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Linux vs Windows: Which OS is Better for PC Gaming?


Since you’ve probably already read the title, today we’re talking about different operating systems. As usual, you can’t have this debate without mentioning Windows, but we’re actually comparing it to Linux today. We bet you’ve already seen the long running MacOS vs Windows dispute. Whatever your preference might be, MacOS just doesn’t work well with a lot of games.

But Linux has actually seen a tonne of improvements over the years. What was once written off by people as the operating system for “nerds” or developers, is now an intuitive platform, to an extent. But how far has it come since the days of old, and does it stack up against Windows for gaming?

Linux vs Windows Gaming

Why Is Windows The Default Choice?

Despite all of its quirks and annoyances, Windows has been the default choice for gamers since the beginning. Windows 10 is the current iteration of Microsoft’s OS and most people have shifted over to it. But what actually makes it the default choice?

The biggest thing is the huge library of games Windows has. It’s not even about Steam at this point, there are a tonne of other sources and subscriptions to get your games. The most major one is Epic Games Store (like it or not, it’s a thing now). So availability already makes this the default choice. Apart from that, games are easier to optimize for Windows.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about performance. Now we’re not just talking about raw power here, of course Windows works better in that regard. But the main thing to remember is that Windows gets all the new cool tech stuff first. Things like ray-tracing, hair works and other new techniques are already on Windows. Windows also works better with third party equipment (controllers, racing wheels etc).

What’s Wrong With Windows 10?

Just because it’s the default choice and the dominant force, doesn’t make it flawless. Trust us Windows 10 is far from flawless. Ask anyone what they hate about the OS and you’ll find one common answer: updates. Oh those dreaded updates.

There have been way too many occurrences of people working on something important, or playing an important match, and get interrupted by an update. Sure you can go ahead and turn auto-update off, but guess what? That doesn’t work at all. It’ll update when it wants to, which is honestly a stupid thing that hasn’t been fixed yet. Remember, it’s been a while since Windows 10 came out.

Apart from that, there’s bloatware, Cortana (which is of little to no use) and other useless stuff which just eats up performance.

Linux vs Windows Gaming

Why Should You Care About Linux

Linux really isn’t a new operating system. It’s been around for a while and it has a tonne of “distributions” or “distros”. These are basically different versions of Linux which you can install. This is one advantage Linux has over Windows, you can search for an OS that suits you well, customize it to your tastes even.

But what about gaming? Well the reason you’d be gaming on Linux is the first place is because you already use it. Maybe you’re a programmer or developer who doesn’t want to switch between the operating systems regularly.

Well Linux definitely has gotten better. It has about 25%-30% of Windows’ Steam library. And non-native games work fine as well. Although some do have their issues. Even though Windows has the upper hand here, availability isn’t the issue it used to be.

Linux also doesn’t eat up a lot of performance. It can easily run on a low end rig. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a budget GPU, these variants of the RX 580 recommended by PCguide.

Linux vs Windows Gaming

Linux Still Isn’t The Best Choice

Linux has definitely improved over the years. Testers and enthusiasts have been playing games on the OS for a long time. Ever since a new developer API known as “Proton” was released, things have been quite smoother. Native games work fine out of the box, and even non-native games (more than half of Windows’ library) work fine.

Still Linux is far from seeing prime time for gaming. Third party equipment still hasn’t seen any love so far. Which means if you want to use different controllers or a racing wheel, you’re stuck with Windows.

And we have to be honest here. Even though a lot of the games work well, it’s just annoying when some games simply won’t launch. This is really annoying because you either have to make the choice of switching the OS or just forgetting that game completely. And even though performance has gotten better, it’s nowhere near Windows’ caliber.


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