I have a Samsung laptop with a Radeon graphics chip.

Live-Images and graphical installation have always worked on this laptop with the proper resolution of 1366x768. However, after Ubuntu had been installed, I ran into the black screen problem which so far, I solved by setting nomodeset temporarily during the first boot which gave me a resolution of 1024x768. Having booted like that, I would then install the fglrx driver, reboot and enjoy my Ubuntu with the proper resolution.

Since I can't use the fglrx driver in Ubuntu 16.04 I am stuck with either a black screen (without using nomodeset) or a distorted display due to the wrong resolution of 1024x768. I tried setting the resolution manually with xrandr but I think since I have to use nomodeset there's no way that I can do that.

Is there any way to fix this? I know that I could stick with Ubuntu 15.10 but I would really prefer an LTS version.

  • Have you tried the amdgpu driver? – Android Dev Apr 23 '16 at 11:02
  • I ran sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu libdrm-amdgpu1. Both packages were already installed... – orkoTron Apr 23 '16 at 12:54

I had the same problem and was finding nomodeset annoying not just because of the screen resolution, but because it really made compiz suck cpu. So I went back to not using nomodeset because I'd found that if I waited 5 minutes after booting, the screen would come on.

Anyway, just now when I booted, it went black after the grub screen as usual, but the screen turned on just before the login screen appeared. I remembered I took an update this morning that included Ubuntu base, so I'm speculating that the problem was addressed. It isn't fully fixed, but is 95% better, so give it a go if you haven't taken this update yet.

  • This seems to have fixed it! I reinstalled 16.04 to try it out. Installed the updates after booting with nomodeset and then I waited about 20 minutes without the screen coming on. Nothing. Today, installed the new updates. On the first reboot, the display was black but not powered off (which had been the case before). I just moved the mouse and there it was: My login screen with 1366x768. On the second reboot, the login screen showed up directly. – orkoTron Apr 27 '16 at 19:15
  • Great! I have to say that since I posted that, the behavior I've experienced has been a little erratic, with the screen sometimes coming on immediately and sometimes not. Hopefully the driver will continue to be improved, but in the meantime I can live with it and function without resorting to nomodeset. Cheers. – Ken Spagnolo Apr 30 '16 at 2:59
  • Well... A little erratic seems to be the right choice of words... After another update, the same problems reappeared and I'm having the same problems again. I'll give it another go to see whether it changed again or not. But I think I'll downgrade to 15.10 for now to have an OS I can actually work with... – orkoTron May 1 '16 at 10:22

I have 4 laptops upgraded with 16.04, and they all behave a little different with what GRUB accepts. The preferred way should be to set in /etc/default/grub


with the part after the equal sign the allowed resolutions for your device. Use either c at the GRUB prompt and enter vbeinfo, or run sudo hwinfo --framebuffer from the console in linux to get a list of accepted modes.

Sometimes, even if the screen is a 16:10 1920x1200 or similar, only a resolution of 1600x1200 is accepted, so watch out for this. This is the setting for GRUB. To have it carry over to the booting system, use a line


after that.

For some devices, this (preferred) option has no effect. But for my two problem children, commenting out the GRUB_GFXMODE line, keeping the GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX line and using the deprecated option vga= with nomodeset was sufficient:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset vga=0x35a quiet splash"

sets the tty to 1600x1200 with 24 bit. Use the hex value sudo hwinfo --framebuffer gives you.

  • Sadly, no luck so far... I tried GRUB_GFXMODE=800x600x32 just to see that GRUB's resolution changed as expected. Still had to use nomodeset to boot to login screen. Also when adding GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX. The resolution in Ubuntu changed, though. sudo hwinfo --framebuffer only gives me resolutions up to 1024x768. In GRUB vbeinfo outputs lots more but if I choose one beyond 1024x768 it doesn't have any effect. Maybe because the height is greater than 768 in all of these options... – orkoTron Apr 23 '16 at 13:04
  • Here we are at 2018 and adding GRUB_GFXMODE... seems to have fixed my ability to boot into ubuntu. Thanks! – cirrusio Dec 6 '18 at 17:48

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