HOWTO: Get AMD/ATI or Nvidia Video Cards working in Sabayon

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Revision as of 10:16, 11 November 2015 by Mudler (talk | contribs) (AMD APU + AMD PCI-E Graphics)

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FGLRX only covers HD5XXX series and higher. The r600-HD4xxx require Open Source Drivers. This guide doesn't cover hybrid (i.e. intel-ati on many new laptops) as I don't have one to test on.

Kernel Upgrade (optional)

Method 1 (kernel-switcher tool)

This method should automagically install the corresponding driver updates and addons such as the zfs mod.

Lets see what is available!

localhost root # kernel-switcher list

Find a kernel you wish to use, and switch!

localhost root # kernel-switcher switch linux-sabayon-4.1.7

Method 2 (Manual)

This method isn't better or worse than kernel-switcher. It just allows you to know exactly whats going on, what you are doing, and what is changing. This method doesn't automagically upgrade drivers or install addons such as virtualbox addons or the zfs mod.

localhost root # equo install sys-kernel/linux-sabayon
localhost root # equo install sys-kernel/sabayon-sources

Now use eselect to set the soft links(shortcuts) to the proper libraries and files. eselect allows us to keep different libraries so we can switch without damaging the system by replacing important files.

First off we need to know which is our new kernel and bzimage

localhost root # eselect bzimage list
localhost root # eselect kernel list

You should get something like this...

localhost root # eselect bzimage list
Available kernel targets:
  [1]   kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.13.0-sabayon *
  [2]   kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.14.0-sabayon
localhost root # eselect kernel list
Available kernel symlink targets:
  [1]   linux-3.13.0-sabayon
  [2]   linux-3.14.0-sabayon *
localhost root # 

Now select the newer bzimage and kernel.

localhost root # eselect bzimage set 2
localhost root # eselect kernel set 2

Once your new kernel is installed reboot!

AMD - New Sabayon install w/FGLRX

Upon booting your Live Disc, you will notice a GRUB screen that varies based on UEFI and NON-UEFI.

- UEFI -

      Select "Advanced Options"
      Select "Disable Kernel Mode Settings (for AMD Radeon GPUs with FGRLX)"
      Boot Live Disc


      Press F5 for "Other Options"
      Select "nomodeset"
      Boot Live Disc

AMD APU + AMD PCI-E Graphics

Found a hiccup with graphics detections and Sabayon installation. Getting stuck at root login shell?

Yeah, it has to do with having 2 Graphic Cards, APU + PCI-E. You have the APU disabled in BIOS you say?

This mainly happens with fglrx installations.

sabayon ~ # lspci
00:01.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Kaveri [Radeon R7 Graphics]
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Fiji XT [Radeon R9 FURY X] (rev ca)

Sometimes it doesn't matter. Pending on the motherboard, the hardware is still attached (its part of the CPU!) and seen, thus detected and configured as such. This detects both cards and populates them in order seen then assigns them separate "screens" in xorg.conf or only sets up the first card seen.

The APU is first on the PCI-E bus making it "primary". Fret not! We've got your back. Until an automatic solution is found I give you the fix!

sabayon ~ # nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

The solution is to swap "BusID" in the "Device" Sections essentially swapping "Primary" and "Secondary" Cards.


Section "Device"
    Identifier "SabayonVga0"
    Driver     "fglrx"
    BusID      "PCI:00:01"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "SabayonVga1"
    Driver     "fglrx"
    BusID      "PCI:01:00"


Section "Device"
    Identifier "SabayonVga0"
    Driver     "fglrx"
    BusID      "PCI:01:00"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "SabayonVga1"
    Driver     "fglrx"
    BusID      "PCI:00:01"

Now! That should fix the graphics card confusion, but you still need to get into the GUI right? Simple!

Just replace sddm with whichever desktop manager you use such as gdm(Gnome), lightdm(other), lxdm.

sabayon ~ # equo i lightdm
sabayon ~ # systemctl disable -f sddm
sabayon ~ # systemctl enable lightdm

This Fix will work to get you into the GUI from disk to Install Sabayon. After install you may have to perform this fix one more time once booting from HDD, as this fix isn't copied over to the HDD during install. You will not need to perform this fix everytime. Once to get to installer, then once to setup the installed OS.

AMD - FGLRX to Open Source

"Why" you ask? Besides the drivers not quickly supporting new Kernel releases, Open Source drivers are getting better all the time and AMD has announced plans to open source as much as possible. The new plan (drivers after "catalyst omega"), is to create an open source driver with hooks. The majority of the drivers will be opensource while proprietary features will remain in a kernel agnostic binary blob. If you want to go full opensource, then the driver will hook into mesa for all rendering etc. If you want proprietary features, the driver hooks into the blob. Same driver, different options. One source would be

Its very similar to the "Roll back" in the following section with a couple differences.

[email protected] ~ $ su
localhost root # equo update
localhost root # equo remove ati-drivers ati-userspace amdcccle
localhost root # equo install xf86-video-ati
localhost root # eselect opengl set xorg-x11
localhost root # sed -i 's/nomodeset//g' /etc/default/grub
localhost root # sed -i 's/nomodeset//g' /boot/grub/grub.cfg
localhost root # sed -i 's/"fgrlx"/"ati"/g' /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Reboot and enjoy!

AMD - Open Source to FGLRX


Do you have an AMD system? Do you have IOMMU enabled? Crossfire currently DOES NOT WORK when IOMMU is enabled. You will need to make sure it it disabled in the BIOS. There is a catch, if you system was setup with IOMMU enabled, your linux setup may depend on IOMMU for your inputs meaning your Keyboard and Mouse could quit responding in Linux if you disable IOMMU.

Re-enabling IOMMU would bring them back, but CROSSFIRE will refuse to work. You may end up requiring re-installing or repairing your install with IOMMU disabled to get Crossfire. Why is Windows not affected by this option you ask? IOMMU is strictly a Linux option/enhancement. Windows has a dummy driver which ignores IOMMU entirely.

Rumor has it a newer version of IOMMU to work with HSA will resolve this issue in the future.


Lets prepare the system for a fresh install of the ati-drivers package and block the conflicting driver Radeon at boot. be sure to look at the first part of the line. $ is for user while # is for root!

[email protected] ~ $ su
localhost root # equo update --force
localhost root # equo remove ati-drivers
localhost root # equo remove xf86-video-ati
localhost root # echo "blacklist radeon" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

If your radeon module is still loaded after boot and its blacklisted, look into /etc/conf.d/modules to see if it is listed in the modules line and make sure grub is booting with nomodeset(below).

Now we need to disable KMS (Kernel Mode Setting)

localhost root # nano /etc/default/grub

Editing /etc/default/grub

You will notice a Difference. I have highlighted in Red what needs to be added.

    # Copyright 1999-2012 Gentoo Foundation
    # Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2
    # $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo-x86/sys-boot/grub/files/grub.default-2,v 1.2 201$
    # To populate all changes in this file you need to regenerate your
    # grub configuration file afterwards:
    #     'grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg'
    # See the grub info page for documentation on possible variables and
    # their associated values.
    GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR="Sabayon Linux 15.08"
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset quiet splash"
    # Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)

Populate the changes

localhost root # grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg


OK, lets install the drivers and set the links to the GL libraries.

localhost root # equo install --bdeps x11-drivers/ati-drivers-15.9-r1#$(uname -r) ati-userspace amdcccle
localhost root # eselect opengl set ati
localhost root # eselect opencl set amd

Need an updated or new xorg.conf? If you weren't using fglrx before then... yes.

Newer versions of X11 do not require an xorg.conf file, but may not load fgrlx drivers.

creating an xorg.conf file and forcing X11 to use it to override auto-detection can help.

Backup old (if one exists) and update.

localhost root # cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak
localhost root # /opt/bin/aticonfig --initial
localhost root # X -config /etc/X11/xorg.conf

OK now reboot!


build time dependencies are REQUIRED! aticonfig and amdcccle tools will segfault upon use without build time dependencies.


Once you login and decide you want to set resolutions and extra settings, open amdcccle.

[email protected] ~ $ xhost +
[email protected] ~ $ kdesu /opt/bin/amdcccle
xhost command

Are you getting the error below when using a sudo-like tool for a GUI application?

No protocol specified xhost: unable to open display ":0.0"

There has been some security work done to prevent this. Using the xhost command above you can temporarily disable access control for X allowing kdesu,gksu, and sudo for X applicaions to work.

Clean (optional)

Once you have everything working you can remove the old kernel if you like. MAKE SURE YOU SELECT THE CORRECT KERNEL! Look using "equo search linux-sabayon" then copy and paste!

[email protected] ~ $ su
localhost root # equo remove sys-kernel/linux-sabayon-3.13.11

Roll Back

If you're looking at this. We are either curious or ran into a snag.

Good News: everything is reversible!

Bad News: you're stuck in a terminal until its fixed! But you knew that didn't you ;)

With your computer powered off, connect the computer to the internet via a cable and then press the power button. When you reach the Grub selection screen press an arrow key to halt the timer and select the "Advanced Options....". Then you will select the option with "(Recovery Mode)"

This will take you through the normal boot process, then will put you at a CLI screen and request the root password. Enter the root password and you will be brought into a terminal as root!

Now to start putting things back!

localhost root # equo update
localhost root # equo remove ati-drivers ati-userspace amdcccle
localhost root # equo install xf86-video-ati
localhost root # eselect opengl set xorg-x11
localhost root # sed -i '/blacklist radeon/d' /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
localhost root # sed -i 's/nomodeset//g' /etc/default/grub
localhost root # cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Now reboot! Now you are back on the Open Source Drivers! You will keep your upgraded kernel so that was not reverted. (reason for less steps)


I'm sure you have noticed the sed command. This may make some people leary as not everyone understands this command. "sed" stands for "stream editor". It can edit the edit file for you by deleting lines, words, strings, etc. In this case we are using it to remove the Line we added in blacklist.conf and the command we added in grub.

If you don't feel fully comfortable about this command. Back up your file or use nano (vi etc.) to edit the file!


If for some reason you don't have proprietary Nvidia drivers installed and you want them, there are simple steps to follow.

Update package database

First thing is to make sure that package database is up to date.

# equo update --force

Available driver version

To get a list of all drivers for all kernels that are available:

$ equo search -qv nvidia-drivers

List of all drivers versions available for currently running kernel:

$ equo search -qv nvidia-drivers#$(uname -r)


Knowing what driver version you want to install (usually the newest, i.e. highest number version, it may differ if you have old card that needs older drivers):

Newest drivers for currently running kernel

# equo install --ask nvidia-driver#$(uname -r) nvidia-userspace

Will install newest driver available for currently running kernel.

Older drivers for currently running kernel

List Nvidia drivers for your current kernel (insturctions above), and install it along with corresponding nvidia-userspace, e.g.:

# equo install --ask nvidia-drivers-304.108#$(uname -r) nvidia-drivers-304.108

Block nouveau driver

For Nvidia drivers to work properly nouveau can't be loaded. Thus, it must be blocked.

# echo blacklist nouveau >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf 

Set Nvidia drivers as active

# eselect opengl set nvidia