 4.64 3.2 radeon radeonsi
Sea Islands5 BONAIRE, KABINI, MULLINS, KAVERI, HAWAII HD7790, HD8180-HD8400, R7 260, R9 290 4.64 3.2 radeon radeonsi
1 OpenGL 4.2+ is currently only supported on CYPRESS, CAYMAN and ARUBA (non-mobile HD6xxx or better). Other chips are limited to OpenGL 3.3 due to lacking 64-bit arithmetic.
2 OpenGL 4.5 requires sys-kernel/gentoo-sources 4.7 or higher.
3 There is experimental support for GCN1.1+ i.e. "Southern Islands" in the AMDGPU driver.
4 OpenGL 4.6 requires media-libs/mesa 20.0.0 or higher[1]
5 The newer AMDGPU driver has full support for GCN2.0 "Sea Islands" and newer.
6 Mesa 22.0 and higher have dropped support for R100 and R200

If the card is not available in the above list the X.org wiki is a good place to look for the latest hardware.


Depending on the card or the features desired, set the following kernel options.


KERNEL General support
Device Drivers  --->
    Graphics 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

AMD "Zen" CPUs

If you have a recent AMD CPU with Secure Memory Encryption (SME), it should not be activated by default (Linux 4.14+). This feature is indicated by sme in flags of /proc/cpuinfo.

KERNEL General support
Processor type and features  --->
    [*/ ] AMD Secure Memory Encryption (SME) support
    [ ]     Activate AMD Secure Memory Encryption (SME) by default


For cards that sit in an AGP slot, enable the AGP driver:

Processor type and features  --->
    [*] MTRR (Memory Type Range Register) support
Device Drivers  --->
    Graphics support  --->        
        <*/M> /dev/agpgart (AGP Support)  --->
            <*/M> AMD Opteron/Athlon64 on-CPU GART support


Some cards have the ability to output audio over the HDMI or DisplayPort connection. Set the following options for audio support:

KERNEL Audio support
Device drivers  --->
    <*/M> Sound card support  --->
        <*/M>   Advanced Linux Sound Architecture  --->
            [*]   PCI sound devices --->
                  HD-Audio  --->
                      <*> HD Audio PCI
                      (2048) Pre-allocated buffer size for HD-audio driver
                      [*] Support initialization patch loading for HD-audio
                      <*> whatever audio codec your soundcard needs
                      <*> Build HDMI/DisplayPort HD-audio codec support
On kernels >= 3.9, Enable modesetting on radeon by default is implied by default.

The options from the Sound card support menu need only to be set if the card supports HDMI or DisplayPort audio and you want to use it. Other options there might be needed as well, e.g. don't set the number of soundcards too low, because even with one Radeon card alsa may detect more than one HDA ATI HDMI device, e.g.

root #aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 0: ALC888 Analog [ALC888 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 1: ALC888 Digital [ALC888 Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 9: HDMI 3 [HDMI 3]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 10: HDMI 4 [HDMI 4]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 11: HDMI 5 [HDMI 5]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0


Microcode (firmware) is required for R500 and newer GPUs. Install sys-kernel/linux-firmware (which also contains other firmware).


USE flags

USE flags for sys-kernel/linux-firmware Linux firmware files

bindist Flag to enable or disable options for prebuilt (GRP) packages (eg. due to licensing issues)
compress-xz Compress firmware using xz (app-arch/xz-utils) before installation
compress-zstd Compress firmware using zstd (app-arch/zstd) before installation
deduplicate Create symlinks for all firmware that is duplicate using rdfind
dist-kernel Enable subslot rebuilds on Distribution Kernel upgrades
initramfs Create and install initramfs for early microcode loading in /boot (only AMD for now)
redistributable Install also non-free (but redistributable) firmware files
savedconfig Allows individual selection of firmware files
unknown-license Install firmware files whose license is unknown

With packages like these, which introduce a number of non-free binary blobs into the 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 at bottom of this article.

However, savedconfig editing is entirely optional, those in a hurry may not want to take this route. The system will work the same, with or without the savedconfig editing.

root #emerge --ask sys-kernel/linux-firmware

Built-in kernel

When radeon has been compiled directly into the kernel (instead of as a module), make sure the firmware for the model (check available ones in /lib/firmware/radeon) is built-in to the kernel as well:

KERNEL Enable support for Linux firmware
Device Drivers  --->
  Generic Driver Options  --->
    Firmware loader --->
       -*- Firmware loading facility
       (radeon/<YOUR-MODEL>.bin) Build named firmware blobs into the 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 the chipset's name in the table below (e.g. for Northern Islands TURKS the correct entry into the kernel would be: (radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/TURKS_mc.bin radeon/TURKS_me.bin radeon/TURKS_pfp.bin radeon/TURKS_smc.bin radeon/SUMO_uvd.bin)

If the kernel cannot find the required firmware, in dmesg output there can be something like this:

root #dmesg | less
[   11.413985] [drm] Loading R500 Microcode
[   11.413991] Loading firmware: radeon/R520_cp.bin
[   11.414074] radeon 0000:01:00.0: Direct firmware load for radeon/R520_cp.bin failed with error -2
[   11.414085] radeon_cp: Failed to load firmware "radeon/R520_cp.bin"
[   11.414089] [drm:radeon_get_legacy_connector_info_from_table [radeon]] *ERROR* Failed to load firmware!

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

Family Chipset name Product name Firmware
R500 RV515 X1300-1500 radeon/R520_cp.bin
R600 R600, RV610, RV630, RV620, RV635, RV670 HD2400-2900, HD3450-3870 radeon/R600_rlc.bin radeon/R600_uvd.bin
RS780, RS880 HD3200, HD3300, HD4200 radeon/R600_rlc.bin radeon/RS780_uvd.bin radeon/RS780_pfp.bin radeon/RS780_me.bin
R700 RV710 HD4300, HD4500, HD5145 radeon/R700_rlc.bin radeon/RV710_smc.bin radeon/RV710_uvd.bin radeon/RV710_pfp.bin radeon/RV710_me.bin
RV730 HD4600, HD5100, HD500V radeon/R700_rlc.bin radeon/RV730_smc.bin radeon/RV710_uvd.bin radeon/RV730_me.bin radeon/RV730_pfp.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 radeon/RV770_uvd.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, HD6770 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, HD6480G, HD6520G, HD6620G 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, HD7450, HD8450, R5 230, 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 radeon/TAHITI_vce.bin
Southern Islands CAPE VERDE HD7750, HD7770, HD7870M, R7 250, R7 250X, R9 370X 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 radeon/TAHITI_vce.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/pitcairn_k_smc.bin radeon/TAHITI_uvd.bin radeon/TAHITI_vce.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 radeon/TAHITI_vce.bin
OLAND HD8550M-HD8790M, R7 240 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_smc.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin radeon/BONAIRE_vce.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 radeon/BONAIRE_vce.bin
KAVERI radeon/kaveri_ce.bin radeon/kaveri_me.bin radeon/kaveri_mec2.bin radeon/kaveri_mec.bin radeon/kaveri_pfp.bin radeon/kaveri_rlc.bin radeon/kaveri_sdma.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin radeon/BONAIRE_vce.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 radeon/BONAIRE_vce.bin
MULLINS radeon/mullins_ce.bin radeon/mullins_me.bin radeon/mullins_mec.bin radeon/mullins_pfp.bin radeon/mullins_rlc.bin radeon/mullins_sdma.bin radeon/BONAIRE_uvd.bin radeon/BONAIRE_vce.bin

USE flags

USE flags for x11-drivers/xf86-video-ati ATI video driver

udev Enable virtual/udev integration (device discovery, power and storage device support, etc)


Portage uses the VIDEO_CARDS variable for enabling support for various graphics cards. Setting the VIDEO_CARDS variable to radeon (see the feature matrix above) then asking Portage to rebuild the @world set will pull in the correct driver for older radeon cards:

FILE /etc/portage/make.conf
Glamor OpenGL 2D acceleration, which is enabled by default, should be disabled for R5xx and older cards.

After the values have been ask Portage to rebuild the changed USE flags in the @world set so the /etc/portage/make.conf change takes effect:

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



If the acl USE flag is enabled globally and elogind is being used (default for desktop profiles) permissions to video cards will be handled automatically. It is possible to check the permissions using getfacl:

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

A broader solution is to add the user(s) needing access the video card to the video group:

root #gpasswd -a larry video

Note that users will be able to run X without permission to the DRI subsystem, but hardware acceleration will be disabled.


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 xorg.conf.

The X server can be forced 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, 3.12

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
Power Management with Linux Kernel >= 3.13

Linux Kernel 3.13 enabled dynamic power managment by default for a lot of video cards.

  • 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 NOT be on full speed as it was before.

Power consumption when using multi-head / multi-monitor

When using more than one monitor at once, the power consumption of the graphics card increases up to additional 150% relative to its idle power consumption, because the memory clock switches to full speed (see above). This behavior causes a system using a Radeon HD6870 card to consume around 30 W of additional power when running in multi-monitor mode than in single-monitor mode. This behavior can be avoided by using power method "profile" instead of "dpm" and by forcing "profile" to "low".

Using power method "dpm" and setting a low power profile (i.e. "balanced") is sure possible but useless in this case. The "dpm" method does not allow to forcibly remain on a certain power preset, because it uses the internal GPU hardware to dynamically change the clocks and voltages depending on the current GPU load. As a result, the power consumption increases as soon as you activate a second monitor (because the GPU hardware wants it so).

  • Deactivate dpm first (Kernel >= 3.13) with an appropriate kernel commandline via GRUB at boottime:
FILE /boot/grub/grub.cfg
"dpm" is the default power management method since kernel 3.13, supported on R6xx and newer asics.
  • After rebooting the system to desktop, force the power profile to "low". (This can also be automated by creating a /etc/local.d/* script):
root #echo "low" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

Limitation: For my KDE/Plasma desktop environment this procedure will only work when the power profile level is assigned after KDE/Plasma has started. An automated command in /etc/local.d/*.start is not sufficient. The memory clock rises and remains high (like normal behavior).

Solution: Let KDE/Plasma do the job with its autostart feature.

  • Allow the user to change the power profile by giving him the appropriate privilege when booting. Create a file like the following:
FILE /etc/local.d/pm.start
chown <YourUser> /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile
  • Add a startscript to KDE5/Plasma autostart:
FILE ~/.config/autostart/pm.sh
#! /bin/sh
echo low > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile
exit 0
  • Do not forget to make it executable:
user $ chmod +x ~/.config/autostart/pm.sh

You can check the result via kernel debugfs (see above) and it should be similar:

root #cat /sys/kernel/debug/dri/0/radeon_pm_info
default engine clock: 900000 kHz
current engine clock: 99990 kHz
default memory clock: 1050000 kHz
current memory clock: 150000 kHz
voltage: 950 mV
PCIE lanes: 16

Benefit: After these changes, you may use as many monitors as possible without an increased power consumption of your system. Despite the fact that the GPU memory clock is constantly reduced there are still enough graphic resources left to render desktop effects, to play HD movies (also with USE="vdpau") and to do all the regular stuff to get your work done.

I recommend using two entries in GRUB (with and without DPM) and creating a startscript based on the value of /sys/module/radeon/parameters/dpm (0 = DPM off, 1 = DPM on), in order to automatically adjust the power management, based on the decision at boottime (single-head with DPM vs. multi-head without DPM).


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 Comment
radeon.pcie_gen2=1 kernel commandline Run at PCI-E 2.0 speeds per default Enabled by default since kernel 3.6
radeon.audio=1 kernel commandline Enable HDMI audio on some cards Enabled by default since kernel 3.13
radeon.dpm=1 kernel commandline Enable dynamic power management on some cards1 Enabled by default since kernel 3.13
R600_STREAMOUT=1 Environment variable Enable the use of OpenGL 3.0/4.2 on some cards Enabled by default since Mesa 8.0
R600_HYPERZ=1 Environment variable Enable the use Hyper-Z on some cards See Bugs: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=75112
R600_TILING=1 Environment variable Enable 2D Tiling on some cards (also needs the xorg.conf parameter set) This option is probably activated by default, see man radeon
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 Enabled by default since Mesa 8.0
ColorTiling2D True xorg.conf parameter Enable 2D Color Tiling in conjunction with R600_TILING=1 and R600_SURF=1 This option is probably activated by default, see man radeon

Further driver parameters can be found via the command modinfo radeon. They are listed next to parm:. Add the prefix radeon. to use them (i.e. radeon.backlight=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 Including 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 radeon.audio=1. 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:

FILE ~/.asoundrc
pcm.!default {
  type plug
  slave.pcm "hdmi"

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

Another solution is to enable the pulseaudio USE flag, update the system and use pavucontrol to set the HDMI port as fallback (or use pavucontrol to change manually which application uses which audio port).

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 && make modules_install && make install

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

mesa-amber for r100 and r200

With the introduction of Mesa 22, the classic driver was dropped from the main library[2]. One way to restore acceleration is to use media-libs/mesa-amber.

First, unless there is another Radeon video card in the system (which is unlikely on such an old setup), disable llvm and video_cards_radeon USE flags in package.use for media-libs/mesa:

FILE /etc/portage/package.use/mesa-amber
media-libs/mesa -llvm -video_cards_radeon

Then, install mesa-amber:

root #emerge --ask media-libs/mesa-amber

This may or may not need further configuration.


Debug tools

It might be helpful to install the package x11-apps/mesa-progs, which provides the packages glxgears and glxinfo.

Glamor does not load

If you see errors like "glamor detected, failed to initialize EGL.", then try enabling USE="gbm egl gles2 llvm" in the mesa builds.

If you see errors like "Failed to link: error: fragment shader lacks `main'", then make sure the glamor package has been built with USE="-gles".

On cards that are supported by radeonsi (starting at Southern Island, see the feature matrix) make sure to not only specify "radeon" but also "radeonsi" as the driver.

Poor X server performance

If graphic performance (such as playing videos) is terrible, then make sure KMS Color Tiling is enabled. You can see this in your Xorg log:

[  3407.235] (II) RADEON(0): KMS Color Tiling: enabled
[  3407.235] (II) RADEON(0): KMS Color Tiling 2D: enabled
[  3407.235] (II) RADEON(0): KMS Pageflipping: enabled

If you see "no" instead of "enabled", then you'll have to look earlier in the log to see why it's been disabled. If glamor failed to load, see the previous troubleshooting item.

Trouble with integrated graphics (A8 or similar)

When having trouble getting an on chip integrated graphic core to work (strange visuals/black screen) the solution may be found in the motherboard's BIOS settings.

In some cases it appears the 'auto' settings don't work correctly, so make sure to explicitly enable the integrated graphics. In my case (MSI A88XM-E45 motherboard):

Settings > Advanced > Integrated Graphics Configuration > Initiate Graphics Devices - I changed this from 'auto' to 'Dual graphics'

Settings > Advanced > Integrated Graphics Configuration > Initiate Graphics Shared Memory - This then appeared which I gave a setting

After this all problems cleared up.

radeon_drv.so undefined symbol exaGetPixmapDriverPrivate


X refuses to start.

Error Message:

symbol lookup error /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/radeon_drv.so undefined symbol exaGetPixmapDriverPrivate ...

xinit unable to connect to X server : Bad file descriptor.


Reconfigure the Kernel, making ATI Radeon (CONFIG_DRM_RADEON) and Direct Rendering (CONFIG_DRM) load as a Module [M], as opposed to a built-in [*].

Bug trackers

See also

  • ATI FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help users avoid some common installation and configuration issues related to DRI and X11 for AMD/ATI boards.
  • Amdgpu — the open source graphics drivers for AMD Radeon and other GPUs.
  • Amdgpu-pro — the next generation closed source graphics component that operates on top of the open source AMDGPU drivers for newer AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards.
  • Fglrx — the proprietary graphics driver for older AMD/ATI graphic cards.
  • fglrx Quick Switch - Quickly switch between fglrx and this driver using GRUB 2 without downgrading xorg-server.
  • Hprofile — an application that can be used to manage multiple profiles be it hardware or software.

External resources