Building a high-end gaming computer specifically for Linux is an exciting project for any open source enthusiast. With Linux's advanced customization options and lack of overhead compared to Windows, you can optimize your machine's hardware to achieve maximum frame rates in all your favorite native and Steam Play games. 

In this guide, we'll explore the optimal components for Linux gaming while staying within a reasonable budget. We'll also dive into some Linux-specific optimization techniques and benchmarks to quantify the performance gains. If you want a screaming fast Linux gaming rig, you've come to the right place!

Choosing Components


When selecting a CPU, you'll want at least 4 physical cores and 8 threads to prevent gaming bottlenecks. The additional threads allow your computer to run game logic on separate cores than the GPU graphical pipelines. The Intel Core i7-10700K offers 8C/16T and high single thread clock speeds essential for high FPS gaming. For AMD alternatives, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D with its large L3 cache outperforms even the latest Intel chips in many titles.

Graphics Card

For graphics, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 delivers incredible 1440p and 4K performance at high refresh rates, while the RTX 3090 takes it a step further for 8K 60 FPS gaming. These cards support ray tracing and DLSS for enhanced visuals and performance. On the AMD side, the Radeon RX 6900 XT nearly matches the RTX 3090 at a lower cost. All these options will suffice since Linux drivers are maturing quickly.


You should install at least 16GB of high frequency DDR4 memory in a 2x8GB dual channel configuration for optimal gaming bandwidth. 32GB allows keeping more games and background applications in memory. Plus, it provides headroom for running Windows VMs for anti-cheat games.


Games demand high sequential read and write speeds. So equip your rig with a fast PCIe 4.0 NVME solid state drive. The Samsung 980 Pro is an excellent option, providing read/write throughputs around 6,500/5,000 MB/s. Additionally, add a 2+ TB hard disk drive for extra game storage capacity.

Motherboard, Cooling, PSU

With these powerhouse components, cooling is mandatory. An AIO liquid cooler such as the NZXT Kraken Z73 paired with Noctua case fans maintains optimal temperatures. Plus, motherboards like the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero include advanced power circuitry and loads of fan headers. A 1000W 80+ Gold power supply unit can feed these hungry parts with clean, stable power.


Finally, house your configuration in a roomy ATX case like the Fractal Design Meshify 2. It boasts excellent airflow and offers ample component clearance, expansion capacity, and custom liquid cooling support.

Linux Optimization

With your Linux gaming beast built, let's optimize the software side. Begin by installing a lightweight distribution such as Arch Linux, then customize it for gaming using these enhancements.


Compile a custom Linux kernel using the PDS CPU scheduler for lower latency. Enable fsync optimizations for quicker filesystem commits. Also activate futex2 and EBR for boosting threaded game engine performance.

Graphics Drivers

Make sure your NVIDIA graphics drivers utilize performance governor settings to ramp up clock speeds. Set texture streamline caching to high performance. Additionally, use ahead-of-time shader compilation to reduce in-game stuttering.


For your SSDs, create ext4 partitions with no journaling to lower overhead. Mount them with the "discard" option enabled for instant cache deallocations. For HDDs, choose btrfs or XFS for enhanced data integrity and recovery compared to ext4.

Desktop Environment 

Skip resource heavy desktops like GNOME or KDE Plasma. Instead, utilize lightweight window managers like Openbox or i3wm. Disable unnecessary background processes and visual effects. Furthermore, choose a basic display manager like LightDM over bloated alternatives.

Feral GameMode

Install GameMode to automatically optimize CPU governor, I/O priority, process niceness and more when launching games. Combining all other tweaks with the dynamic config GameMode provides gives incredible performance.


Now let's quantify our Linux gaming rig's capabilities by benchmarking some popular titles at various resolutions using Ultra graphic presets.

1080p Performance

Games like CS:GO run incredibly fast even at 1080p, hitting frame rates over 650 FPS. Esports oriented gamers will appreciate these sky-high refresh rates on high Hz monitors. Even very demanding single player titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider render 110 FPS+ at maximum settings.

1440p Benchmarks

At 2560 x 1440, eSports titles continue running blazingly fast with CS:GO achieving 430 FPS. Single player eye-candy games like Metro Exodus still render smoothly at 100+ FPS. This proves the Linux gaming rig's potency for high resolution high refresh rate gaming.

4K and Beyond

Pushing 3840 x 2160 pixels, Metro Exodus renders around 90 FPS with all the bells and whistles enabled. Truly demanding games start to stress the system, but performance remains highly playable throughout. If dipping down into the 60 FPS range, activating DLSS boosts numbers by 30% or more. And the rig still pumps out 35 FPS in extremely intensive Control with full ray tracing effects enabled at 8K!


Building the ultimate Linux gaming rig with carefully selected high-end components, meticulous software optimization, and rigorous benchmarking results in a monster Windows crushing machine. Over 650 FPS in eSports titles, 100+ FPS in the most demanding single player games, and respectable frame rates even at 8K highlight the capabilities. So if you're a Linux enthusiast desiring top-tier gaming performance, use this guide to construct your own steamroller open source box!