How to fix your AMD Graphics in Ubuntu 12.10 (updated)

The last week or so has been one of transition for AMD’s Catalyst driver, especially for those you have a quite old Radeon GPU. Alongside the launch of Ubuntu 12.10 – that comes with new xorg 1.13 and breaks the fglrx (aka Catalyst 12.9) – AMD has also drop the support for Radeon HD 4000, HD 3000 or HD 2000 graphics cards, forcing a broken upgrade up to Quantal 12.10. On the development side of things, this problem is not 100% percent related to Ubuntu 12.10, but it comes with the new version of xorg 1.13 that is included in Quantal, meaning that you need to downgrade xorg down to 1.12.  So for the time being there is no AMD Legacy support with X-Server 1.13, and you need to downgrade. Capping this off, the solution comes from inside the root of the problem, thus AMD’s driver team has launched a new driver for these outdated GPU models, called Catalyst Legacy.

If you own one of these GPUs, then you need the Legacy driver:

[toggle title="No Longer Supported cards"]

These cards need Legacy Catalyst driver in order to be functional

AMD Radeon HD 4000 Series
AMD Radeon HD 3000 Series
AMD Radeon HD 2000 Series
AMD Radeon HD Series AGP
AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4000 Series
AMD Mobility Radeon HD 3000 Series
AMD Mobility Radeon HD 2000 Series[/toggle]

It’s clear these jumps in complexity and development time doesn't work for linux, breaking everything upside down. This makes us quite disappointed because many users when they wished to upgrade their Ubuntu 12.04 up to 12.10, they encountered a problem concerning their graphics. Maybe that's why there are some negative comments, concerning Unity's speed.

Have a peak to the AMD's Press Release:
AMD has moved to the AMD Radeon™ HD 4000, AMD Radeon HD 3000, and AMD Radeon HD 2000 Series new driver support model.  These updates will focus on resolving application specific issues and critical updates. The reason for the shift in support policy is largely due to the fact that the AMD Radeon HD 4000, AMD Radeon HD 3000, and AMD Radeon HD 2000 Series have been optimized to their maximum potential from a performance and feature perspective.

As we stated earlier, AMD will be moving to a dynamic/as-needed schedule for driver releases. It’s their hope – as it is ours – that they’ll be able to further improve on the quality and meaningfulness of Catalyst driver releases. Certainly this decision is a good thing for new hardware support since you upgrade your hardware in regular basis. However, sad but true, I personally own a Radeon HD4890 and now it's nothing more than a Legacy garbage down the mouldy basement.

[dropcap]let's fix the problem[/dropcap]


  1. Downgrade from X-Server 1.13 to X-Server 1.12

  2. Download the Legacy Driver

  3. install it

  4. "patch it" (since you would not be able to install vanilla drivers on 3.5 kernel.)

[highlight color="yellow"]OR Tomasz Makarewicz will do all the above steps automatically[/highlight]

In order to download the driver, on the button bellow:

[button color="red" link=""]Legacy 12.6 Driver[/button]

Unzip the package and choose one of them:

[toggle title="Run the script"]
unzip amd-driver-installer-*




[toggle title="Build Quantal packages - NOT WORKING"]

This method will not work since there is no packaging  script for quantal in
legacy driver. So for the time being you CANNOT follow these instructions.
unzip amd-driver-installer-*
sudo sh ./amd-driver-installer-*.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/quantal
sudo dpkg -i fglrx*.deb
sudo aticonfig --initial -f




We've been informed by OSArena that with the release of the Catalyst 12.6 Legacy, there is a 3rd party repo created by Tomasz Makarewicz for this purpose only.  You can't install AMD Legacy on Ubuntu 12.10. It is not supporting X-Server 1.13. X-Server 1.12 will not break Unity. Actually in Tomasz ppa he is downgrading X-Server to 1.12 version to make it work with fglrx-legacy. Just in case you want to follow the white rabbit, here's the path for the blue pill...

This repository is downgrading X-Server from 1.13 to 1.12.3 (which is maximum version supported by the drivers). Also driver Catalyst 12.6 (fglrx is patched with this:
so it could work on Linux kernel 3.5.

[toggle title="Using Makarewicz PPA"]
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:makson96/fglrx
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install fglrx-legacy


Now reboot your PC :)

Thanks to Tomasz Makarewicz for the clarification


  1. thank you. I tried several times to install this driver and had error.
    but now everything is ok

  2. I created a step-by-step guide with screenshots that people have found very helpful in assisting them in upgrading from 12.04 to 12.10. Check it out and let me know what you think!

  3. I don't understand. I read that the legacy driver doesn't support the 1.13 version of xorg. So I have to downgrade to xorg 1.12 for this guide or not?

  4. Hi,
    This tutorial is misleading. Not only you must downgrade X-Server to version 1.12, but also put special patch on driver to make it work with kernel 3.5. Of coures my ppa (which is given here) is doing all of that. So feel safe to use it.
    Best regards

  5. Hello, excuse me, how can I control if the driver is running? Typing fglrxinfo in terminal, I have "command not found".

  6. Simple:
    would do the trick.

  7. Tried the PPA but it didn't result in anything different than I get from the default driver (desktop background, no unity). This is for a Radeon 6750.

  8. Article is fixed Tomasz. Thanks so much for pointing this out.

  9. Yes you have to downgrade to xorg 1.12

  10. ubuntu doesnt fix anything my desktop become very slow....i have ati readeon but still 8 preformace better than ubuntu....

  11. Thanks for this. You're a prince.

  12. Thanks a lot! This works like a charm.

  13. Trying to install drivers AMD Radeon 6470m on a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.10. Followed instructions, and everything installs ok but upon reboot no menu bar, nothing appears, just the background?? (no unity).

  14. Thanks Tomasz for the PPA and Panos for posting the details. I had upgraded my Dell Inspiron 2305 to Ubuntu 12.04 (not enough research on my part) and my graphics were screwed. The PPA fixed that and I'm up and running again.

  15. I have used your ppa to install the fglrx driver, and it seems to have worked, but now my graphics are visibly slower then before. I'm using a ATI Radeon HD 3200 and the system reports "VESA: RS780M" as my graphics. I'm new to Ubuntu.

  16. Thanks - fixed 12.10 on a Vostro 410 with AMD Radeon HD 3650

  17. Im not using a lagacy card, but i still used your ppa to downgrade the, (i just added the ppa and then did apt-get upgrade) and should it still work

  18. I have the same issue. were you able to fix it?

  19. HI,
    i had a same problem with my graphic card ( ati radeon HD7650m). when i
    install ubuntu v 11.10/12.04/12.10, in software information see`s her
    as unknown device. i tried update, all the steps a find on forums, tried
    to change the codes in driver of graphic but i install
    kubuntu and he find her immediately. i hope that help :)

  20. Hi, after downgrade was Ubuntu 12.10 unstable. I bought NVidia but I don't know how to make back upgrade Xserver to 1.13 :(.

  21. the same problem for me too !! anyone has a solution ???

  22. thanks for the tuto, but i followed it, and end up with an empty desktop after rebooting, not status bar, and now launcher !! i have an HD 4350 .. ideas ??

  23. thanks for the tuto, but i followed it, and end up with an empty desktop after rebooting, no status bar, and no launcher !! i have an HD 4350 .. ideas ??

  24. seems like you've end up with a broken unity.

  25. I have the same problem with the same card HD 4350, I've done just like the tuto and have only a background. Obviusly all works through a terminal but please give us a feed-back with a posible solucion or error that we could be done.
    Regards!!!! :(

  26. sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
    sudo ppa-purge ppa:makson96/fglrx

  27. Today Ubuntu upgraded X server in 12.04 as well it seems, which breaks compatibility with fglrx as well. I thought LTS releases should be stable.. Anyway, ppa did not work for me, but downloading and installing AMD driver did the trick, thank you (except the annoying watermark).
    I have no idea what they did but it simply broke the Xserver.

  28. Hi Mikee, do you own an AMD legacy GPU ?
    if not, try the latest driver:

    Thanks for your feedback

  29. repos. brick my ubuntu

    All worked perfectly!)

    I am a newbie ubuntu user, and im using my laptop for work, so this problem was very serious for me.

  31. Makarewicz PPA RULES! Thanks it fixed my HD4670 problems.

  32. I wanted to take a moment and thank you both, one for offing this wonderful site and two taking the time to post this toutorial. I really appriciate you both for offering us a solution that truely works.

  33. Hi. Thank you for this tutorial. However I don't see why your repository needs to upgrade iptables in order to downgrade Xorg?
    Could you please explain?

  34. Hi Tomasz, thank you. My previous post got deleted so I will repost my question: Why do you need do you need to upgrade iptables to downgrade Xorg?

  35. Thank God for Tomasz! I was fighting with those drivers for days now and must say as a newbie, this is THE ONLY way it works (trough Tomasz Makarevicz PPA). He is my new ubuntu hero! :)

  36. Saved my life bro! Thomasz's plugin works like a charm!

  37. Does anybody know if this will work for the AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 ?
    Thank you very much in advance, any help will be greatly appreciated!

  38. The ppa packages of Thomasz work perfectly with ATI Radeon 4650 (device id 0x9480 aka "M96" ) in a 2009 Toshiba L500 Laptop, both ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04.

    For Unity in 13.04 it needs some tweaking else it shows some strange artifacts every now and then; for example in shotwell and gimp - nothing important but you surely dont like - To workaround this use compizconfig-settings-manager to tweak unity : basically disable the "animations" and "fading" ; and in the "workarounds" section of ccsm you should enable the fglrx XGL fix . It might also be good if you dont want to manipulate manually to just simply switch to Unitys low graphics mode, this disables a lot eyecandy automatically - google for UNITY_LOW_GFX how to force this.

    Once all is working you must prepare ubuntu to keep your setup forever, because you have created a Frankenstein OS using this ppa, mixed Xorg from 12.04 with Unity of one year later .. this is unsupported of course therefore you must trick ubuntu updater to allow this mix :

    So make sure that you lock all fglrx and xserver/x11/xorg packages afterwards to the versions from the ppa so that they will not be accidently upgraded via ubuntus update mechanism. To do so use synaptic package managers advanced settings, choose the packages one by one and choose from synaptics menu to lock/pin this exact version.

    This way you can run updater, keep the rest of the OS up to date, excluding the graphic stack and fglrx driver.

  39. Thank you so much! I have spent two weeks trying to get AMD's drivers to work, you are a life-saver!

  40. Hi, I'm having the same problem but when I follow the makarewicz ppa method then reboot I get to the Ubuntu purple screen then it goes black and that's it.
    The only way to get it back is purge fglrx but then I have no launcher and menu.I have a HP n40 microserver with on board HD4200 no room or power supply to run much else. HELP PLEASE.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to run Unigine Heaven 3.0 in Ubuntu 64bit