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ATI Official Drivers For Arch Are A Bit Of A Mess

arch linux amd ati catalyst

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#1 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 22:28

Hey all,

Just a quick heads up, the official ATI graphics drivers are in a bit of a mess with Arch at the minute. A combination of three factors:
  • The Arch team have chosen to remove the drivers from the official repositories because ATI aren't releasing updates in a timely fashion. So anyone that has installed them from the official repos will not receive any more updates. The open-source driver (xf86-video-ati) is obviously still available.
  • Even with the new release (13.4, to coincide with the new Ubuntu release), Xorg 1.14 isn't supported, despite 1.14 being released at the start of March.
  • Vi0L0 (the guy who graciously maintains the unofficial Arch Catalyst releases) has removed the catalyst-utils packages from the AUR for reasons unknown thus far, so none of the AUR packages would build at the time of writing.
For anyone looking to update to the newest AMD Catalyst drivers on Arch, I'd recommend using Vi0L0's unofficial pacman repository which is detailed here, since that's the only way I could get the new release installed.

Also, for the foreseeable future, anyone seeing errors along the lines of...

error: failed to prepare transaction (could not satisfy dependencies)
:: catalyst-utils: requires xorg-server<1.14.0

... will need to either:
  • Add a repository that still carries the older Xorg release (see here for info), or
  • ignore the xorg upgrades when doing an upgrade like so:
    sudo pacman -Su --ignore xorg-server --ignore xorg-server-common --ignore xf86-input-evdev

I really wish AMD would get their **** together on this driver situation. I'm definitely looking to Nvidia for my next graphics upgrade, this whole whole thing is a complete farce.

Hope this helps anyone struggling with this :)


#2 +Karl L.

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 00:47

The proprietary AMD graphics drivers have always lagged far behind compared to the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers. However, the open-source Radeon driver delivers quite respectable performance, especially using the latest kernel and Xorg releases. If you have a Radeon HD 7000 or 8000 series card, the RadeonSI driver is already quite stable and usable, and is rapidly improving. One of the chief advantages of Arch is the bleeding edge packages, which will let you take advantage of the massive performance improvements constantly being introduced into the open-source AMD graphics drivers. Have you considered using open-source graphics drivers instead of proprietary? Personally I prefer AMD's graphics cards because the Radeon driver is far superior to Nouveau (through no fault of the Nouveau developers) and I refuse to deal with the poor quality of AMD and NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers.

#3 Mindovermaster

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:04

The proprietary AMD graphics drivers have always lagged far behind compared to the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers. However, the open-source Radeon driver delivers quite respectable performance, especially using the latest kernel and Xorg releases. If you have a Radeon HD 7000 or 8000 series card, the RadeonSI driver is already quite stable and usable, and is rapidly improving. One of the chief advantages of Arch is the bleeding edge packages, which will let you take advantage of the massive performance improvements constantly being introduced into the open-source AMD graphics drivers. Have you considered using open-source graphics drivers instead of proprietary? Personally I prefer AMD's graphics cards because the Radeon driver is far superior to Nouveau (through no fault of the Nouveau developers) and I refuse to deal with the poor quality of AMD and NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers.


+1 I always used open source drivers since Orange poiinted me to it. Never looked back. :)

#4 ViperAFK

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:07

yep, AMD always dragging their feet supporitng new kernels and xorg versions and a rolling release like arch simply don't mix well.

#5 +Karl L.

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:12

Despite the fact that they update their drivers much faster, I don't think even NVIDIA can keep up with Arch's pace.

#6 OP +Majesticmerc

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:42

I don't really see how it's hard for them to keep up testing with new xorg releases though

The proprietary AMD graphics drivers have always lagged far behind compared to the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers. However, the open-source Radeon driver delivers quite respectable performance, especially using the latest kernel and Xorg releases. If you have a Radeon HD 7000 or 8000 series card, the RadeonSI driver is already quite stable and usable, and is rapidly improving. One of the chief advantages of Arch is the bleeding edge packages, which will let you take advantage of the massive performance improvements constantly being introduced into the open-source AMD graphics drivers. Have you considered using open-source graphics drivers instead of proprietary? Personally I prefer AMD's graphics cards because the Radeon driver is far superior to Nouveau (through no fault of the Nouveau developers) and I refuse to deal with the poor quality of AMD and NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers.


I have considered/tried using the OSS drivers, but I need (want) the 3D performance from the proprietary ones. The latest benchmarks I could find from a quick Google pointed me to these ones on Phoronix, and I can't really justify sticking with the OSS driver when the proprietary driver offers a 200-400% improvement. Granted these benchmarks are about 6 months out of date, so if anyone's got any updated benchmarks I'd like to see them.

#7 n_K

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 13:01

I find the propietry nvidia drivers on arch fine :s always get the updates and it's ran everything I've ever needed to run with no problems, except one-time where I built a custom kernel and forgot to rebuild the nvidia drivers, HAHA, I won't forget to do that again!

#8 Mindovermaster

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 13:10

I find the propietry nvidia drivers on arch fine :s always get the updates and it's ran everything I've ever needed to run with no problems, except one-time where I built a custom kernel and forgot to rebuild the nvidia drivers, HAHA, I won't forget to do that again!


He's running an ATI card. This does not help.

#9 n_K

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 13:11

He's running an ATI card. This does not help.

It was in reply to "Despite the fact that they update their drivers much faster, I don't think even NVIDIA can keep up with Arch's pace."

#10 +Karl L.

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 17:18

I have considered/tried using the OSS drivers, but I need (want) the 3D performance from the proprietary ones. The latest benchmarks I could find from a quick Google pointed me to these ones on Phoronix, and I can't really justify sticking with the OSS driver when the proprietary driver offers a 200-400% improvement. Granted these benchmarks are about 6 months out of date, so if anyone's got any updated benchmarks I'd like to see them.


There has been a lot of news posted on Phoronix recently about massive performance improvements being pushed to Gallium, Mesa, Radeon, and RadeonSI. Most of the changes will land in Linux 3.9 and Mesa 9.2 (both due in the next week), but there are ongoing improvements that will make it into later kernels in the near future. Look here for the latest Phoronix Radeon benchmarks (17 April 2013).

It was in reply to "Despite the fact that they update their drivers much faster, I don't think even NVIDIA can keep up with Arch's pace."


Since I don't run Arch or use proprietary graphics drivers in Linux, I didn't realize that NVIDIA actually does keep pace with the mainline kernel. I made an assumption (hence the "I don't think" part of my quote). In that case NVIDIA's performance is actually really impressive.