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Report: SteamOS is killing the frame rate in games

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If frame rate is king, maybe stick with Windows

SteamOS is a strange beast. Valve is trying to make sure they own and control the gaming ecosystem on your gaming PC, but for now it's a good way to make sure you can't play all the games you'd like to; developers need to port their games specifically to SteamOS, an operating system built on Linux-based foundations.

Ars Technica wanted to test performance of games on Windows 10 as well as SteamOS, but one of the limiting factors points to SteamOS's biggest weaknesses, as games like Fallout 4 or Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 aren't available on the platform yet. If you play new releases on the PC, SteamOS is going to be a bum deal for now.

"We finally settled on a couple of mid-to-late-2014 releases that had SteamOS ports suitable for our tests: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Metro: Last Light Redux," the article states. "Both are relatively graphically intensive 3D games with built-in benchmarking tools and a variety of quality sliders to play with (including six handy presets in Shadow of Mordor's case). For all the gaming benchmarks, we ran each test at least three times and took the median number to ensure the results were reliable."

The results are pretty ugly, with frame rates noticeably lower on SteamOS.

steamos benchmark

Valve games running on the Source engine didn't fare much better, with every release seeing a significant performance hit when running on SteamOS.

This isn't a comprehensive test, but the results are still troubling.

"Games built from the ground up with OpenGL and Linux in mind might be able to best their Windows counterparts; similar benchmarking by Phoronix showed Unbuntu 15.04 outclassing Windows 10 when running open source Quake clone OpenArena, for instance," the report states. "Newer graphics hardware might be better suited to take advantage of high-end OpenGL features, though that new hardware is at least as likely to get more power out of Windows' prevalent DirectX standards as well. Upcoming games that support Microsoft's DirectX 12 and/or OpenGL's Vulkan standard could change the performance equation substantially, too."

For now, you may want to stick with your Windows install if you care about performance.