Last year, I ran up against the limitations of my desktop computer as it could no longer satisfy my needs. Nvidia effectively killed support for my video card by no longer releasing driver updates. It was patched together over the years and needed to be put out to pasture. Obviously, I had no choice but to build a brand new AMD-based machine.
It was that new GPU I was most excited about. I wanted to game but also try my hand at more intense tasks like cracking hashes or training machine learning algorithms. I quickly that the open source drivers included in the Linux kernel won’t cut it. To do those things, I would need to install the AMD Pro drivers.
Almost immediately, I ran into issues. My distribution of choice; Pop!_OS, is not an officially supported distribution even though for these purposes it’s identical to Ubuntu. But it was trivial to make a minor change in the AMD installation bash script that added a check for “pop”. However, there were also problems with dependencies being unsupported in this version of Ubuntu. Once I resolved all of the various issues, I was able to get ROCm installed and I could then begin playing around with Hashcat for “password recovery purposes.”
The problems didn’t start immediately but when they did start, they demanded attention. The biggest and most frustrating issue encountered was when kernel upgrades were applied. For some unknown reason, the newer kernels didn’t want to play nicely with the AMD Pro drivers. Each boot with a new kernel would mean that I’d lose video drivers and no video drivers meant no support for dual monitors, no animations on my desktop (never thought I’d miss those), and of course, no gaming.
In the end, I removed the AMD Pro drivers and went back to using the open source ones packaged with the kernel. I haven’t had any performance issues since but I’m also unable to run Hashcat. However, I did still notice problems with video drivers not being loaded after kernel upgrades.
If you’re noticing issues with an AMD graphics card after kernel upgrades and have also installed the AMD Pro drivers at some point, I’d suggest checking whether or not the drivers are being blocked from loading. For me, the file
/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-amdgpu.conf was preventing video drivers from ever loading. I’ve since removed it and have yet to encounter issues. The contents of this file consisted of the text
blaclist amdgpu so it’s no wonder I didn’t have video drivers! It seems to be a remnant from the AMD Pro drivers.
I spent far too long troubleshooting this issue which kept me from doing actual work. I know this post isn’t web development related but even web developers need to fix their computer from time to time. Hopefully, this information can help someone else out there.