Installing ATI Radeon HD 6450 Drivers on Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit

UPDATE: If you try upgrading after this tutorial, it will cause the drivers to fail. This seems to be an issue with 64bit operating systems, and the ATI drivers. If you want a quick setup, use Ubuntu 12.04 32bit.

If you really want 64bit, Install 10.04 64bit, then install using the CD’s until you reach the latest. If you hit any black screens, reboot and tap Shift until the Grub menu appears. Then enter recovery mode and do the upgrade using this.

For a quick media centre solution, use OpenElec and install to the HDD, which works perfectly! I recommend the OpenElec + Pulse Package.

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I recently bought and reviewed the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 Nettop PC. It comes as standard with a powerful ATI Radeon HD graphics card (the 6450 to be exact). This is great if you are a Windows user, because AMD produce all the Windows drivers you could possibly want.

However, I’m not. Windows in my opinion shouldn’t be let anywhere near my movie collections. I’m a Ubuntu with XBMC man, but this causes a few problems for this chip.

Below I will explain how I managed to get the 6450 working with my Q180. I’m currently running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS x86_64 installed from the ISO downloaded from the Ubuntu website. I’ve then used the Pendrive Linux tool to create a USB key with the Ubuntu ISO in a bootable format. The Q180 can then boot off of this and install Ubuntu. Make sure you use the USB 2.0 ports for booting though. The USB 3.0 ports on the front I’ve not managed to boot from, and Ubuntu throws a filesystem issue if you attempt to boot the Live CD from them.

Installing Ubuntu isn’t covered in this tutorial, so I’ll assume you’ve already done a base install of this. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and you don’t need any extras pre-installed. All I ask is you have access to the internet and know how to bring up a terminal session.

NOTE:
I will be using some of the tools provided by AMD/ATI. While they do provide drivers for Linux, many users have reported that these do not work correctly on Ubuntu. It is also worth noting that these tools and drivers are NOT open source. They are proprietary software which has been released under it’s own license. You need to check that you are lawfully allowed to use this software in your country. By doing so, you accept the terms and conditions put in place by  AMD.

Lets get going…

First off, we need to download some drivers from AMD. We don’t need to install these just yet, but because they are big and bulky (103mb) we should really kick them off first.

At the time of writing this tutorial the following version is the latest:

AMD Catalyst™ 12.3 Proprietary Linux x86 Display Driver
Version:
12.3
File Size: 103 MB
Release Date:  28 March 2012
Download Link: AMD Support Website

 

After starting the download, we need to remove any drivers and files left from any previous installs. (This bit is also helpful if you mess up!)

$ sudo sh /usr/share/ati/fglrx-uninstall.sh
$ sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx fglrx_* fglrx-amdcccle* fglrx-dev* xorg-driver-fglrx
$ sudo apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-radeon
$ sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-ati
$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri xserver-xorg-core
$ sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

If these happen to error or fail, don’t worry too much. It most likely means that the product isn’t installed.

Next we need to install some repositories in order to correct errors with ATI’s install. This repository is run by some hardcore Ubuntu veterans. It’s a very active PPA, and is updated regularly.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
$ sudo apt-get update

Make sure all the updates install and reboot as required.

After that we need to jump back over to the file you’ve downloaded from AMD/ATI. You need to make this file executable. Bring up the properties, and navigate to the ‘Permissions’ tab. Then tick the ‘Allow Executing File As A Program…’.

Now that we can run it, we need to open up a terminal session.
Applications > Accessories > Terminal.

We need to change to the place you saved the file (I chose the Desktop)

$ cd /home/username/Desktop

Now we can attempt to execute the file (as root!):

$ sudo ./amd-driver-installer-12-3-x86.x86_64.run

You will notice that this creates another temp folder on the desktop, and launches a installer window. (Sometimes the installer window takes a while, so keep your eye on the terminal for progress!)

Make sure you select the option ‘Install Driver X.XXX on X.Org X.X or Later…’
After completing the installation, you need to create a new X.Org config file:

$ sudo aticonfig --initial -f

Then you need to reboot!
If all is well, the drivers should be installed and the system will boot without issue.
You can check the driver status in the Restricted Drivers Manager (System > Administrator > Proprietary Hardware Drivers’).

Feel free to post comments if you have any suggestions or problems.

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