Return to Level1Techs.com

Good AMD motherboard for Linux and dual GPU?

I’m embarking on a custom ATX build (first one in many years) and am thinking about using either AMD Ryzen 3950x or Threadripper 3960x. I’m leaning toward these CPUs as they have lots of cores at a nice price. I’m an academic researcher that works with medium-data (small enough for single machine, too big for laptops) and I can usually process data concurrently.

My goal is to boot linux with virtual guests for certain tasks. Most guests will not need a GPU, but I’d like to passthrough a GPU to a Windows guest for occasional gaming. I’m familiar with Linux, but have never built a Linux machine with desktop hardware, and am worried about compatibility.

I’m indifferent toward any ethernet faster than 1gbe. I don’t see myself wiring 10gbps anytime soon. Wouldn’t mind multiple nics though, since I imagine I could devote one to a guest if I want.

Does anyone have a good motherboard to recommend?

Threadripper does offer more pci-e lanes to work with.
So in case you have any plans to massively expand,
the system over time.
Then Threadripper might be a better choice in regards to that.

But in terms of great motherboards for both cpu´s.

3950X:

  • Asrock X570 Creator:
    This is a very nice fully featured board, that offers dual lan,
    1Gb intel and 10Gb Aquantia.
    it also comes with Thunderbolt 3 support,
    and of course wifi.
    Good vrm.

  • Msi X570 MEG Creation:
    Great vrm, and a very complete feature set.
    This board also comes with dual lan 1Gb intel and 10G Aquantia,
    just like the Asrock X570 Creator.
    But the board does lack thunderbolt.

  • Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master:
    Great board, with a great amount of usb connectivity.
    It also comes with dual lan, but in this case 1Gb intel,
    and 2.5Gb realtek.
    And of course it also comes with wifi 6.
    Great vrm.

  • Asus Crosshair VIII Hero.
    Great board, with a good feature set.

  • Asrock X570 Taichi:
    Decent board with a balanced feature set.
    But it only comes with a single 1Gbit intel lan.
    And of course wifi.

3960X

Basically you cannot really go wrong with any,
of the TRX40 boards out there.
They are all good for a 3960X.

  • Asrock TRX40 Creator:
    Probablly the best bang for buck board in terms of features for price.
    However this particular board has the weakest vrm of the bunge.
    But it’s totally fine for a 3960X, just not for a 3990X.

  • Gigabyte TRX40 Designare:
    Also a really nice board as well feature wise.

But like i said going with either TRX40 board for a 3960X / 3970X,
will be fine really.
It mainly depends on what you would like to spend on a board,
in this case.

But if you ever consider upgrading to a 3990X,
Then you need a board with a really great vrm.

Boards like:

  • Asus Zenith Extreme Alpha.
  • Gigabyte TRX40 Aorus Extreme.
  • Gigabyte TRX40 Designare.
  • Msi TRX40 Creator.
1 Like

Note:

I did not really list any boards below $300,- on the X570 list.
Because in my opinion when you go with the flagship cpu,
you shouldn´t really cheap out on the board either.
Because i think that you would like a good amount of,
connectivity features as well.

So yeah compare them in terms of features that are important to you.
And take your pick, can’t go wrong with any of those.

Thanks for the detailed and helpful reply! I remember watching a Level1Techs video that mentioned the Linux support for the Asrock AM4 Creator board was lacking. Do you know if that is outdated info? I certainly wouldn’t mind thunderbolt3.

Yeah it seems that the bios 1.4 has some issues in regards to linux sriov.
And the iommu group situation does not seem,
to be that great either.

You could double check on the Asrock website,
if they already have a newer bios version out,
that might fix the issues.

Not sure if @wendell already did look back at the Asrock x570 Creator board,
situation with linux pci-e passthrough and the iommu grouping.

Otherwise, it might be better to avoid the Asrock x570 Creator.
And go with one of the other X570 boards i listed.

really helpful post guys … thanks … i’m looking to build a machine with the “TRX40 designare” and the 3960X and max mem i can get in so i’m going for 256Gb of “HyperX Predator HX432C16PB3K8/256” i think it’s a 3200 kit… with low latency… if i’m reading the specs correctly i’m not all that good in hardware it has bin several years i even looked at hardware for a build … bin thinking about it for years and years… but now i’m fed up with the heating of my macbook mid-2012 even opening it up completely and re applying cooling paste (kryonaut) did not help enough for me to stay on this platform… i want to build a beast of a machine that can help me with my studies change in career going back to school at a later age hahahah … btw at the moment i only see one good case and that’s the “Fractal Design Define XL R2” but it seems such an old case. but i guess i can get that one and wait for a new one in the future…

I have watched quite a few of the L1 videos and Wendell has mentioned passthrough a few times for 3D gaming in a VM.

I do not have the same data-set data processing requirements but I do compile a large amount of ‘C’ on a semi-frequent basis (3 - 4 times a week). Processor wise I am thinking about a 5900X as I run source-based Linux distributions as my primary OS, but I do not have the heavy thread requirements for the threadripper use case (MAKEOPTS=-j13 is sufficient for me).

As for the GPU’s, I am considering an RX6800XT for passthrough and maybe the same for the boot OS, but I m not completely sold.

Where I am really waffling is in motherboard choices. Has the landscape changed enough in the last 5 - 6 months, or are the motherboard recommendations still pretty much the same? I am leaning toward the ASRock x570 Taichi, but do not have that set in stone?

What board combo is the current recommendation in this kind of scenario?

I’ve had an ASRock x570 Taichi since the launch day of the 3950X, and been very happy with the combo… with 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM. I’ve run it with a single and dual Radeon VIIs , with Windows 10, Pop OS! and Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10… no issues, and I would highly recommend…

1 Like

@edge-case I’m curious about what your xorg.conf looks like on 20.04/20.10. I’ve recently tried to move to 20.04 and dual GPU configs are horribly broken. That said I’m on the green side so that might be the difference.

Running Dual GPU on MSI Tomahawk b450 for years has been a pretty good experience until now but it’s not the boards fault. That said it’s not going to be in your running choices due to age and it’s not a good choice for pass through IMO.

Sorry, I don’t have it set up that way anymore….
Sold of one of my Radeon VIIs on eBay in the early portion of the mining craze, and now only running a single card [a 5700 XT] and Ubuntu 21.04 since I’m not trying to use OpenCL on this machine anymore.
…I could put one of my other cards in and check everything’s working OK as dual GPU setup if that helps? I certainly don’t mind trying…

It would be a 5700 XT and an RX 580…. [that’s easiest for me to try].

Don’t worry about it (but thanks for the reply). I’ve been digging despite having to break my GPU’s out into other machines to “slave” remotely. What I’ve turned up while still a tad conjecture is everyone is rushing to revise their code base to function for an xrandr/Wayland style of doing things which happens to obliterate a lot of very long running Xorg functionality.

Similarly in this finding I’ve been trying to figure out if there is a way to denote “XScreen” like GPU delegation with xrandr. Xrandr now has “providers” but the docs are uselessly vague for how the syntax works. IF someone could denote one “screen” but set xrandr up to delegate GPU’s I think things would work but it’s all just conjecture for now…

  • This reply was brought to you by the word conjecture.