Steam Deck with Windows vs SteamOS and Proton Performance Analysis

Let’s put the Steam Deck to the test while running both Windows 10 and Linux with Manjaro and Proton. Which operating system will work better for the handheld device? We talk about SteamOS, Proton, and the performance impact of the operating system you choose to run.

#steamdeck #steamos #pcgaming

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00:00 FSR vs DLSS IS COMING
1:27 What is SteamOS?
2:28 What is Proton?
5:10 Test Hardware and Software Setup
7:09 7 Games Windows vs Linux
10:30 Pros and Cons of Linux and Proton
12:13 FSR Upscaling in Linux
13:06 Why I’m Installing Windows

source by TheTerk

linux foundation

Devin BARTON

I am an avid Linux lover and open source enthusiast. I use Ubuntu and believe in sharing knowledge. Apart from Linux, I love classic detective mysteries.

33 thoughts on “Steam Deck with Windows vs SteamOS and Proton Performance Analysis

  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    I never understood Linux v windows back in the day and I still don't now. To me Linux and Macv windows are like Beta v VHS, VHS/Windows is just more popular.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Does anybody know if my Niece will be able to install Minecraft with mods on steam OS without installing Windows?

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    ᴿˣ⁵⁸⁰ ⁸ᴳᴮ ˣᶠˣ ᵍʳᵃᵖʰⁱᶜˢ ᶜᵃʳᵈ ᵃᵛᵃⁱˡᵃᵇˡᵉ ᶠᵒʳ ⁱᵐᵐᵉᵈⁱᵃᵗᵉ ᵈᵉˡⁱᵛᵉʳʸ
    ᴾʳⁱᶜᵉ: $²¹⁵
    ˢᵗᵉᵃᵐ ᵈᵉᶜᵏ ᴬˡˢᵒ ᵃᵛᵃⁱˡᵃᵇˡᵉ
    *ˢʰⁱᵖᵖⁱⁿᵍ ᶠᵉᵉˢ ᵐᵃʸ ᵃᵖᵖˡʸ
    ˢᵉⁿᵈ ᵈᵐ ʳⁱᵍʰᵗ ᵃʷᵃʸ ᵗᵒ ᵖᵘʳᶜʰᵃˢᵉ ᴰᵐ ᴵᶻᴱᴱQ_ᵀᴼᴼᴸˢ ᴼᴺ ᴵᴺˢᵀᴬᴳᴿᴬᴹ ᵂⁱᵗʰ ⁵ᵏ ᶠᵒˡˡᵒʷᵉʳˢ

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    ᴿˣ⁵⁸⁰ ⁸ᴳᴮ ˣᶠˣ ᵍʳᵃᵖʰⁱᶜˢ ᶜᵃʳᵈ ᵃᵛᵃⁱˡᵃᵇˡᵉ ᶠᵒʳ ⁱᵐᵐᵉᵈⁱᵃᵗᵉ ᵈᵉˡⁱᵛᵉʳʸ
    ᴾʳⁱᶜᵉ: $²¹⁵
    ˢᵗᵉᵃᵐ ᵈᵉᶜᵏ ᴬˡˢᵒ ᵃᵛᵃⁱˡᵃᵇˡᵉ
    *ˢʰⁱᵖᵖⁱⁿᵍ ᶠᵉᵉˢ ᵐᵃʸ ᵃᵖᵖˡʸ
    ˢᵉⁿᵈ ᵈᵐ ʳⁱᵍʰᵗ ᵃʷᵃʸ ᵗᵒ ᵖᵘʳᶜʰᵃˢᵉ ᴰᵐ ᴵᶻᴱᴱQ_ᵀᴼᴼᴸˢ ᴼᴺ ᴵᴺˢᵀᴬᴳᴿᴬᴹ ᵂⁱᵗʰ ⁵ᵏ ᶠᵒˡˡᵒʷᵉʳˢ

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    People also don't seem to realize that Windows AMD drivers are garbage. Linux driver has been worked on by AMD, Valve, Google and others and it's rock solid. With Windows you will enjoy occasional driver crashes, games crashing when you put the device to sleep and other neat "features". Fast suspend/resume is also a must for a handheld device and Windows ain't havin it.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    They must deliver this feature, or this will be a huge disaster, easily the second biggest tech disaster of all time after Global Chip Shortage.

    Microsoft is refusing to make a clean and light Windows. If this succeeds, Windows might lose at least 20% of their audience at the start thanks to their anti-consumer decision at Windows 11, games might actually start to be made natively for Linux, and Windows might actually start to make a clean and light Windows.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    There are some pretty compelling reasons to keep the SteamOS, that can override the familiarity factor of Windows.
    Still i'm not saying you should not do it, or at least try it (even i may try it, if there is some game that i really want to play but is broken on linux, and especially if i can install and boot it from an sd card, so i don't need to mess with the internal drive), if that's your thing, go ahead. but here are some of those reasons:

    – SteamOS would be build with the Steam Deck in mind. that would mean that the UI and UX would be build with handheld in mind, everything would (should) fit well the 7" 800p display that would stay in a handheld distance from you. Also it would be easily controllable with the build in controller. Windows on the other hand is not build for such things. the 800p resolution is not great for windows. a lot of interfaces may not work properly for it. some newer features are build with 1080p base, and won't look good on a 800p. usually it's build around the 768p, so one would think most things would be ok on an 800p, but it's also build for 15"+ displays that stay on your desk. you would need to use the scaling option which will brake even the interfaces that work well on 800p display. and then there is the control, windows is not meant to be controlled with a controller, and even the touch support is not that great, it's more of a supplementary thing. (look at other devices like the Aya Neo, GPD Win3 and so, yes, windows works, but not great… it's kind of cumbersome, so why bother if there is alternative)

    – If you are not familiar and you are scared by the linux os, you don't actually need to interact with it that much. since this will boot into steam "big picture", as long as you don't plan to do other things than playing steam games (like working or watching movies, or something) on the deck, you won't need to exit the steam interface. on the other hand linux is no longer hard to use, it hasn't been for years. so you can easily adapt.

    – Now this is a big one – suspend mode. valve is working on suspending the games in steamOS when you put the deck in suspend mode. this means that you can just hit the power button, the device will go to sleep and the game will be suspended safely to be resumed when you wake up the device. you won't need to save and exit the game before putting the device to sleep. this won't work on windows. microsoft are not interested in this feature, so currently there are some games that magically work that way, but there is a huge portion that don't. for a handheld device that is a big feature for pauses you need to make like answering a phone call or the door, or maybe switching transport if you are playing on the go. unless you are planing on just pausing the games which would eat your battery needlessly, or keeping the device always docked, in which case, why are you getting it in the first place.

    – Valve is also working on API that would easily tweak the performance of the device – things like underclocking, overclocking, TDP management, undervolting and so on. i'm not sure if this would be a linux only thing, but i assume so. with this you would easily control the device and limit it's performance so you reach your desired battery life. maybe even increasing the performance in some cases, while keeping the battery life the same. there are also speculation that they can implement this into the steam UI like the steam input profiles. so people can upload those fine-tuned profiles and you can just search for something like "GameName, medium settings, 60fps, 3h battery life" or "GameName, high settings, 30 fps, 4h battery life" and so on.
    (now if this also works on windows, it would be great)

    – If you want non steam games, they also work under Linux. and there is even a launcher called Lutris that easily manage your games from different platforms and the compatibility layers needed to run them properly, you will just log in into your profile, click on a game and just install it. Lutris will take care of everything else. and there are also other launchers that are specifically build for specific platforms, like the Heroic launcher that is build for the epic games store (although lutris also support epic, so you even have options to choose from). so in general your non steam games are also supported under linux. plus, if the device is successful other companies will port their launchers anyway

    – Windows is HUGE. I think Windows will be out of the question for the 64gb version of the Deck. windows itself can easily take almost all of that space, if not all. you would constantly have to clean it up, delete needless bloatware after each update and remove old update files, which sometimes can take like 3-4GB of space. and even for the bigger storage versions of the deck – why would you spare 60+ GBs of your 256 GB device just for the OS? instead of using this fast storage for your games?
    on the other hand a barebones linux distro (which steamOS will be) can stay in the single digits of disk space, even the lower single digits. i have an old laptop with just 16 GB of storage and i have put linux mint on it, which actually has quite a lot of bloatware on it. and it even has space left for programs and small games.

    – privacy concerns – gamers stay on windows for the games in spite of the privacy concerns, because so far there were not great alternatives, but linux is becoming better and better. if steamOS works just fine for what you need why switch it with something that is constantly monitoring you? even if you don't care for the monitoring part, why settle if you have options not to

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    In general, I managed to test Proton, the conclusion is: a raw thing! FPS is almost twice as low as on Windows 11, but it is an excellent technology for the future.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Windows on the Deck might be like windows on a Macbook, The Trackpad is horrible on the macbook when windows is installed, keep this in mind

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    You'll need SteamOS to use Valve's suspend feature. A mobile device without suspend is dumb.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    VKD3D which is the Linux reimplementation of DX12 is still being worked on, RT, performance improvements etc are still being added to it. Control and Cyberpunk are probably the ones that have had the most effort in terms of DX12 functionality . It's not as mature as DXVK yet which is the DX9-11 implementation. That's in maintenance mode essentially. There were some fixes put into Proton not that long ago for Horizon Zero Dawn that added about 10 to 15% perf.However pretty sure those are still part of Proton Experimental and not a mainstream version yet.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Windows is going to be a suboptimal experience on the Steam Deck unless you have the thing docked and hooked up to a Keyboard, mouse and monitor. At which point you may as well build a desktop. Although it's a cool option it's an occasional use case.

    This level of integration between OS and the Steam Deck H/W

    https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2021/08/amd-and-valve-working-towards-a-new-cpu-performance-scaling-design-for-amd-cpus

    Won't be possible on Windows.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    couldnt you just add epicgames as a non steam geam and run it with proton?

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Dang, really good informative video. You deserve more subs my dude

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    What I'm wondering, knowing it's mostly going to be speculation: Will I be able to run Minecraft Bedrock on it using a Linux launcher or the like? That way I can take the world I'm in and move it over to continue my work.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    I think as a console experience the Steam deck and steamOS will deliver.

    Most people don't fiddle too much, let alone install OS'S, so for most people it should be good overall. Specially with features like quick game resume only available on the steamOS.

    Now for the geeky minority (myself included) we may want to push the limits of this little PC.

    I'll surely at some point use the desktop mode and install Lutris game , emulators and store installer so I can try other stores, emulators, etc.

    I also advise following the gaming on Linux blog to get an idea how these things work since they have special coverage on some of those tools.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    I appreciate the comments guys! For all the "Manjaro is not a good representation" for Steam Deck, use X, Y, or Z, I recommend checking out these videos. The difference between the distros and OS overhead is minimal in the grand scheme of things.

    https://youtu.be/CyVOL1IYKNA
    https://youtu.be/RIcCHYUIA88

    I'm planning on a follow up video with this hardware, and testing some of the community's hardware configs as well and potential environment tweaks.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Comparison is wrong due to software choice. Manjaro is not pure Arch. It includes a ton of packages that an Arch user will never include in his Arch gaming build. The reason why Valve used Arch is to only include packages designed for running Steam on top of it + the drivers. Sorry, but this video is not really representative on how Steam Deck will perform, it is even a very bad approximation.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Little fact the differences could be improved a little bit if you used Gamescope which is the compositor that the Deck will be using for games and Feral's Gamemode. Still won't be 1:1, but it does help.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    You know it just dawned on me. Microsoft could make their own steam deck/surface hybrid and be pretty successful marketing it as an Xbox handheld.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Note that amdgpu is built into the Linux kernel these days. Don't even need to install drivers unless you want to get amdgpu-pro for OpenCL support, which I guess most people with Steamdecks aren't going to care about.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    i want to plug and play, not code. I will be installing Windows 10 on Day One.

    keep up the good work. 👍👍

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    other stores do run on linux if you use wine, winetricks, lutris or playonlinux.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    no, you dont get 50% extra performance on linux. you get some extra frames 1 to 5 in some games. The stated that the proton version they are using internally is a few versions ahead the one is publicly aviable on steam for linux, so is possible it has extra percs for most games ( more games than what we see on proton.db) to run al least without performance loss.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    So the steam deck will likely have whatever performance difference going from the Vega cores to RDNA2 cores comparatively to your charts… ahem I mean Chart.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Fun fact. You can run FSR on any game on Linux through proton using a the full screen hack. It would be entirely possible for Valve to integrate this into a later version of proton.

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  • August 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Lutris for non-Steam games and stores. If it's not Game Pass it works on Linux. Game Pass can be used with XCloud on Linux.
    Absolutely excellent video, as a Linux user I can't wait for the FSR video as FSR works with all games pretty much on Linux. A killer feature imo, especially for docked gaming.

    Proton is constantly evolving, by December I honestly think most games will run better on Proton, especially having seen the evolution of Proton for 3 years now.

    Apart from FSR you might want to check out RADV_FORCE_VRS=2×2 btw, it should give a substantial performance improvement.

    I wil disagree about installing Windows on the Deck for a multitude of reasons like, drivers, support from Valve, FSR in all games in Linux and Supend/Resume functionality. Also the OS itself I think will amaze people once they get their hands on it. So many features and so much responsiveness is extremely hard to achive with Windows.

    Reply

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