Frame Rate of SteamOS Incomparable to Windows 10

The Steam Machine has officially launched just seven days ago, and with it, Valve is attempting to deliver the highest quality of gaming in a...
  1. RaoulDuke

    With the recent launch of the Steam Machine, Valve is attempting to deliver the highest quality of gaming in a single device. To some this seems like a cheaper alternative to investing in a top-of-the-line PC build. But to many PC gamers across the world, it simply seems meager in comparison to their own personal gaming PC. Indeed they could be correct, because Valve’s effort has certainly not gone without its fair share of complications.

    Amidst all of the speculation, the folks over at Ars Technica decided to give the Steam Machine a chance to show its potential with a benchmark analysis that compared the performance of SteamOS with Windows 10. Unfortunately for the Linux-based Steam Machine, the results turned out to be pretty mediocre in terms of frame rate and overall performance. Windows 10 came out victorious on this matter when they utilized the tool Geekbench 3 and ran the test on the same PC with a dual-boot setup. SteamOS was “within the same order of power magnitude,” but was still not matching up to the strong functionality of Windows 10.

    When it came to the true test of gaming standards, they tried to find games that were graphically demanding, but also titles that were ported to run on Linux. Some of the newer games that have just released this month have not been ported to Linux, so they had to settle on last year’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Metro: Last Light Redux; two graphically intensive 3D games that have benchmarking tools and a variety of quality sliders built-in. Running each test three times and taking the median number to ensure its individual reliability, they set out to show how the OS change affected playability. As you can see in the album above, the charts show quite a drastic difference in both games’ frame rate when operating on Windows 10 compared to SteamOS. Depending on the settings, SteamOS showed anywhere from 21 to 58 percent fewer frames per second. When they decided to run Shadow of Mordor on Ultra settings and HD resolution, SteamOS was only able to muster an inferior 14.6 fps compared to the playable 34.5 fps average that was put out by Windows.

    Assuming that the developers of these two titles were unable to dish out peak performance for the OpenGL and Linux system that is quite unfamiliar to gaming devs, Ars Technica determined that the games developed by the company which created the SteamOS should have no problem pumping out maximum performance. However, they were incorrect on this hypothesis. When testing a few Valve titles that don’t exactly have very graphically demanding gameplay such as Portal and Team Fortress 2, their tests still showed a dramatic drop in frame rate. Left 4 Dead 2 turned out to be the only Valve game that was able to generate comparable performance between the two operating systems.

    Granting all these details, simply running a few trials with only a handful of games is not an extremely thorough test run. Although, it has still proved to be a very important assessment of the Steam Machine’s capabilities. For now, it seems that the Steam Machine may not be the way to go when deciding to purchase a new gaming device. Moreover, Valve may want to take a step back and perform further optimization if they want their all-in-one device to be successful in the future.

    Credit to Jacob Frye for the topic!


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    About Author

    A member of the Retired Writer squad. I mainly enjoy writing about the newest updates and releases in the FPS and open world genres, but typically branch out into many other forms of gaming and technology.


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  1. Xx ChEEZE iTz xX
    Not surprised.

    The frame rate of most low spec games lag due to Windows 10, In comparison even when I had Windows 8.1 Games ran much better, Because Windows 10 likes to suck up all my RAM memory for no apparent reason, Yes windows 10 runs well, just not well for games if you run a low end machine, Recommendation if you want to run low end games on a low end machine even, Just run Linux or maybe even one of these Steam Machines.
  2. Reedradar
    Honestly I like the steam machines idea. Hey dad I want to play Garry's mod but I don't need a buffy pc that I have to take care of with cooling and the what not. Oh son here take a pc in a console. Thanks dad. Plugs it in downloads game plays it. Easy peasy. If your not trying to hard core game then it's the best thing for a child of ages 12-16 who watches youtubers who play games on pc like H20 and the sorts.
    1. Vegeta
      You dont need a water cooled PC to play Garry's mod let alone is it a difficulty to manage a water cooler system.
    2. Reedradar
      Ik but some people dont want to worry about cooling and the sorts. I habe a custom built pc but my little brother wants a pc for the reason of games like garrys mod so the steam os system would be a good buy in his case
  3. CAPiiX
    I really don't see these succeeding, but who knows
  4. GrandTheftAutoV
    You can build a gaming desktop alot cheaper than these overpriced machine's
      Shenmue likes this.
  5. Vegeta
    I wonder what companies are thinking when they develop products and expect sales in a saturated market.

    This thing will fail like that Android based Ouya console, these Alienware consoles or whatever will fail as well.
  6. Crippler_
    Steam machines will never gain any footing and will disappear in a year or two. It was doomed from the beginning for a couple big reasons.

    1: There are too many different companies making them.
    2: There are way too many hardware options, which makes the cost vary from $500 up to over $1200!!

    Too many manufacturers and too many hardware options make it confusing for the casual gamer. With so many different price points the better and easier option is to just buy a ps4/xbox one or a real PC.
      GrandTheftAutoV, Zxath and Salus like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. VJJ
      Too many cooks!
    3. GrandTheftAutoV
    4. The Wangdoodle
      Its the same thing Zxath
  7. Kayla Fox
    I'll stick with my PS4. Steam does not sound appealing to me.
      Salus and RaoulDuke like this.
    1. VJJ
      Steam is worth it, the Steam machine is not. You can use your PS3 and PS4 controllers on PC games hahaha
    2. GrandTheftAutoV
      PC is always better
    3. The Wangdoodle
      Agreed. Computers may not be "consoles" but the power, hardware, graphics, cheaper games, uncapped frame rates. 1080, 1440, 4k, and same price for a ps4 with better hardware. While your stuck on a PS4 for like 4-6 years. Computer gaming will be more updated than your PS4. Making it obsolete by the time its barely a year old. Now for the steam machine I wouldnt realy get one but I would for the wife since she is a major zombie game fan and all my zombie game she likes I have is on steam.
  8. Stonerzard
    Tbh, at its early days only a fool would expect Steam OS to rival Microsoft. Microsoft has been developing operating software since 1985, this is Steam's second release. Good numbers really, it would be disappointing if these numbers don't change but right now I think it's fine.
  9. TheItalianLad
    ehhh, ill stick with the Xbox One for now.
      Salus likes this.
  10. Chazay
    Isn't it really up to the developers to make their games support OpenGL better?
    1. Monopolyman
      Yep, but OpenGL is a nightmare to code for (or so I've heard) and the payoff for developers isn't that big. Hopefully this will all change with Vulkan.