SteamOS vs W10: Linux games run “significantly worse”, per bechmark analysis

By Stephany Nunneley
14 November 2015 18:21 GMT

With Steam Machines now out in the wild, many may be wondering how the Linux-based systems compare to Windows 10. According to a new benchmark report, W10 seems to be the clear winner.


Using a dual-boot SteamOS/Windows machine it built along with the latest OS and driver updates, Ars Technica found that for now, “choosing SteamOS over a Windows box means sacrificing a significant amount of performance” on some of the more “graphically intensive 3D games.”

Games tested included Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor, Metro: Last Light Redux, and Source Engines games Dota 2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal.

Ars used Geekbench 3 to gather the required benchmark information as it has a Linux version. The results showed Windows 10 was at an advantage, especially “in terms of floating point operations.”

“Still, SteamOS is within the same order of power magnitude in many other performance metrics,” reads the report. “Hopefully, Valve and other Linux developers can continue improving SteamOS performance to the point where high-end games can be expected to at least run comparably between Linux and Windows.

“Until then, though, it’s hard to recommend a SteamOS box to anyone who wants to get the best graphical performance out of their PC hardware.”

The report also notes that various developers had told Ars in the past due to Linux’s games engines, OpenGL tools and drivers it often “made it hard to get Windows-level performance on SteamOS… especially true if a game was built with DirectX in mind.”

Ars Technica goes into more detail in its report, noting how the framerate on SteamOS versions of Shadow of Mordor and Last Light “stuttered” at 14.6fps compared to and average 34.5fps on Windows.

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