AMD Graphic Drivers

I've seen many misconceptions regarding the amd graphical drivers.
I'll be going over the pros and cons of both of these drivers on this webpage. Let's begin with the open-source drivers.
Disclaimer: This is based on personal experience & some research.

The Open Source Drivers

Let's start with the cons or should I say con first. Many would tell you that these drivers are perfect, which is certainly not the case. The open-source drivers face one issue... compatibility.

One of the most infuriating things about the open-source drivers is the lack of compatibility, especially when it comes to gaming. The open-source drivers lack legacy OpenGL support, making some games not run at all. A few examples include:
Dying Light: Complains it needs OpenGL 3.3
DOOM: Game can't launch in OpenGL mode due to lack of legacy support
Wolfenstein The New Order: Same issue as DOOM
Doom 3: Same issue as DOOM
And there may be more!

However lack of legacy OpenGL support isn't the only compatibility issue that the Open-Source drivers have, another one is outdated vulkan support. While this doesn't matter much as of now, it can lead to new problems down the line. (I would use Wolfenstein The New Collosus as an example, but I do not know if that's caused from outdated vulkan support)

The devs do know about these issues, but when it comes to the legacy openGL support issue, they have said in the past they will not add it, as it would make the drivers "unstable".

Now for the pros:
1. They are way more faster: You will usually get higher fps with the Open-Source drivers
2. They are more stable: It's very rare to have these drivers crash on you.
3. They are Open-Source: This may not matter to alot of people, but it matters to alot of other people.
4. Easier to Update: Usually you install it from a repository, and as long as that repository is active you will get the latest updates. (Unless you are using something like CentOS)
5. They usually come already installed: On most distros, they usually come already installed on the system. (Unless you are on Ubuntu, in that case be prepared to jump through hoops)


Let's get one thing out of the way, these drivers aren't "bad" like alot of people say they are. They function fairly decently, and run some games better than the open-source drivers. (Though that gap is closing)

Slower Performance on Average: These drivers run games much slower than the open-source drivers, not to say they make them unplayable, but be prepared to lose 20 something frames (This doesn't usually matter if you are getting above 60fps though)
It's a pain to install: The AMDGPU-PRO drivers only install on the following distros: Ubuntu 16.04, CentOS, Red Hat Linux, SuSe (The enterprise one, not OpenSUSE). Meaning if you hate all these distros. Welp, you're outta luck, and even IF you use the right distro, sometimes they might not work for some odd reason.
Less Stable: These drivers will crash on you sometimes, not alot, but sometimes.
It's Proprietary: While this fact doesn't matter to alot of people, it does to alot of other people. So if you want to be completely libre, i'd stay away from this driver (Though you probably already knew that.)

Compatibility: Games that won't run or have graphical glitches will not have the same issues on these drivers usually.
Official AMD Support: If you need help with these drivers, you can go to AMD and they'll (usually) help.
Easy to Uninstall: I know this is an odd pro, maybe it's just me but the open-source drivers are an absolute pain to uninstall. Especially if your distro doesn't come with tools to do it for you. On amdgpu-pro its as simple as typing: amdgpu-pro-uninstall, and BOOM. Gone.

Well jeez, which one do I install?

If you want to completely get off windows, the best thing to do is dual-boot between two distros. One with the open-source drivers (which should be your main distro), and one with the pro drivers (for those games that don't run on the open-source drivers). Which distro would I recommend for the second dual boot? Can't really tell you. What I can tell you is that your 2 options are going to be either Ubuntu 16.04 or Centos. If you choose ubuntu I recommend installing Ubuntu Minimal (Found Here).

If I feel up to it, i'll make a guide on how to setup this dual-boot linux machine, but for now I hope this helps any confusion between which drivers to use. (You should almost always pick the open-source ones.)

Anyways, I hope this read was interesting.

Last edited: April 23rd, 2018