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5 Best Linux Distros for Gaming

Linux is a great platform for many things, but gaming isn’t really one of them. As a server, workstation, or media center, Linux offers many advantages over Windows, such as speed and security. Most gamers will probably look at alternatives, however, with Windows the dominant PC platform for gamers outside of consoles.

If you’re not interested in dual-booting Windows with Linux , then you’ll need to look at Linux distros suitable for gaming that allow you to play your favorite games. While Linux gaming isn’t a seamless or pain-free experience, you should be able to enjoy yourself by trying one of these five best Linux distros for gaming.

Choosing a Linux Distribution for Gaming

Before you rush to install one of the major Linux distros like Ubuntu or Debian, you’ll need to be aware of the state of Linux gaming. Most game developers don’t offer support for Linux, with support limited to indie titles or the (very rare) AAA release through platforms like Steam .

For most major game releases, you’ll need to try some workarounds to install Windows games . WINE , the Windows-to-Linux compatibility library, will allow you to run many PC games, but game support is mixed. Some games offer a near-perfect experience, while others won’t run at all.

This is (in part) down to device driver support on Linux. Linux support for graphics cards is patchy compared to Windows. For instance, Linux users may be forced to download, compile, and install drivers for new graphics cards before they can be used, if they’re supported at all. This creates a technical nightmare for Linux novices.

If you’re interested in retro gaming, however, then Linux support is far better. You can emulate many older consoles, from SNES to Wii, with ease using almost any Linux distro. You could also use an emulator like DOSBOX to play these types of games, which includes support for Debian, Fedora, and other distros.

With so much choice and difficulty to navigate, it makes sense to avoid installing a typical distro. Rather than installing Ubuntu, you should install a distro that has gaming in mind. These may have WINE or Steam installed by default, come with proprietary graphics card drivers, or have a TV-friendly interface for retro gaming.

The options for the best Linux distros for gaming listed below are tailored to any of these requirements, but they aren’t exhaustive. In almost all cases, you can take a standard Linux distro and install the same software. But these distros remove the difficulty, making it easier for new Linux gamers to make the jump from Windows.

Fedora Games

If you’re a fan of the open source philosophy that underpins the Linux community, but you’re still interested in trying new games, then Fedora Games is the solution. Fedora Games demonstrates what open source gaming can offer to players, with hundreds of included indie games that are ready to play upon installation.

Whether you’re interested in first-person shooters or complex, turn-based strategy games, Fedora Games has you covered. It uses the Xfce desktop environment, making it an ideal solution for older, lower-powered PCs. The installation ISO is roughly 4GB in size, so should fit well on smaller devices and drives.

With Fedora Games following the standard Fedora release cycle closely, you can also use it as a standard working PC. While it doesn’t include major game platforms like Steam, or compatibility libraries like WINE or PlayOnLinux , these can be installed quickly afterwards.

RetroPie

If you’re looking for a ready-to-use, retro-gaming Linux gaming platform with many console emulators pre-installed, look no further than RetroPie. While this project is built for single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi, RetroPie also supports standard PCs, allowing you to repurpose an older PC for gaming.

RetroPie is predominantly a Raspberry Pi project , however, with additional performance tweaks and support for major console controllers. What isn’t included with RetroPie is the games, but you can acquire older games from legal ROM sites online.

RetroPie has several installation images for Raspberry Pi devices, so you don’t need to install any additional software to get RetroPie up and running. RetroPie works as a standalone, full-screen retro arcade, running on top of the Raspberry Pi OS (previously Raspbian) to work effectively.

If you’re looking to repurpose an older PC, however, you’ll need to install another Linux distro like Debian first before you can use RetroPie.

Lakka

Lakka, much like RetroPie, is a platform for retro gamers. Unlike RetroPie, however, Lakka can be installed as an independent Linux distro on all types of PCs, using the popular RetroArch as a TV-friendly front-end for PC gaming without a keyboard or mouse.

Lakka supports almost all major Linux console emulators, allows for online multiplayer in retro games, and supports all major console controllers. Using the built-in RetroArch gaming platform, you can pause or rewind games mid-game, take advantage of numerous performance and graphics improvements, and more.

Lakka can be installed on a number of small, single-board PCs including the Raspberry Pi. But you can also install it on your PC, too. Like RetroPie, no games are included, but you can play your own copies (or use ROM sites to find your own).

Manjaro

The Arch Linux philosophy is simple: keep it simple. If you’re not interested in the small details, but still want the bleeding edge, speed and performance that Arch can offer, then you’ll need Manjaro. This Arch spin-off is perfect for potential Linux gamers.

Manjaro comes pre-packaged with various apps and services that make it an easier-to-use distro than standard Arch. In particular, it includes various must-have apps for gamers, including Steam. Thanks to its hardware detection tool, Manjaro can scan your system and configure itself for the best performance.

This makes Manjaro a great platform for PC gaming on newer and older hardware alike. You can install games, VOIP tools like Teamspeak, emulators, and game compatibility runtimes like WINE within a few clicks, allowing you to build a gaming PC that suits your own requirements.

Ubuntu Game Pack

While Manjaro is a perfect platform for quickly building your own gaming PC on Linux, it does still involve some configuration. If you want a Linux gaming distro that allows you to start playing as fast as possible, few distros can match Ubuntu Game Pack, an unofficial Ubuntu spin-off with all the major gaming services included.

Rather than worry about installing the emulators or services you need, Ubuntu Game Pack has them all. It has all the major Linux game emulators, including console and DOS game emulators. It also includes game platforms like Steam and Lutris , as well as indie platforms like Itch.io .

If you’re trying to play standard PC games, you’ll be covered with both PlayOnLinux, WINE, and CrossOver support. It also includes optimization apps and settings designed to make gameplay better on Linux, as well as support for streaming platforms like Twitch to allow you to share your gameplay with others.

If you want to play different types of games, or if you’re finding other distros difficult to use or set up, then give Ubuntu GamePack a try. You’ll need to supply your own games, but with Steam and other platforms pre-installed, you’ll be able to install these pretty quickly yourself.

Playing Games on Linux

There’s nothing stopping you from installing a fresh copy of Debian or another major Linux distro to play games. Many of the best Linux distros for gaming are based on an existing distribution, but allow new Linux gamers to jump straight into their games, rather than spend hours setting up their PC with the right settings and software. 

Of course, there are other things you can do with a Linux gaming PC. Installing some of the best Linux apps can help you make the switch from Windows, Mac, or even your Android smartphone . If you decide to dual boot, you can access Linux files on Windows to ensure a seamless experience for your important files and documents.


5 Best Chromecast Ethernet Adapters for a Wired Connection

Google Chromecast is one of the best devices you can use to stream content from your phone to a TV . However, if your WiFi connection is weak or spotty , you may not be able to use Chromecast.

While you can still use a Chromecast without WiFi if you’re able to access an Ethernet connection, not all Chromecast models offer Ethernet support, except for the Chromecast Ultra.

With a Chromecast Ethernet adapter, you can hard-wire directly into your Ethernet port and eliminate all the WiFi-related issues you may face. Other benefits of an Ethernet connection include faster network performance and smoother streaming without skipping or buffering as you’ll have one less high-bandwidth device on your network.

Best Chromecast Ethernet Adapters

Here are the best Chromecast Ethernet adapters you can use with Chromecast to cast content on your screen with consistent stream quality.

1. Google Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

If you have the Chromecast Ultra, you won’t need to buy an Ethernet adapter separately because it comes with an Ethernet connector on the power adapter. For other Chromecast models like the Chromecast with Google TV or Chromecast 3, you’ll need a separate accessory.

Google offers an official Chromecast Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast with Google TV, which you can connect directly to your router and enjoy a fast and reliable connection for your Chromecast. 

The adapter is especially useful for WiFi spots that are hard to reach, and for streaming games with Stadia support. In addition, the Google Ethernet adapter comes with an integrated USB-C cable and a port on the opposite side. 

To set up the Google Ethernet adapter, attach the USB cable to your Chromecast, run the Ethernet cable from your router to the power outlet, and plug in.

2. UGREEN Ethernet Adapter

UGREEN is a simple and efficient Chromecast Ethernet adapter that enables you to access faster and more stable internet access where there’s no wireless router or the WiFi signal is weak .

The adapter plugs directly into the micro-USB port on your Chromecast (3/2/1) and adds a built-in USB cable to plug into your TV’s USB port or a wall adapter. On top of that, it has an Ethernet port so you can stream content easily.

To use the UGREEN adapter, run an Ethernet cable from your router to the adapter and start streaming your favorite content. The cable is 3.3 feet long so you won’t need to worry about the cable hanging in the air or making your Ethernet connection loose.

The UGREEN Ethernet adapter also works with a Fire TV Stick 4K, Google Home Mini and Raspberry Pi Zero.

3. Cable Matters Micro-USB to Ethernet Adapter

Cable Matters Micro USB to Ethernet adapter is a solid solution if you’re struggling with buffering and video lag issues over your WiFi connection. Unlike other Chromecast Ethernet adapters on this list, which transmit data at 100Mbps, this one supports Ethernet speed up to 480Mbps, which is almost five times what the other adapters transmit.

On top of that, the Cable Matters adapter comes with 3-foot cables for the USB and Micro-USB, which make it easy to set up no matter how you’ve configured your entertainment center.

However, the adapter isn’t compatible with smartphones and laptops, and it doesn’t support other devices like Fire TV (Gen 1) and Roku.

4. Smays Ethernet Adapter

The Smays Ethernet adapter is portable and compact sized, making it ideal to add wired internet to your Chromecast whether you’re at home or traveling.

The adapter comes with a powered OTG cable for power supply, powered OTG hub to add storage to your host device, and a LAN port with 10/100 Mbps to add wired internet connection. The hub is useful when you want to plug in your wireless keyboard or mouse for easier navigation or to connect an external flash drive and access your files from a streaming device.

Plus, it’s easy to use and driver-free so you need only plug and play to connect to stable wired internet and stream content without lag or buffering.

You can also use the Smays Ethernet adapter with other host streaming devices like Google Home Mini, Amazon Echo Show, and Fire TV Stick.

5. Snowpink Ethernet Adapter

Snowpink Ethernet adapter is a simple and reliable Chromecast Ethernet adapter that delivers a stable 10/100Mbps wired internet connection. The 3-foot Micro-USB cable delivers power to your Chromecast so you can enjoy faster, stable connection with uninterrupted viewing.

The adapter is also compatible with other devices such as Google Home Mini and Raspberry Pi Zero, but doesn’t support Fire Stick (Gen 1), Roku Express, smartphones or tablets.

You don’t need to install any driver program to use the Snowpink Ethernet adapter. Just plug your Chromecast into the HDMI port on your TV, connect the Micro-USB cable into the Chromecast, and then connect the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the Snowpink adapter.

Enjoy Consistent Stream Quality

Whether you’re watching Netflix with friends or you need to cast a Zoom meeting onto a bigger monitor, you’ll find plenty of Ethernet adapters that can provide a fast and stable wired connection. In addition, an Ethernet adapter eliminates interference and ensures that you get the best signal to your Chromecast.

If you’re a first time Chromecast user, check out our guide on how Google Chromecast works , and some cool things you can do with Chromecast . We’ve also rounded up the best Google Chromecast alternatives with access to many more apps for a more complete streaming experience.

Do you use a Chromecast Ethernet adapter? Share with us your favorite one in the comments.