So, finally got enough saved to build a new modern gaming rig, and now I am researching components and other parts.
I wish to make a small form factor gaming PC running primarily Linux, but perhaps also having support for Windows in a VM environment through Looking Glass. This PC should be as small as possible due to easy portability. I would like to build this rig so I could easily transport it to a big e-sports event like DreamHack.
My current thoughts on hardware:
Smallest case I could find was the Lazer3D LZ7, mini-itx in general seems very appealing
AMD GPUs seems to be the best long-term bet, given the drivers are Open Source
Ryzen CPUs seem the most promising all-rounder at the moment, not to mention fewer problems with Spectre/Meltdown - the CPU is rarely the big bottleneck for gaming in either case
Budget of around $1000-$1300
Two monitors for coding and perhaps some hobby game development
 And a preliminary hardware list, anything linked is seriously considered at this point, but nothing set in stone yet, will update this list as my research and thoughts develop:
Going with the AMD Ryzen does present another option as well. If possible I would love to be able to use Looking Glass in a Windows VM for those titles that absolutely refuse to play ball with Linux (League of Legends among others). Does anyone know if it is possible to run Ryzen APU on the host system while Looking Glass take over the discrete GPU card, and then switch back to the discrete card once the VM is done?
Would be thankful for any input that can be given, thanks for taking the time reading through this!
This is what I was wondering, a 2XXXG CPU with AMD GPU would be nice to use for pass-through / looking glass. I do wonder if @wendell has the parts around to test this or maybe already has tested? I’m not sure anyone else has.
There are not that many choices.
ITX AM4 boards are rare (14 according to PCPartpicker).
The ASRock ones (x370 and x470 don´t look bad)
MSi put a big block of aluminium on theirs link
Asus has the x370 and x470
Cooler wise, Lazer3D says 70mm clearance by recommends 60mm:
sorted by size
@tkoham Hmm, so currently there are driver issues with passthrough on AMD systems? Is this an issue that is actively being worked on, because I can worst-case always dualboot until the issue is resolved. It is not the ideal scenario, but it is workable at least.
After some more consideration I think I will go with the RX 560, since those cards draw less power but are still quite good at what they do. Also, will not have heavy overheating issues in such a small case, and draws less power than a Vega56 or Vega64.
CPU if I am to go with AMD and a (future) Passthrough solution would of course be the Ryzen 5 2400G.
So with those two components, I would get a power draw of ~ 150W (80+65). Add in 50W for fans and USB peripherals, and I could go down to a 250W PSU with 85% efficiency. Of course, it would probably be better to put in a 400W PSU if I decide to go with a beefier setup later. Add in 2 SSD harddrives there, will add one 128GB for the system itself and one 512GB for /opt/ and /home/ (will probably solve it with one partition and bind mounting /home/ to /opt/home).
Thank you MazeFrame for the tips on Mobo and cooling, that C7 Cu seems to be a good solution for my use case.
BTW, my knowledge level on hardware is “I have built a few systems before but not an expert” which places me in the just-enough-to-be-dangerous range, so feel free to correct me if I say crazy stuff. As for Linux I have 15+ years of experience with (primarily Debian/Ubuntu) Linux being my daily driver at home (been running it on my laptop mostly).
Hmm, the Cryorig C7 Cu seems like adequate cooling.
From the motherboards listed, the Asus x470 motherboard seems to be the only one with support for two m.2 hard drives, if I am reading the specs correctly. It’s not a deal breaker, but if I can remove the need for SATA cables so much the better.
So, leaning slightly towards the Asus x470, but it does have other problems such as only one HDMI port (meaning I must have a graphics card for a 2 monitor display), so nothing set in stone yet.
CPU: Ryzen 5 2600
Mobo: ASRock AB350 Gaming ITX
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z 16GB
Drive: WD Blue 500GB M.2
GPU: MSI Armor Radeon RX 580 8GB
PSU: Corsair SF 450W
Case: Dan A4 SFX / Loque Ghost S1
Price is roughly $1050 with the case.
I would argue those two case options are better than the one you linked, due to a more rectangular form they support full length GPUs while staying just as portable.