The specialized site ArsTechnica has analyzed SteamOS (the Valve Operating System) to unravel the gaming performance. The original idea of this system was to replace invasive Windows 8 for its policies against video games, and in turn, get more performance, but it failed completely, especially when you compare it with the most modern Windows 10.
Below you can see several tests like the Geekbench benchmark (which, unlike many other benchmark tools we considered, actually has a Linux version). The results show a definite edge for Windows 10, especially in terms of floating point operations.
SteamOS or Windows 10: Which is fastest for gaming?
The results have been very disappointing for those looking to replace their Microsoft operating systems or intend to move to Steam Machine. First, Geekbench tests show that at least equal in some of the tests, but there is much difference in Floating Point operations.
By putting evidence in the least artificial field testing Shadow of Mordor, Metro: Last Light and Valve games, in frames per second we can see a striking difference of between 21 to 58%, depending on the graphics options.
On our hardware running Shadow of Mordor at Ultra settings and HD resolution, the OS change alone was the difference between a playable 34.5 fps average on Windows and a stuttering 14.6 fps mess on SteamOS.
Unfortunately, Valve’s own Source engine games showed the same performance hit when compared to their Windows versions. Portal, Team Fortress 2, and DOTA 2 all took massive frame rate dips on SteamOS compared to their Windows counterparts; only Left 4 Dead 2 showed comparable performance between the two operating systems (though there’s no sign of those SteamOS frame rate improvements Valve cited years ago).
It is fair to clarify that all mentioned games are pre-existing adaptations that may not have been designed with thinking of the value operating system, and certainly when Vulkan-the replacement of low OpenGL will become popular, there will be better results. 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.