Planing to built a linux gaming pc, what about does and don'ts?

Hi folks,
next year I’m planing to upgrade from my round about 10 years old computer to a modern cutting edge new build. For me it’s the first time projecting a gaming pc for Linux environments only.

The former build was an Intel Core i7-4790K, on a MSI MS-7919 motherboard, having 16 GB of RAM. There was an NVIDIA Graphics Gard which has been replaced with a newer and more powerful AMD card.

Actually, the current build still is doing very fine. However the originally plan was to upgrade the hardware after round about 10 years. But it might be enough or the next 5 years?

For myself I already assumed, that:

  1. AMD Graphics Card have a way better driver support and generally tend to cause less issues on Linux.
  2. AMD CPUs at the moment seems to be technically more advanced than Intel ones (more Cores, smaller Lithographie, higher Efficiency). Zen 5 seems to launch next year.
  3. Newer boards seem to generally have a higher power consumption, which would be a disadvantage in my eyes.
  4. I’m not sure how well motherboard Raids are supported under Linux. Is there still no support for them? There seems to be some relatively affordable controller cards that are said to work well with Linux.
  5. I would prefer to end up with a pc that consumes less energy than the old one. (Living in Germany, we don’t know how the energy prices will develop, however it looks like it’s getting more and more expensive. So investing in expensive hardware that doesn’t help to save on the energy bill, doesn’t seem to make much sense for me. Maybe I should wait another 5 years?).

So what would be your suggestions, what are your dos and dont’s?
Assuming that you folks have similar considerations, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

The biggest concern I have is the motherboard.
Are there manufacturers that generally support Linux better or maybe even to avoid?

Best regards
Ben

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The other plus for AMD GPU is that all the big consoles use AMD GPUs so the games will be optimised for AMD, XBox, PS5 and Stream deck.

As was shown with Startfield on NVIDIA it did not work well on PC and not at all on linux.

For the mother board check the specs to see if they support linux.
There are linux hardware databases that you look in as well (I’m not confident to give a link).

And do web searches. I tend to search for linux <hardware-name>, linux <hardware-name> problem and linux <hardware-name> bug you get the idea.

Motherboard BIOS raid has been fully supported in linux for a very long time 15+ years.
I use it on my home servers and its great.

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This is a strong suit for me as I have built about 4 machines in the decade you speak of. Not counting the countless builds for Enterprise and IRL Friends/Family.

  1. I was also on Z-97 with a i5-4690K | 24GB RAM | GTX970 but the downside to those old intel machines is the I/O. Intel has terrible I/O. So as my needs grew, I could no longer use the 5 HDD MoBo RAID I had in the system reliably if I used a couple USB devices. It’s an issue with Intel and how they route I/O through DMI.

  2. I strongly recommend a All AMD system Ryzen CPU, Radeon GPU, but more importantly a X-5xx motherboard for the I/O

  3. I have a NVMe RAID0 on my AMD X-570 and it’s on the MoBo because of Linux dm-crypt My configuartion is simple, RAID 2x1TB NVMe LVM + XFS luks encrypted ( On Fedora this is easy through blivet-gui in Anaconda during install )

  4. LSI RAID cards are in the Linux kernel, and the setup is incredibly easy. For a long time, I ran the old system I listed above, as a NAS with just the LSI RAID controller to boot from. The LSI controller allowed me more storage capabilities and the HUGE benefit of running my I/O through PCIe instead of the TERRIBLE :rage: Intel DMI bus. This brought a ton of stability for a long time, until i had to move house, and damaged one of the drives in the RAID, but recovered nicely from.

  5. Why did I recommend a X-5xx motherboard :thinking: , You asked for RAID and I/O is important. The A-3xx B-xx Class boards do not provide the same amount of I/O as the X-5xx class motherboards, and you seem to upgrade in long cycles which means growth of your RAID because of data etc.

  6. I consume less energy on my current build because I have the 2 NVMe drives which are far less energy hungry than 5 HDD at 3.5v 24/7. To mitigate that I do not run the RAID 24/7 and have moved out HDD’s into USB drives saving a TON of energy. i can talk ad nauseam about Luks, Storage and RAID builds.

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I’m also using a 9 year old machine - although a laptop that’s a desktop replacement laptop - with an i7-4700MQ, 32GB Ram, and an Nvidia gpu.

I am waiting to upgrade for another few years.

But if I were to upgrade now and get a desktop machine I would probably go for an AMD cpu because it seems you get a better bang for the buck - with core count, features availability (like encrypted RAM). GPU…not so sure. I’m not even using Nvidia nowadays for graphics, and the support seems better for Nvidia in terms of parallel computing (Nvidia is the leader in GPU computing) despite some driver installation/compatibility issues. The main driver for me to upgrade now would be to get an NVME slot - but I’m actually thinking to physically file down two out of my four RAM slots on the motherboard so I can fit an NVME drive into my PCI-E slot that was used for a Wi-Fi card (pun intended with file).

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