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The Ultimate Linux Gaming Guide

 ·  ☕ 5 min read

This guide goes over setting up your Linux system for gaming. I will include multiple setup instructions for various Linux distributions.


This guide will broken into parts that you will need to verify on your system. Each part, should be checked to guarantee an optimal experience.

Video Drivers

Just like any operating system, having the latest drivers helps with performance in most games.

Ubuntu Based Distributions

Enable 32-bit libraries

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386 


AMD Mesa Driver Install

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kisak/kisak-mesa -y
sudo apt update
sudo apt install libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 mesa-vulkan-drivers mesa-vulkan-drivers:i386 -y

Note: Did you run into an error? Make sure you are running Ubuntu 20, Linux Mint 20, or Pop OS 20! - Older versions are not recommended


Nvidia Proprietary Driver Install

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa -y
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nvidia-driver-450 libnvidia-gl-450 libnvidia-gl-450:i386 libvulkan1 libvulkan1:i386 -y

*Note: Not working? Are you using a recent nVidia card? I recommend at least GTX 900 Series or Above!

Arch Based Distributions

Enable Multilib for 32- bit support
/etc/pacman.conf Note: you can remove the # to enable multilib shown below

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
sudo pacman -S lib32-mesa vulkan-radeon lib32-vulkan-radeon vulkan-icd-loader lib32-vulkan-icd-loader -y

Custom Linux Kernel Benchmarks


Xanmod (Debian-based Only)

Official Site:

echo 'deb releases main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xanmod-kernel.list && wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt update && sudo apt install linux-xanmod -y

Liquorix (Debian-based Only)

Official Site:

Debian Prerequisites (No PPA)

codename="$(find /etc/apt -type f -name '*.list' | xargs grep -E '^deb' | awk '{print $3}' | grep -Eo '^[a-z]+' | sort | uniq -c | sort -n | tail -n1 | grep -Eo '[a-z]+$')" && sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https curl && echo -e "deb $codename main\ndeb-src $codename main\n\n# Mirrors:\n#\n# Unit193 - France\n# deb $codename main\n# deb-src $codename main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/liquorix.list && curl '' | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update -y

Ubuntu based Prerequisites (PPA):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:damentz/liquorix && sudo apt-get update -y

64-bit Install:

sudo apt-get install linux-image-liquorix-amd64 linux-headers-liquorix-amd64 -y

Zen (Arch-based Only)

Built into Arch Linux and part of the official pacman repositories. This does a lot of the same tweaks as Liquorix but for Arch based distributions.

pacman -S linux-zen -y

Mainline (Debian Bleeding Edge)

Source Project:

This will update a debian stable release to the latest official kernel.


apt install wget -y
chmod +x
sudo mv /usr/local/bin/


From terminal type any of the following commands: -c # Check if Newer Kernel available -i # Install latest kernel -l # List locally installed kernels -u # Uninstall mainline kernel

ACO - Faster Compiling (AMD Only)


This is where Linus Tech Tips recently covered - Linux gaming is BETTER than windows? on June 17, 2020 and I covered last year - Mesa ACO Linux | The Future is Now! on November 20, 2019

Basically this changes the compiling from LLVM to ACO which is considerably faster. The installation process is quite a bit easier now as well compared to my video. You do need up-to-date drivers mesa 20+ and edit /etc/environment.

Add this to /etc/environment



Wine Dependancies and Lutris

There are several packages that wine, proton and lutris game installs need. I recommend installing all the dependancies before installing lutris.

Ubuntu/Mint/Pop OS! 20

sudo add-apt-repository 'deb focal main' -y
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lutris-team/lutris -y
sudo apt update
sudo apt-get install --install-recommends winehq-staging -y
sudo apt-get install libgnutls30:i386 libldap-2.4-2:i386 libgpg-error0:i386 libxml2:i386 libasound2-plugins:i386 libsdl2-2.0-0:i386 libfreetype6:i386 libdbus-1-3:i386 libsqlite3-0:i386 -y
sudo apt-get install lutris -y

Arch-Based Distros

sudo pacman -S wine-staging giflib lib32-giflib libpng lib32-libpng libldap lib32-libldap gnutls lib32-gnutls mpg123 lib32-mpg123 openal lib32-openal v4l-utils lib32-v4l-utils libpulse lib32-libpulse libgpg-error lib32-libgpg-error alsa-plugins lib32-alsa-plugins alsa-lib lib32-alsa-lib libjpeg-turbo lib32-libjpeg-turbo sqlite lib32-sqlite libxcomposite lib32-libxcomposite libxinerama lib32-libgcrypt libgcrypt lib32-libxinerama ncurses lib32-ncurses opencl-icd-loader lib32-opencl-icd-loader libxslt lib32-libxslt libva lib32-libva gtk3 lib32-gtk3 gst-plugins-base-libs lib32-gst-plugins-base-libs vulkan-icd-loader lib32-vulkan-icd-loader lutris -y

ESync - Helps Game Overhead

Check to see if esync is enabled already (most distributions do by default)

ulimit -Hn

If this returns more than 500,000 than ESYNC IS ENABLED! If not, proceed with these instructions:
Change the following files and add this line to the bottom

/etc/systemd/system.conf & /etc/systemd/user.conf



username hard nofile 524288

Note: Change username to your username!!!


GameMode - No CPU Throttling

GitHub Source Project:

Ubuntu/Debian Dependencies

apt install meson libsystemd-dev pkg-config ninja-build git libdbus-1-dev libinih-dev dbus-user-session -y

Arch Dependencies

pacman -S meson systemd git dbus -y

Build and Install GameMode

git clone
cd gamemode
git checkout 1.5.1 # omit to build the master branch

Uninstall GameMode

systemctl --user stop gamemoded.service
ninja uninstall -C builddir

GameMode Usage

There are multiple ways to Use GameMode

  • Lutris - Under settings you can enable GameMode for all games you launch
  • Steam - Go to Launch options for the game of choice and type in gamemoderun %command%
  • Terminal - type gamemoderun ./game
  • Gnome Tool - If you use GNOME Desktop Environment install this extension:


Custom Proton

The stock steam proton is rather old and behind the Wine team. Which means there are a lot of performance tweaks and improvements that you aren’t getting yet. This is why I recommend everyone install Custom proton as I find the releases a considerable improvement when gaming in Steam.

Note: DO NOT USE STEAM IN A FLATPAK! You will lose some performance and modifications are more difficult!

Source Project:
Auto-Install Project:

For Installation, we will use the ProtonUpdater script on GitHub.

cd ~
sudo chmod +x


Doing these tweaks or just some of them will make a drastic difference when it comes to Gaming on Linux. I personally use all of the tweaks, but sometimes I end up not using the Custom kernel if I have issues with drivers like nvidia sometimes does not like it.

I live stream on Twitch and encourage you to drop in and ask a question. I regularly publish on YouTube and, but if you need immediate assistance, check out the Terminal Cafe with Discord Invite Link.

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Chris Titus
Chris Titus
Tech Content Creator