When Valve began to talk up its shift towards hardware and its own line of Linux and OpenGL powered line of Steam Machines a few years back, the general consensus was that these machines would be optimised purely for gaming. And they probably are. But, according to a recent performance analysis at Ars Tehnica, cross-platform games, those developed for both Windows and SteamOS, can see a frame rate discrepancy of up to 58 percent.
Now benchmarks and tests do vary across different types of hardware, software, operating systems, and drivers. So the testing environments themselves can often influence the outcome. These benchmarks for SteamOS though are very interesting as they represent titles like Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Metro: Last Light Redux, two titles developed for Windows (utilising DirectX technology) that were then ported to Linux (SteamOS) and OpenGL. Which means the end results may lie with the fact that these were ports, and that developers for graphically intensive 3D games are by now more used to DirectX.
But! In terms of Valve's own library of games, including Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2, and Left 4 Dead 2, only the latter displayed similar performance to its Windows counterpart. With the other titles again showing noticeable performance hits. Which does feel like it should be the other way around.
This could all change when Vulkan, the next generation of the OpenGL, hits. As it's built on a similar foundation to that of DirectX 12.
Check out the full analysis