Should I avoid Ubuntu 16.04 with AMD Radeon R5 Graphics card? I heard AMD proprietary drivers are out and you must use the open-source ones. Anyone with experience with these graphics cards on Ubuntu 16.04? Will it make a difference?
The best answer depends on how flexible you can be. If you're a gamer and rely on the AMD card, then perhaps you should hold off.
If you have hybrid graphics (you also have Intel onboard graphics) then you could still run Ubuntu just fine, but again, you're limited in gaming to what the Intel can do.
I for one, have a hybrid graphics laptop which has both an Intel and Radeon 7960XT graphics. Graphics performance is perfectly fine for every day usage since I don't run games in Linux (I switch to Windows for that). Browsing the net and other desktop apps run great and smooth. I actually went ahead and disabled my AMD card and run only the Intel one.
If you really want to know for sure before installing 16.04, you can always download the 16.04 ISO and make it into a boot disk or bootable USB so that you can try it first, and see how it behaves.
I strongly suggest using a bootable USB since you can install software and updates on it which will remain after you reboot. Do this by making a boot stick using a program called
Download the ISO.
unetbootin if you don't have it with
sudo apt-get install unetbootin
unetbootin and select your ISO.
In the area "Space used to preserve files across reboots" give yourself at least 500MB or more if you can. On my 32GB stick I opted for 2GB (2000MB).
Select your USB drive from the bottom dropdown menus and click OK. Then reboot and boot off of the USB stick to test out 16.04.
The space you selected to preserve will be used to download updates and additional programs. Now when you first login, you can connect to your network and get the latest updates. Once everything is updated you can try out the OS with your graphics card(s) and even install some games to test out. Again, use a large USB stick and allocate as much space as you can.
I made the mistake of recently selecting and installing 14.04 LTS (amd_x64), under the false guidance that it would let me keep using the proprietary fglrx driver with my HD5670...only to find out they'd updated X to Xenial in this version as well (same version as in 16.04).
HOWEVER, I must say that the open source driver has worked surprisingly well, even for 3D gaming. I'm actually running some Windows OpenGL games using Wine, and the performance has been BETTER in Linux than it was on Win x64! I haven't had any graphics related crashes or problems at all.
I do wish there were more of a GUI for configuring 3D settings, but there are some tools to do some of the things you used to be able to control with CCC out there (see
ppa:trebelnik-stefina/radeon-profile for controlling power/frequency profiles, and
driconf for configuring the Mesa/Gallium 3D settings).
One KEY thing I have discovered is that some 3D games, particularly those run under Wine (and probably many older games), will cause performance problems if you don't manually force the CPU and GPU to run in "Performance" mode. To emulate the Windows thread scheduler (and perhaps how the older Linux kernels worked, too), there are lots of little sleeps and things peppered here and there...these cause the CPU to think it has a light load, and so it sheds clock cycles. This, in turn, causes it to take longer to send commands to the GPU, which then does the same thing. They throttle themselves back, and you get really erratic and slow frame rates, yet the CPU and GPU utilization %'s are only like 15-20%.
If your chip is well supported by the driver (many are), I think it will be a very positive experience.