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I am aware that similar questions for specific GPUs have been posted here and many have not received answers maybe because the issue is sometimes limited to a specific GPU. But while the problem is severe, I have some ideas that my GPU should work, and what I need is a set of sub-answers to my question here. This may seem tedious, but bear with me and try to answer some of my sub-questions, because what matters in my case is the little time that I have before the PC heats up and shuts down. - I am still in Win 7 as I write the question here :(

When I try to install Ubuntu on my laptop the cooler goes crazy because the machine heats up, and I imagine that it's the GPU: so hot that the laptop shuts down in emergency because of the high temperature. I should give up the idea of a dual boot on this computer, but from time to time I come back to give it another try, especially that now it is the first time that I am looking for assistance on solving this.

The computer that I am talking about is the one presented here, a hp pavilion g7-1246ef. It is a 64-bit system that is running perfectly Windows 7, which excludes hardware causes.

The GPU is an ATI Dynamic Switchable Graphics ('dual'), presented here. That is, I have two graphics cards, one integrated (Intel) and one ATI/Radeon 6470M. In Windows they look like so:

enter image description here

Looking at the list of supported hardware, I see a 6470.

Is that the same as my 6470M?

My idea is that this happens because of the missing drivers for the GPU, or maybe not missing, but not working properly.

The issue of installing this type of drivers is often discussed. For example in this detailed answer, which explains how to install the fglrx packages supplied by Ubuntu and also how to install official ATI binaries from the ATI site.

Such answer is about the ATI GPU.

- Considering ATI: isn't there a driver already installed when installing Ubuntu?

- Considering Intel and the fact that I have dual graphics: if the ATI driver is missing and has to be installed, isn't that the case for the Intel too? Or is it just the ATI driver missing?

- Considering both: is it possible that the native support for this GPU (the one experienced during install and immediately after) be so low that the computer shuts down in emergency, or must there be another issue involved? (none present in Windows though, nor in ...BIOS!)

To a different question I got an answer saying: You could just ignore this until things are "better" (14.04 should give you a better base) but until then your ATI card is going to be running at full power.

That makes me think that ATI running at full power is causing the heating and the crash, and that I should deal with the problem of the ATI drivers, while leaving the Intel issue aside.

Is this correct?

Here there is an answer on a dual GPU with the same 6470M card as mine. What it says is:

  1. The Ubuntu built-in "radeon" driver does NOT support "dual graphics". - Is this still true in 14.04?

  2. Best install the latest AMD Catalyst driver. - I have found that on the AMD site. - Although sometimes the machine shuts down because of the heat before ending even the OS installation, if I get the chance I should install that, I think. In Windows, the package looks like so:

enter image description here

Would the installation start by double clicking the .run file?

  • try with installing sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-all. It will select suitable driver package. – user308564 Oct 13 '14 at 7:41
  • I have a similar card, see askubuntu.com/a/390050/16395 --- I am not sure about switching, I really did not test it throughly. I am sure I can activate the discrete graphics with the DRI_PRIME trick commented here xpressrazor.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/… – Rmano Oct 13 '14 at 8:32
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    With 12.04 you will probably need the tricks in my post; 14.04 should manage the power issue well (mind you, I still have overheating in 14.04, simply not so severe). But I suppose that the BIOS plays its role in this issue, so my laptop and your can be quite different... – Rmano Oct 13 '14 at 9:28
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    In my laptop the last ATI driver I tried simply locked the system on boot, had to restart form a rescue disk. I admit it was almost one year ago, but I didn't try again --- I am happy with the radeon driver (but I do not play 3D things). – Rmano Oct 13 '14 at 9:41
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    Yes --- exactly that; the radeon driver is the open source one that come with the default installation. – Rmano Oct 13 '14 at 9:44
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The best answer is: install a newer version of Ubuntu, with a recent kernel.

Xubuntu 14.04 works great on that computer, and the GPU is never too hot.

As this answer explains, "New kernel 3.13 has an advanced dynamic power management of the ATI card with the radeon driver.

enter image description here

Also, "In normal conditions the ATI discrete is off."

(When the cooler gets up now, in most cases it is not because of the GPU, but of the CPU.)

(The best way of monitoring GPU temperature in Xubuntu 14.04 when using the OpenSource driver.)


Sub-answers:

  • Is ATI Radeon 6470M supported? YES.

  • Considering ATI: is there a driver already installed when installing Ubuntu? YES. It's the opensource Radeon driver just mentioned

    GL_RENDERER = Gallium 0.4 on AMD CAICOS

    GL_VERSION = 3.0 Mesa 10.1.3

    GL_VENDOR = X.Org

  • Considering Intel card: that is the one that is mostly used (and had been already supported) while under normal conditions the ATI stays discrete (in contrast with older versions of the kernel when it was abnormally used at full capacity and was getting hot).

  • So, is there an "ATI issue" for this machine? NO, as far as I am concerned, as I do not use possible video intensive features that might involve the need for the proprietary driver.


The comments and answers of the user Rmano were very useful to me in understanding what the problem was and in articulating this answer.

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