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My girlfriend just installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu 12.04.4 64-bit on her PC. After installing and updating the system, Ubuntu has been using the Open Source drivers for her GPU - the AMD HD7850 with 1 GB of GDDR5.

The issue

Games such as Nexuiz, Xonotic, Half-Life 1, Starbound and even No More Room in Hell run extremly good, at a minimum of 60fps, 1080p and with high details, but Left for Dead 2 runs at a low framerate (20-30fps) at low details. Other games, such as Rust and Anna, don't run at all (black screen). For this reason, above all, I recommended installing the proprietary AMD video drivers for her GPU.

The question now is; which one is the stable/recommended driver?

Video driver for the AMD graphics accelerators

They're all the same, they all have the exact same description. I assume one of those is recommended and the others are beta drivers, just like it was in Ubuntu 12.04.3 64-bit. Or maybe the Open Source AMD driver has become the recommended driver, I don't know.


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As a general rule for myself, if they all say the same thing then I check the description, in which case it was the same again. Most of the time, the second and third entries are an update and an experimental driver. I'd pick from the top and work my way down if nothing changes. The thing is it removes the previous driver and stops using it when you click to install one of the others.

I'd recommend going to the Ubuntu Help Page for Binary Driver installation. I just last night, installed Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS on my desktop running AMD 995 Black Edition CPU with HD Radeon 6970 GPU, and nothing would install and kept wanting to send error reports. Now I realize this isn't your problem, but to avoid the problem because it was a pain, try removing/purging all traces of any previous 'fglrx' drivers installed prior, and clean it out, then re-install, and not from menu but via command line. I've always had the best results doing everything by command line and while I'm also aware that some users are worried about messing something up, its also the best way to learn. At the very worst, you'll have to re-install 12.04.4 LTS which you can quite easily do.

Also take a look at AMD Driver and Support website and read up about their latest proprietary driver release as there are some instructions on there as well.

And ofcourse don't forget to check which one you need to if you do do it via the AMD website or by command line, 32bit or 64bit.

Binary Driver How To

AMD Support Website Catalyst 13.12 x86

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Hello b00mtastik, thanks for responding so quickly. The problem is: My gf won't be able to do anything past the official "additional driver menu" by herself. Command line and manual driver installation is not only extremly risky and can cause all sorts of other issues (system instability being one of them), but it's also way too complicated for her to perform by herself. She is using LTS as her stable work and gaming machine and a complete reinstall of 12.04.4 would be... disastrous. She chose LTS because of it's superior stability & she can't afford to do any kind of dangerous testing on LTS. – Aquablue Feb 20 '14 at 21:22
PS: I told her to try your suggestion by installing the first/top entry. I'll call her right now and then I'll comment and tell you how it went. Btw, is this a known bug? I didn't experience any of this on 12.04.3. If it's new, I would like to report this bug so it can get fixed asap. – Aquablue Feb 20 '14 at 21:24
Nope, it was a fresh install but the machine she is using right now used to be my PC - before I gave it to her. I used the same machine with Ubuntu 12.04.3 64-bit LTS and then I switched to a laptop. That's why I mentioned 12.04.3, because in that version of the OS I actually saw the description you mentioned: normal, updates and experimental. – Aquablue Feb 20 '14 at 21:31
Btw, she just installed the Amd driver via the first entry and now she is testing some of the games I mentioned in my question. As soon as she starts Steam, it tells her to install the newest "experimental" drivers for best performance. Because of this, I assume you were right and the first entry is the stable driver branch. – Aquablue Feb 20 '14 at 21:32
Sorry I deleted my previous comment, was trying to edit and it wouldn't let me since it had been after 5 mins. I'm still getting used to this. Lol. From my research, 12.04.4 LTS brought on some more hardware capabilities. And I've only experienced this in 12.04.4 LTS that it had repeated entries of the same thing with no visible differences in the drivers from the menu. Hardware Enablement Stack OMG Ubuntu Article – b00mtastik Feb 20 '14 at 21:33

I'll answer my own question.

The issue mentioned in my question above was fixed yesterday. Ubuntu-updates popped up and offered a bunch of updates, including updates for the additional drivers menu and jocky. The entries are now listed and working as expected.


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