Running / Installing old ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series graphic card in Debian Jessie

26 04 2015

Debian Jessie (specifically the version of Xorg that it have) don’t have support for the ATI propietary driver that manage Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series. As it says in the official wiki https://wiki.debian.org/ATIProprietary “is not available for Debian 8 “Jessie”, as upstream has not updated the driver for newer Xorg releases (726500).”.

For that reason, if you have an old Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 graphic card, you can only use open source driver xserver-xorg-video-radeon wich is a reliable way to keep your computer running with the new Debian release.

In my case this is this particular graphic card:
lspci
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV710/M92 [Mobility Radeon HD 4330/4350/4550]

After the default installation, the system don’t boot up with the correct resolution because the kernel need to read some propietary binary firmware. You need to follow this steps for keep it running nicely:

1.- Add the non-free repositories to “/etc/apt/sources.list”:
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free

2-a.- Update apt and install the following package if your systems is older than Debian Stretch:
apt-get update
apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree

2-b.- Update apt and install the following package if your systems is newer or equal than Debian Stretch:
apt-get update
apt-get install firmware-amd-graphics

3. Reboot your computer and enjoy!

 

Interesting are the power states, check this page https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/ATI#Powersaving for more information and the tool radcard, maybe you can save some battery life of improve the cooling. Check the power state with the following command:
# radcard get
power_dpm_state: battery
power_dpm_force_performance_level: low

# radcard set high && radcard set perfomance
power_dpm_state: performance
power_dpm_force_performance_level: high
# cat /sys/kernel/debug/dri/0/radeon_pm_info
uvd vclk: 0 dclk: 0
power level 2 sclk: 45000 mclk: 50000 vddc: 1100

# radcard set low && radcard set battery
power_dpm_state: battery
power_dpm_force_performance_level: low
# cat /sys/kernel/debug/dri/0/radeon_pm_info
uvd vclk: 0 dclk: 0
power level 0 sclk: 30000 mclk: 40000 vddc: 1100

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10 responses

10 06 2015
Christian

thx a lot!!!

28 11 2015
Alex

Спасибо, друг! Все получилось, ты лучший!

13 12 2015
koke

very ,very thanks

28 12 2015
Erik

I’ve tried upgrading to Jessie several times but never got the resolution right. Switched back to Wheezy every time. Although I’m not quite happy using the non-free repository, this finally made it work. Thanks alot!

28 12 2015
Erik

By the way, here’s my lspci output, just to help people googling for the solution:

01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RS780L [Radeon 3000]

11 04 2016
juliodiaz

Than you, very much!!!

13 07 2016
Ben

Bingo !. Thanks !

29 12 2016
Phil

Thank you! worked perfect for my old Radeon HD 2600

19 03 2017
kevin guerra

Didn’t work for me. I couldn’t install firmware-amd-graphics, the package wasn’t there. I’ll try to hunt for it.

19 03 2017
kevin guerra

lspci |grep -i vga
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RS780L [Radeon 3000]

No go… I downloaded the package and copied the extracted files to /lib/firmware

dmesg still doesn’t report anything for radeon or drm, but does for ati, for a sound card.

Screw this. I’m getting an nvidia card.

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