Best Linux Distributions For Gaming 2020

Best Linux Distros for Gaming 2020 – Best Performance Compared – Watch my video here!

Hey gamers, this is downthecrop and today we have a very special video explaining the best Linux Distro recommendations for gaming in 2020.

I’ll be explaining some more technical reasons for why the distribution you decide to choose is not that important. The most important thing to remember for gaming on GNU+Linux is that you need to have your Window Manager Compositor or DE Compositor disabled for your games. This can be done in Compton (Picom) compositor and the GNOME Mutter Compositor. The performance impact of an incorrectly configured compositor will outweigh any effect the light weight Desktop Environment might provide.

Linux Gaming Drivers

Using the latest drivers will very likely have an effect on performance, as of writing this, Ubuntu LTS 18.04 is using Nvidia Linux Driver Version 430.64 and Manjaro is using Nvidia Linux Driver Version 440.59. Bleeding edge distros like Arch Linux, Void Linux, and Manjaro will all provide up to date Kernels and the latest Linux Drivers for both AMD and Nvidia. Slow annual releases like Ubuntu are known to be more stable due to them waiting to push updates to driver and applications until they have been tested for a longer time. You can bypass this slower release cycle with third-party PPA’s or installing through the .run script available from Nvidia/AMD’s websites.

Compositors and Gaming Performance in Linux

A compositor is in charge of an off screen buffer for each application window in a desktop environment. Compositing windows managers are responsible for things like desktop transparency and drop shadow effects.

Without a compositor each application is rendered directly which allows for better gaming performance.

GNOME uses a compositor called Mutter

Compton (now forked to Picom) can be used for OpenBox/LXQt

Your compositor settings will have the largest impact on performance. This is to say that the distribution of GNU+Linux you choose is not very important. The settings of your compositor can greatly affect your FPS. Make sure that all fullscreen applications are ignored or bypass the Compositor. Completely disabling the compositor is the best option as it may increase performance by removing the background buffer of your application windows (X11 Clients) and the output to your screen.

Recommendations

Really just disable your compositor and you can use anything you like. Fedora Linux, Gentoo, Elementary OS, use anything you like for gaming. If you have the RAM overhead available most DE’s really won’t make a difference in gaming performance.

Manjaro Linux

Manjaro is probably the best option for most people new or returning to gaming on GNU+Linux. Easily to install. Easy to use. Easy to update.

Manjaro is a rolling release which means that it will always have the latest versions of software after you’ve updated. There is no Manjaro 19.04 ect because ALL versions are the latest version you just need to re-sync with the update server.

Manjaro has out of the box support for non-free drivers and a graphical utility for installing them as well. 32-bit libraries which are a common issue among those new to Linux gaming are easy to install too.

https://manjaro.org/

MX Linux

MX Linux by its design is going to be a little bit out of date compared to Manjaro/Arch/Void and that’s because it’s not rolling release, and it’s based on Debian which is a very slow to update, stable distro.

MX Linux comes with options for non-free drivers during the install and is also systemd free. Yes! No systemd to mess with your gaming.

I suggest MX Linux to people who are uncomfortable with Arch/Manjaro and just want a system they are familiar with. The XFCE default spin is very similar to Unity or GNOME on Ubuntu so it should be easy to figure out for anyone new to Linux gaming.

https://mxlinux.org/

Dota 2 OpenGL vs Vulkan FPS – Linux Performance Test

Dota 2 Performance Test – OpenGL vs Vulkan on Ubuntu Linux 18.04 Watch my Video here

Dota 2 is one of the many games officially supported on Linux. But which graphics rendering API offers the best performance? In this side by side comparison I show the FPS (Frames Per Second) difference between OpenGL and Vulkan for Dota 2 on Linux. These tests were run on the same machine using the options toggle to switch between the two API’s. Testing was done at 1080p resolution with the quality slider set to Max.

Hardware

  • RTX 2080 8GB
  • i7 9700K @ 4.6Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVMe SSD

Drivers

  • Ubuntu – 430 nonfree
  • OpenGL 4.6
  • Vulkan 1.1.126

Dota 2

  • Maxed Settings
  • 240 FPS Framerate Limit (Recommend)
  • Patch 7.24

Results

  • OpenGL Average: 114
  • OpenGL 1% Low: 100
  • Vulkan Average: 135
  • Vulkan 1% Low: 101

Recording Settings

Note: The impact of OBS with these settings is as low as ~5FPS. When running the tests I had no additional software running other than OBS and Dota 2. In a real use case even if you don’t record/stream the performance impact should be similar to having Chrome/Firefox open with a YouTube video or Discord ect.

H.265 NVENC Encoder Max Quality preset, 5000kbps Bitrate, 1920×1080

checkra1n Linux Live USB (Minimal Linux)

When it was first announced that the iOS and tvOS jailbreaking tool checkra1n would get an official release I had a new idea for a project. An absolute bare-bones minimal Linux environment that could be used to kick start your device back to a jailbroken state. The original goal of the project was to keep the complete ISO file including Linux 5.4 and the latest checkra1n binary under 50MB. I was unable to squeeze in under my goal but the total required disk size for install is 64MB. Still substantially smaller than any other live environment with a modern Linux Kernel. Read more about my project or download from my GitHub page downthecrop/checkra1n-linux

Installation Guide

Writing Instrutions:
Download Rufus: https://rufus.ie/
Burn to USB Flash Drive or CD/DVD

When booting please wait for the timeouts of both prompts to ensure correct mounting.

You can run checkra1n again while in Linux with #: ./checkra1n or #: ./checkra1n -c

Write using DD mode instead of ISO mode.

Official Release checkra1n for Linux Tutorial Guide

Official release of checkra1n for all Linux distributions. Watch my tutorial video here

It’s finally here! checkra1n for Linux without the use of any kind of emulation was officially released today. This can be run on any and all Linux distributions and was released for ARM and ARM64. This will be able to run on laptops, desktops and desktop pcs, and Single Board Computers (SBC) like the Raspberry Pi. Simply navigate to the official checkra1n website and download the latest version of the precompiled binary release. You will need to add the execute flag

chmod +x checkra1n

once you have added the execute flag to the binary open a terminal and execute the command

sudo ./checkra1n

for the full command line or CLI version of checkra1n without ncurses that can also boot a device that is already in DFU you can use the command

sudo ./checkra1n -c

For a complete step by step guide of using the new checkra1n for Linux you can follow my YouTube guide here

Best Linux Distros of 2019/2020

Welcome to my Best Linux Distros of 2019 for 2020 Watch my video here

Welcome to my review and round up of the best linux distributions (distros) of 2019 that you should be using in 2020! This list will give recommendations for Best Linux Distro 2020, Best Lightweight Linux Distro, Best Gaming Distro, and Best Linux Distro for programming. Let’s get started!

Best Lightweight Distro: Void Linux

Void Linux has been my favorite lightweight and minimal Linux distribution for some time now. I have been using Void as a desktop system (also works great for server) for many months and it’s a stable and enjoyable experience for an enthusiast Linux user. Void provides everything you need in its default repositories and has great documentation. The community on r/voidlinux is also pretty good for helping people that need help (very arch-like and elite though). If you’re looking to get yourself started on Void I think LXQT is my favorite Desktop Environment with the least amount of overhead.

Best Gaming Distro: MX Linux

MX Linux has been gaining a huge amount of steam. In 2019 it was one of the best reviewed and highest rated for a “set it and forget it” Linux distro for the everyman. This Debian based distro gives you everything you need as a desktop user right out of the box and even provides non-free drivers (better for gaming) as well out of the box if you want them. The default desktop environment is XFCE which is a good choice for gaming too because of it’s light weight and low impact compositor. MX is a solid choice for everyone that is new or old to Linux. It just works.

Best Linux Distro for Programming: Manjaro Linux

Manjaro is Arch without the headache. This is a great distribution of Linux and no one should be saying it’s anything less than top 5 in the pecking order. Manjaro can lean on the Arch Linux community and documentation that has had so much time to build a great wealth of knowledge. The installation process is easy, all the big development environments are available through the default repos as well as every programming language package you can think of. I love Manjaro because it works on everything and has everything. If you’re looking to switch away from Mint, Ubuntu, or Fedora/CentOS this is my number one pick for a programmers dream.

Best Linux Distro 2019: Void Linux

I need to set Void as the leader in the innovation space of Linux this year. It’s now officially supported Flatpack and is a total joy to use once you have it installed. The XBPS package manager is the best thing to happen to binary distribution since apt and you have a complete backlog of documentation and a giant repository of great packages that are up to date. This is an amazing project that will continue to gather a following. You can’t go wrong this year by installing Void Linux on your main system and trying it out! My pick for Best Linux Distro 2020 is Void Linux.