PSA: Using a Radeon XR 6600 on Debian


I had much trouble understanding why I was facing the dreaded “black screen with blinking cursor during boot” after installing this GPU. This very short note is for the people with the same specific problem. Worth a shot if you still have no clue about what to do.


This GPU will work on Debian Bookworm (12, very soon-to-be Stable as I’m writing this) and probably on Debian Bullseye (11) if you’re using backports. I’m using Bookworm, and my understanding is that the requirements to get the card to work are the following:

  • A recent kernel. Bookworm ships with linux-image-6.1.0-9. I don’t think it will work with a 5.10 kernel but you can try.
  • A recent version of the package firmware-amd-graphics. Version 20230210-5 will do the trick. non-free packages have to be activated in your /etc/apt/source.list for it to be available.

And that’s it. It implies Bookworm in its current state was a viable candidate to use this GPU. Then why the darn thing didn’t work?

Simple things

Prior to installing this device, I was using an older Radeon RX 550 and I was expecting the switch to be painless. The requirements where already met and the nonfree firmwares were already installed. I didn’t find any relevant answers online. The no more image in the PCI ROM message I managed to gather in rescue mode is a red herring if you’re not using a GPU passthrough. The trick was quite simple. The initrd needed to be updated to include the latest required firmware. It can be triggered by using dpkg-reconfigure or, I guess, update-initramfs -u. You can check for the content of the initrd file with something like lsinitramfs /boot/initrd.img-6.1.0-9-amd64 |grep amdgpu.


If you were already using an older AMD GPU: Upgrade to Bookworm if you’re on Bullseye. dpkg-reconfigure firmware-amd-graphics and reboot so that the required firmware is included with the initrd.