Suggestions for most stable Linux and KVM hardware

Hello, everyone!

I was hoping to get some recommendations for a new desktop that would result in the most stable possible experience running Linux and some virtualization. Currently, I’m looking at purchasing something from a system manufacturer like System76 or Puget Systems, mostly because I’m tired of random issues with power, sleep, suspend, and crashes. This is likely due to a defective motherboard in my current system, but when I replace this thing, I want to minimize any annoyances when using my computer.

I’d love to benefit from the work that System76 puts in to their firmware and drivers, but unfortunately, System76’s Thelio desktops appear to use very old hardware.

For that reason, I’d love to get recommendations for a system I could build on my own with comparable hardware compatibility and driver support for Linux, or another system manufacturer that does driver validation with Linux but with more modern hardware.

Current system

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 3 GHz 8-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper H412R 34.1 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard: ASRock X370 Taichi ATX AM4 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) CL15 Memory
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) CL15 Memory
Storage: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital Red 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB FTW GAMING ACX 3.0
Case: Fractal Design Meshify C ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair RMx (2018) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
Monitor: Alienware AW3420DW 34.1" 3440x1440 120 Hz Monitor

Preferences

Budget: $4-7K
Location: US
Retailer: Newegg would be my last resort :slight_smile: Any other online retailers would be fine.
Peripherals/parts already owned: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB, WD Red 4TB HDD, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
Usage: Virtualization, gaming, and browsing the web.
Overclocking: If there’s a one-click option, sure. If not, I’m not worried about it. I would, however, like something that is reasonably quiet.
Water cooling: Nothing custom. Air-cooling is fine for me.
OS: Arch Linux :sunglasses:

Virtualization requirements

I’d like to go with hardware that is as close to perfectly compatible with QEMU/KVM as possible. I mostly just run VMs for QA testing for work, and noodling with different distros and desktop environments.

In the past, I’ve set up GPU pass-through for Windows and macOS VMs, so it’d be nice to have the option, but it’s not strictly required. I’m not willing to deal with multiple GPUs for it, so perhaps, if there’s a reasonably-priced GPU (lol) that offers SR-IOV, that would work.

Gaming requirements

I’m targeting a stable [email protected] on max settings for most games. That said, I mostly just play Crash Bandicoot, Minecraft, etc.

Basically, I play games that aren’t super intensive and that run pretty well under Proton. However, I don’t want to be shopping for a new GPU sooner than 3 years from now to maintain that
performance.

A rough attempt at my own build

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 3.4 GHz 16-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus ProArt X570-CREATOR WIFI ATX AM4 Motherboard
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory
Storage: Use existing storage
Video Card: Asus Radeon RX 6900 XT 16 GB STRIX LC GAMING OC Video Card
Power Supply: SeaSonic PRIME TX 1000 W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

Final questions

Are there any known issues with this hardware when it comes to hardware compatibility or quirks with Linux?

Should I opt for something that supports ECC? I’ve never used a system with ECC, so I’m not sure I’d notice the difference, but I’m willing to pay more if I get a more stable system.

Any other thoughts? Your recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Everything looks fine, not sure about the motherboard though. Look up on Wendell’s x570 motherboard reviews for IOMMU groups and Linux testing. Usually you can’t go wrong with Asrock Taichi stuff.

Technically speaking, ECC would offer more stability, but that’s mostly for very long uptimes. If you plan on keeping your system on for more than 6 months at a time, it may be worth it, otherwise, don’t bother. It may be worth for data integrity, but not entirely necessary.

I’d say to grab a faster RAM kit rather than ECC, at least for this kind of build.

As for the OS, Linux is Linux and the distros don’t impact KVM at all, as everything is in the kernel. I have ran Manjaro as a desktop with a KVM Windows 10 VM with GPU passthrough. Whenever Manjaro was completely crashing, not even SSH or ping being available, the Windows VM would still chug along just fine. But that would happen after at least a week or two of uptime, and I was working with just 8 GB of RAM shared between Manjaro and Windows.

I am biased, so I would say to go with Fedora if you plan on shutting down your PC every so often. I don’t know if I can recommend anything else if you also plan on using the host as a desktop and use virt-manager (or libvirt CLI) to control your VMs. There’s always Gentoo, but if you were using Gentoo, you would not be asking for recommendations.