People who have ATI switchable graphics in their laptops faced a lot of troubles trying to install Ubuntu on their machines. First, we faced over heating issues. We fixed it by turning off the high performance GPU and switching to Intel Graphics. But we were unable to use the more powerful ATI GPU while on Linux. This temporary fix also gave rise to some unexpected side effects. Recently, I faced some lags and slowdowns which pointed directly at Graphics.
Here are the problems we faced :
- Can’t use the open source driver coming in Ubuntu. It over heats the GPU.
- Can’t enable proprietary drivers. It always failed.
- Can’t use the temporary fix it have some side effects.
So, don’t we have any solution? Yes we do. First, we should thank Alexislavie for preparing a guide which clearly showed us how to install the proprietary drivers and make VGA switching work in our systems. But Wait! I followed those steps and made some modifications to it. For example, it asks you to download and install the latest drivers from AMD. But I think the latest driver have some bugs. It hangs when I try to switch the GPUs. You can simply use Ubuntu’s “Additional Drivers” to install these drivers… But you have to do some extra work to make it work.
Here’s how to install proprietary ATI drivers in Ubuntu :
- First, make sure your system is fully updated.
- Next, go to the dash and open “Additional Drivers”.
- Now select “ATI/AMD proprietary FGLRX graphic driver” and click “Activate”.
Warning: Do not select “post-release updates” because it throws and error during the installation.
- After the installation, before rebooting your machine, open the Terminal and enter the following command :
sudo aticonfig --initial -f
- Now reboot.
- Next, go to the original guide and follow the Step 2 : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1930450 (If you are like me, you’ll try to check whether direct rendering is working or not before following this step. Don’t be such an idiot… Read the step first. Its trying to fix the direct rendering issue in the Intel GPU. After rebooting, you’ll be using the ATI GPU. If you try to switch to the Intel GPU without following the second step, Unity won’t load. It took me several hours to figure out what I did wrong. So, don’t do the same mistake!)
- Now if you want to switch the GPUs, open the dash and type “AMD” and you’ll see two apps with the name “AMD Catalyst Control Center”. Pick the one which say (Administrative). Now you can use this control center (shown in the top screenshot) to switch your VGA.
- Finally, you better follow this guide and fix the brightness controls if they are not working : How To Make Laptop Brightness Controls Work in Ubuntu (Keep the machine in a low brightness level to keep the heat down)
As I said earlier, if you switch the VGA without installing this driver, you’ll face some slowdowns and lags. But after installing the VGA, those problems are gone. I just installed these drivers and now using the Intel GPU. My heat is really low and there are no lags and slowdowns. Everything works really fine. I don’t think I wont to go back to Windows! All hail Ubuntu!
If this guide worked for you, please head over to the original guide and thank Alexislavie. If it didn’t, head over to our forum and tell us what happened : http://techhamlet.com/forum/forum/17-linux-unix/