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.


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.

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
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/
$ 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 ./

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.

  53 Replies to “Installing ATI Radeon HD 6450 Drivers on Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit”

  1. Jon
    April 20, 2012 at 23:30

    I have just purchased a Q180. Did you have any issues just doing the standard desktop install of Ubuntu? I have tried installing Ubuntu desktop 11.10 64 bit and as a test Ubuntu desktop 12.04 64 bit, both fail once installed, I cannot get into the OS as the graphics break – I either get a black or purple screen, which eventually starts to flicker. This is the same via the hdmi or vga output.
    I have installed Windows 7 on the box with no problems, but don’t really want to stick with this.

    What I have also found is the fan is incredibly noisy and HD video is choppy at best in windows.


    • Achilles Chatzianastassiou
      April 21, 2012 at 13:00

       Try changing the HDMI cable?

    • April 22, 2012 at 11:02

      Hi Jon,

      How far did you get with the install? Also, how are you installing? USB Key, USB CD Drive? Which USB ports are you using?
      Have you tried using a different monitor/display? I used a 50″ plasma for my installs, with full HD 1080p HDMI, with Audio over HDMI. Have you managed to install the graphics drivers at all using this tutorial? Does it work okay using the LiveCD?

      I’ve not had any issues with the fan, and the ‘choppyness’ goes away when the correct drivers are installed. This is because the CPU attempts to render the HD using software acceleration instead of hardware acceleration. Correct drivers solve this problem.

      Let me know how you get on.



      • Jon
        April 22, 2012 at 12:14

        Hi Rob,

        Thanks for the reply. Initially I tried installing Ubuntu 64 bit 11.10 and 12.04 using a USB key plugged into the rear USB ports. Thinking it was possibly the usb key that was causing the problems, I then burned copies of Ubuntu 11.10 and 12.04 to cd and tried to install via an external DVD drive – this produced the same problem. I have tested this on 2 VGA monitors and my Samsung TV using the hdmi port. The XBMCbuntu CD is the same – just a black screen.

        I then installed Windows, installed the drivers from the lenovo website, but found newer drivers for the gfx on AMD’s website. This worked without a problem. The fan  is an acceptable level until I launch XBMC when instantly it spins up to literally sound like a hair dryer!

        Since my initial post I have downloaded and installed Ubuntu 10.04 64 bit – this didn’t present the same issues as 11.10 and 12.04. I followed your guide – worked fine, but I get a message in the bottom right advising AMD drivers are unsupported. I am also having issues with the wired nic driver and slow/no throughput so I am guessing an incorrect driver is installed (as there are no issues in windows). Did you have problems  with the nic driver?

        As with Windows, as soon as I fire up XBMC in ubuntu the fans fire up to max.

        Any advice greatly appreciated.


        • April 22, 2012 at 14:00

          Hi Jon,
          I’ve just had a bit of a play around with mine, and I’ve now got the same issue as you, but with 10.10. I attempted to upgrade to fix an issue with my smart card reader, and now I’ve got a black/purple screen. Looks like a clean install for me now! 🙁

          I had the unsupported issue too at first. Some times for some reason the ATI software detects the card as a 6500 series instead of the 6400 series. If you uninstall the drivers, reboot, then reinstall it fixes the issue. I had this a few times. No word for ATI about why this happens or why the drivers ‘fail’ on >10.04

          The fan will kick in if you have the unsupported hardware issue. It’s attempting to use software acceleration instead of the GPU. It works cleaner though because some of the work is passed to the ‘unsupported’ hardware. 

          Although you wont hit full HD at all, and the annoying message will stay fixed, and I suspect it will cause screen burn on most plasmas.

          I’m going to have a play around later on today (if I get time) to see if I can get a newer release running with the drivers. Might have to compile a special distro to get the drivers working so that we can at least boot into something.

          I’ll let you know if I get anywhere. Might have to wait until next weekend though.



          • Jon
            April 22, 2012 at 14:29

            Hi Rob,

            What is the fan noise like on your Lenovo box? A mate of mine has an acer revo which is almost silent. When idle in Windows/Ubuntu (not running any programs) it is still quite noisy in comparison to a desktop/laptop.


          • April 24, 2012 at 17:49

            Hi Jon,

            The fan is almost silent here. (I’ve got it stood upright using the stand). Ubuntu doesn’t kick out any noise here, even when playing full HD. I’ve not tried Windows so I can’t comment on that. 

            I’ve not had a chance to test 11.04 with drivers which will have to wait for the weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes.



          • Jon
            April 24, 2012 at 18:24

            I have found the noise on my q180 to be linked to the ethernet network card when passing data. Unplug the ethernet cable – the fan noise reduces to almost nothing. I can watch a HD movie copied over to the box (instead of streaming) and the fan hardly spins up. Soon as the cable is connected, any web browsing or streaming and the fans rev up.
            I have tested with the realtek drivers from the lenovo website and the latest from the realtek website, and also modifying various settings on the nic such as switching off ‘green ethernet’, setting the nic to 100mb full duplex etc etc. 
            I am beginning to wonder if my box is faulty, especially given when I install ubuntu 10.04 LTS ethernet is intermittent at best. (this could quite possible be an incorrect driver).

          • April 24, 2012 at 20:39

            Hi Jon,

            It seems a little strange, I’ve not had anything like that, so it’s possible it might be faulty. Have you checked the BIOS settings? I can’t remember, but there might be an option to control the fan speed?

            If not, then I’d ask for a replacement. 

            Let me know how it goes.



          • Paul
            April 26, 2012 at 13:16

             I dont know if this is of any help but I have found on a laptop that as soon as ubuntu update manager (apt) detects there are updates the processor goes up to 100% and the fan cranks up until I have applied the updates. What does the processor utilisation figure show in xbmc when the cable is plugged in and unplugged? Is it possible to try on wi-fi rather than network cable as that would rule out the realtek driver.

  2. Steve
    April 24, 2012 at 11:11

    Hi – did you find a final solution for 1080p on the Q180? I bought one and am bitterly disappointed. Is it fixeable so that it can play 1080p smoothly or should I return it?

    • April 24, 2012 at 17:52

      Hi Steve,

      Full HD (1080p) is confirmed working after installing these drivers on Ubuntu 10.04. 
      I’ve also been informed that someone has got Full HD playing on Windows MC too. I’m using XBMC however.

      It plays it very smooth both locally and from my HP storage server. I’m yet to try Live HD TV (Sky Movies HD), but I will make a post when I’ve got that working on the Q180.



      • Paul
        April 25, 2012 at 12:03

        Which XBMC plugin gives you Live HD tv? Is it LiveTV. To much to learn I am getting behind on my TV 🙂  

        • May 5, 2012 at 16:24

          It’s a plugin called Live TV. You also need some sort of backend (TVHeadEnd, MythTV etc.). You will have to install XBMC a little differently though. Live TV isn’t included in the main stream, but it’s well documented on their wiki.

  3. April 24, 2012 at 20:50

    Just a heads up on this, if you upgrade to anything higher than 10.04 it seems to remove the graphics drivers and ppa during the upgrade causing loss of display. Not found a solution for this yet, but it might require some messing about with the drivers to get them to reinstall at the end of the upgrade. (Maybe before rebooting?).

    I’ll keep you guys posted.

  4. Steve
    April 25, 2012 at 08:44

    Hi all – I found a solution. I installed Ubuntu 10.04. Then followed Rob Clarke’s graphics drivers guide. Installed XBMC but 1080p playback was a joke it was so stuttery. Then I installed XBMCBuntu from a pen drive, and when XBMC opened, 1080p played flawlessly. It looks amazing, better video quality than my WD HD Media player. So now I stick the pen drive into the Lenovo when I want to use XBMC, or if I need to do some computing on Ubuntu, I leave the pen drive out. Maybe not ideal, but it works and I can keep the Q180 now in good faith – the dual core Atom DOES has enough grunt for 1080p.

    • May 5, 2012 at 16:27

      Good to hear Steve! Although after following my tutorial 1080p playback should be fine. I’m not too sure what issue is causing this. I’ve managed to get perfect playback on 10.04 with the drivers installed as per above.

  5. Interested
    May 1, 2012 at 10:52

    I’m considering getting one of these so i just want to clarify.  Can i install XBMCbuntu to the hard drive and then update the drivers or do i have to definitely install ubuntu 10.04 and run xbmc seperately?

    • May 5, 2012 at 16:25

      Yes, If you prefer XBMCbuntu you can install this to the HDD and boot directly from it. XBMCBuntu is pretty good with the drivers and you don’t have to play around with installing them.

  6. Steve
    May 8, 2012 at 09:57

    Hi – a quick update on my Q180. I had installed 10.04, had driver issues and found a solution with XBMCBuntu – but I could not install XBMCBuntu – just launch it off USB. I found a permanent solution – don’t install 10.04 – go for 12.04 – it works perfeectly with the AMD graphics card (does the drivers automatically – no need for any messing around) and once XBMC is installed on it – it plays 1080p flawlessly. 12.04 also looks better than 10.04. Load time is a little bit longer than it was with 10.04 but still not too bad.

    • May 10, 2012 at 12:35

      Hi Steve,  I’m curious to know more about how you installed 12.04.  I’ve tried every way I can think of and every way google can suggest, but it still hangs immediately after the grub screen.

      Im beginning to wonder if there are various models of Q180 around, perhaps with subtle differences under the covers.  
      For info, mine has the following on the label at the back:

      MTM: VC71HUK
      Configuration number: 57302934
      S/N: DS90005756
      Mfg Date: 2012/01/11
      Model: DS02011151

      • May 10, 2012 at 20:37

        Hi Greg,

        Does your install complete? If after the reboot you get a black screen, keep hitting shift on boot to knock yourself into the grub menu. You should be able to get some form of display, which you can then use to install the drivers using the Hardware Drivers tool.

        I managed to do this at the weekend, and I now have 12.04 with XBMC. Not got the Live TV add on installed yet though.

        Let me know how it goes!

        • May 21, 2012 at 20:48

           Thanks Rob,

          I don’t even get the opportunity to install 64 bit.  it hangs after grub boots from the USB.  I think its a compatibility issue related to the 64 bit build of Ubuntu.  the 32 bit ubuntu 12.04 works perfectly.  Fedora x64 also works perfectly.

          • May 26, 2012 at 20:57

            Ah very strange. :/
            I’ve managed to get 64bit Ubuntu working, but I had to play around with the upgrade procedure (I’ve edited my post). I’ve now moved to OpenElec, which works perfectly.

      • steve
        May 14, 2012 at 13:06

        Hi Greg,

        I’ll post later what my model number is.

        I installed 12.04 with USB Linux installer via Windows, then stuck the USB (4GB) into the Q180. To be clear – I installed the 32bit version. No real differnce between 32bit and 64 bit from what I’ve read.It installed and booted up perfectly, with all drivers installed etc. Worked like a dream to be honest. 1080p is near perfect. On a side note – within XBMC the digital/dts sound disappeared for some reason – the fix is to disable system sounds within XBMC settings – bizarre but it works.

      • steve
        May 14, 2012 at 20:24

        Greg – my my info label at the back is exactly the same as yours. Don’t give up. I had a load of grief with mine and was so close to returning it. Read some negative stuff online after I’d bought it too but it’s brilliant. I finally got it working like I was saying by creating a USB boot USB key (using windows XP). With this I installed 12.04 32bit. As far as I know the 32bit can (only) take 4GB RAM maximum – and to be honest, I don’t need it as it is to go any faster – so no real need for the 64bit OS if the only reason you want it is to make use of >4GB RAM. Hope this helps. 

        • Bob
          September 24, 2012 at 21:24

          Im having this problem with every 64 bit version of linux have u fixed this ?

          • October 6, 2012 at 20:07

            Hi Bob.
            Try using the new 12.04.1 release. I have this working with no issues.

  7. Michael
    May 9, 2012 at 14:30

    Hi Rob,

    I’m trying to install Ubuntu 12.04 on an Q180, the live system and installation is just fine, but after the reboot I get a black screen. I am sort of a newbie – so, do you have any advice what to do? Is it possible to follow your above standing instructions in a live session in order to install the amd drivers to the final installation?

    Thank you very much in advance, of course I do appreciate any hints.


    • Colmanm
      May 10, 2012 at 20:01

      Hi Michael,

      If you are installing the 64bit version of Ubuntu 12.04 try installing the 32bit version 

    • May 10, 2012 at 20:40

      Hi Michael,

      After the install completes can you try rebooting and pressing shift until the grub menu appears? After this, select recovery mode. This should allow you to see the display.

      You can then install the hardware drivers using the Hardware Drivers tool in Ubuntu. It should find the AMD drivers, and install them for you. One final reboot and you’re ready to go!

      Let me know how it goes!

      • Michael
        May 12, 2012 at 12:59

         Hi Rob,

        thank you very much for your encouraging reply. In the meantime I did several fresh installs of 12.04, and finally I was able to install the AMD drivers as well. But simply dragging a window over the desktop is very laggy, no comparison to my old Thinkpad T61 with 12.04 … Also, compiz uses up to 38 % when the machine is idling. I got know that there are several launchpad bugs realted to this. Another thing is the fan being at considerable speed right from the start without ever stopping, although the temerature is modest.

        I will give up now and send it back. The q180 should have been a nice and small machine for my wife’s office, but I can’t expect from her to accept a system that seems to need a reasonable amount of constant troubleshooting.

        Thank you once again for your effort and good luck with your own q180!


        • May 12, 2012 at 13:04

          Hi Michael,

          Sorry to hear you’ve not managed to get it working to meet your requirements!

          I’ve not had any problems with 12.04 as yet, and everything is running smoothly my end.

          I have had an issue getting LiveTV for XBMC installed though, but it’s just a case of the developers updating the installation script I was trying to use. Hopefully they will get this done soon, and I will have XBMC with LiveTV on 12.04.

  8. May 10, 2012 at 12:39

    Further to my post below about trying to install 12.04, I’m trying to do this because even with the graphics drivers installed as described above, I’m getting an unacceptable level of stutter in 1080p video streams.  I have a basic 10.04 install, with all updates applied ( and drivers consequently reinstalled a few times )  I have collectd monitoring the hardware and my movies mounted as smb shares from a server in another room on GigE Ethernet.  iperf shows the speed of the network is 600 Mbps up from the Q180, 990 Mbps down.

    Any ideas what I’m doing wrong ?

    • May 10, 2012 at 20:44

      I’ve not had any problems with the drivers on 10.04 yet. Both local and network via eth play perfectly.

      As I’ve said below, try completing the install and then boot into recovery to install the drivers.

      Or, try installing from 11.04 and upgrading to 11.10 and then 12.04. When you reach 12.04 you should be able to install the drivers.

  9. steve
    May 14, 2012 at 20:28

    By the way, thanks a lot for this page Rob, it was very useful when I first got the Q180. Can I suggest you amend the original post to tell people to install 12.04 32bit – the 10.04 was a nightmare! 12.04 just did everything for me!

    • May 26, 2012 at 20:42

      Hi Steve,

      Will do!
      I’ve managed to get full 64bit 12.04 working on the box. I started with installing 10.04 64bit, and not installing anything. Then kept upgrading through the versions using the CD’s. When I reached 12.04 and the install finished, I was able to boot into recovery mode, install the drivers, and then use it as normal.

      I’ve since installed OpenElec, which is working perfectly for what I need.

      • January 11, 2013 at 16:34

        Does any hardware not work? Did you test all the hardware etc?

        • January 11, 2013 at 18:18

          I’ve not tested all hardware, that would be a bit difficult. I’ve not had any reports of this not working. All the Lenovo hardware I’ve tested it on works fine.

  10. Idleworks
    June 20, 2012 at 17:43

    i am currently running openelec 1.95 on my box. who did you get wlan working? its freakin me out

    • Gerardo Narciso
      June 21, 2012 at 00:56

      I couldn´t install it. I have try with Pulse packages the standard and the Fusion one, but unsucessfully, the flash drive does´t boot completely, problem mounting some partition. Anyone had similar problem?

      • Idleworks
        June 22, 2012 at 06:19

        i had the same problem with pulse. now i’m on openelec generic (without pulse). i thought fusion is just for intel’s device…do you have the q180 ?

        • Gerardo Narciso
          June 22, 2012 at 13:31

          Yes I have the q180.
          Regarding Fusion, as far as I know is called to the AMD APU’s with ATI. So I am not sure if this should be valid as well for systems with ATI stand alone cards.

          • Idleworks
            June 23, 2012 at 17:51

            as for as i know it’s only the gpu that comes from ati, cpu is from intel… i tried fusion as well but it didn’t recognized my keyboard…

          • July 27, 2012 at 18:47

            Make sure you use the USB ports on the back of the Q180, not those on the front! Front ports are USB 3.0 and for some reason don’t like using used during the boot stages or as a boot device.

    • angel4b
      July 12, 2012 at 18:27

      So did anyone get this WLAN working? I am putting the settings in the configuration addon, but no success…is the chipset supported? I tried using a USB adapter…but i still couldn’t get it to work.

  11. angel4b
    July 7, 2012 at 14:32

    Ok i’ve tried using the openelec+pulse generic package…but i’ve been having trouble using some of the addons that require an updated librtmp…like ESPN. We can’t easily replace system files as other flavors of XBMC (like on my xbox). Has anyone been able to solve this?

    • July 27, 2012 at 18:47

      You can still SSH into the box like normal. It’s still Linux underneath, so it’s perfectly hackable.

  12. Alan
    August 5, 2012 at 14:39


    Thank you for the clear instructions on how to install the AMD driver. Note that you should find the updated driver (Version 12.6) will resolve the issue with updates from Update Manager causing problems. See:

    AMD Catalyst™ 12.6 Proprietary Linux x86 Display Driver
    File Size 101.8 MB, Revision No. 12.6, Release Date 6/28/2012


  13. January 4, 2013 at 10:07

    Hello Rob. Thank you for the effort of bringing linux to the Q180. I got mine yesterday and i am pretty happy with all the features and tech specs it has. However, i tried to run ubuntu from usb (u know, the try ubuntu feature) and i had no luck in getting any sound played. Do you think this thing might be related to the AMD driver or is it something else? I tried linux mint also and there was no sound as well.

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