Tests show that Linux gaming builds with Proton outperform Windows

Tests show that Linux gaming builds with Proton outperform Windows 11 in gaming performance

Resource journalists ComputerBase compared the performance of three Linux operating systems to Windows 11 in gaming tests and found that all three were able to beat Microsoft’s latest platform. The testing used Valve’s Proton compatibility layer.

    Image source: cyberpunk.net

Image source: cyberpunk.net

In a series of tests, Windows 11 had to compete with Arch Linux, Pop!_OS and Nobara OS. Arch is the only one of the three operating systems with the “classic” spirit of Linux: by default the system is installed with a minimal configuration, and for maximum results the participation of a trained user is required. This distribution also provides live updates of third-party software and components of the operating system itself. Vavle’s SteamOS 3, which is installed on the Steam Deck, is based on Arch Linux.

The other two distributions are much more user-friendly for the inexperienced user and offer many applications and plug-ins in the basic package, including those for games. Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu-based operating system developed by American computer manufacturer System76. Steam, Proton and the video game manager Lutris are included as delivered. Nobara OS is a modification of Fedora Linux designed specifically for gamers. It comes pre-installed with third-party Wine and NVIDIA drivers.

    Here and below, image source: computerbase.de

Here and below, image source: computerbase.de

The test was carried out on a “red” computer with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor (without 3D) and a Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card. Cyberpunk 2077, Forspoken, Rachet & Clank, Starfield and The Talos Principle II were launched in tests. All of these games are Windows only and launched on Linux via Valve Proton. ComputerBase journalists found that all three systems were able to narrowly outperform Windows 11. The highest performance (frames per second) was shown by Nobara OS – let’s take it as standard with a result of 100%, then Arch Linux shows 99% of the performance and takes second place, POP!_OS comes in third place with 95% and Windows 11 comes in last with 94%.

Nobara OS beat the other three “competitors” in Cyberpunk 2077, Forespoken and The Talos Principle II; Arch Linux was the fastest in Starfield; and Windows 11 beat the competition in Rachet & Clank Rift Apart. In most cases, the difference in frame rates was small, with first and last place no more than eight frames per second apart. The only exception was Cyberpunk 2077, when POP!_OS was the weakest when released with a result of 72.7 frames per second, while Nobara OS achieved 89.6 FPS and Windows 11 achieved 82.3 FPS.

An experiment conducted by ComputerBase shows the heights Linux has reached in gaming performance: three systems were able to outperform Windows 11, even taking into account the additional resource costs of running Valve Proton. Now it would be interesting to look at the results of similar comparison tests, but only on a system with an Intel processor and NVIDIA graphics.


About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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