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Is Linux OS Good for Gaming? The Surprising Answer

Linux is the biggest name in open source operating systems and has evolved to be more than a fancy tool for hackers and engineers. Although the community-developed operating system is a mainstay of embedded systems and computer platforms worldwide, it has made considerable progress in the gaming scene. Many gamers have started switching to the operating system, while many doubt its ability to run games.

Linux OS is good for gaming, and many new and old games are Linux-compatible. However, the OS still has a long way before it phases out popular competitors. The system’s performance depends on what games you’re playing, the version you’re running, and your computer’s specifications.

The overall gaming experience on a Linux machine depends on the version of Linux you are running, as some versions are better suited for gaming than others. This article will focus on the ideal Linux OS versions for gaming, highlighting which may be unsuitable for gaming rigs. Read on to know how Linux OS compares to Mac and Windows. 

Should You Use Linux OS for Gaming?

Linux powers a wide array of computer systems and internet-enabled devices, handling queries, providing functional user interfaces, launching applications, and managing hardware resources. The system can be heavily configured, and many versions are suitable for gaming. 

You should use Linux OS for gaming since it supports several popular games, with new releases being added every day. It is also decent enough for GPU-intensive games, although CPU-intensive games might not work as smoothly on the OS.

As of 2022, most big game titles are not Linux compatible, and it might take some time before we see massive adoption from the AAA gaming executives. However, Linux’s open-source nature and ease of use mean it has a strong community of gamers, developers, and maintainers.

It’s no wonder that we have seen an explosion of Linux OS gamers, especially since the introduction of SteamOS. This is an optimized operating system designed for Valve’s Steam Machine gaming platform and the Steam Deck hybrid video game system.

Linux OS Interface for Gaming

Linux’s interface is one of the most peculiar things about the operating system and usually the first thing that most people observe about it. However, the interface is pretty intuitive, and you won’t find it challenging to use if you’ve used a gaming PC before. 

The operating system’s environment is functionally similar to Microsoft’s Windows OS.

The primary difference between both operating systems is that Linux offers easy customization, and the environment depends on the distribution, or Linux version, you choose. Furthermore, Linux is not as beginner-friendly as Windows OS, and you may need a bit of technical knowledge to set up a Linux OS distro on your computer.

Security on Linux OS

Linux is a highly adaptable open-source OS, so it may seem particularly vulnerable to viruses and security breaches. 

However, it has repeatedly been demonstrated to be less vulnerable to attacks than the Windows OS. Linux’s source code is open to the public and may be tweaked and improved by any programmer. 

Therefore, vulnerabilities are promptly detected and corrected thanks to the efforts of numerous dedicated developers all across the world.

Customization on Linux OS

Linux’s highly customizable nature means that there aren’t many things fixed in stone, which is ideal for gamers who enjoy tinkering with their computers. This high level of customizability is unlike competitors like Windows OS and Mac OS, which do not provide much customization beyond the fundamentals.

There are several Linux versions accessible online, and you may need to try a few of them to choose one that suits your preferences and taste. Therefore, I can proudly tell you that there’s probably a Linux OS for you somewhere on the internet.

The Linux OS Gaming Experience

Linux OS may not live up to the expectations of many gamers when it comes to user experience. The system’s main shortcoming is that it’s not as straightforward as Mac OS or Windows, which most gamers have always used.

Linux has a learning curve, and you may find the entire experience counterintuitive if you’re not particularly fond of computer engineering and software development. 

However, the system does perform well if you’re using it for run-of-the-mill PC tasks.

Linux does not require a high-end gaming rig to run well, as it’s not so heavy on memory or usage. It’s the best choice if you’re on a limited budget, as Linux will drastically reduce the total amount of money you’ll have to spend. 

Hence, you’ll have more resources to purchase additional components for your PC.

Pricing

Linux is a free system since it is an open-source platform, and a majority of its distributions may be downloaded and installed entirely online at no charge. Nevertheless, the system does offer some paid distributions, but they are mainly reserved for professionals and businesses.

Therefore, Linux OS is typically free for regular users and gamers. This low-level pricing is undoubtedly one of the Linux system’s most vital selling points because you can set up your gaming PC for a discounted cost compared to using alternatives like Windows.

It is also a cheap alternative if you only need to perform basic computer operations.

Games

Apart from the system’s customizable user interface, set-up convenience, and low pricing, the selection of games available on the Linux OS is pretty considerable. This significant number of titles is important to players and a significant reason the OS has seen mass adoption in recent years.

Fortunately, Steam currently has approximately 6,000 titles, making it a fantastic choice if you want to play various games. There’s also a program called Wine that lets you play Windows games on Linux, considering that many AAA titles do not support the Linux OS out of the box. However, this hack might affect game stability and performance.

All in all, Linux is a viable OS for gaming and a promising platform for an exciting niche of games and gamers.

However, the Linux OS is not without its flaws. A few features make it challenging to operate, including its interface and the level of technical knowledge required to use it. 

Is Linux OS Better for Gaming Than Windows OS?

Many gaming fans and enthusiasts might want to switch over to Linux from Windows OS, with good reason. There are several differences between the Microsoft-developed Windows OS and the community-built Linux OS.

Linux OS is not better for gaming than Windows OS. Although the system has dramatically improved over the past few years, it still has a long way before it ousts Windows as the world’s default gaming OS. Nevertheless, using the Linux system comes with a few perks that may interest some gamers.

The Linux-Windows debate has no simple answer, primarily since gamers’ preferences, specifications, and priorities vary. Therefore, some gamers might find the Linux operating system better than Microsoft’s Windows, and with good reason.

Linux is a high-performing system and performs excellently, regardless of the price of your rig. It is also significantly faster, smoother, and more responsive than Windows running on older hardware.

Some Linux users even note that the OS is sometimes faster than Windows. 

These reports are not surprising since Windows runs processes as batches in the background. Therefore, it needs more expensive hardware to function compared to Linux systems.

Many gamers also consider Linux’s open-source nature to be a significant advantage. The presence of a community can be a game-changer in today’s gaming landscape, and Linux’s large community means its users can always rely on helpful updates or make changes themselves.

Linux also retains its speed, quite unlike Windows OS, which has been known for becoming increasingly sluggish over time. 

Despite Linux’s performance and customizability, the system performs in gaming compared to Windows. This performance issue is mainly because most games are built using Microsoft’s DirectX API, which is exclusive to Windows OS. 

Games running the API will perform poorly on Linux systems since the code path is usually not optimized for Linux OS.

I’d recommend you install both Windows and Linux on your machine if it can support double-booting. Although both systems have benefits and drawbacks, they may easily complement one another in gaming library, pricing, and user experience. 

Is Linux OS Better for Gaming Than Mac OS?

Apple’s Mac devices are indisputably the standard when it comes to PCs. However, every gamer worth their salt know that the machine is not an excellent choice for gaming. However, how does Apple’s Mac OS measure against the Linux OS?

Linux OS is better than Mac OS for gaming. Mac OS is a relatively restricted operating system, with a limited selection of games available. Its exclusive nature also means that gamers can’t make a custom PC running on the OS.

The Mac OS is not a viable gaming choice unless Apple plans to change its business model. Therefore, I recommend using a Linux OS instead of the Mac OS for your computer.

The Best Linux OS Distro For Gaming

There are hundreds of distinct Linux versions, commonly referred to as distros or distributions. These distros typically set themselves apart by focusing on a particular target market, philosophy, function, or aim. It is no wonder that PCs, servers, games, security, and even embedded devices all have their versions of Linux.

Here are some Linux versions that are good for gaming:

  • Ubuntu Gamepack
  • Pop!_OS
  • Manjaro Linux
  • Garuda Linux
  • Drauger OS
  • Steam OS
  • Chimera OS

There is a version of Linux OS for practically every job on the planet, even the rig-intensive world of PC gaming, thanks to the system’s large developer community and exotic choice of distributions.

However, some distros are better for gaming computers than others. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Ubuntu Gamepack

Ubuntu GamePack is an Ubuntu-based Linux OS distribution. Ubuntu is a beginner-friendly, easy-to-use, and stable version of Linux. 

The distro comes pre-loaded with various games and most of the necessary gaming software.

The Ubuntu Gamepack is compatible with several machines and has a large community behind it. In addition to dozens of ordinary desktop software, the Ubuntu Gamepack also supports many gaming platforms and offers GameMode enhancements.

Pop!_OS

Pop!_OS is a Ubuntu-based version of Linux that includes several changes and optimizations for regular PC use, including gaming. The distro also has distinct ISOs for computers powered by Nvidia and AMD. 

Therefore, select the one that applies to your machine, and you’re good to go.

However, considering the possible issues that working with Nvidia’s drivers might bring to Linux users, I advise you to opt for the Nvidia-based version.

Manjaro Linux

Manjaro Linux isn’t the most stable choice for gamers, but it’s worth the trouble if you want the most up-to-date driver support and a kernel upgrade. The distribution has an Arch base alongside cutting-edge system capabilities. 

The Manjaro Hardware Detection function is also great for driver management, and the community behind it is robust.

Garuda Linux

Garuda Linux is an Arch Linux-based distro spotting the latest software and drivers for Linux machines. It also provides a graphical user interface for managing and controlling drivers, a valuable tool for gamers. 

The special Game Edition runs on KDE Plasma and includes the Garuda Gamer, a user interface for installing several emulators and gaming apps.

Garuda will run in several desktop environments and comes with powerful customizations and an easy-to-use installer. Snapshots taken in the system are accessible in GRUB, and the distro allows for easy installation of many gaming packages.

Drauger OS

The Drauger OS is a distro based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. It aims to be an excellent gaming experience for all gamers, regardless of the complexity of their rig. Drauger OS is a widely used gaming Linux distribution with an extensive user base.

The distro also boasts improved stability and security and a system designed specifically for gaming. It also works with various machines and controllers.

Steam OS

Steam OS is a viable option for creating a gaming system that feels like a gaming console, especially if you want to use Steam. SteamOS isn’t a typical desktop environment, as it’s designed for using Steam to play games on your computer.

Therefore, you can run specific Linux programs, but I’d recommend trying it out if you plan to run Steam as your primary gaming platform.

Chimera OS

Chimera OS is an excellent alternative to Steam OS and is a Linux version based on the Arch distro. It comes with many pre-installed games, alongside the ability to use third-party launchers and game shops. 

The best thing about ChimeraOS is that it features seamless upgrades that happen in the background without the user having to do anything.

Key Takeaways

Linux OS is good for gaming, and I recommend using it since it supports several popular games, with new releases being added every day. 

The OS also comes with enhanced security and a customizable gaming experience.

However, Linux OS may not be as versatile as Windows OS because most games run on Microsoft’s DirectX API. Therefore, I recommend you install both Windows and Linux on your machine if it can support double-booting.

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