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

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-(UPDATED 5.5.13 Thanks to anomaly65)

-(UPDATED "Roll Back" Since 'nox' option doesn't seem to work with systemd)


This only covers HD5XXX series and higher. The r600-HD4xxx are on hold due to other portions of system incompatibility. This doesn't cover hybrid (i.e. intel-ati on many new laptops) as I don't have one to test on.


Do you have an AMD system? Do you have IOMMU enabled? Crossfire 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.


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 # equo remove x11-base/xorg-drivers
localhost root # equo remove --configfiles xf86-video-ati
localhost root # echo "blacklist radeon" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

If your radeon module is still loaded after boot and you have added it to the modprobe blacklist, look into /etc/conf.d/modules to see if it is listed in the modules line.

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 2012/06/28 22:36:53 floppym Exp $
    # 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.
    # Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)


Now install new kernel and drivers.

localhost root # equo install sys-kernel/linux-sabayon
localhost root # equo install sys-kernel/sabayon-sources
localhost root # equo install x11-drivers/ati-drivers amdcccle

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_64-3.8.0-sabayon *
  [2]   kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.9.0-sabayon
localhost root # eselect kernel list
Available kernel symlink targets:
  [1]   linux-3.8.0-sabayon
  [2]   linux-3.9.0-sabayon *
localhost root # 

Now select the newer bzimage and kernel and switch to the AMD/ATI libraries.

localhost root # eselect bzimage set 2
localhost root # eselect kernel set 2
localhost root # eselect opencl set amd
localhost root # eselect opengl set ati

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

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

OK now reboot!


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

[email protected] ~ $ kdesu /opt/bin/amdcccle

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-3.8.10

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 amdcccle
localhost root # equo install xf86-video-ati
localhost root # equo install x11-base/xorg-drivers
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 in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf. Make sure that following line is included in file:

blacklist nouveau

Set Nvidia drivers as active

# eselect opengl set nvidia


This page is out of date?, misleading and potentially dangerous to your system. Use equo to install the driver package you need (eg ati-drivers or nvidia-drivers) and kernel-switcher for future updates to your kernel.
Portage (emerge) is not the primary package manager for Sabayon, this article is for advanced users only. In other words if this fails for you, its your fault. You have been warned.
  1. In root shell emerge kernelname-sources -pv , if already installed go to next step otherwise type emerge =kernelname-sources-2.6.kernelversion (kernel version can be identified by typing uname -r or uname -a )
  2. If not using genkernel ensure your kernel configuration supports your video card ( has more information)
  3. In root shell type emerge nvidia-drivers (Most older cards need a version that is 97.00 or lower. Add >=x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers-97.00 to your /etc/portage/package.mask file before emerging. i.e. echo \>=x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers-97.00 >> /etc/portage/package.mask before you emerge nvidia-drivers) --Megaman5 01:58, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
  4. Edit etc/X11/xorg.conf and change the Driver option under Device from nv or vesa to nvidia, also ensure the the Load glx line is uncommented in the Module Section
  5. In a root shell type eselect opengl set nvidia
  6. Make sure your user is in the video group by typing gpasswd -a youruser video in a root shell.
  7. Restart X
  8. If X doesn't work please pastebin the contents of /var/log/Xorg.0.log and possibly /etc/X11/xorg.conf and check #Sabayon, the Sabayon Forums or, If it does, in root shell type glxinfo | grep direct, if this says Yes then continue to next step
  9. Using Google or other means identify whether your card works best with XGL or AIGLX or neither.
  10. Using accel-manager which will need to be emerged by typing (still in a root shell) emerge accel-manager, choose your preferred method XGL or AIGLX. Or if neither ignore this step.
  11. Repeat Step 7
  12. You should now have a working NVIDIA card with DRI and if you choose XGL or AIGLX. If you some reason you don't please use the resources in the Forum Usage & Resources Post in Sabayon Forums to remedy the problem.These resouces include It would be beneficial if you repeat Step 8 as part of the troubleshooting process.

To Install Nvidia Accelerated drivers (closed blob) for more recent video cards, e.g. 520GT, follow these steps in order:

Firstly, attempt to discover the kernel revision your sabayon install is currently using, you can achieve this by opening an instance of a command line interface or Terminal emulator and type in this instruction into the terminal:

uname -a

You should see from the very beginning of the screen (far left of the screen, in the terminal box) your host name which will say: Linux, and the name you gave your PC, during the installation of sabayon. Next you will see the kernel version and then it's description... which should resemble something like this:

[3.2.0-sabayon #1 SMP]

Using this information, use either Sulfur (GUI) or equo (command line) installer and search for the correct revision that suits your graphics card and kernel version that we have just discovered. This case we will want to install the Nvidia 290.xx driver that matches the kernel which is 3.2.0-sabayon #1 SMP

Before we install, we want to make sure that there are no possible driver conflicts

For example: while I was learning this, the ATI fglrx (closed blob for ATI cards) driver was installed, along side nouveau(open sourced nvidia driver), plus the eselect program was pointed to the ATI driver, which did not help matters much...

You can detect if they are installed or not by typing in a root terminal by typing either "su root" (without quotes) followed by your username and pass or "sudo equo" (without quotes) search ATI and repeat the process for nouveau.

If you find either offending package, just type "equo remove ati-drivers" and/or "xf86-video-nouveau" (without quotes)

Once you found the correct version and type of graphic drivers you will ether need to right click on the driver package in Sulfur, then select install or alternatively type in "equo install nvidia-drivers-295.20#3.2.0-sabayon" (without quotes)

This will download, install and compile the modules into the kernel, but you will have to setup the last two bits yourself.

Follow these last two steps to complete the process: Not doing these can cause your system to freeze, lock up and have a blank screen if not completed properly, if you choose to run a game or use your card's accelerated features!

In a root terminal type:

eselect opengl set nvidia

Make sure your user is in the video group by typing "gpasswd -a <username> video" (without quotes, replace <username> with your username e.g. gpassword -a mike video) in a terminal as root.