De-Microsofting myself. Looking at Linux

All of the telemetry, and clandestine system updates in Windows, is really making me want to run Linux and browse through a VPN. The hard part is, that I am a student, and half of my classes involve Windows environments and Vbscript and what not. I know, from a student productivity standpoint, Linux has Libre Office. I'm not worried about that, I'm just worried about playing that odd game from time to time. How easy is VGA passthrough to a Windows VM for a Linux initiate? I'm not real concerned about high latencies, i'm not competitive, just a filthy casual.

I have a Ryzen R5 1600, and I have the Tomahawk B350 board.I haven't built the system yet, but i'm wondering if I might have chosen the wrong board.

So to sum up, VGA passthrough do-able for a rookie? Even worth the time? Or should I just put up with Microsoft's gluttony of my personal information?

*Edit I should say i'm planning on grabbing a Gtx1070. Currently running a Skylake i3 build, with an Rx470. Better to go with AMD gpus for passthrough?

I'd recommend looking over /r/vfio on reddit, and joining their discord. They're very helpful to newcomers.

If you don't want to think about setting it up, unRaid might be a good option for you.

note that running Win10 in a vm does nothing for telemetry if you don't firewall the VM and constrict it's access extensively, which is a whole other can of worms.

AMD cards typically cause less headaches in trying to pass them through. I'm currently using a fury and the install was painless as it could be (it occasionally fails to power down on crashes but that's a pretty minor bug as far as gpu passthrough is concerned.

From what I understand, IOMMU on ryzen is a really mixed bag, It changes on a board to board basis and few companies are seriously gearing up support for it.

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Wendell actually just created a review of the Tomahawk Here >
Overall it's a great value board, but for Linux, it has some slight quarks, but mostly software things, and could be fixed in the future. Wendell can explain better :stuck_out_tongue:.

As for the pass through, I'm not experienced enough for that. EDIT: @tkoham just replied while I was typing lol. So there's your answer :smiley:

OH -- just remembered:

Since ryzen doesn't have an igpu, you're gonna need 2 cards -- one for passthrough and one for the host.

The best combo right now is nvidia on the host and amd on the guest if you want the easiest configuration to set up.

@tkoham Thanks for the info! I never considered that running an instance of Win10 is STILL running the telemtry, however, if I only intend to launch Win10 to run a quick steam game or two i'm not too worried. I will head over to that reddit and check it out. @VertexHero I actually just watched it. I mean for 100 bucks, it seems like a great choice, i'm just wondering if theres a better b350 or X370 for passthrough. I don't think Wendell was running the retail BIOS release, because he seemed to be talking back in time a bit. @tkoham I actually have an old Gtx460 laying around, maybe that would work just as a display adapter.

that should work fine, you'll probably need seabios though.

what games do you play? if it's just CS:GO or league or WoW etc, you can run them natively or with a compat layer at near native performance (or better in the case of some source titles) meaning you don't need windows and don't need to bother with a passthrough vm

that said you're gonna want an nvidia card if you go that route, AMD drivers are not quite up to speed in linux yet performance-wise.

@tkoham I play Wow, Hearthstone, Diablo mostly. The occasional Darksouls or BF1. I used to play Hearthstone via Play on linux on my old chrome book. That worked ok once you got it working.

All the games are all pretty well supported with wine/playonlinux, same for DS1 (even dsfix/multiplayer work.)

No idea about BF1 though.

i would be very surprised if BF1 worked at all in Linux. like a lot of these threads, i'd just recommend dual booting if you want to game. even if it is like having an outdoor toilet.

There have been improvements to the bios of some motherboard manufactures boards , suposly they have fixed some of the problems earlier bios' s where having with IMOU'. I can't confirm it because I don't have a Ryzen system yet. If the original poster is still interested there are a couple boards @wendell recommended to me that would be perfect for graphic card pass through, the Asrock Taki X370, and a few other motherboards I can't remember their names.

If you're completely new to linux and have no desire to game, I would suggest using something like mint. If you want to game, but don't want to do direct system management, the newest possible version of Ubuntu (Mate or XFCE are my recommendations) is probably best for you.

However since you mentioned coding classes and such, I'm going to suggest using something like Manjaro, which is arch based. In a system like ubuntu you'll have ok packages pushed by the lazy maintainers. What a lot of people don't understand about going into linux nowadays is you have 3 or 4 major things that you have to consider.

Package Manager: Are you going to have the tools you need when you are working? Will you be able to build the packages or find them?

Kernel Version: Video Drivers don't matter as much as having an up to date kernel. Rolling Release OS's tend to have the newest kernels available (4.11.3 is the newest right now, 4.12 is up next) but you can also build a kernel update for yourself if your system doesn't keep up as often as you like. Supposedly it isn't hard but I've never done it personally.

DE: This is mattering more and more nowadays as DE's get more involved with the kernel. Gnome and KDE are in a war at the moment, but I like the lighter desktops like XFCE and Mate.

Theres some other things that you might consider as well, depending on what you have to do in your daily whatever. If your education requires code work I would say for you to use manjaro. You can build shit pretty easy from the Aur if you're ever missing something and most of the time, like 99%, an app you want is in there.

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