If you are a hardcore or competitive gamer, then you would obviously want the best in everything that contributes to amazing gameplay. From the high-performance gaming laptop to the hardware of the highest specs, including the graphics card, and everything in between, you will want to make sure that everything aligns with your gaming needs. In that case, you should look at the best OS option for gaming as well.
However, when it comes to gaming, one most overlooked aspect happens to be the operating system, one that can offer the best user experience throughout gameplay. Regardless of the different OS options available for gaming today, it is an undeniable fact that each of those come with their own set of challenges, which can mainly include speed-related and compatibility-related concerns. This makes it evident that your OS can and will have a significant impact on your overall gaming experience, which elevates the importance of having to choose the best OS for gaming needs.
Operating System: An Overview
An operating system (OS) is the most imperative software running on any computer because it regulates the machine’s software, hardware, processes, and memory. This software is what makes it possible for you to interact with your PC or laptop, without having to know any sort of computer language. In simple words, you could consider the OS as your translator, making it clear to the machine the actions you perform and the results you expect. As a result, it can be said that a computer is futile without an operating system.
Best OS for Gaming – How to Make the Choice?
When it comes to gaming, while compatibility and performance are the top factors that contribute to a great gaming experience, it goes deeper than that, and attributes such as vibrant colors, good speed, high-quality display, and clear sound are what make the experience much more immersive. So, what this typically means is that the operating system you choose for gaming should be able to keep up with the demand for these factors.
As you would be aware, as far as operating systems go, there happen to be three popular options: Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
Windows (Most Preferred Operating System for Gaming)
Of course, Windows is perhaps the most popular and widely used operating system of all times. Its simple user interface is what led to its immense popularity right off the bat when the first version was released in 1990, and Microsoft manages to offer the feature till date. In fact, Windows is the OS you will come across in almost every computer or laptop you look at. Over the years, the operating system has been made available in different versions, with the latest being Windows 10, and each of these versions differ a lot from each other, especially on the technical side.
As far as gaming goes, there are quite a few Windows OS iterations that offer great value to gamers, and here is an overview of the same:
While many gamers are still depending on the older Windows OS versions, like the 7, for their gaming needs, due to the concern that moving on to a new upgrade could disrupt their gaming experience. However, with Windows 10, this shouldn’t be a concern because this latest OS iteration happens to be one of the best available options for gaming.
Despite some initial discrepancies with the OS, like crashing, Microsoft has worked towards making it better with various updates and features. As a result, Windows 10 is now the best available OS option that supports a lot of new machines and new titles, offering great frame rates, and is able to perform amazingly well on any game of your choice, provided you have the efficient hardware.
One of the highlights and the feature that sets Windows 10 apart from other operating systems for gaming is DirectX 12. DirectX refers to an aggregation of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that Microsoft uses for video and other multimedia applications, especially gaming, which enables the OS to dominate gaming, and DirectX 12 is an improved version that is capable of rendering games with highly enhanced visual effects.
Moving on to the choice of games, it is no exaggeration that Windows 10 allows you to play more than 20,000 game titles, where some of the latest titles include: Gears 5, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, The Outer Worlds, Wasteland 3, and Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition.
Despite being the least popular of the three, Linux, an open-source operating system, is mainly preferred by more security-conscious users. Due to its open-source nature, it is easily customizable, and you can choose from a wide range of options. Its reduced popularity, however, is because of the fact that users should have at least some level of computer knowledge to make it work. Hence, Linux is not the most suitable option for beginners.
But how does it work for gaming purposes?
As mentioned, Linux happens to be the number one choice of OS for security specialists, developers, and the like, and not that of gamers, because it simply wasn’t designed for gaming. As a result, the level of gaming performance and gaming quality delivered by this operating system is expected to be as much as 40% slower than that of Windows 10, because of the lack of driver optimization on Linux.
However, if you still prefer Linux as your OS, you can try using SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system, which is known to offer more and better gaming options. Being a Linux system, you get complete control over this OS, and therefore can optimize and customize it to your liking. If you have a powerful gaming rig and are leaning towards Linux as your OS, SteamOS would be the ideal choice, and it supports a wide range of joysticks, graphics cards, and other gaming-related accessories.
When it comes to the choice of games, it has to be mentioned that Linux lags severely, especially when compared to what Windows can offer. Some of the games you get to play on the Linux OS are Dota 2, Rocket League, Cities: Skylines, Borderlands 2, Euro Truck Simulator 2 Map Booster, Slime Rancher, and Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Enhanced Edition.
Taking into consideration the operating system alone, macOS is definitely a huge competition to Windows. Though this OS has an entirely different user interface, people still prefer using it mainly due to its refined and sleek style and functionality. However, since Macs are really expensive, there is only a minor percentage of computer and laptop users using macOS, mainly for professional use, unlike Windows devices that cover a majority of the crowd and the OS being highly leisure friendly.
In terms of performance, you cannot expect a lot from macOS games. This is because, since most games are developed for Windows, or at least not with macOS as their main platform; therefore, even the few games you get to play on macOS usually come with just the essentials changes to make them compatible for the OS. Consequently, they wouldn’t be optimized to deliver their best in terms of performance, delivering very slow speeds, which in turn can completely slow down gameplay.
If you wish to play games on macOS, the best option available to you is choose from the games made available to users on their platform. Yes, there will not be a wide range of choices for you to consider, especially if you are a gaming enthusiast or professional gamer. So, when it comes to game offerings, it is suitable to say that macOS lags behind Linux and certainly don’t go anywhere near what you can get from Windows.
So, Which is the Best Operating System for Gaming?
While it should be clear by now, let’s sort this out by considering the different aspects of gaming.
Firstly, in terms of the selection of games available to you, Windows OS wins the battle fair and square. As mentioned earlier, this is because Windows happens to be the most widely used OS, and the majority of games are developed to be compatible with this platform.
Next, moving on to the gaming performance, both Windows and Linux operating systems tend to be relatively equal in this front, with only minor variations here and there. But, if we have to be more precise, the performance delivered by Windows is always more reliable and consistent.
Everything said and done; clearly, Windows happens to be the best OS for gaming, hands down. And by Windows, we don’t just mean Windows 10, but also the previous versions, Windows 8 and Windows 7. Though this might be the case, for the time being, we can only expect the operating system to get better with the game, as it always has, and will continue to have upper hand as a gaming OS, something that the other two options will struggle hard to achieve.
And while you can involve in some level of gaming with the Linux operating system, with options like SteamOS, Mac, on the other hand, cannot be recommended as an OS for gaming.