Need help building a new Linux Gaming System

Hi everyone, I am looking form some advice.

I am planning to build a new gaming and workstation system, and I have been following Bitwit and others. I have a few components that I would like in the system but, I would like some recommendations for brands and models.

Components I have selected:

  • Processor - Ryzen 7 2700x
  • Video card - GTX 1080 Ti - preferably Asus STRIX but if you have a better suggestion
  • Asus - ROG Crosshair VII Hero
  • Ram - I want 64 GB but will settle for 32GB
  • Boot Drive - Samsung 970 PRO Series - 1TB PCIe NVMe - M.2
  • Case - I am waiting for the new Phanteks Evolv X
  • OS - Linux Mint

So I am looking for recommendations on

  • RGB
  • AIO for cooling.
  • Mother board - preferably Asus but if you can make good argument for something else let me know(WifI is not necessary)
  • Ram 16gb sticks of DDR4 - but I am not sure what speed to get
  • AIO
  • Version and model of GTX card if you have a good recommendation.
  • Additional fans
  • Additional 2tb ssd
  • Power supply - and what size
  • Anything else you can think of.
  • I am very familiar with linux and can run anything, if you have a different recommendation than Mint, either performance or compatibility please let me know

I already have a keyboard and mouse, and plan to run Linux Mint as the OS.
For monitor I was thinking of waiting for the ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ I believe this is the new monitor with 144 Hz 4k. Unless someone has a better suggestion

Not too concerned with Price more interested in performance, But was thinking around $3000

I am planing to build this some time in August or early September.

I was also looking into getting a second GPIU and running windows in a VM.

What additional hardware should I look at? (I would look at adding this a bit latter)
Do I need 2 separate displays? If so I would look at two 27" monitors. ( recommendations please)

Building this in the US so price in US Dollars.

settle for 16 unless you do ML or video editing, there’s zero reason to have more otherwise

I’d look at something less expensive, there’s no reason to spend that much on a mobo if you aren’t putting it under ln2 (maybe the taichi)

again, will make zero functional difference unless you do heavy IO work, like video editing

while this is preference based, this one isn’t ideal for a number of reasons. If you want to do VFIO, look at fedora

diminishing returns past 3000mhz – timings matter more past 2666, just buy the best value per gb that’s explicitly supported by your mobo’s dimm list

get an FSP, Super Flower, or Seasonic between 600 and 850 watts

get an AMD host card, simplifies things.

also check out

just get a noctua NH-D15 same price, better performance, zero chance of leaks


Honestly, I think 4k is kinda overkill for a gaming rig. Especially when you couple that with Linux’s inconsistent handling of HiDPI. I’m sitting on a rig with a 4K monitor and it’s not been worth it for all of the trouble.

1440p at 144 seems like the sweet spot, I think. I’d rather have consistently fast, high quality rendering than the sometimes sluggish rendering of driving a 2160p monitor. When it dips, it dips hard, and when it’s running smoothly, it’s not dramatically better.

Allocate that money to a kick ass set of cans for spacial awareness, or throw it at some speakers for a more immersive movie experience.

As to GPU, any of the modern Geforce cards more or less work the same. They’re all supported by the nvidia driver in the repos.

You do need a second GPU to do VFIO passthrough for a Windows VM, but you don’t need anything more than you’d use. On my nvidia system, I’ve got a 760 driving the host system since all it needs to do is load my apps, and pass the beefier card to the VM. Radeon cards are a bit less fussy (error 43), and I prefer them, but Geforce and Radeon’s newer stuff boths work.

16 might be pushing it on a system running a Windows gaming VM, and once you get into VMs, they become more and more useful. Agreed that more than 32 is a waste of money for sure, but I can imagine situations where 16 would be a bit to slim while the VM is running.

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I’d second this choice of cooler. While I am only running a Ryzen 1600, I have run it overclocked to 3.8 ghz amd it has run cool in Doom 2016 / Battlefield 1 (not stress test), in up to 35 C weather with no AC. It didn’t choke up and die…

tkoham made some nice suggestions so I don’t have anymore to add unfortunately.

you run an nh-d15 on a 1600?

no game uses more than 8 unless you’re on an APU, that’s the optimization spec. Even if they did you could pass 12 to the vm.

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If it is used for gaming then id recommend Ubuntu, as from what I’ve seen less games support mint.

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Plenty of use for > 16 GB of RAM.

e.g., a Windows VM or two for looking glass… or other stuff.

Thanks for all the suggestions, and yes I will be putting 32GB or more. I tend to run multiple VM’s. I also plan to do some 3d editing and rendering and slicing, as well as linux, wine gaming, in addition to the windows VM’s.

I under stand that air cooler are safer, but I have my heart set on doing a AIO. So if you were to use one what would you use ?

Also since Mint is an Ubuntu variant I figure it should have about the same support as Ubuntu. If not I can put on straight Ubuntu if I have to.

Do you know if you have to run a second monitors to do the VFIO passthrough, or can you just have the 2nd card without a second monitor?

Don’t, it’s a waste of money and an extra failure point that you don’t need. You can buy a good Tower Cooler and it will last you through every system you ever own, with no chance of cascade failures. The savings isn’t just for the 1st build.

The NH-D15 is quieter than every AIO appropriate for that cpu’s wattage capacity, and performs better thermally.

this is 100% gpu bound on every 3d application that supports linux. I’ve never personally had a render file that put more than 1-2 gigs or so in ram, and the max cache settings in software like lightworks and resolve is about 8 gigs.

You can get more ram if you want, but you won’t actually be using it.

no, as long as you get a monitor with 2 inputs. You can even switch those inputs automatically if you want:

not always the case, because they change things more deeply than the community spins. Also: ubuntu/mints’s apparmor (and other) settings just add more headaches to deal with when setting up vfio. The 1-2 extra steps you add using fedora, or really any other distro, on native/steam gaming is worth the work you save by not trying to set up VFIO in ubuntu.

For aio I have been happy with my Kraken x60. Take a look at the x62 and see what you think.

Processor is solid, although you can just get a R7 2700 with a stock cooler unless your aggressively overclocking or if you don’t need 8C/16T you can just get a R5 2600.

For 4K 144Hz there is no GPU powerful enough for demanding games but a GTX 1080Ti can get you pretty far so that GPU is fine for that although you will need proprietary drivers for NVidia GPUs.

There is also Vega GPUs work about as good on Linux (probably a bit worse since Vega 64 itself is weaker in performance than a GTX 1080 Ti and even the 1080 by a small hair). I would go for either a GTX 1080/1070 Ti or even a Vega 64/56 if your not in a rush for 4K && 144 FPS.

For RAM, 16 GB is more than enough for gaming unless your doing any RAM hungry applications such as video editing and such, same with SSDs, SATA SSDs are plenty fast unless you need the insane speeds NVME offers but SATA SSDs themselves are very fast.

Check out Looking Glass here on the forums. Basically, it copies the video memory from the Windows VM and renders it on the Linux host. This allows for the single monitor, dual-gpu use case.

why did you quote my entire post

im not even the one asking the question so hes not gonna get the notification

I wouldn’t use 'n nvidia card. Wouldn’t even bother. Get a vega if you want performance but don’t fuck with ANY dliwer shit on behalf on nvidia’s inability to do their job.

if you’re gonna recommend an amd guest card, link to a specific model that doesn’t have the type 2 reinit bug

I notice OSX is not supported. I have a mac that i mostly run linux on. However, I’d like run the mac virtually (this should legally be supported as apple hardware is in loop). This project looks exactly like what I"m looking for (I don’t see the reason to run compress/decompress streaming on a local machine). Did you intentionally ignore OSX because of the tight controls over IP or because of a technical limit?

It seems like it should be possible reading the Guest code to copy the mac FB and send it through the shmem relay (BTW, does the recent qemu dma-buf work overlap with this project?) Any helpful indications that writing an OSX guest should be fruitful would be helpful. Kudos