Simple Question about Hardware Compatibility -- I'm selecting individual PC parts

I’m assembling my desktop pc, and since I use Qubes, I have a few questions about the compatibility (I want to avoid wasting thousands of $):

Question 1: am I right in thinking that the compatibility issue only concerns 3 components: Motherboard, CPU, GPU. Is that right?

Question2: if I purchase the following:

  • the latest nvidia gpu (RTX 30xx or 40xx)
  • a good fresh motherboard with TPM enabled (qubes requirement)
  • an Intel CPU with all the qubes requirements (vt-x + vt-d + EPT)
    Then there’s literally nothing that can go wrong, am I correct?

1: Yes, but it’s mostly the motherboard and GPU.

2: Keep in mind that Qubes can’t utilize the latest GPUs, getting an RTX 40xx can be a massive waste of money.
Get a motherboard that is confirmed to be working, use the HCL.
Yes, I believe all modern Intel CPUs can run Qubes.

I’m using the MSI Z690 with an Intel 12900K and the GTX1060, I would need to pay +$1000 for an RTX4070 and a used 1060 is $100

Also this and probably some more:

Be careful with NVidia and consult this: Hardware compatibility list (HCL) | Qubes OS.

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Also WiFi it seems can cause problems:

There are lots of HCL reports with both Tiger and Alder Lake systems, saying that it’s not working is a little misleading.

I’m using the 12900K and have been using it for more than 6 months, I know for a fact the R4.1.1 installer works with 12th Gen Intel.

Someone saying it doesn’t work might be true for them and only them.

Yea tbh I don’t even play games so a rtx 30xx/40xx is a huge waste of money, I’ll just grab an used gtx10xx as you suggested, and perhaps upgrade it in the future.

I’m concerned about two things:

  1. the links provided by @fsflover, since I already decided I need the latest gen13 (i9-13900K), I cannot throw away $650 of cpu in case Qubes doesn’t like it :confused:
    but honestly I wonder what issues could arise, afterall the i9-13900k has ALL the security features qubes wants…
  2. I need a very new motherboard to be able to use ddr5 RAM, I doubt the HCL list has fresh motherboards on it… is the risk of incompatibility high with the motherboard?

There is very little difference between 12th and 13th Gen, I personally wouldn’t be worried about the CPU.

Dasharo might be adding Raptor Lake S support to the Z690, the CPUs are so similar that support can be added though the firmware support package.

If you are looking for one of the new motherboards, use the HCL to find something that worked with 12th gen. There is no guarantee that the next gen will work, but if the Z690 worked, there is a decent chance that the Z790 is going to work. I don’t think the next gen motherboards are going to have a lot of new tech, support for the new intel CPUs and DDR5 was added in the last gen.

You can always try to arrange with the seller that you can return the motherboard for a replacement if it doesn’t work, it’s normally not an issue if you ask for it before you buy.

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It’s not anymore if CPU HAS everything needed by Qubes. As I see it is now more CPU NOT to has many things offered these days.

For example, I’m almost sure I’ll buy 12800HX. Now, here’s to compare it with said 12900K,

then check what 12800HX doesn't have, then search this forum on these (especially security features related) terms, and you can get a picture which whatnots might be important to each of us and why…

@renehoj First of all, thank you immensely , your inputs are literally more than the whole documentation is providing me on the latest gen gear.

So, I’ma go for the 13 gen Intel, now all that remains is to decide the motherboard and gpu.
For the GPU I think I’ll go on the 1060 or another one on 10xx series, at least for now.
As for the motherboard, they’re pretty much the same, quote: “There aren’t a lot of differences between the two motherboards. Apart from the reallocated PCIe lanes and a bit higher DDR5 memory clock speed, everything remains the same In Z690 & Z790.

  1. Would you say there’s could be some risk of Qubes not working depending if I use ddr5 vs ddr4 attached to Z690/790?
    Cuz I’m either going for z690 + ddr4 or z790 + ddr5…

  2. I’m slightly confused/worried about the Dasharo firmware thing, do I need to install it on the motherboard, is that mandatory? plus is that severely hard to accomplish? what’s wrong with the default msi firmware?

Thanks a lot mate :pray:

1: Yes, there is some risk. There is always a chance that the hardware isn’t compatible, unless someone else has confirmed that it works.

I think the best you can do when testing a new motherboard, is to buy it from a seller who will let you return it for a replacement.

2: You don’t need it to use Dasharo, it also only works with the Z690. Dasharo is Coreboot and open source firmware, it’s an option for people who want to use open source firmware.

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OK, sorry last question, you mention in the HCL list that you have “MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4”, but in your post here MSI Pro Z690-A WiFi DDR4 with Alder Lake 12900K you say in the title you have “MSI PRO Z690-A Wifi DDR4”, please note these are actually two different versions, what’s written on the box?

You can get the Z690 with and without built-in Wi-Fi, I have the board with Wi-Fi.

The boards are identical apart from the Wi-Fi.

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I hope I’m not too late with this but I had all sorts of weird issues with GT730 and it all went away once I switched to AMD RX6400 (the simplest AMD GPU I could find). It wasn’t hardware issues as the GT730 was tested ok on windows.
It was my understanding that AMD GPU is more “friendly” to Qubes (or even Linux in general) than NVIDIA, because of drivers and sorts, so I took a leap of faith, put my money on AMD GPU and presto! no more graphics issues.
Hope this helps.


Thanks but I already got an used GTX 1060, since I do not game, and mostly because it’s the same as renehoj from which I’m basing my build (out of fear of it non being compatible with qubes at the end).

@renehoj btw, I’m almost done getting the parts, but I have one question remaining, in the qubes HCL list you state this in the notes in regards to the default motherboard firmware (v1.10): "needs legacy boot, integrated gfx doesn’t work ", does that mean if I set legacy boot Qubes still wont work?

I couldn’t install Qubes without enabling legacy mode, and the internal graphics didn’t work with legacy mode enabled, but it worked just fine with using a GPU.

I used the stock firmware for 1 day before trying Dasharo, and I have not tried any of the new version, the issue could have been fixed.

Ok great to hear. Sadly atm dasharo doesn’t have support for CPU gen13, so I cannot use that atm, but we’ll see.
I have the gtx 1060 just as you, so I hope if I enable legacy mode it’ll work for me as well x)

If you get the 13900KS you might be able to use Dasharo in the future, currently it’s only support for the S model CPU that is planned for the Z690 in v1.1.1

But the KS is a lot more expensive than the K model.

The stock firmware support all 13th gen models, but I don’t think they have the resources to add full support to Dasharo.

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MSI PRO Z690-A DDR5 coreboot support 13th gen intel processors

It seems like there will might be support for the 13900K with the DDR5 motherboard, maybe it’s only the DDR4 board that only has support for the S model CPU.