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amdgpu is the open source graphics driver for the latest AMD Radeon graphics cards.

At the moment there is only support for the Volcanic Islands and some cards of the Sea Islands family. AMD has yet to decide to add support for older cards in the near future.

Owners of unsupported AMD/ATI video cards can use the Radeon open source or AMD's proprietary driver instead.


Note: If coming from the proprietary Catalyst driver, see AMD Catalyst#Uninstallation first.

Install the xf86-video-amdgpu package. It provides the DDX driver for 2D acceleration and it pulls in mesa as a dependency, providing the DRI driver for 3D acceleration.

To enable OpenGL support, also install mesa-libgl. If you are on x86_64 and need 32-bit support, also install lib32-mesa-libgl from the multilib repository.

Support for accelerated video decoding is provided by mesa-vdpau and lib32-mesa-vdpau packages.


Warning: This is still highly experimental, no official Arch Linux package exists yet

AMD provides a binary driver userland driver called AMDGPU PRO, which works on top of the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver. This hybrid approach allows the in-kernel component to be recompiled by the Arch Linux maintainers when required (e.g. on a kernel or Xorg update), while keeping the same binary userspace part. This should remedy the problem where the driver provided by AMD is out of date and incompatible with newer kernels or Xorg versions (a problem that was very common with the old AMD Catalyst driver). For an detailed overview of the hybrid system, see this article.

The AMDGPU PRO driver provides OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan and VDPAU support. It aims to provide better performance than the open-source driver.

See the initial release notes and the announcement at the Phoronix forum for more information.

There are packages for the amdgpu-pro components in the AUR (amdgpu-proAUR), visit for issues or pull requests.


Xorg will automatically load the driver and it will use your monitor's EDID to set the native resolution. Configuration is only required for tuning the driver.

If you want manual configuration, create /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-amdgpu.conf, and add the following:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "AMD"
    Driver "amdgpu"

Using this section, you can enable features and tweak the driver settings.


The amdgpu kernel module should load fine automatically on system boot.

If it does not happen, then:

  • Make sure you have the latest linux-firmware package installed. This driver requires the latest firmware for each model to successfully boot.
  • Make sure you do not have nomodeset or vga= as a kernel parameter, since amdgpu requires KMS.
  • Also, check that you have not disabled amdgpu by using any kernel module blacklisting.

Enable early KMS

Tip: If you have problems with the resolution, Kernel mode setting#Forcing modes and EDID may help.

Kernel mode setting (KMS) is supported by the radeon driver and is mandatory and enabled by default.

KMS is typically initialized after the initramfs stage. It is possible, however, to enable KMS during the initramfs stage. To do this, add the amdgpu module to the MODULES line in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:

MODULES="... amdgpu ..."

Now, regenerate the initramfs:

# mkinitcpio -p linux

The change takes effect at the next reboot.

Performance tuning

Enabling video acceleration

VA-API and VDPAU can be installed to provide hardware accelerated video encoding and decoding.

Enable amdgpu for Sea Islands Cards

amdgpu has experimental support for Sea Islands (CI) cards, which is disabled by default. One possible reason why you might want to enable it and switch from radeon to amdgpu is that AMD announced their user space Vulkan driver will only be supporting the new amdgpu stack [1]. Same might be the case for the new OpenCL driver, which was also mentioned in the XDC presentation.

If you want to enable amdgpu and use it with your Sea Islands product, you have to recompile your kernel. Probably the easiest way to setup a custom kernel is using the ABS, described in Kernels/Arch Build System. You can also uncomment make menuconfig or make nconfig in the PKGBUILD, which will allow you to verify that the CIK option is selected by following the instructions from Gentoo wiki.

Set "Enable amdgpu support for CIK parts" to "yes", then compile and install your kernel.


It may also be needed to use the amdgpu.exp_hw_support=1 [2] as kernel parameter or by setting the kernel module options.

Disable radeon driver

To prevent radeon from loading, you can disable it in the Kconfig or blacklist the radeon module.

blacklist radeon


Xorg or applications won't start

  • "(EE) AMDGPU(0): [DRI2] DRI2SwapBuffers: drawable has no back or front?" error after opening glxgears, can open Xorg server but OpenGL apps crash.
  • "(EE) AMDGPU(0): Given depth (32) is not supported by amdgpu driver" error, Xorg won't start.

Setting the screen's depth under Xorg to 16 or 32 will cause problems/crash. To avoid that, you should use a standard screen depth of 24 by adding this to your "screen" section (assuming you have one, assuming you don't add this to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-screen.conf).

Section "Screen"
       DefaultDepth    24
       SubSection      "Display"
               Depth   24

  • If you recieve an error in your Xorg.0.log such as what is listed below, remove the
exec xbindkeys

from your .xinintrc

(EE) BUG: triggered 'if (axnum >= dev->valuator->numAxes)'
(EE) BUG: exevents.c:2100 in InitValuatorAxisStruct()
(EE) Backtrace:
(EE) 0: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (InitValuatorAxisStruct+0x67) [0x5215e7]
(EE) 1: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/ (_init+0x1a75) [0x7fa452ea0425]
(EE) 2: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/ (_init+0x283e) [0x7fa452ea214e]
(EE) 3: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/ (_init+0x3c83) [0x7fa452ea48a3]
(EE) 4: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (ActivateDevice+0x4a) [0x42b0aa]
(EE) 5: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (xf86DeleteInput+0x359) [0x484d39]
(EE) 6: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (config_fini+0x103b) [0x49782b]
(EE) 7: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (config_fini+0x1623) [0x498ac3]
(EE) 8: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (config_init+0x9) [0x495f19]
(EE) 9: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (InitInput+0xbb) [0x47919b]
(EE) 10: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (remove_fs_handlers+0x411) [0x43a221]
(EE) 11: /usr/lib/ (__libc_start_main+0xf0) [0x7fa45e063710]
(EE) 12: /usr/lib/xorg-server/Xorg (_start+0x29) [0x424589]
(EE) 13: ? (?+0x29) [0x29]