RX-480 + linux

When I first started trying to build my computer I stayed away from amd gpu's because I heard from a few sources that they are not as reliable with linux. I'm currently dual booting windows 10 and ubuntu gnome and I would like to move my computing more and more away from windows. Is it still true that the Nvidia drivers are better? I'm looking to update soon away from the potato that i'm using now.

They are not better per se as that the AMD driver situation is a bit chaotic. The AMD side people are trying to create a single open source stack/driver (AMDGPU) that can be extended by extra features either given by open (MESA) or proprietary (AMDGPU-PRO) modules that fully utilize the GPU. Both extensions are supposed to be comparable in performance. At this point the proprietary part only works for specific distros and kernels and it is not as reliable. The open driver on the other hand is starting to perform very nice from kernel 4.8+ but not very good for older kernels. So depending on the distros and kernels you are using you have to chose one or the other. Also if you want computing using openCL you need the proprietary extension for now i believe.

Nvidia is obviously more reliable for now and more unified (just one proprietary driver ¨works¨ for all). It will take time for the AMD stack to mature at the same level.


Too be honest nvidia's binanry drivers at least on ubuntu played all my linux games as well as the old card could GTX670 2G vram.

On a RX 480 I have been staying with the pure open source kernal 4.8+ amdgpu driver and its been rough but Shadow of Mordor is working now. Divinity Original Sin still errors on launch. I can always dual boot into win10 for a skyrim or other fix when needed.

I switched to AMD because they embraced open source and I feel that is the future if you dont want to be locked into a phone like OS on a PC. my 2 cents.


Here are some things to consider.

The current state of AMD drivers is a mess, but that is only because there is a lot of development and movement going on.

Nouveau (the free nvidia drivers) are basically at a stand still. There is still no reclocking support for the 900 series cards and I can't even use my GTX970 with nouveau because there is still an ongoing bug for my card ever since the 4.7 kernel came out.

So that means that with Nvidia, you are pretty much forced to use the proprietary driver. The nvidia driver is fine, but nvidia is not interested in truly developing the driver or pushing any new features to the driver. Where as AMD is pretty much on feature parody with windows.

AMD on linux is only going to get better and nvidia will remain stagnant.

With any new AMD GPU (GCN 1.2 and up) (Polaris is 1.3 btw) and a new kernel (the newer the better) the open source amdgpu driver is working well out of the box. It gets a lot of support from AMD themselves and the community.
The biggest benefit of the open source drivers in general are easier kernel upgrades (which is very important for rolling release distros) and they are less likely to break anything. With freesync being supported on Linux by now, my next card is definitely going to be an AMD one. I'd would wait another 3 months for Vega if I was you.
The next Ubuntu release in April should have very good support (if you want to stick to Ubuntu).

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Thanks for the reply. It makes me happy that amd is working with the linux community. I might wait till vega but what it sounds like is it's going to try and compete on a pricepoint that I'm just not in the market for. I wish I had the money for a 400$+ gpu but I just don't right now. I'll probably end up picking up a rx-480 I'm thinking. I've seen used 8g models for aprox 200 dollars. This has been super helpful thank you.

This was super helpful thanks for clearing this up for me.

There is going to be a polaris refresh as well. That aloso might drop the prices of current cards.

If you don't care about using closed source drivers, (which in this case, you shouldn't) the nvidia drivers and surrounding libs are more consistent and perform much closer to on-par with windows than AMD's current offering. They're working on a new linux stack but kernel maintainers keep rejecting their additions and the support just isn't there yet. For now stick to nvidia on linux.

Unless your only concern is cost efficient compute, in which case the rx 480 is a great card. Miners can't get enough of the thing.

Have they fixed the "no-HDMI-sound" issue on the open source driver Linux side?

On kernel 4.9, AMDGPU KMS driver is working incredibly well. Also, the AMDGPU-PRO proprietary driver, which substitutes the defunct fglrx driver which sucks and of which people still seem to think it's relevant in Linux (it isn't though, the troublesome Catalyst driver is now Windows-only), is a safe proposition in linux because it's confined to userspace, as it hooks into the AMDGPU KMS driver, so you don't have to put the security of your system at stake like with nVidia proprietary drivers, which are a security nightmare because they require you to disable several important security systems (trusted repo source, MAC/RBAC, untainted kernel, etc), which is totally unacceptable these days.

So yeah, AMD is a pretty good proposition for linux at the moment, Intel and nVidia don't come close, and it doesn't look like they're ever going to, because Intel - even after all of these years - can't get their shit together and produce a good enough driver to even get the most out of the limited GPU hardware they offer, and nVidia lets people pay on commercial closed source software consoles to get the latest and best working drivers, and offers meh drivers to those not paying, which includes the users of the linux port of the Windows driver, and on the other hand, nVidia has always fought KMS drivers with all of their might, which means that nVidia cards will always lack crucial modern functionality in linux, regardless of performance levels and bugs and security flaws and corporate malware in proprietary drivers, very important things, like hardware passthrough, OpenCL and Vulkan support, OpenMP scalability and expandability with new hybrid computing hardware, etc...


Our capitalist system has been leaking in to the PC world slowly and I think we're experiencing the buildup of it. It's 2017 and proprietary firmware is still a thing. An open source bios seems like a dream that'll never come true on anything other than a Chromebook. And for some reason people are still running windows thinking they're secure. There's so many backwards practices the Linux community has to deal with from the hardware manufacturers I'm surprised there aren't protests about it.

Capitalism is good though lol, it's the very backbone of the open source movement. The leftists screaming open source are basically the parasitic freetards, they don't come for the freedom, they come for the free beer, which is OK, the beer is free, we want more beer for everybody everywhere.
You shouldn't forget that open source development is not a political exercise. Open Source developers are not freedom fighters per se, unless it concerns the freedom to not have to have their work robbed by monopolistic corporations. It's about the money.
What is happening in the computer world, is very much like what was happening in de music or movie business over the years. Ask any Russian, monopolists/oligopolists attract hookers. That is not a problem per se. Still the hookers aren't the real problem, the real problem is what the hookers whisper into the ear of the monopolists/oligopolists because they want to hurt those who still have their own soul.
Another example: in Munich, it was the leftist political victory that suddenly pulled all kinds of dirty tricks to get rid of linux and move to Windows. The socialist IT-specialist woman probably also wants the job of the IT specialist woman in place, and now has a voice through the socialist mayor. It's an exercise in greed, corruption, egoism and spite, as it always is with parasitic movements.

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Are y'all weaving undead fabrics?

Because you sure as heck Necro'd this Thread

Nope, the subject matter is still very much relevant, there were several posts about this very subject recently as you know very well because we had to split one of them only 24 hours ago because of you lol


Bruh its just a pun.

When's the last time you checked on your sense of humor?

I think it might either be MIA or pushing up daisies lmao

I don't find a clown with a baseball bat in the campus library funny, others do, meh, humor is a wide concept with a lot of variation...


Oh, I'm sorry.

Next time I'll be sure to consult the Institutio Oratoria before posting here.

Or do you prefer Cicero's parameters?

I'm flexible, just let me know which better fits the lofty standards of this institution

I am currently using a RX 480 in Manjaro with kernel 4.10 and amdgpu its been great no issues. My advice use any rolling distro for kernel 4.8 or greater. For the latest hardware I try to champion distros where you can get the latest packages (Arch, debian sid, and etc).