How to fix Steam for Linux video problems

As you can probably imagine, Steam in Linux issues are related to video drivers. Thus, Valve wants to be ensured that only with the latest binary blob you’ll be able to play Steam games into Ubuntu. So, if you want to become Steam compatible you have to install proprietary nVIDIA or AMD drivers into your system. And the most easy way to achieve this is via X-Swat PPA, like our script ūüėČ So, games in Valve Steam require newer graphics drivers than may be installed on your system. Determine what graphics hardware you are using and follow the appropriate section below.

nVIDIA Video Drivers

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launch the Additional Hardware Drivers dialog, and install the newest nvidia-experimental-NNN driver.

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Proprietary graphics card drivers are provided by graphics card manufacturers and can provide improved performance and additional features when compared with open source Ubuntu drivers. To enable proprietary drivers for your machine, do the following:

  1. Open Ubuntu Software Center.
  2. From the top-level menu, select¬†Edit¬†|¬†Software Sources …¬†.
  3. Enable the¬†Proprietary drivers for devices (restricted) …¬†option.
  4. Click the Close button.

To see what proprietary drivers are available for your machine’s hardware, do the following:

  • Open¬†Additional Drivers¬†either through¬†Systems Settings¬†or by clicking the Unity dash icon and entering “additional drivers”.

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[tab]Feel safe to use our one-click-installation NVIDIA script. Using our script you are able to choose between Stable (X-Swat) or Beta (Xorg-Edgers) drivers. In case something goes wrong, you can re-run the script and select Open Source (Nouveau) drivers. Check our script in action, for your eyes only.[/tab]

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For more information read our How to install or upgrade nVIDIA video drivers in Ubuntu, which is a step-by-step guide for Ubuntu users only.

AMD Radeon Video Drivers

Currently there’s a mess with AMD drivers in Ubuntu 12.10, especially those with HD2000/3000/4000 Legacy model. However the best solution is to stay put with 12.04 (not upgrading to 12.10).

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Launch the Additional Hardware Drivers dialog, and install the newest fglrx-experimental-9 driver.

NOTE: As of Oct 18 this driver is not yet available. 
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Proprietary graphics card drivers are provided by graphics card manufacturers and can provide improved performance and additional features when compared with open source Ubuntu drivers. To enable proprietary drivers for your machine, do the following:

  1. Open Ubuntu Software Center.
  2. From the top-level menu, select¬†Edit¬†|¬†Software Sources …¬†.
  3. Enable the¬†Proprietary drivers for devices (restricted) …¬†option.
  4. Click the Close button.

To see what proprietary drivers are available for your machine’s hardware, do the following:

  • Open¬†Additional Drivers¬†either through¬†Systems Settings¬†or by clicking the Unity dash icon and entering “additional drivers”.
NOTE: As of Oct 18 this driver is not yet available.

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For AMD modern video cards:

Read our step-by-step guide

For AMD Legacy video  cards:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:makson96/fglrx
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install fglrx-legacy

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Intel IGPU drivers

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On the command line, run

  sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
  sudo apt-get update
  sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Then log out and back in, or reboot.

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If your machine is running an Intel graphics card, we recommend running the latest graphics drivers. These drivers, developed and approved by Intel, are distributed using the x-updates PPA (personal package archive). By default, this PPA is not added to the Ubuntu 12.04 repository list. The following procedure adds this repository.

To add the x-updates PPA to the Ubuntu 12.04 repository list, do the following:

  1. Open Ubuntu Software Center.
  2. From the top-level menu, select¬†Edit¬†|¬†Software Sources …¬†.
  3. Select the Other Software tab.
  4. Click the¬†Add …¬†button.
  5. Enter the following: deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates/ubuntu precise main
  6. Click the +Add Source button.
  7. Provide your user password when requested.
  8. Click the Close button.
  9. Open¬†Update Manager¬†(click the Unity icon on the launch bar and enter “update manager”) and click the¬†Check¬†button to refresh the package cache.

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[tab]Living on the edge is a kind of an extreme thing, thus I like to run bleeding-edge beta drivers. If you don’t, then just follow take the red pill and use Ubuntu solution. For the rest of you, follow the rabbit:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
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