SteamOS Gaming Performance Lacking Compared to Windows 10 - Report

"It's not a good sign that Valve's own porting efforts generally couldn't get comparable, Windows-level performance out of a SteamOS version."

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With the first of Steam Machines now available, Ars Technica has posted a new benchmark analysis that compares performance between SteamOS and Windows 10--and the results might surprise you.

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For its tests, the site used benchmarking tool Geekbench 3 and the same PC with a dual-boot setup. Windows 10 came out on top in terms of straight performance, though the site noted that the Linux-powered SteamOS remains "within the same order of power magnitude."

The effects on gaming, however, were far more pronounced. Using Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Metro: Last Redux (two games that have SteamOS ports) and are relatively graphics-intensive, Ars Technica found that frame rate for both games took a major hit on SteamOS.

"No matter how you slice it, running these two high-end titles on SteamOS comes with a sizable frame rate hit; we got anywhere from 21- to 58-percent fewer frames per second, depending on the graphical settings," the site said. "On our hardware running Shadow of Mordor at Ultra settings and HD resolution, the OS change alone was the difference between a playable 34.5FPS average on Windows and a stuttering 14.6 fps mess on SteamOS."

But would performance be better on Valve-developed games? According to Ars Technica, that's not the case. Source Engine-powered games Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2 all took "massive" frame rate hits on SteamOS compared to Windows.

"For games like these, which don't push the upper limits of our hardware, most gamers wouldn't even notice the difference between the frame rates listed here," the report said. "Still, it's not a good sign that Valve's own porting efforts generally couldn't get comparable, Windows-level performance out of a SteamOS version."

The only game in the test to show a comparable performance between the two operating systems was Left 4 Dead 2. Newer games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Fallout 4 were not tested because Linux ports have not been released. For more, be sure to read Ars Technica's complete benchmark analysis.

You can also check out GameSpot's roundup of the first Steam Machines released.

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