Here is a quick tutorial for those experiencing screen tearing with AMD graphics cards. This tutorial only applies to those using the open source Radeon driver; if you’re using catalyst, there is a “tear free” option in the graphical driver setting.

A note from AJ:  While this tutorial worked for me and many others, several people reported that this didn’t work and broke their system.  So consider yourself warned! 

For many Linux users running AMD graphics, this may be their best option for tear-free performance. As many know, Ubuntu dropped support for the proprietary catalyst driver in Ubuntu 16.04 since AMD is discontinuing the driver. While the new AMD GPU driver promises to be an improvement over catalyst, older AMD cards aren’t supported, which leaves the open sourced Radeon driver as the only option. I’ve also found catalyst performance on Arch based distributions to be sub-par, once again leaving the Radeon driver as the best option.

Part 1 (Optional): Updated and Optimized Graphics Drivers (Ubuntu 14.04 and up)

For Ubuntu users, you can add a ppa that provides updated and optimized Radeon drivers. Open a terminal and add the following commands one line at a time:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo reboot

Part 2: Configure the Radeon driver

Like catalyst, the Radeon graphics driver has a “tear free” option, but doesn’t have a graphical interface for changing this setting. What we’re going to do is modify the configuration file. Open the terminal and add the following commands one line at a time.

sudo apt-get install mesa-utils
sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
echo -e ‘Section “Device” Identifier “Radeon” Driver “radeon” Option “TearFree” “on” EndSection’ | sudo tee /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-amd.conf
sudo reboot

After reboot, you will find screen tearing has been eliminate. If you wish to revert the changes, open the terminal and add the following:

sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-amd.conf
sudo reboot


As always, I hope you find this tutorial useful. Thanks for reading, and be sure to share this post on social media.

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