Overall, the SteamOS vs. Windows 8.1 results aren't too far removed from other Linux vs. Windows NVIDIA GeForce graphics card benchmarking results delivered in the past on Phoronix. Generally the NVIDIA Linux graphics driver can deliver comparable performance to that of the Windows GeForce driver due to the largely shared code-base between platforms, which again is the case here with SteamOS just being a derivative of Debian Linux.
A comprehensive performance comparison is underway at Phoronix that pits SteamOS against other desktop Linux distributions, but for those anxious to see some performance numbers, here are benchmarks done so far this weekend from seven NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards on the public SteamOS 1.0 Beta operating system. In this article are early benchmarks from seven NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards running Valve's Debian Linux based SteamOS on an Intel Haswell system.
Valve's initial Steam Controller prototype for use with the Steam Machines Linux-based game console will also work "out of the box" on other Linux distributions.
I had written earlier about Former NVIDIA, Microsoft Developers Doing Lots Of The SteamOS Work. In that earlier article I mentioned I didn't see any Steam Controller Linux driver present in Valve's Debian-based SteamOS. It turns out that the Steam Controller for now will work just fine with the generic USB HID input driver.
SteamOS 1.0 was made available for download today through Valve-owned steampowered.com. In the SteamOS FAQ, we discover that SteamOS 1.0 is based on Debian 7.1 stable. Some of the changes for Steam include backporting eglibc 2.17 from Debian testing, updating the kernel to 3.10.11, and auto-updates from the Valve SteamOS repos. Valve chose Debian because they felt it "is the best way for Valve to deliver a fully custom SteamOS experience" to its customers.
Following the announcement of "Steam Machines" from Valve to "conquer" the living room, the first "Steam Machine" has been revealed recently. The American company iBuyPower has revealed its own vision of a Steam box to compete with the recently released game consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
I suspect that savvy Linux users will perceive this the way that a bull thinks of a red flag when it's waved in front of it. In other words, they will charge! Hey, why not right? It could be a lot of fun for distrohoppers and other Linux tinkerers to snag SteamOS and see what they can do with it.
Valve's Linux-based gaming-centric operating system SteamOS will be with us by the weekend, as the company plans to get the first prototype Steam Machine boxes in front of beta testers tomorrow.
Valve's Linux-based Steam Machines gaming console starts shipping today to a few beta testers. SteamOS, it's Linux for gamers, is scheduled to be released to everyone at the same time.