How to Build a Linux Gaming PC

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Hoj0

Diablo 3
DayZ
Hearthstone
WoW
Diablo3
League Of Legends
Steam Linux Library
Starcraft 2

I have all of these running on linux with little to no configuration using crossover and playonlinux for the games that arent on steam.

just download the program, choose the game you want to play and install it. PlayOnLinux and Crossover take care of the configuration for you.

I havent tried other games, but every game that I've wanted to play, has played without issue.

Running Debian Wheezy with 3.12-1-686-pae kernel on gnome3 for those who are wondering.

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jechace

i want to play sc2 Hots in my computer, i have linux mint and the specs of my computer are http://www.toshiba.com/us/computers/laptops/satellite/P770/P775-S7215
I installed playonlinux and installed sc2 but when I run the game the black screen and I can only see the mouse with bad graphics any recomendations??

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mbarter

I have one problem, when I did everything you said to build this PC. I connected it up to my Plasma Panasonic TV 42 inch via HDMI. But it was only recognized as a 32 inch Panasonic TV. How do I change the display setting. The was only one i could choose was the default option. I also posted on Ubuntu forms the same problem and no one has posted help over a week now.

Please Help....

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chaslinux

It sounds to me like you're having problems with Extended Display Identification Data (EDID). You might want to have a look at this thread on the Ubuntu forums: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=316985

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iplayoneasy

Don't get the i3. Why not a Fx 6300 with an Asrock Extreme 3 mobo? You could've had a solid 50% bump in raw cpu power (passmark), an unlocked multiplier for 35% more boost through overclocking, and an extra $80 to upgrade the gtx 650 to a gtx 660. Don't get why the i3.

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chriszele

Thanks for giving feedback on the article.

You're right about how the FX 6300 has an unlocked multiplier and we definetely need to get some more ASRock Extreme 3 970 motherboards in the lab, as many readers recommend them frequently. 

While the FX6300 is a good part from AMD it's great in heavily threaded tasks while the i3-3220 is better in single threaded ones and they go back and forth a lot when it comes to benchmark scores. The i3, howeever has a lower TDP than the FX6300 as the i3-3220 has a 65W TDP whereas the FX part has a 95W TDP. 

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iplayoneasy

That's the catch. If you run it up to 4.6 ghz, the single thread performace gap shrinks quiet well. The extra cash for the gtx 660 makes it worth while. As far as tdp, the 30 watt difference adds up to 1.56 cents extra for every 4 hours of prime95 being run at 13 cents per kilowatt hour. This adds up to $5.69 for the whole year. If you assume the computer itself consumes 400 watts than that 30 watt difference makes it only 7.5% more thirsty. The difference between a $75.92 and a $81.61 power bill for 1,460 hours of full stress over the year. Or in easier terms, an overpriced coffee at Starbucks. At that point you might as well change a few bulbs in your house to fluorescent ones and call it a day.

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chriszele

The performace difference would be closed if the AMD part was overclocked, but then you need to get an aftermarket cooler for which would add to the cost of the rig. When it comes to power consumption Anandtech did a power consumption analysis of an overclocked 8350 @ 4.8GHz and saw the power consumption go up to 294 Watts in X264 while the Intel's i3-3220 consumed just 78 watts. I would have to guess that the FX6300 would be around 270-280 watts if it were overclocked to 4.6GHz. The end result of the overclock would mean that the AMD FX6300 would gain a performance advantage over the intel part, but it might consume three-four times as much power than Intel's i3 part.

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PCLinuxguy

I'm genuinely surprised that there's not as much linux hate going on in the comments than what there tends to be whenever someone does a post on a tech site about linux.
People will always use the OS they are comfortable with and nothing will change that unless something else can 'knock their socks off'. Having worked extensively with MS since Dos all the way to Windows 8 (and every version in between) as well as a few years in Unix and Linux, I can understand both sides of the fence when it comes to the reservations some have for or against what's out there. However the 'need' to bash or flame Linux just because you don't like or understand it for whatever reason seems rather childish. Just as childish infact, as when it's Windows getting knocked on for it's shortcomings.

I find this rig build to be nothing more than a cheap scrap to throw at those that have been asking Max PC to do a Linux build. Yes they've done a few, but they are always cheap toys, while their Windows based builds cost equal to a car's down payment. Any of the $1K + builds are just as adequate running Linux as they do Windows.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can do like many do and dual boot them to get the best of both worlds and call it a day.

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Penguin05

Paid Microsoft hacks always turn up on sites like this to knock Linux whenever articles like this one appear. It just shows how insecure and afraid MS is of competition.

But great article BTW. Linux certainly has the potential to be the gaming platform of choice once it has AAA titles. Valve has tested a Linux rig side by side with a Windows rig with similar specs and found that LFD 2 runs faster on Linux. http://www.zdnet.com/valve-linux-runs-our-games-faster-than-windows-7-7000002060/

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PowerJunkie

People will use whatever OS runs the programs and hardware they need to run. Linux comes up short with photo editing, games, look & feel (person preference) ability to troubleshoot with easily obtainable resources, drivers for all that hardware win supports and linux does not, .. etc. The list goes on and on.
I love the idea of Linux and have used a lot of different distro's ... every time it comes up short. It's a shame because I really REALLY had hoped 10 years ago that it would have buried MS by now, but I was wrong.
PS .. start-up times .. GAH, my win machine boots faster than any linux distro I've ever tried. Anyone who thinks this needs to re-think it.

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PCLinuxguy

until Windows 8/fastboot, Linux has always been about 50-70% faster in bootup for me. Now they're about even (on my hardware atleast) which is ratehr nice. I'm sorry to hear that you've had issues.

Hardware in the comparison
CPU: AMD A8 mobile CPU
RAM: 4GB DDR3
HDD: Western Digital 5,400 rpm
Video: AMD Radeon HD 7640G

overall bootup time >10 seconds with either OS. (Win8 and Ubuntu 12.04)

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WarpathPS

You can't bury a product like Windows when you have no money behind the product. Now if Google got behind it, that would be a different story, small communities of volunteers? Umm no.

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spokenwordd

You have some valid points but why would one want to build a $2000 Linux gaming rig when it is not needed to run the few games available? I mean really, what game out there (for Linux) calls for a mid to high end machine to run it?

I mean Doom 3, Half Life, Counterstrike & Serious Sam don't need much to run. You're not exactly going to be running Skyrim, Crysis 3, Metro or Battlefield 4 on this thing. It'd be a waste of money UNLESS you were dual booting which of course gets silly because why not just run the games on Windows in the first place?

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PCLinuxguy

to counterpoint your argument against a $2,000 Linux gaming rig, The case could easily be made of why would one build or need a $1,000+ gaming rig (regardless of OS) when you could spend a few hundred dollars on a console and call it a day? The vast majority or just console ports anyway so having a beefy system to play what a much weaker 'computer' can play just to increase the graphics every so slightly seems ridiculous.

(note I'm not a PC Gaming hater/console lover, just playing devils advocate to this particular counterpoint.)

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Formedras

Because Linux starts up much faster than Windows, assuming that Linux is set up correctly (Mint 15 64-bit is screwing up on me and permitting NO peripherals except the keyboard, not even built-in wired Ethernet) and Windows' startup isn't optimized by the system manufacturer.
Beyond that, many non-game programs start up faster on Linux than Windows and are more stable, leading me to want to be able to use Linux (or more preferably a free BSD variant) as my primary. In that case, it becomes that you reboot to Windows to play AAA games that in many cases would be better to play on a console (don't blame the computer, blame the lazy port developer). Even so, most (not all - very much not all) of these work at least acceptably in Wine. (So yes, two parallel Steam installs. I know, it sucks.)

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Formedras

Why the complete neglect of the free games already available via APT (through programs like Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic)? Remakes like Maze of Galious, freeware experimentals like the lauded TUMIKI Fighters (and quite a few of Kenta Cho's other games), and even id Tech 3-based games like OpenArena and World of Padman?

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spokenwordd

Because most people that identify themselves as gamers are thinking more of cutting edge titles with modern graphics that push the limits of their rigs. The titles you are referring to are not exactly fitting the bill. My aunt plays Tetris and Farmville, not exactly a gamer and she is definitely not building a rig just for gaming.

This is "Maximum PC" not "Just Your Typical Rig" after all.

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xRadeon

I would never switch to Linux for gaming, but I find it awesome that game manufacturers are starting to make games for it. Linux really is poised to take over the consumer world. ^.^

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iheartpcs

And the difference between a Linux gaming rig and a Windows gaming rig is...the OS?

Just think Linux heads, after you get this done you can play those 6 AWESOME games!!

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H1N1theI

All of these people claiming linux is not a valid gaming platform drives me crazy. In fact, if it wasn't for DX's platform lock, I believe linux could have been the de-facto standard for gaming. For crying out loud, Unix used to dominate the computer scene. Yes, it's debatable that linux driver support can match linux gaming, but any FOSS GL implementation would be so much faster than the MS GL implementation, so there is a definite speed boost from switching to linux.

Ugh, I feel if that was completely incoherent, but hopefully someone understands what I was saying.

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spokenwordd

The question is not whether Linux "could" be viable it is whether it is viable. I think most people would not be satisfied with the few titles available for Linux. I mean if a person is building a "gaming" rig I can only assume they intend to play a full or reasonable catalog of games. It's just not there at the moment.

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Bucket_Monster

Doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of games only work in Windows. And don't get me started on Wine, that's not even close to a viable solution for all games. Valve is starting to get things rolling but I have my doubts as to big publishers following their lead and making Linux versions.

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AFDozerman

Yeah, some people seem to be stuck in the 90s.

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USraging

Me!...Me! I know this one, YOU DON'T. At this time, building a gaming rig on the linux platform is a complete waste of your time, and money.

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sekander94

Burn the ISO to Disc? Was this really written in 2013? It's much faster to install linux from a flash drive.

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Scatter

It seems like it would be much easier to just install StartIsBack onto your Windows 8 PC than wipe the drive and install an entirely different operating system. I mean, I can see installing Linux if you built your own PC and don't want to purchase Windows at all but if you already own it it's much less of a head ache for the basic user IMO

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PCWolf

I think Maximum PC should do a side by side comparison of this Linux Box against a windows 7 box. & see how they compare. & No, Windows 8 is no Gaming OS. that's why at E3, Microsoft used Windows 7 on the PCs it was showcasing Xbox One games on & not windows 8.

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spokenwordd

I vehemently disagree.... I just built my gaming rig and almost listened to the Win8 bash crowd but I ended up getting Win8 Pro OEM. Spent $5 on Start8 to kill Metro and could not be happier.

Win8 is a perfect gaming OS. I have not had a single problem with any of my games including legacy stuff in my Steam library. If it runs on Win7 it runs on Win8. Win8 is pretty well optimized out of the box and runs like a dream. 4 1/2 months running it and wouldn't go back. I still have Win7 on my gaming laptop which I use from time to time.

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warptek2010

Some of those Steam/Linux titles look very retro - like circa middle/late 90's PC game era. I'm saying that's a good thing .... I for one miss those days. Computer games back then were short on graphics therefore they helped to foster your imagination more. Nowadays, pretty much all games out there do all the imagining for you so something is missing now that wasn't back then. I know you can't turn back the clock but once in awhile it's cool seeing stuff like this, makes me want to put a Linux box together or dual boot. I for one don't care that Linux is not quite there yet, I kinda like it.

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Hey.That_Dude

I have to agree with most people. Gaming for Linux isn't quite there yet. However, with Linux support supposedly being made for unreal engine 4, we might see more AAA titles compiled into Linux.
As for people saying it's too difficult... I find that it's not so bad if you just ASK FOR HELP. How many of you honestly don't just ask google for the answer even on your windows PC's. Sure you'll do it more on Linux starting out, but you'll get the hang of it.
I'm of the opinion that Linux is only as hard as you make it. Where as Windows is as hard as M$ makes it.

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Bucket_Monster

My complaint with Linux is that you have to ask for help too much and too often, when in Windows I wouldn't even have to bother with that stuff. I'm not computer illiterate, I'd classify myself as advanced, but Linux has so many quirks and sometimes things just flat out don't work. For instance, the Linux kernel still doesn't support my Atheros network adapter on my Gigabyte motherboard so the internet doesn't work. I looked it up, apparently there is some arcane voodoo sorcery of compiling a driver (which apparently has to be recompiled each time you update to a new version of Linux) but it was extremely confusing and ultimately not worth my time.

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Hey.That_Dude

Yet at the same time. My wireless Atheros card was recognized immediately by Linux and didn't require any driver manipulation at all. It worked right when i put it in. In my dual boot with Windows, windows refused to even acknowledge the card's existence and then required me to go and find the wireless drivers for the card (Which I had to take out and check the model number of, because apparently if you get it wrong you can brick the card.)
So, maybe you shouldn't let your one personal issue color your view. I didn't let mine color my view of Windows.

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spokenwordd

LMAO @ "...some arcane voodoo sorcery"

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ShyLinuxGuy

I would add a small donation to the cost of the build. It's cheaper than a $199 Windows 8 Pro license, and donating to the cause helps with development and other things like hosting and promotion.

Every so often I throw $10 or $20 towards the way of the developers of my favorite distros (Pinguy OS, Mint, Ubuntu--in that order).

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code59656

I have a correction to make. The Ubuntu window for proprietary drivers, such as drivers for Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, ARE NOT the latest. The default Ubuntu repositories only carry the latest driver tested by the dev team for Ubuntu. The latest, yet stable, drivers for Linux are available via a PPA Repostitory called X-org Edgers. Thank You!

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chriszele

Thanks for the information.

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kixofmyg0t

That's funny. I spent that much and ended up with a FX-6300, 7850, 16GB of RAM and a SSD.

But I did break the $650 mark with Windows 8 installed.

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bjoswald

Linux gaming is laughable at best and an absolute nightmare at worst. It's just not "there" yet (even though it's been decades). Sure, Steam is out, but other than Valve ports (that are long in the tooth on their own), none of the games are worth a crap.

If you really want to game on a budget, just get an OEM copy of Windows 7 and you're good.

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Upyourbucket

Why didn't you guys go with AMD on a $650 budget? Intel fanboys?

A better build

Case=NZXT Tempest 210 ATX Mid Tower Case($47.06)
PSU=Silverstone Strider Essential 500W 80 PLUS Certified ST50F-ES($39.99)
Mobo=ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard($84.99)
CPU=AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor($117.99)
Cooler(run it stock)
GPU=Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition($214.99)
RAM=Kingston Black Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory($59.98)
Optical Drive=Samsung S224BB($20)
Hard drive=500GB WD Caviar Blue Hard Drive ($65.00)
OS=Ubuntu 12.04 LTS($0)

Total= $650
I used the same hard drive suggested in this articles build because it put my total exactly at the build price of $650. Other than that the rest of the parts are from from pcpartspicker.com. Just proved to you AMD is a better value on a low budget.

You can actually do way better than that price if you went with an AMD APU instead. Spend the money you saved from an APU and put it towards Windows 7 and you'd have a dual boot system. Linux/Microsoft system.

ps- you guys hiring?

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chriszele

Thanks for giving feedback on the article.

The FX-6300 you suggested is a strong part for AMD and it matches up well with Intel's 3220. Intel's part does better in single-threaded applications while the AMD part wins in multi-threaded ones. I went with the Intel chip as it had a lower TDP than the AMD chip and it performed better in most benchmarks when matched against the FX-6300.

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Upyourbucket

Fair enough.

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Benjo

My Linux rigs are Athlon 64 boxes running Debian GNU/Linux. Started with Ubuntu back in 2005, then switched to Debian as I became more familiar with Linux. Eventually did a minimal install (adding only the programs and drivers I need) to really cut down on bloat.

There's a few games in Ubuntu's and Debian's repositories. I remember spending hours playing Battle for Wesnoth. A few months ago I set up DOSBOX so I can play old DOS games on it.

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Renegade Knight

A lot of GOG games are based on DosBox. I wonder if that opens up some more options for you?

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SpecNode

Not a bad 650 dollar gaming build, but really, no real gamer uses Linux for gaming. Hell, a console is better than a Linux gaming PC.

Linux is to much hassle for a consumer anyways and should be avoided, it's over hyped, especially Ubuntu. Windows 7/8 does everything very well, so why people insist on using something harder and less convenient is confusing(from a consumer stand point).

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Bucket_Monster

I agree with you. I always laugh when Linux fans try to convince you otherwise. I always like it when they chime in with Wine, which doesn't even work for a lot of games, if not most.

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vrmlbasic

Those games listed look as though they could run on an APU. Shoot, even the Sandy Bridge integrated GPU might be able to run them.

Gotta say that those games don't look appealing to me. They're not going to lure me to the land of Linux for gaming, that's for certain.

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John Pombrio

My son is an avid Linux user (Ubuntu) but keeps around a hard drive I loaded up with Win8 just to play games. Just too much hassle to get a game running on a Linux machine.

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Renegade Knight

Steam makes it pretty easy. I kicked the tires and "it just worked". But I only tried one game. Linux isn't a gaming sytem and won't be until windows does something so stupid that even non techies turn to linux.

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Bucket_Monster

Steam's Linux line up is pretty weak and will always be weak until you can convince big name publishers that Linux versions are worth their time and money.

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