Topic Title: Status of Radeon HD 7850 on Linux?
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Created On: 08/07/2012 03:48 AM
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 08/07/2012 03:48 AM
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wvxvw
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Hello, I'm considering purchasing Radeon HD 7850. The question is - will it work on Linux, and if it will - to what extent / how buggy it may be?

My system details: processor, Intell Core i7 8 cores 2.8 GHz, Motherboard: Gygabyte X58A-UD3R, Bios: Award Software International, version FA.

I'm on Debian squeeze/sid (i.e. I have some packages from testing/unstable and might install more if required). amd64. But there's no hard requirement of the system, if it will work on other non-enterprise Linux - that would be good too. I'd like to be able to use kernel 3.2 or later though, if possible.

If this particular card, or even the 7000 series aren't yet supported / the support isn't good, please advise a comparable but older video card.

Thanks in advance!

 08/07/2012 07:30 AM
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fretboard
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You'd be better off asking in the AMD Linux and/or other Linux forums .. 99.9999% of the guys here use Windows AFAIK ..



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 08/07/2012 10:41 AM
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wvxvw
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Well, I asked at Debian support forum, but I've got even less replies then here so far

Does AMD have its own Linux support forum / thread? Could you please share a link, I couldn't find any. Or if it is possible and the mods will look into this thread, could you  move it to that part, please?

 08/07/2012 10:57 AM
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stumped
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Try here: http://forums.amd.com/forum/categories.cfm?catid=310&zb=2556093



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 08/08/2012 10:26 AM
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AFK
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Will it work?

YES!

What distribution you use will depend on how easy it is to enable the AMD driver if you want to game or use anything else which requires 3D performance on Linux.

You see, there are currently 2 drivers for AMD Radeon HD cards which are available for linux. The default one which is open source and supports 2D excellently and important kernel features like mode settings but lacks full 3D support. And the proprietry driver which is developed privately behind close doors by AMD, it performs very well at 3D rendering on Linux, seems stable but is of relative poor quality compared to the open source driver and is less frequently updated.

So if you want to game on Linux, you'll need the proprietry driver installing, if not you can stick with the default. You can install the proprietry AMD driver by down loading it from the AMD support page or by using your Linux distribution's third party repositories (The latter is the easiest and most hassle free.)

I run a 7870 on Fedora 17 64 Bit with kernel 3.5.0 and the latest Catalyst driver.

 08/08/2012 10:49 AM
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stumped
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http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/linux/Pages/radeon_linux.aspx



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 08/08/2012 01:52 PM
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wvxvw
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stumped, thanks for the links! I will certainly try it.

AFK: this is good news. I will then get a card for a test run. I would need the 3D support (I'm guessing this means OpenGL, right?). I used NVidia graphic card before and had a lot of problems with it, spare the usual installation hussle it was unstable (caused the PC to shut down randomly). When I asked at forums about the card I heard responses such as "well, new cards are poorly supported" / "high-end cards are untested" etc. While this isn't a particularly high-end nor new card (GTX 460), but the drivers, either OS or proprietary don't work well with it.

One last question, come to think of it, what would be the least and / or good power supply for this card, in Ampers that is?

 08/08/2012 05:45 PM
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AFK
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Hi wvxvw!

The link stumped has posted links to the AMD proprietry driver release download and in my opinion it is difficult to install the driver that way. Use your distribution's repositories to download and install the preconfigured packages. Then they will stay updated with a tested version. I don't know how it is done on Debian, you will need to search google but I know someone out there will have a repo up with preconfigured packages. Every distribution is slightly different in the way they package software, so it is usually best use the distributions packages because there are things that need to be done system side occasionally also to get an optimal install. For instance in Fedora I needed to add the nomodeset kernel option to grub to get the kernel to load the AMD driver. Otherwise the proprietry driver doesn't get loaded and X fails to start.

I noticed that you are using Debian sid and I can't say I'd recommend something that bleeding edge and unstable for anything more than testing purposes. Things often break in sid and when I tried it a few years ago it was a case of find a fix yourself or wait until it's fixed - if your system still boots.. lol. Ubuntu if you are new to Linux might be a better choice or Fedora if you are comfortable using Linux.

As far as a power supply goes, I use a 450W Antec with one of the 6 pin adapters connected to the IDE power adapter which came with my card the other six pin from the supply. The recommeded minimum is 500W but mine seems to run fine.

AFAIK Nvidia cards are absolute dog food. Their Linux support is terrabad. Nvidia have p****d off Linus Torvalds with their horrible Linux binary blob driver by tainting the kernel so much that they won't take bug reports at kernel.org if you install it. By and large they were finding that the cause of too many kernel faults were to do with Nvidia's terrible driver.

Nvidia. Avoid it like the plague myself. ATI/AMD have been #1 for graphics cards for at least the last 10 years. I've seen far too many Nvidia cards overheat and/or blow all their caps at work to know that they are utter tripe.

Not much love for the Nvidia windows gaming fan boy noobs either here I'm afraid.

 08/08/2012 06:42 PM
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wvxvw
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Sorry, didn't mean to start a holly war on this subject! As for me - I guess that both companies know how to do their products way above what I can even understand in that field, so that's not for me to judge. It was just that one particular model, and perhaps the combination of other hardware/firmware... well, I can't even tell apmers from watts

Debian has what they call DKMS, where KM stands for kernel module, and the rest - I don't know, but what it does is sort of like dpkg is to the packages installed on your PC. It can also be used to build / download kernel modules. This is the suggested way to do that on Debian, but, having done that for NVidia, I have mixed feelings... and will probably do it with the AMD installer. I'd rather update the drivers by hand, then trust this program, it caused a lot of harm in the past.

BTW. Linus Torvalds is known to... erm, be a somewhat eccentric person. He may not fit easily in a corporative way of thinking So, no wonder the relationship is what it is. I was trying once to submit a bug to Git project, and, honestly, I gave it up... anyways, that's too far off topic. Thanks a bunch for the power supply info though!

 08/08/2012 06:58 PM
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black_zion
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Just to add, you might want to check out This site which is all about Linux with all sorts of benchmarks and such about graphics cards on linuxes with both the proprietary and open drivers. They have a forum as well

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 08/08/2012 07:58 PM
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stumped
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The link I furnished also has this http://ati.cchtml.com/



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 08/23/2012 03:55 AM
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wvxvw
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This took some time, but for posterity, someone else might find this helpful later.

I've moved to Linux Mint 13, kernel 3.2. amd64

I've connected Radeon 7850 with the default OSS drivers - this worked, but these driverd don't provide hardware OpenGL support. I've then installed the proprietary AMD drivers, which seems to work so far. I didn't encounter any problems installing them and will see about the usage...

OK guys... this was sooooo much overly optimistic on my side. I don't even know what to tell you... well, if you came to this topic through google looking for the same advice as I did - you will be much-much better off with buying a cheaper and older card (perhaps). Below are some results:

Wine doesn't recognize AMD OpenGL renderer as hardware renderer - don't know why, must be a bug, but it is a bug in testing and all preceding versions, so even if it is a bug and will get fixed tomorrow, you  will have quite a lot of time before it gets into a stable release...

Opensource OpenGL renderer is ov a very poor quality, it is enough to run Gnome 3D interface widgets, but even that will be very sluggish. You can certainly forget about  any DirectX emulation in Wine. It sort of tries to do something, but the results are very-very bad, to the point the applications aren't usable at all.

The overall install / unistall options for the drivers are flaky / unreliable / will screw potentially break your system and make it unbootable.

Perhaps, if you don't need the hardware rendering, or the simplistic stuff such as needed to draw pseudo-3D needed for display manager is fine for you - you may use this card, but it means you will be using like 10% of what it is capable of doing otherwise.



Edited: 08/23/2012 at 09:51 AM by wvxvw
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