How to install working drivers for legacy ATI video card in Fedora 22

asked 2015-08-09 17:06:06 -0500

bogwog gravatar image

I've got an old Lenovo T500 released around 2008 which has a hybrid graphics setup using Intel integrated graphics and an ATI Radeon HD 3650. I've installed the KDE plasma desktop spin of Fedora workstation 22 and everything works mostly fine.

The only trouble is the radeon driver that was automatically installed doesn't work right 100% of the time. I know that I can enable a program to use the video card by prefacing every command with DRI_PRIME=1 and can test it by checking /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch. This process does indeed work, however sometimes when I start an application with the ATI card it doesn't render properly. The only pattern I've noticed is that if it is a game or 'big' application, then it won't work 99% of the time. This is problematic because I was hoping to use this card for more than just small opengl demos.

Basically, the window opens, but the content of the window looks like a screenshot of everything that was behind the window. If it's a game or something, I can hear the music and the UI still reacts to my keyboard and mouse. I just can't see anything.

I looked into the proprietary drivers from AMD, but they've unfortunately abandoned development of drivers for my card. I even tried to install the oldest Catalyst driver available on their site (which was version 8.x released in 2012) but the installation failed and X wouldn't even start afterwards. (Luckily they included a script which fixed everything)

So what can I do in this situation? Am I pretty much screwed due to how old my card is?

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