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

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FGLRX is currently deprecated. AMDGPU is the new platform. Devices not supported by AMDGPU will be supported by radeon. AMDGPU-PRO is currently only supported on .deb and .rpm distributions.

Kernel Upgrade (optional)

Repository Database Update

First things first! Update the database to make sure we have the most up to date package available! This will give us the most recent list of kernels and drivers.

[email protected] ~ $ su
localhost root # equo update

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_64-4.1.0-sabayon
localhost root # eselect kernel list
Available kernel symlink targets:
  [1]   linux-3.13.0-sabayon
  [2]   linux-4.1.0-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!

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


FGLRX to Open Source (radeon or AMDGPU)


In these instructions you'll notice 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 substituting lines, words, strings, etc. In this case we are using it to remove a line in blacklist.conf and nomodeset command in grub config files.

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

"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 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 same driver hooks into a binary blob. Same driver, different options. AMDGPU-PRO will basically be a full install of the opensource driver, but with binaries included. Currently AMDGPU-PRO isn't available to Gentoo in this BETA phase.

[email protected] ~ $ su
localhost root # equo update
localhost root # equo remove ati-drivers ati-userspace amdcccle
localhost root # equo install xf86-video-ati xf86-video-amdgpu
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/"blacklist radeon"//g' /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
localhost root # rm -rf /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Newer versions of X11 do not require an xorg.conf file. If any special settings are required or wanted you can apply an override in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/

localhost root # vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/30-Devices.conf

Now we can add typical xorg.conf configurations for the devices such as tearfree. This is typically for the more savvy.

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"Card0"
	Driver		"amdgpu"
	BusID		"PCI:1:0:0"
	Option		"TearFree"		"True"
	Option		"EnablePageFlip"	"True"


So first you'll want to be aware you're going to be adding a couple community repositories for packages. One repository will be using -9999 packages for MESA, LIBDRM, and (hopefully soon) LLVM. You'll also want to be aware that you should still keep your current kernel in case anything goes wrong. That will allow you to continue booting into your system from the advanced options in GRUB by selecting the older kernel.

AMD Display Code is not mainline!

This is all incomplete code that has yet not been adopted into the mainline kernel. Results may vary and this may not be the same as the finalized versions of code.

Lets get started with prep work!

localhost root # equo update; equo upgrade
localhost root # equo install enman
localhost root # enman add gaming-live
localhost root # enman add community
localhost root # equo update; equo upgrade
localhost root # echo "media-libs/mesa-9999" >> /etc/entropy/packages/package.unmask
localhost root # echo "x11-libs/libdrm-9999" >> /etc/entropy/packages/package.unmask
localhost root # echo "sys-devel/llvm-9999" >> /etc/entropy/packages/package.unmask
localhost root # equo install v86d bison make cmake automake gcc genkernel-next git dev-python/sphinx re2c dev-util/ninja sys-devel/llvm-9999 x11-libs/libdrm-9999 media-libs/mesa-9999

Now lets download a kernel with display code.

localhost root # git clone -b amd-staging-drm-next --depth=1 git://    
localhost root # mv linux /usr/src/linux-4.13.0-amdgpu
localhost root # cd /usr/src
localhost root # rm -rf linux
localhost root # ln -s linux-4.13.0-amdgpu/ linux
localhost root # cd linux

Now we finish configuring and building the kernel. Now's you chance to make any other config changes you want. If you use lvm add the --lvm flag to the genkernel command. You can also double check Device Drivers -> Graphics Support -> Display Engine Configuration -> AMD DC is enabled as well as Raven family if you plan on owning an APU based on Raven.

localhost root # zcat /proc/config.gz > /usr/src/config
localhost root # sed -i '5495 a CONFIG_DRM_AMD_DC=y' /usr/src/config
localhost root # sed -i '5496 a CONFIG_DRM_AMD_DC_DCN1_0=y' /usr/src/config
localhost root # genkernel --kernel-config=/usr/src/config --menuconfig --splash=sabayon --luks all
localhost root # grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg 

You can watch the git repo for updates/fixes/changes etc at to decide if you want to update the kernel again. If you do this, none of the sed commands are necessary for the config as /proc/config.gz will already have the updated config changes.


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

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

localhost root # 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.:

localhost root # 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.

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

Set Nvidia drivers as active

localhost root # eselect opengl set nvidia