AMD Catalyst Drivers

AMD Catalyst Drivers

Catalyst is the proprietary driver for AMD/ATI hardware on all Operating Systems.

Owners of AMD video cards have a choice between AMD's proprietary driver (catalyst) and the open source driver (xf86-video-ati).

Compared with the open source driver, Catalyst performs better in both 2D and 3D rendering, having better power management, also manages CPU heat better than opensource driver, but it lacks efficient multi-head support. Supported devices are ATI/AMD Radeon video cards with chipset R600 and newer (Radeon HD 2xxx and newer).


There are multiple ways of installing Catalyst on your system. One way is to use unofficial Catalyst repository. This repository contains all the necessary packages.

The second method is installing the driver with a help of a script (simply automates the first method).

You can also install catalyst via AUR. 

Before choosing the method you prefer, you will have to see which driver you need. Since Catalyst 12.4, AMD has separated its development for Radeon HD 2xxx, 3xxx and 4xxx cards into the legacy Catalyst driver.

This Guide will work on arch and all arch based distros, and is not Antergos specific.

Installing from the unofficial repository

The repository is maintained by an unofficial Catalyst maintainer, Vi0l0. All packages are signed and are considered safe to use.

Do it yourself

This is the recommended way to install catalyst (if you have time). Easy to follow and gives you a basic idea about whats happening behind the installer script.

Catalyst packages are no longer offered in the official repositories. In the past, Catalyst has been dropped from official Arch support because of dissatisfaction with the quality and speed of development. After a brief return they were dropped again in April 2013 and they have not returned since.

So, as a first step you have to import the key for the repository, and set the trust level to trusted:

$ sudo pacman-key -r 653C3094
$ sudo pacman-key --lsign-key 653C3094

Note: The latest Catalyst driver available (catalyst 15.5 at the time of writing) doesn't support Xorg server 1.17. You'd want to rollback to Xorg Server 1.16.


Open terminal, type$ sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf

and paste this (ctrl+shift+V to paste in terminal, or right-click>paste)

Server =$arch

(make sure you add [xorg116] repository above the [extra] repository)


Also add the catalyst repository (paste it there, not necessarily above any repo, you can paste it wherever you wish):

Server =$arch


Note: If you have card older than Radeon HD 5xxx series, i.e if your card falls in the legacy category, use this repository instead of the one above

Server =$arch

Note: If you have 64bit Arch/Antergos installed, its a good idea to enable [multilib] repository while you're there.


Save the file, Update the system to downgrade Xorg and required dependencies

sudo pacman -Syuu


Now, Uninstall Opensource drivers,

sudo pacman -Rcc lib32-ati-dri ati-dri xf86-video-ati


Once you have added some Catalyst repository, downgraded Xorg and uninstalled opensource drivers, install catalyst packages:

sudo pacman -S catalyst-hook catalyst-libgl catalyst-utils acpid qt4

qt4 is optional, required by catalyst control center GUI

Note: If pacman asks you about removing mesa-libgl you can safely do so.

You can also install the following optional packages depending upon your requirements.

  • opencl-catalyst (optional, needed for OpenCL support)
  • lib32-catalyst-utils (optional, needed for 32-bit OpenGL support on 64-bit systems)
  • lib32-catalyst-libgl (optional, needed for 32-bit OpenGL support on 64-bit systems)
  • lib32-opencl-catalyst (optional, needed for 32-bit OpenCL support on 64-bit systems)


Woop! Catalyst's installed! Easy right?

But the process isn't over yet, scroll down and follow the general instructions you have to perform otherwise you wont be able to boot into display.

Use a Helper Script.

What does this script do exactly?
  1. Enables the multilib repo
  2. Updates the database and imports the key for catalyst repos
  3. Downgrades xorg and related dependencies
  4. Removes open source ATI drivers
  5. Installs all catalyst packages and dependencies (including QT4)
  6. Enables services in systemd
  7. Uses amdconfig --initial to configure xorg.

Run it with the following command, and follow the prompts:

unzip && sudo ./

Warning: This script only supports 64bit systems and is only applicable on Radeon HD 5xxx cards and newer.Follow the do-it-yourself guide above if you have a 32bit arch/antergos installed or if your card falls in the legacy category


Warning: Use of this script is to be considered "At  your own risk".  There is very little error checking as the script assumes that the user is capable of picking up on errors, and can solve any problems that may arise.

AMD Catalyst Install Script
File Details
  • Name:
  • Size: 1 KB
  • SHA1:

Installing from the AUR

The other way to install Catalyst is from the AUR. This method is not covered here as it's the most tedious way to install catalyst. However, if you're still willing to waste some time building, follow this.

Configuring the driver

After you have installed the driver via your chosen method, you will have to configure X to work with Catalyst. Also, you will have to make sure the module gets loaded at boot. Also, one should disable kernel mode setting.

Enable required services

Note: Ignore this if you've installed catalyst via the helper script

open terminal and,

$ sudo systemctl enable atieventsd
$ sudo systemctl start atieventsd
$ sudo systemctl enable catalyst-hook
$ sudo systemctl start catalyst-hook

Configuring X

Note: Ignore this if you've installed catalyst via the helper script

To configure X, you will have to create an xorg.conf file.

No you wont! 😀 catalyst can do that for you!

If you have only one monitor, run this (See this, for dual monitors):

$ aticonfig --initial

Loading the module at boot

Now we just blacklist the radeon module, open /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf (if it exists) and enter this:

blacklist radeon

Then we will have to make sure that the fglrx module gets auto-loaded. Either add fglrx on a new line of an existing module file located under /etc/modules-load.d/, or create a new file and add fglrx.

Disable kernel mode setting

Disabling kernel mode setting is important, as the driver doesn't take advantage of KMS yet. If you do not deactivate KMS, your system might freeze when trying to switch to a TTY or even when shutting down via your DE.

Edit the  /etc/default/grub file, and modify the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" line so it looks like this:


and run:

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

and reboot.

You should now have a fully working installation of the AMD Catalyst drivers!


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