Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Website?

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Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Website?

Postby FirebirdTN on Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:33 pm

I am new to Mint. I ran 13 Maya for about a month after switching from XP. I have since upgraded to Mint 17.

Everything is working pretty darn well, but I am getting some pretty nasty screen tearing in most of my 3D games. I don't recall ever seeing that before in Mint 13.

I am currently using the fglrx release driver for my ATI card in my laptop.

I know when I was on Maya, as a complete newbie I didn't know which one to install so I tried the fglrx-updates release and had some pretty bad stability and graphical anomolies in Cinnamon. I *think* I had also tried installing the latest driver off the AMD website and still had the same issues. The only stable driver for me on Maya Cinnamon was either the FOSS, or fglrx driver.

I am *thinking* about giving the latest AMD driver a go in Mint 17. Is this something that alot of you Linux gamers do, or is it highly advised against doing that?

By the way, most of my games are very old classic PC games running through PlayOnLinux like Quake 2, Unreal, POD, etc.

But I also downloaded TuxKart today, and the tearing is there as well.

-Alan
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby millusions on Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:45 am

hey,

i dont think i'll be much help here but my thoughts,

what video card are you using?
if you already did apt-get install fglrx etc then how much performance boost are you expecting from another version? minimal id think.
i would check if you are actually using fglrx , did you install fglrx-amdcccle?
I suspect something else is an issue here , you didnt provide much details at all

on another note, fglrx has caused a lot of issues on my Vaio Sony laptop with mobileATI7670 , Cinamon crashed often , hibernation wouldnt work until i removed it.
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby mr_raider on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:30 pm

You need to use 14.6 beta. I installed on my desktop which is running Kubuntu 14.04 with no issues. Remember that Cinnamon uses a slightly different compositor, so the result may not be the same.
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby FirebirdTN on Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Thanks for the tips! I *may* attempt it later, but due to the possibility of borking my system I might wait.

In the current fglrx release driver, there is a "Tear Free" setting, and it seems to work okay, but it forces Vsync on, which sometimes is fine, but other times it makes the annimations choppy [depending on the game].

Its ALL about compromise I know. I really can't complain. I am surprised everything works as well as it does! Although I have heard the term "display tearing" many times in the past, I never really expereinced it (or maybe I just never noticed it?!?), but its pretty bad at times. As I mentioned above, never noticed it in Maya Cinnamon.

Its really not a huge deal though. More like a "nitpick".

As to my hardware, my only real computer is my business class laptop (dockable), which has ATI HD 6470m graphics.

I also tried removing the ATI drivers and used the FOSS driver as well, but the tearing is still present.

I noticed another user has the same issue, but they started a thread in a different area:

viewtopic.php?f=208&t=169703

-Alan
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby grungy_me on Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:49 am

Hello FirebirdTN,

Let me try and clear up a few things that you seemed confused about. The fglrx driver you are currently using is the AMD proprietary graphic driver. If I assume it is the one you installed from the Driver Manager, it just means it is an older version.

I know when I was on Maya, as a complete newbie I didn't know which one to install so I tried the fglrx-updates release and had some pretty bad stability and graphical anomolies in Cinnamon. I *think* I had also tried installing the latest driver off the AMD website and still had the same issues. The only stable driver for me on Maya Cinnamon was either the FOSS, or fglrx driver.


So really, it was the open source AMD driver, or an older AMD proprietary driver that worked for you in this. I don't know how common this is. I've had my AMD HD5770 in my system for I think four years now and have never any sort of weird instability issues. Just make sure that after a fresh install of LinuxMint that it fully updated via the Update Manager in the panel before installing any proprietary graphic drivers.

I am *thinking* about giving the latest AMD driver a go in Mint 17. Is this something that alot of you Linux gamers do, or is it highly advised against doing that?


Yes, you can do this, but currently the only compatible graphic driver with LinxMint 17 that is based upon Ubuntu 14.04, is the 14.6 beta driver on AMD's web site. I've been using the current version and the prior one with no issues. If you look at the release notes you'll see that the 14.4 stable version is not compatible. And my experience of accidentally installing it showed that to be the case by screwing up the system and requiring my to re-install LinuxMint. By installing the 14.6 beta graphic driver you MAY gain some additional games that run properly under WINE. Out of the three old Windows games that I tested on LinuxMint 17 Cinnamon, only one played properly after installing the 14.6 beta driver. The other two would only play correctly in an emulated desktop. I'd like to recommend that if playing games is important to you on LinuxMint, that installing the XFCE version of LinuxMint 17 has much better game compatibility and you should be just fine with the AMD proprietary graphic driver that is installed from the Driver Manager. My testing showed this to be the case, and installing the 14.6 beta didn't improve anything further. There is something about the Cinnamon desktop that is stopping games from running properly. I'll be making a separate post about this later.

In the current fglrx release driver, there is a "Tear Free" setting, and it seems to work okay, but it forces Vsync on, which sometimes is fine, but other times it makes the annimations choppy [depending on the game].


All the modern fglrx/AMD proprietary graphic driver version have this tear free setting that I always enable. It's the only way to get acceptable looking videos and games. It does say that it requires additional graphic resources when enabled, so perhaps this accounts for the choppy animations assuming it is not a WINE issue. I also recommend you set the graphics processor to maintain the aspect ratio in the AMD Catalyst Control Center so that if you have a wide screen monitor your old games don't get automatically stretched to fill the screen. This keeps them looking correctly as most old games are set to run in 4:3 aspect ratio screen resolutions. Where as modern wide screen monitors are either 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio.

I also tried removing the ATI drivers and used the FOSS driver as well, but the tearing is still present.


My testing showed the open source AMD graphic drivers to be really prone to screen tearing and not have very good game compatibility. So this is not likely to be a good option for you.

I hope you are able to figure something out that works for you.
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby FirebirdTN on Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:41 pm

I did find something that works for me...kind of...

As I mentioned in the original post, I am new to Linux and Mint. I started with Mint 13, and to the best of my recollection, every thing worked great. I do have some issues now in 17, but nothing earth shattering. I wished things were PERFECT, but all things considered, surprised things work as well as they do.

The two issues I have is the screen tearing in some games. Like Unreal Gold for example. Then again, that game ran quirky when I ran it in XP; it had horendous mouse lag. Aside from the tearing, it actually plays better in Linux.

Then I have other games which work PERFECTLY: Quake2 for example. Also, I have FlatOut (gog) and it works perfectly with no tearing at all.

I have tried many drivers, and they all do it on the games that I have that issue.

But I have a bigger issue that makes NO sense at all. I recently bought "FlatOut 2" from gog. I may try to launch it 5 times. I either get a program error, then I try re-launching it, or I might get a black screen with just a mouse pointer that locks my machine, prompting a hard reboot.

What is weird is WHEN it does actually launch without issue, the game works fine with NO crashing.

I have a few different games like that, and to me that doesn't make sense. Why would a game launch one time, but not another?

In any case, I am starting to think it has nothing to do with my video card. But it probably does have something to do with some hardware not "initializing" properly.

Although I tried many different drivers for my ATI card, I have currently settled on ATI's latest official driver. I didn't catch the fact it doesn't "officially" support LM 17/Ubuntu 14.04, but considering its no better or worst than any other driver it seems to be fine as it hasn't caused me any issues. I did give the open source driver a go, but I really need the proprietary driver since my main machine here is a laptop and I use it for work as well. I need some of the extra features not supported (or I can't find the controls) in the open source driver.

Anyway, saw your reply and just thought I'd post back my experiences so far.

I still have no regrets about leaving Windows.

-Alan
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby eanfrid on Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:59 pm

grungy_me wrote:My testing showed the open source AMD graphic drivers to be really prone to screen tearing
As for fglrx, this can also be fixed with proper parameters ;)
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby grungy_me on Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:54 pm

As for fglrx, this can also be fixed with proper parameters


Hey, this is good to know, but don't leave us in the dark. Where does one find the settings for the AMD open source drivers and what settings specifically need to be changed to correct screen tearing?
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Re: Mint 17 Cinnamon-Okay to try latest AMD driver from Webs

Postby grungy_me on Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:29 pm

Hi Alan, :)

Thanks for giving us more detail about your experience on LM 17.
Let me see if I can address some of your issues here with your latest post.

First of all...

I still have no regrets about leaving Windows.


This is awesome! LinuxMint really does rock! And much like yourself I do still have some minor problems. But they are not deal breakers, and they don't happen all the time. So I can live with it until I get annoyed enough to start a new post in the forum and ask how to fix it.

Have you enabled the Tear Free Desktop setting in AMD Catalyst Control Center under Display Options? In my own experience this has resolved all my screen tearing issues with the proprietary AMD graphic driver.

But I have a bigger issue that makes NO sense at all. I recently bought "FlatOut 2" from gog. I may try to launch it 5 times. I either get a program error, then I try re-launching it, or I might get a black screen with just a mouse pointer that locks my machine, prompting a hard reboot.

What is weird is WHEN it does actually launch without issue, the game works fine with NO crashing.

I have a few different games like that, and to me that doesn't make sense. Why would a game launch one time, but not another?


I had this same problem in LinuxMint 16 Cinnamon 64-bit with some games. Most of the time they did not run. Every once in a while after a whole bunch of tries it would. Like you said, it makes no sense. I can guarantee you almost without a doubt that this is an issue with the Cinnamon desktop. Hence why I did a whole bunch of testing with LM 17 Cinnamon and XFCE. See my post in the following link:

LM-17 Cinnamon is not good for gamers.
viewtopic.php?f=225&t=173403

Things you can try without re-installing LinuxMint 17 to the XFCE version. At the Login page, try changing the session type to software rendering, log back in to see if that changes anything in how your games run. Try installing the XFCE desktop environment from Synapatic Package Manager, then logout and change the session to XFCE, log back in and see if your games run any different. Just be advised that when you install XFCE this way often times fonts and other things about the desktop are not optimized the way doing a clean install of LinuxMint XFCE does. Meaning you get a basic XFCE desktop without LinuxMint customizations. Another option is to make a Live CD/DVD/USB flash drive of Gparted, re-size your partitions to make room on your hard drive and install LinuxMint 17 XFCE along side the Cinnamon install so you are dual booting. When you are done testing, delete the LinuxMint partition you do not want and re-size the partitions back to using the whole drive. Another option is to use Clonezilla software to clone your current LinuxMint partition(s) (don't worry about the swap partition) to an external hard drive or large enough USB flash drive. Then do a fresh install of LinuxMint 17 XFCE over writing your current LinuxMint install. If nothing improves, restore the Clonezilla image and you are back where you left off.

In any case, I am starting to think it has nothing to do with my video card. But it probably does have something to do with some hardware not "initializing" properly.


Again, my experience showed it was the Cinnamon desktop that was the issue, not the graphic drivers. You'll see in my post in the above link that all three versions of the AMD proprietary graphic driver in LinuxMint 17 XFCE 64-bit had the same results with running games, which was to run all of them with the exception of Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 under WINE in full screen.

Although I tried many different drivers for my ATI card, I have currently settled on ATI's latest official driver. I didn't catch the fact it doesn't "officially" support LM 17/Ubuntu 14.04, but considering its no better or worst than any other driver it seems to be fine as it hasn't caused me any issues.


I'm surprised this worked out for you in terms of actually working correctly, being stable, and not screwing anything up like it did for me. I also wonder if this graphic driver version not being compatible with LM 17/Ubuntu 14.04 may be playing part of the problem with some of your games not running. It's certainly easy enough to un-install that driver and either install the 14.6 beta, or the older version from the Driver Manager. If you do this I'd recommend that you use the 14.6 beta since that showed in my tests to make more of my games run properly in Cinnamon, just not all of them.

Let us know what your results are if you keep trying different things. And wishing you good luck to get this figured out! :)
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