Valve has released Windows drivers for its new Steam Deck. LinusTechTips, a popular YouTube channel, has just released a new video about it. Windows 10 performed far lower in gaming tests particularly in comparison to SteamOS on the Steam Deck, according to Linus. That’s not commonly discussed in Windows vs. Linux comparisons.
This is important to note before we begin benchmarking, as the Windows drivers for the Steam Deck aren’t yet finalized and include bugs including a non-functioning sleep mode which requires a hard shut down according to Linus. Steam Deck’s compatibility with Windows 10 is also hampered by the absence of various necessary drivers.
In its video, LinusTechTips conducted three benchmarks: Elden Ring, Hitman 3, and Doom Eternal. In all three games, SteamOS outperformed Windows 10 handily, with Hitman 3 standing out as the most striking example. Using Windows 10, it averaged 19 frames per second, whereas using SteamOS, it averaged 34 fps. SteamOS averaged 60 fps in Doom Eternal, whilst Windows 10 only managed to deliver 47 fps. Even though Elden Ring’s SteamOS average was 37 fps, Windows 10 achieved 30 frames per second.
As far as the Steam Deck is concerned, it’s safe to assume that Valve created it with SteamOS in mind and that Windows compatibility is more of an aside at this point. Because SteamOS is the Steam Deck’s primary operating system, it’s impossible to predict how much work Valve will devote to improving the Windows experience.
Because the Steam Deck lacks fTPM compatibility, it is presently only compatible with Windows 10. This will eventually change when Valve implements fTPM support on its Steam Deck, making Windows 11 strongly backed.
A major problem with Windows is that there are no audio drivers for the Steam Deck, which means that the installed speakers and 3.5mm audio jack is inoperable at this moment. The good news is that Bluetooth and USB-based audio both function, so you have a few more options.
Further drawbacks involve charging troubles and major difficulties in using the developed Steam Deck controllers to navigate the user interface. When using the Steam Deck, navigating the UI might be hard and annoying because Windows sees the controls as Windows pointers. The joysticks, among other control surfaces, are inoperable in this “mode.”