Building a new system, would like some tips

First, apologies if there is a known source that already answers this question, kindly point me to it and I’ll be on my way.

Second, I’m fairly new to opensuse, but it appears to be a nice fit for my needs. I’m bailing on a years-long codependent abusive relationship with Ubuntu and all its relatives, and am entering into opensuse cautiously because of the scars from the past.

I am upgrading our pc… which serves as our entertainment center, and also as a place for me to mess around with some audio and video editing (Audacity and Kdenlive) and sometimes some fairly complex renderings in Blender, but just as a hobby.

By “upgrading” I mean I am taking the R9380X gpu out of our current system and replacing everything else… I have a 1tb ss drive and an 850 watt power supply.

I’d like to spend around $500usd on a motherboard/ cpu/ram, and would like it all to play well with each other, and with opensuse as well.

Ubuntu taught me that every piece of hardware has to be researched to a ridiculous degree to ensure some obscure combination of firmware and bios and kernel switches didn’t result in a barely - stable system with no solution other than cryptic custom-written drivers from an undocumented repo… sorry, the rabbit-hole of my experience with ubuntu is very deep.

I’ve also been told that the r9380x does not play well with the kernel but that the rx480 series and rx5500 do have kernel - level support… which means I’ll likely be getting a new video card as well, but that is sort of the point of my question: I obviously don’t even know what questions to ask when it comes to building a system that is new enough/ powerful enough/ stable enough/ compatible enough to run linux, but at least i know that i should be asking for some expert advice before buying anything.

So, if I can manage another $300 or so for a good enough video card, could someone please give me some recommendations for a basic system that would be good enough to run opensuse and have it just work?


If you start with an Intel Kaby Lake or newer motherboard you might find a discrete GPU card unnecessary. I bought such boards from Gigabye 2 and Asus 1.5 years ago and continue running them on the Intel graphics provided by their CPU dies on screens up to 4K resolution. Both have PCIe X16 and PCIe X4 slots available for the dual graphics cards I find unnecessary, M.2 storage, 16G RAM, low TDP 2 core CPUs with 4 threads, 4 video connectors (3 usable at once) and 500W 80 Plus power supplies. Each cost well under $500 for board, RAM & CPU and went into sturdy old mid tower cases.

If you want to get an idea of what a CPU + Motherboard + Ram will cost check out:
Also, check out the CPU + Motherboard bundles offered by either:

I think maybe I didn’t explain it correctly.
I’m looking for what specific hardware will work well with opensuse; I already have sources in mind for purchasing it.
It’s already been explained to me that the r9380x is not a good match for the kernel, something I was not aware of. That is the kind of advice I am looking for… what specifically should I look for to be certain I can meet the demands of linux, not how much it costs to just stick random pieces of hardware together or buy a premade system that will undoubtedly work for windows but isn’t high end enough for linux. That’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid buying by asking for advice on specific hardware compatibility.

Thanks! I hadn’t considered that. How is the support for Intel gpu?

Good, entirely FOSS, and for the vast majority of users, no fuss. There are actually two FOSS DDX. The automatically installed one, xf86-video-intel, is ancient as far as official releases go, and most likely not the one you want. The other is the upstream default, part of the server package, usually used automatically unless the antique is installed. During installation if you choose detailed package installation you can taboo the antique so as not to be bothered to remove it later.

Linux may have troubles with notebook installation, but not with a desktop PC.
Look at your software needs - for instance, Blender requires for AMD video chips generation GCN2+, and R9 380X is good enough for it.
AMD Radeon R9 380X even has AMD’s drivers for a Leap 15 (= SLED/SLES 15), so I expect no troubles with it.
Ubuntu is using Debian Unstable kernels, so some problems with it is normal.
You may expect troubles with too new hardware, for instance, AMD Renoir APUs that is expected to be shipped in first quarter of 2020.

Okay, lesson learned.

The R9380 card does not work well with opensuse - leap or tumbleweed.

I’ll upgrade to a newer card and try again.

Should also mention - the integrated graphice in my intel processor performed considerably worse than the R9380. I’ll likely upgrade my processor to something with better on-board graphics performance too.

Which processor do you have? You seem to be describing a configuration where both AMD and Intel GPUs were too new for FOSS support.

Sorry for the delayed response; I was positive I had answered this a few days ago.

I have an i9-9900k. I messed around with the i915 driver (I believe that’s what it was, something similar at least) and had pretty much the same performance as the R9380, but actually performed worse in a few benchmarks that I tried.

There is kernel-level gpu support for nvidia and amd, but it starts with the RX- series which leaves the R9 in need of a driver. (And, as I’ve had to explain… the ‘X’ in 'RX" is not a variable. It can’t ‘equal’ 9 to make it be “R9.”)

Ubuntu 16.04.3 was the last release from them that supported the R9 series correctly with the open-source drive; releases after that are filled with screen tearing and single-digit frame rates and people who say ‘the open source drivers work just fine.’

So it works perfectly in Ubuntu 16.04 but not later, and is also too old a series for kernel-level support.

The integrated gpu also isn’t really a concern; it was recommended to me several times that I should upgrade to an AMD processor for better integrated gpu performance.

So, there it is. The i9-9900k is fairly new, so you may have a point there. But the R9-380 is definitely outdated.

You should just have to add the kernel boot option amdgpu.ngg=1 to tell it the card is a new one (as in next generation) or cik or si as necessary…

You can see the multitude of options via;

/sbin/modinfo amdgpu |grep parm:

You can see what the driver is currently using via (Parameters section);

systool -vm amdgpu

More info here for the 4.12 series kernel:

Thanks, lots of good info in all of that.

I had tried a fair amount of kernel parameters before it just became an exercise in futility, (as well as a good number of conversations and threads that mention essentially identical symptoms) including cik and si… ngg doesn’t sound familiar, but I really don’t remember… they all sort of run together after a while.

Thanks for the info, but my system ‘just works’ and I think that’s good enough for me to stop rolling it up the hill for a while.