Ubuntu: Will installing AMD drivers conflict with Intel HD switchable graphics?


I have an Acer which has an Intel i5 sandy bridge and an AMD HD 6650m. I want to install AMD graphics drivers. Will this cause conflict between the Intel HD3000 and AMD hd 6650m? If so, how do I resolve it? (Using Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit)


I have the same hardware setup in a Lenovo G770 (core i5, RadeonHD 6650m, Intel HD3000), and have been very successful enabling switchable graphics with the proprietary ATI/AMD Catalyst driver. I have not noticed any conflicts, and it's only very slightly buggy every now and then (i.e. scrambled color and/or tearing for a few seconds while logging in) - other than that, it works very nicely. I have had occasional issues with resume/suspend while using it, but I suspect that issue has to do with Compiz as opposed to the Catalyst driver, as suspend/resume still works fine in Gnome-Shell. In any case, below is a link to the directions I used to successfully install and configure my setup, as well as directions for removal if it becomes necessary.

Simple Step-By-Step Driver Installation Instructions

Simple Method of Driver Removal (answer #2, by bioShark)


What is switchable graphics?

Your laptop has switchable graphics, i.e. an Intel graphics card built into the i5 CPU, and a discrete AMD graphics card. Using Windows drivers on Windows, this is supposed to let the OS intelligently switch between the two depending on whether games, 3D graphics, etc. are being run or whether the system is just being used for normal tasks like browsing, office apps, etc.

Not officially supported by Linux

Unfortunately, this automatic switching is not officially supported on Linux or Ubuntu, because the AMD drivers are proprietary (not open source).

No conflict, but AMD card will be "always on"; you can try vgaswitcheroo

You can install the AMD drivers, and especially should if you will be gaming. They will not conflict with the internal Intel HD graphics, but you should be aware of the following:

  • No automatic switching
  • AMD card will always be "on", resulting in no or very little power saving
    • You can only turn it off and use Intel only if this option is supported in your laptop's BIOS (and many don't)
  • You can try using the vgaswitcheroo option to manually enable/disable the AMD card from within Ubuntu. See this Ubuntu wiki for details.

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