7 votes

Best Linux Distro for Gaming/Noob

Hey y’all. Recently picked up a Cyberpower prebuilt. Looking to install a Linux distro on it for gaming. Currently have Ubuntu on my laptop, so I’m not a total noob, but my experience is still low. Not a big fan of having to use the terminal. Any distros y’all would recommend? Am leaning toward Pop_OS or SteamOS.

19 comments

  1. [5]
    mtset
    Link
    In my opinion, Pop!_OS is the correct solution for the vast majority of gaming desktops. It's got plenty of support, both for itself and for its parent distro, Ubuntu. It's got a good system for...

    In my opinion, Pop!_OS is the correct solution for the vast majority of gaming desktops. It's got plenty of support, both for itself and for its parent distro, Ubuntu. It's got a good system for installing proprietary drivers and supports Steam perfectly in my experience.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I wish System76 would maintain a KDE-based version of their distro because I really don't like GNOME. In fact, for users new to Linux and used to Windows, GNOME can be quite a hurdle. The fact...

      I wish System76 would maintain a KDE-based version of their distro because I really don't like GNOME.

      In fact, for users new to Linux and used to Windows, GNOME can be quite a hurdle. The fact that you need to install additional software just to get minimize and maximize buttons on your windows is going to be jarring for some.

      3 votes
      1. mtset
        Link Parent
        Yep, I agree. I personally do not love GNOME, though I do use it often and without lots of extensions. That said, GNOME is the desktop environment with the most formal usability work and research...

        Yep, I agree. I personally do not love GNOME, though I do use it often and without lots of extensions. That said, GNOME is the desktop environment with the most formal usability work and research behind it, so I understand why it's the default for many distros.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      Thanks! I’d read some comments that Pop_OS had been having some issues with bugs and requiring a lot of updates. I’ll probably still give it a go when I install. Also, took me forever to realize...

      Thanks! I’d read some comments that Pop_OS had been having some issues with bugs and requiring a lot of updates. I’ll probably still give it a go when I install.

      Also, took me forever to realize you’re the user previously known as @tindall. Glad to see you back.

      1 vote
      1. mtset
        Link Parent
        This is possible! My experience has been very smooth, but that's not a representative sample. That said, it'll be no worse in the "requiring updates" department than Ubuntu, which is pretty...

        had been having some issues with bugs and requiring a lot of updates.

        This is possible! My experience has been very smooth, but that's not a representative sample. That said, it'll be no worse in the "requiring updates" department than Ubuntu, which is pretty standard.

        Glad to see you back.

        Aw, thanks! I should've known my blatant Pop fangirling would give me away :P

        4 votes
  2. [4]
    Toric
    Link
    Id say Pop!_OS or mint, both for the same reasons that mtset mentioned.

    Id say Pop!_OS or mint, both for the same reasons that mtset mentioned.

    3 votes
    1. LukeZaz
      Link Parent
      Seconding Mint here. It's my first and current distro and so far I've been very happy with it.

      Seconding Mint here. It's my first and current distro and so far I've been very happy with it.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      Thanks! How does Mint compare vis a vis gaming versus the others?

      Thanks! How does Mint compare vis a vis gaming versus the others?

      1 vote
      1. Toric
        Link Parent
        It's similar to Pop!_OS in that its ubuntu based, is easy to install, and provides first-class support for installing proprietary drivers. Its a bit older than Pop!_OS, and has a more established...

        It's similar to Pop!_OS in that its ubuntu based, is easy to install, and provides first-class support for installing proprietary drivers. Its a bit older than Pop!_OS, and has a more established community, but on the other hand, it doesn't have as big cooperate backing.

        5 votes
  3. [8]
    knocklessmonster
    (edited )
    Link
    First: SteamOS sounds good, but is only an appliance OS. It's got some cool stuff in it, based on Arch, using ostree for system management, but it is intended as a game console OS, not a general...

    First: SteamOS sounds good, but is only an appliance OS. It's got some cool stuff in it, based on Arch, using ostree for system management, but it is intended as a game console OS, not a general purpose OS, even if people have managed to use their Decks for full productivity setups. As an everyday OS I wouldn't recommend it unless you want to play around in its guts to improve your desktop experience. Through the creative use of containers and packaging of runtimes, Steam, and its games, runs more or less the same on all distros these days.

    I think Ubuntu is a perfect general purpose OS if you want something that just works, and you already have it on one system. If you just want to fire and forget for two to four to five years, use LTS, and if you want something newer just follow the regular six month cycles. Mint and Pop!_OS are based on the LTS cycle, but each offer their own take on QOL improvements and desktop environments.

    For something more current, with an adjustable update schedule you could always just use Fedora. If you're not into the immutable OS thing, Fedora can be updated every six or 12 months, as any release is supported for 13 months with critical updates after the initial 6-7 month period. I will say that if you want a more up to date distro, but not rolling release (which I wouldn't recommend to somebody more interested in applications than operating systems), Fedora's probably the way to go. It's got a great community, a large, established packaging standard behind it so if you need something you'll likely find it, with a success rate only beaten by Ubuntu. There's a package provided by an easily available third-party repo for Steam if you need it.

    If you're into the immuatble OS part of SteamOS and don't see yourself needing/wanting to fiddle with internals, SilverBlue is a great concept and is intended to just work. You can get many FOSS games/engines as flatpaks anyway, as well as steam, after enabling the full Flathub repo (shouldn't be too fiddly).

    I will say that I don't use any of these, but they're on my list of distros to hop to should Arch (my choice for 12 years) disappear today. As a part of your consideration, unless you're also looking into the OS itself as a hobbyist endeavor, I would recommend using the same distro on everything for consistency. I like to do this because if I have to do some sort of funky process I can learn it once and do it twice.

    2 votes
    1. [7]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      Thanks for input! Laptop is going away after I get files off. Work desktop (U.S. Government Property!) is Windows. This will be my one and only personal device. I do like Ubuntu, but I’ve still...

      Thanks for input! Laptop is going away after I get files off. Work desktop (U.S. Government Property!) is Windows. This will be my one and only personal device. I do like Ubuntu, but I’ve still found myself using terminal more than I’d like (I know, sacrilege!). I’d like to try and dial back to something more basic. I’m definitely on the side of LTS. I don’t want to deal with frequent updates.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        knocklessmonster
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        What are you doing in the command line that you would rather not be? I find whatever distro I use I wind up having to use the command line at one point or another, but I also sort of just default...

        What are you doing in the command line that you would rather not be?

        I find whatever distro I use I wind up having to use the command line at one point or another, but I also sort of just default to it.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          nukeman
          Link Parent
          Just dealing with installs for stuff.

          Just dealing with installs for stuff.

          1. [2]
            knocklessmonster
            Link Parent
            Oh yeah, that's always a thing, unfortunately.

            Oh yeah, that's always a thing, unfortunately.

            1 vote
            1. nukeman
              Link Parent
              It is true, I’m dealing with it right now for openRGB, but at least I didn’t have to deal with it for Discord, Wine, and Steam.

              It is true, I’m dealing with it right now for openRGB, but at least I didn’t have to deal with it for Discord, Wine, and Steam.

      2. [2]
        vord
        Link Parent
        I'll toss this out there: Keep a backup laptop or something around, especially if you run Linux. If something breaks on your distro, it's a lot easier to fix if you have a backup computer to use...

        I'll toss this out there: Keep a backup laptop or something around, especially if you run Linux. If something breaks on your distro, it's a lot easier to fix if you have a backup computer to use for browsing and flashing drives. A USB hard drive enclosure can work miracles.

        If you're looking for almost-0 CLI for linux gaming, I'd give ChimeraOS a try. I gave it a quick test drive before, and was quite impressed. That said, it's geared toward the game console experience and not general computing, so YMMV.

        2 votes
        1. nukeman
          Link Parent
          My gaming rig has a secondary hard drive, which I will use to keep non-gaming files on. And I live with momma, and she has a laptop I can borrow in a pinch. Ended up going with Pop_OS. Liking it...

          My gaming rig has a secondary hard drive, which I will use to keep non-gaming files on. And I live with momma, and she has a laptop I can borrow in a pinch.

          Ended up going with Pop_OS. Liking it so far.

          3 votes
  4. inwardpath
    Link
    I use Kubuntu 20.04 LTS, and though it hasn't been without its hiccups (even in popular distros stuff can unexpectedly break), I was able to finally permanently break away from using Windows. This...

    I use Kubuntu 20.04 LTS, and though it hasn't been without its hiccups (even in popular distros stuff can unexpectedly break), I was able to finally permanently break away from using Windows. This is now my daily driver OS on my gaming PC.

    2 votes
  5. deadbeef
    Link
    One more distro alternative: Solus. I use it with Steam. It's been rock solid for me so far.

    One more distro alternative: Solus.
    I use it with Steam. It's been rock solid for me so far.

    1 vote