Debian 11 + AMD GPU

I’m about to put a Ryzen system together - waiting on the last few items arriving. It will be running Debian 11. I went with an AMD 6600 non-XT graphics card (I’m not a gamer; can you tell?).

Reading around - phoronix, e.g., and reddit - I think I might be in for some incompatibility or at the very least some low-end graphics behavior. Debian 11 is stuck on the 5.10 kernel. My understanding is that AMD GPU support via the Mesa driver is greatly improved in 5.17 onwards. I’m not averse to building kernels, or downloading them from, or even getting proprietary/non-free code via APT.

Are you running Debian 11 with an AMD GPU, and is there anything specific you had to do to get it working properly? Running amdgpu_install perhaps? Futzing with kernels? Something else? I’ve looked through the Debian, MSI and AMD support pages. I’m ready to install new drivers but not sure how much of that is necessary, until I try it.

I’m attempting to prepare before I put the machine together and then find that I can’t see anything, or what I can see is at VGA resolution or something!

In the (very) worst case I can run K/Ubuntu or Manjaro (expecting greater compatibility), but my preference is for Debian. Maybe there’s no issue at all?


You pretty much have two options, switch to latest Fedora r Ubuntu 22.04 or use backports ( Backports - Debian Wiki ). Good luck! :slight_smile:

Thanks. I’ve been considering testing (Bookworm) or rolling my own 5.17/5.18, or just download it. TBH, it’s all new! I love Debian for the stability, but I feel like I’m going to be on the bleeding edge with backports. This is a new machine so I can experiment, but I also want a stable platform when I stress test it - Cinebench et al.

If the AMD GPU driver that comes with can handle 2560x1440 out of the box then that’s all I need. I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t however.

Are you running Debian 11 with an AMD GPU, and is there anything specific you had to do to get it working properly?

If the AMD GPU driver that comes with can handle 2560x1440 out of the box then that’s all I need.

Grab one of the Debian Unofficial images that includes firmware on the installer.

I’ve been considering testing (Bookworm)

Generally speaking, if you’re not a Debian developer testing the new release, you shouldn’t run testing. It doesn’t receive security updates, so isn’t good for production workstations or servers.

Sid does get security attention, and stable does as well.

I love Debian for the stability, but I feel like I’m going to be on the bleeding edge with backports.

If you value stability, stable + backports is the best option. It’s generally a bad practice to install everything from backports, you should only select the packages you want.

For Radeon support, the two packages you’ll want to pull from backports are firmware-amd-graphics and linux-image-amd64.

You’d install only those selected packages using apt or apt-get’s -t option, like so:

sudo apt install -t bullseye-backports firmware-amd-graphics linux-image-amd64

Debian’s smart enough to recognize that you’ve pulled those packages from backports and apply future updates to those packages from backports, while pulling everything else from stable.

Debian + Radeon gang :rofl:


Debian + Radeon gang represent!!

Don’t mind the 5.10 kernel- I have the rocm driver installed so that I can play with opencl.

And yes, that is compiz with the wobbly windows and desktop cube.


Just researching this as we speak. I haven’t had to get non-free bits from Debian before, but I did have to install a proprietary Broadcom driver from source.

Agreed, and I certainly don’t want to do this, but I do want a working system with 2560x1440 graphics on a 27" monitor (on a Ryzen 5950X system).



Got it, thanks.

Thanks very much - great info (and what I’ve kind of gleaned from reddit, here, and the Debian wiki)!

Respec’! (Innit)

Interesting you’re running a Taichi: when I started on this road to a new machine the ASRock was one of my early choices - I’ve gone through the whole gamut - but read that ASRock and Linux didn’t coexist very peaceably, and that ASRock were unresponsive to Linux users.

I went with MSI in the end.

I think all the consumer mobos that I have now are ASRock and all running Debian linux. They aren’t bleeding edge and I don’t think they were when I bought them, so maybe that helped. I also don’t get too crazy with the bells and whistles, so maybe more advanced users will run into more serious issues.

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I read that’s the way to go. I was originally going with Intel but messed up, couldn’t pass up the performance increase over the previous gen, and went for Alder Lake :expressionless: After a hasty reconsideration I’ve now gone with a stable and relatively staid SMP Ryzen processor and MSI B550 motherboard which is a couple of years old. I thought I would be safe with a low-end Radeon 6600 - Wendell has 6800 and 6900 working with Linux - but it’s also a new card (as far as Debian knows) so it looks like I may be experiencing teething troubles. Also, Wendell was using Ubuntu. I don’t want to do that but it’s my get out in case it all goes pear-shaped.

I disagree with your source on that.

Asrock has the Asrock Rack brand that’s aimed at enthusiasts and homelabbers where Linux is common.

I’ve also had to contact Asrock support to get a BIOS chip physically mailed to me because the CPU I had wasn’t supported by the version flashed on my board.

Linux was never mentioned, and they even sent out a second one when the first got lost in the mail. The B550 I’m on now is my second Asrock AM4 board because my experiences as a Linux user have been positive.


Good to know. I did what I believed to be due diligence - ASRock to Gigabyte to ASUS to MSI - and settled on the latter. They should all work about the same, give or take cutting edge chipsets. Most vendors do favor Windows however, it seems. The MSI board came with a CD-ROM with a bunch of .exes :slight_smile: Don’t think I’m going to be installing MSI proprietary software via Wine, thank you.

IDK I’m on elementary and have 5.17 :thonk:

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I’m a Debian stick-in-the-mud. I believe there are more up-to-date distros - Arch, Manjaro, MX, Ubuntu (various flavors), Pop, etc. - that will “just work” with an AMD card but I don’t want to distro-hop if I can help it. Thanks for the data point.

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Can I ask what is the draw? Is it the more framework to package sort of design? Or is it just that its the tools you like and nothings missing? Or something else?

Personally flatpak is my savior so elementary and I are friends. I otherwise use void. Used to use arch but its so sarcastically designed I just couldn’t deal anymore. I think from a desktop perspective that flatpak covers a lot better of being up to date being that you get code right from the devs, etc. I hate apt, I despise the debian scheduler, I just have problems with it. It makes parts of my life harder.

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I have an ASRock Rack mobo for a file server from maybe 2015?? It’s still humming along.

I think most of my mobos and GPUs are ASRock. If you accuse me of being an ASRock fanboy, then I’m guilty as charged.


I want something that just works and essentially stays out of the way - I don’t really care about look-and-feel beyond a certain level: I’m happy with Xfce or KDE, although I’ve settled on KDE which is admittedly a bit more fancy than Xfce. My machine doesn’t get on with Gnome so I’ve jettisoned that (and MATE, Cinnamon, etc.). I prefer APT over snap or flatpak or pacman. I also like Debian’s philosophy; the only thing I wish for is a newer C++ compiler (and toolchain). I mostly use the command line when I’m not in a browser or IDE.

If I can’t make Debian work to my satisfaction on this new build then I’ll just go over to Manjaro or Kubuntu/Xubuntu. But I’m going to give it a damned good try first!

There are a lot of very good distros available. I looked at Arch, Manjaro, Ubuntu, MX, Pop_OS!. I don’t think there were any others. I think Nick of My Linux Expeiment fame was running Elementary for quite a while and it did look good.

Basically I just want to stick on an LTS build and not bother with it, except for security updates, for several years. I just wish Debian shipped newer compilers more frequently (although I understand why they don’t: I end up running newer tools in a VM - another reason why I treasure stability (and perf) above all else).

(nice price on your PC Part picker list BTW. I should make mine available)

Well take it from me ElementaryOS is about as out of the way as it gets. The only reason to use void is you can control exactly how out of the way it is. I have an uncontrollable anxiety disorder and this really is like doing a lot for me rn.

Go for it! Do remember as well that if you don’t want to build shit, you don’t have to. Its your computer not the developer’s XD

I have looked around. Manjaro no matter what hates my GPU choice, so I can’t use that unless I have a laptop, and I don;t want manjaro on a laptop thats a wate of a processor’s time having to build all that shit, and in turn, mine. I tried endeavour and that can’t even install correctly. Tried Ubuntu and Shuttleworths… uh… “vision” is still… Something? The flavors are neat but theres too much ego in “Well I improved the already most popular OS hmm hmm hmm” so I’m outta there. And everything else is either overcomplicated, doesn’t have good documentation, left for the user to be the developer and the dev does half the work so you basically make your own fork of beta stage code, its just a damn mess.

I have 3 OS’s of choice nowadays, and this is from server to literally my Wii and 3DS project I am starting.

1: MX Linux - This is my choice for 32 bit machines. Because UEFI systems with actual features didn’t come out until way way later, you can’t actually access a lot of the features a pentium 4 system has just in BIOS or in a Windows install. Having something like MX linux or maybe even Tiny Core where you have a configurator for EVERYTHING (come to think of it Puppy linux too but the bastards abandoned 32 bit) actually lets you optimize the system based on resources and tooling, so I get to use all my old stuff. I have an Optiplex SX270 running pihole and some DNS stuff and its got a 3GHz netburst celeron with maybe 1mb of cache. Its actually great.

2: ElementaryOS - As I said flatpak is my savior, but more to the point, I have this thing about apple. Some of their stuff is good, some of it is a laughably large waste of human endurance. While I will admit setting up elementary was a pain this time around for me, I think its my internet connection or that 6.1 is still in RC. But my package manager wasn’t configured. I updated thru apt and that didn’t do anything, so I tried some OS’s, was unsatisfied, got elementary over torrent, had the same issue, went to flathub and got all the apps I wanted and installed them using sideload (one at a time… however I didn’t have to open a terminal or type anything literally at all) and after installing one package, the app store was reconfigured and good to go. I still installed from my downloads because I even bothered to download shit in the first place fuck it I’m finishing it just to make sure my apps are there, but its been a breeze since. Just 1 flatpak and it was fixed, and everything else is designed to not bother you, so I’m chill.

3: Void Linux - Same reason as MX linux, except now for machines that give you more options but just hide shit anyways because fuck you.

If your every day machine had something like OpenFirmware on it I would have elementary on it though.

Yeah look at EOS.

I have since sold that machine and wendell and the boys sent me a new board. Current specs
Asus P9X79 LE
28GB ECC @1600 Quad Channel (rear exhaust fan is blowing in to get air around the socket)
H100iV2 W/ Stock Fans
E5 1620 4c8t (considered bigger chip, but I actually don;t need it)
R9 290 4GB main GPU (got used for 130)
R7 250X Second GPU (DDR3 model, does monitors and once in a while compute)
Soundblaster DX (out of a dell system, some cheap thing but it works and has a good DAC)
500GB WD NVMe Drive
Supernova G+ 750w
housed in an XB Evo

I want to add an HBA and 2 5TB SAS drives I have laying around in R0 but then I have to read shit and I don’t want to lol


That’s disappointing. I figured that Manjaro, like Mint (forgot that one) or MX or Ubuntu, etc., is happy to work with Radeon or NVidia cards of all descriptions.

This is interesting. I have an ancient P4 ASUS build that I need to try with Linux once I clear Windows XP off of it (like I said, ancient);

Debian has been working very nicely on a MacBook for me.


Did you see Wendell’s latest vid on h/w RAID? I was going to put in RAID-1 for backup but instead I’m going with a single HDD and plan to throw together a NAS as soon as SBCs are available again. Or that ancient P4 would do…

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