AMD: how to install the latest video card driver

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Sometimes, when you have a very new graphics card from AMD, you have a problem: the AMD video driver in the repositories of Linux Mint, isn't recent enough, which causes display issues.

There's a way to bypass the official software sources and install a newer AMD video driver: this entails using a non-official but trustworthy PPA.

Installation by means of the oibaf/graphics-drivers PPA

You can install a newer AMD driver by means of a non-official (and therefore somewhat risky) software source: the oibaf/graphics-drivers PPA.

This method has the biggest chance of success, because this PPA is in the hands of a developer with a good reputation. This developer has adapted the AMD drivers to Ubuntu and Linux Mint, so that they should work well in these Linux distributions.

But using a PPA still carries some risks with it, that's unavoidable. However, if you apply this how-to exactly and fully, you can reduce those risks greatly.

Only apply this when you experience real display issues! Don't do it just to have "the latest of the latest". The method is as follows:

1. First, and this is essential: make a snapshot with Timeshift, so that you always have the possibility to undo the changes that you'll do to your system.

2. Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

Copy/paste into the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers

Press Enter. Type your password when prompted. In Ubuntu this remains entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal. In Mint this has changed: you'll see asterisks when you type. Press Enter again.

With this, you add the software source (the PPA) to your sources list.

3. Then in the terminal:

sudo apt-get update

Press Enter. With this, you inform your system about the contents of the newly added software source.

4. Before you proceed: make sure you've created the Timeshift snapshot as described in step 1! You'll install more than just the AMD video driver by using this PPA, so that increases the risks. A Timeshift snapshot can save you in case of mishaps....

In the terminal:

sudo apt-get upgrade

Press Enter.

5. Reboot your computer. After this reboot, your video card should be running on the new driver.

6. Now remove the oibaf/graphics-drivers PPA from your sources list, so that later on you won't run the risk of getting into trouble by buggy updates for the driver:

Launch the application Software Sources. That's usually to be found by: menu button - Administration (or System) - Software Sources.

Click the button PPAs

Remove both instances of oibaf/graphics-drivers (click on an instance and then click the button Remove).

Then click the OK button to update the cache.

7. Close Software Sources and then launch Update Manager. In Update Manager, click the button Refresh. With that action, the possibility of updates from oibaf/graphics-drivers will have disappeared.

Don't worry too much about not getting updates for your new AMD video driver: for normal desktop users, even security updates for drivers are usually not very important.

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