Ryzen+Linux Gaming Beast Build

Wendell has been giving me a raging Linux gaming boner lately, and I’m ready to invest in hardware to join the fun.

Here’s the build I’m considering purchasing: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/d9cDJ8

I already own the SSD, PSU, GTX 1080 Ti and case from my previous build, so I’m really only purchasing the mother board, CPU, CPU cooler and RAM.

I’m also purchasing a GTX 1060 for the Linux host, since I’ll pass the GTX 1080 Ti to a Windows VM. I’ll be gaming at [email protected]

My goals:

  • As high RAM clock as possible, this motherboard has documented support for 3466MHz on the chips I’ve chosen. However I’m not sure if that support is just for 2 chips and if I can reach the same clock with 4 chips. Thoughts? Should that make any difference?
  • IOMMU passthrough to a Windows VM to play games. I’m hoping to get my mouse, keyboard and audio to work with the VM without giving the VM exclusive control over those peripherals. I want to experiment with looking glass, but I’ll probably have 2 separate cables to my monitor (Asus PG279Q) and switch between the inputs.
  • Wine+DXVK to hopefully play some AAA titles without a Windows VM
  • I have no interest in manually overclocking the CPU as it seems like there’s little/nothing to gain there
  • I am fully prepared to tear my hair out for weeks, giving up and settling for dual-boot wintendo

I’m really torn between the Taichi Ultimate and the Crosshair Hero VII. My priority is best possible RAM speed/timings, and a Linux stamp of approval (must have Linux compatible drivers and a IOMMU group layout that will let me pass a GPU to a VM). Can you recommend any other motherboards? Which motherboard currently has the best stability when it comes to RAM overclocking?

Man I’m so hyped to (possibly) no longer having to deal with Windows’ bullshit.

there are diminishing returns here. Aim for any 3200 kit with the b die spec timings that aren’t extortionate, and if you don’t want to do a ton of research stick to the verified dimm list provided by the mobo manufacturer

there’s a few tweaks specific to ryzen chipsets, as well as nvidia guest cards that you’ll need to do, and arc/fedora are probably the best distros for it right now. You’ll also need a host card: ryzen doesn’t have igpus except on the APUs. I recommend the GT 710 for low cost. You can hand off the 1080Ti with a little tweaking instead of buying 2 cards, and if you do want to game on the host, get an AMD card, it will mean less overall configuration.

for guides, tricks, hardware details and advice

Dude, if you want a 1060, go for it. I run a 1060 6GB and a 1080 11Gbps because I do 4K gaming while streaming, and a good kit of RAM will allow 4K Looking Glass to have enough bandwidth.

I’d go for a Trident Z RGB 3466 Kit, cause that’s B-die IIRC.

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The AMD default UX on linux hosts is a lot better, and initial configuration tends to be easier with heterogenous vendors

you can run a passthrough vm by switching inputs on your monitor, looking glass is a convenience thing.

also dual gpu is s bad meme

He wouldn’t want another 1080 Ti because it would make passthrough very hard due to the ACS patch he would need.

1060 and 1080 ti is fine, cause they’re two different chipsets, GP102 and GP106.


Is there a reason not to go AMD on the host GPU? I understand that people want a 1080Ti because AMD has nothing on that level but that isn’t the case for a 1060. And not having to install anything is pretty cool. Just sayin’ :stuck_out_tongue:

My personal reason is Mesa updates and Vulkan. Vulkan is easier to deal with using the Nvidia proprietary beta drivers. Vulkan runs so well on 396.24.10. The new War Thunder Vulkan hidden beta is also great too.

I might swap the GTX 1060 for an RX 580. I’m not sure if that would make it easier or more difficult to temporarily swap the GTX 1080Ti back to the host machine if I want to play a graphics intensive native Linux game.

16 GB is generally enough for me, but it’s just barely enough. Any time I have an application misbehave and eat a bit too much RAM, I run out and my PC locks up. Also, when I’m going to splurge on a beast of a machine, why not go all out? :smiley:

And as FurryJackman said, having 2 identical graphics cards complicates GPU passthrough, so I really should have 2 different cards. On my host machine I’m going to play mostly light native games such as CS GO and Dota 2, so a 1060 should do nicely.

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you’ll have to modprobe out the driver after stopping the x session either way

You stream using Linux and GPU passthrough? That’s awesome. Could you link me your stream? :slight_smile:

I’ve never heard of B-die before your post. After Googling a little, it seems like the main advantage is that it’s easy to get a high clock with Ryzen. But the RAM kit I’ve picked is documented by the motherboard vendor to work at 3466 MHz with Ryzen on the specific motherboard I’ve chosen. Is there any other reason why I should lean towards B-die RAM? Also, how do I know if the RAM chips I’ve chosen are B-die or not?


I’m going by this list: https://asrock.com/mb/AMD/X470%20Taichi%20Ultimate/index.asp?cat=Download#MemoryPR

It looks like the RAM kit I’ve chosen (CMK16GX4M2B3466C16) is probably Hynix, although it doesn’t say so specifically. Man, I didn’t know chosing my RAM would be this hard :smiley:



I’m finding lots of B-die kits using this tool, but I’m finding almost none of them in the motherboard’s QVL, and the couple that I did find are not available for sale in Norway. I think I’m probably going to have to abandon the QVL.

Yeah, but if both my GPUs are nvidia, I can’t really modprobe out the driver since I still need it. What would I do in this case to make my host use the GTX 1080 Ti rather than the 1060? Perhaps it would actually be simpler to use AMD for my host GPU?

if switching is your use case, you pretty much need a host card from a different vendor. I think I’ve mentioned that previously but there’s been so many passthrough threads recently I may not have.

You can use vfio-pci in reverse to switch, but that would require a reboot and introduce a ton of other moving parts

Note that linux gaming reaches a performance plateau around the 580/1070 level, better cards just aren’t utilized properly

Really? Like what?

A GTX 1080Ti would probably do significantly better with Dying Light or Metro: Last Light at 2560x1440 than a GTX 1060.

I’m not sure yet how good the GPU passthrough gaming experience will be, but if I were to play any of the above games or a future graphics intensive native Linux game, I might want to switch the powerful GPU to the host. If buying an AMD GPU for my host will make that significantly easier and not introduce any other issues, I’ll probably do that.

like having to reboot when you want to switch gpus, and having a weird modprobe/vfio-pci config that might break things on driver updates

It’s just simpler to use heterogenous vendors in general.

If you plan on doing gpu switching anyway i’d recommend getting the cheapest host card you can get

Thanks, that makes sense.

I’m going to be playing games like CS GO and Dota 2 daily at 2560x1440, so I think I’ll go for an RX 580. I’ll only potentially switch GPUs if a really graphics intensive native Linux game comes out, like the next Metro game. Or I might just play it through the VM, it depends how good the experience is :slight_smile: In any case I want all options available.