A Gamer’s Guide to Linux vs. Windows Operating Systems

For those gamers browsing for operating systems tailored to their unique needs, the three primary operating systems available to you will fall in the following categories: Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. While the Mac OS vs. Windows issue has stirred debate for years, gamers have unanimously concluded that Windows reigns supreme in the operating system universe.

Though Linux has proudly staked its claim as the most commonly-used operating system in the world while gaining increasing traction in the gaming community, many techies have failed to consider using Linux as their primary operating system for gaming activities. There are many advantages and drawbacks to both Windows and Linux as gaming operating systems. However, you’ll want to consider all sides of the issue when handpicking the operating system that’s best for you.

CPU compatibility

Determining how compatible your CPU and operating system are is a vital step in securing an operating system that fulfills your top-priority needs. As ARM chips become more relevant in consumer electronic devices, with both Apple and Microsoft wholeheartedly embracing these processors’ use in their products, it’s essential to consider how these ARM chips may affect the power of your personal computers to run games. ARM being an extremely energy efficient CPU with powerful performance, regardless of the operating system you run, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of such a revolutionary processor.

However, when finalizing your decision, ensure you factor in Windows’ early experimentation with ARM chips in the Surface Pro X, which yielded mixed results. Additionally, take the time to recognize that Windows-compatible ARM chips are currently in the beginning stages of development.

Meanwhile, experts report exceptional compatibility between Linux and ARM chips. Not to mention, there are numerous servers and enterprise-grade Linux operating systems capable of proving said compatibility, one of the top-ranked examples being the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM.

Availability of games

Windows remains the best for a wide-ranging selection of games. With Steam, there are over 30,000 games available for the Windows operating system. Not to mention, games are generally more easily optimizable on Windows than Linux. However, it’s essential to consider that this landscape is revolutionizing at warp speed.

In addition to non-native games, there are about 6,000 games available for Linux on Steam. The year before, there were about 5,000 available, and the current numbers will continue propelling upwards. While Linux will only continue to improve in terms of game availability, Windows takes the cake in this particular category.

Considering everyday use

When deciding between operating systems, gamers of all backgrounds likely won’t use their PCs solely for gaming. In addition to supporting your gaming activities, your operating system should be able to handle your regular day-to-day usage, as well.

Overall, Linux overshadows Windows in customizability, security, and cost-efficiency. Additionally, Linux provides the ability to dispose of the features and tools that aren’t necessary for your gaming needs. Less baggage translated to optimized performance. Unfortunately,  Windows isn’t always able to offer the same benefits with its bloatware and other irrelevant features.


Between the two operating systems, Linux is highly customizable. As mentioned earlier, when considering which distribution of Linux would be best for your needs, there is an abundance of distributions at your disposal.

Selecting the distribution that works for you means far fewer features cluttering your system, yielding higher performance. Linux is also highly customizable when it comes to functionality. While you’re able to change themes with Windows-based alternatives, there’s not much more to the customization aspect. On the other hand, Linux allows you to tweak the operating system to your liking. Ultimately, between Linux and Windows, the superior customization abilities of Linux put the former one step ahead of Windows operating systems.

The bottom line

While Linux may have a ways to go until it becomes a more relevant operating system in the gaming world, it’s already come a long way and is only continuing to develop with each passing day. As it grows, it may be wise for gamers to keep an eye on all Linux advances. After all, before you know it, Linux may rank as the premier operating system for gaming platforms.