What is the best operating system for gaming? This is the question every passionate PC gamer asks. If you are among them, you have come to the right place.
In this article, we will discuss what the best operating system for gaming is in 2020. We will divide our article into the following sections.
- What is an Operating System?
- What is the best windows operating system for Gaming?
- Windows 10
- Windows 8
- Windows 7
- Is the Macintosh (Mac) operating system a viable option to play games?
- Is Linux good for gaming?
- Is Android a good OS for gaming?
- Is iOS worth considering for gaming?
- Benefits of playing games on personal computers
If you love to play video games on your PC, you would also like to know what operating system is best for gaming. This guide will cover all the major operating systems and why you should or should not choose them for gaming.
Without further ado, let us dive right int our guide and find what the best OS for gaming is.
1. What is an Operating System?
An operating system or OS is the primary software of a computer, smartphone, tablet, and similar devices. It is responsible for managing and running all other software and hardware on the device. The OS provides various services by interfacing with all the hardware on the computer. Subsequently, different applications use these services to run as well.
An operating system does several things. It is a collection of software that keeps and binds everything together. It communicates and collaborates with computer hardware to perform different functions. For example, it handles your computer’s display, storage, memory, radio, W-Fi, Bluetooth, keyboard, and mouse, etc. The OS manages input and output devices as well. The OS in your device will communicate with different components such as RAM and graphic card through drivers created by hardware manufacturers.
When it comes to the best operating system for gaming, Windows lead the way without any doubt. You don’t need a powerful operating system for performing tasks like browsing the web or working with Microsoft Office. However, Linux based operating systems are fastest and lightest in the world without any argument. Similarly, they don’t need powerful processors as in the case of Mac and Windows to function properly. Fedora, a Linux based operating system is a great option for business.
If you use your computer primarily for gaming, you should go for a Windows operating system. These systems are well optimized for gaming, more than any other OS. Similarly, most PC games are compatible with Windows only, making it the best operating system for gaming.
2. What is the Best Windows Operating System for Gaming?
What is the best operating system for gaming? Most probably, your answer would be Windows. Tell you what, you are correct. Windows not only offers the greatest collection of games to choose from but developers mostly optimize their games for Windows only. The following are the best Windows OS for gamers.
a. Windows 10
Windows 10 is the latest version of windows. It is the most streamlined, fastest, and most effective version of the Windows operating system. As such, it is also the most popular. It offers a lot of improvements on Windows 8 as well. How does it fare when it comes to gaming? Is it the best Windows for gaming or you need to look somewhere else? Let’s find out.
At the time of its launch, Windows 10 was just 1-2% better than Windows 8 in terms of gaming performance. Similarly, various driver problems also resulted in frequent crashes and other issues. However, Windows 10 has now successfully overcome all these problems. It has become a smooth running operating system as hardware creators have updated their drivers.
Windows 10 is by far the best OS for gaming. It excels in every aspect of gaming as it performs to the highest level against every benchmark. No matter which game you are playing, Windows 10 is the operating system to choose.
Direct X 12 Software
Windows 10 is currently the only operating system that provides seamless support for Direct X 12. No other OS has been able to use Direct X 12 properly. This is one of the many areas where Windows 10 leaves its rivals in the dust. Games that currently supports Direct X 12 will have better rendering techniques and superior visual effects. Similarly, it promises to increase the performance of games that fully utilize it by up to 50%. Although, Direct X 12 hasn’t yet enjoyed widespread use yet games like Battlefield, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Sniper Elite 4 are already utilizing its main features. It is only a matter of time before all games add Direct X support. Gamers using earlier versions of Windows will soon start to miss out.
More importantly, the games’ performance on Windows 10 will only improve in the future. This is because it enables games to make most out of the CPU and GPU chips. Similarly, Microsoft has announced it will regularly improve Windows 10 instead of introducing a brand new OS every few years. Therefore, Windows 10 is future proof as well.
Other features that make Windows 10 the best gaming operating systems of 2020 are the modern software structure and stability. It is also more user-friendly for beginners. Windows 10 also minimizes system breakdowns and failures.
Windows 10 is also way ahead of the curve in terms of compatibility. It supports all the latest games be it is FIFA 20, Needs for Speed Payback or Call of Duty World War II. You can play them at the highest settings without any real issue. Once again, this is due to the brilliant Direct X 12 support. Most of the games will migrate to DirectX 12 in the future. Similarly, you can also play older games by installing different software as it lacks native support for such games. Finally, Windows 10 provides you with access to all the online gaming platforms such as Origin and Steam, making it the best operating system for the laptop as well.
Choice of Games
Windows 10 has the highest number of games to choose from as compared to any other operating system. The total number of games you can play on Windows 10 exceeds 20000 which is simply incredible. Therefore, it can be rightly said that it is the best Windows version for gaming.
b. Windows 8
The difference between Windows 8 and Windows 10 was negligible when the later was first released. Windows 8 was superior in terms of game performance and compatibility. Things have changed considerably over time. Windows 8 is not on par with Windows 10 but it remains one of the best Windows for gaming. Let us see what you can get with Windows 8 when it comes to gaming.
As compared with Windows 7, it offered better performance. Similarly, it removed all the flaws and problems that were characteristic of Windows 7. It was also an incredibly stable operating system for gaming just like Windows 10. The only problem with Windows 8 is that you require specific hardware to run a particular game or software.
The performance of Windows 8 is still comparable with Windows 10. Provided you have the latest or capable hardware, you will get high frame rates for the majority of games. Rest assured, the performance will be as good as you get on Windows 10. However, you may have to migrate to Windows 10 as time goes.
Lack of Direct X 12
One of the biggest disadvantages of Windows 8 for gaming is the lack of Direct X 12 support. It means Windows 8 will not be compatible with the games developed in the future. Or, you won’t be able to play them at full specifications even if they are available. Therefore, the gaming performance of Windows 8 will only decline with time.
You can play almost all current games on Windows 8. While you will have problems playing games that support Direct X 12 but still 90% of games don’t use this technology. Furthermore, you can also play many old games and games available for DOS only by utilizing integrated software.
Since Windows 8 has been out for a long time now, it has gotten rid of all the driver issues as well. Various hardware manufacturers have developed compatible drivers that ensure you don’t have any difficulty while playing games. However, companies are looking to discard their support for Windows 8 as they want to optimize their hardware for newer versions of Windows. Therefore, the number of hardware with Windows 8 drivers is decreasing.
Choice of Games
You can play more than 20000 games on Windows 8. Therefore, you have a huge choice of games at your disposal. However, some new games are not available on Windows 8. Some games are available but they don’t work properly on Windows 8. However, these games are still in the minority at the moment.
c. Windows 7
Windows 7 came after Windows Vista, a controversial and rather unpopular version of Windows. Windows 7 had plenty of issues as it was a new operating system having nothing in common with Window’s previous iterations. It became quite a stable product over time as most of the issues were gradually but steadily removed. However, it had a short lifespan and Microsoft replaced it with Windows 8 just after three years.
Despite its problems, Windows 7 was not a bad operating system for gaming. Gamers did get plenty of features, although not as many as Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Windows 7 is the weakest operating system from Microsoft when it comes to gaming performance and for good reasons. Firstly, it is not capable enough to keep up with Windows 8 and 10 because it is still using old software and old drivers. It is not an obsolete Windows by any means. Provided you have the hardware to back the Window up, you can still play games to a reasonable level. However, it is unable to run the latest cutting edge games.
Windows 7 is still compatible with most of the hardware and games. However, it can get into trouble as both modern hardware and games are beyond its capability to run. Companies no longer design their hardware to run on Windows 7. Similarly, it does not have enough power to run the hardware and software required for certain new releases.
Choice of Games
The number of games you can play on Windows 7 is huge. Just like Windows 8 and Windows 10, Windows 7 has more than 20000 games on offer. This is due to the fact Windows 7 also allows you to play games from almost all online game repositories.
3. Is the Macintosh (Mac) operating system a viable option to play games?
Now, we know what operating system is best for gaming among Windows OS. It is now time to through some light on Mac OS. Most people use Mac OS to showcase their creative talent. It is the only operating system in the world that is truly free of viruses as well. However, it has yet to make its mark in the world of gaming, to be honest. Although, it offers exceptional graphics and visuals yet lack of compatibility with most modern games means it is still not a viable option for gaming.
Most game developers develop their games with Windows or PC in mind. Therefore, you won’t find many games that support Mac OS. It is possible to port over original game copies for PC and play them in the Mac environment. However, you cannot play these games to their highest level because they are not fully optimized for Mac. They just have their essentials modified so that they can run on Mac. As a result, you get only a fraction of the frame rate of PC games, considerably reducing the game’s performance.
Slower speeds are not the only issue with Mac OS. Most games are not compatible with Mac at all. Mac’s hardware is exclusive to Apple’s computer unlike Linux which is an open-source system. Therefore, you cannot play PC games on Mac without compromising speed and performance. It is the weakest of all the operating systems in the world for gaming.
Choice of Games
Steam, a popular gaming repository, has round 4500 games for Mac. In comparison, various developers uploaded more than 8000 games for PC on Steam in 2019 only. Mac has fewer games to offer than Linux, nothing to talk about Windows.
4. Is Linux good for gaming?
Linux is open-source software. It is more suited for professional use as compared to gaming because of its adaptability, brilliant features, and lower hardware requirements. Similarly, Linux is not a single operating system but a compendium of different operating systems. All these operating software are based on the central Linux Kernel. Linux is primarily popular among users whose top priority is security rather than gaming.
Understandably, Linux cannot match the gaming performance of Windows operating systems. The games perform significantly slower. For example, Linux runs games up to 20% and 40% slower than Windows 7 and Windows 10 respectively. Linux does not have fully optimized drivers for gaming. Secondly, the quality of Linux ports is lower than that of Windows. Finally, you cannot run Windows games on Linux without using third-party or middle software.
All the above factors adversely affect the games’ performance, either decreasing their quality or slowing them down.
Linux does not offer full compatibility to any game which is a big issue. You can still use middle software such as WINE to play games but at the cost of quality and speed. Similarly, most games require third party software and drivers to work to their best. Unfortunately, none of these software and drivers are compatible with Linux. Therefore, Linux makes it much more difficult to play games.
Choice of Games
The choice of games for Linux is limited. Linux has only round 3000 games on Steam and thus, lags drastically behind other operating systems. When it comes to Windows, there is no match at all.
5. Is Android a Good OS for gaming?
Whether or not Android is a good operating system depends upon your gaming requirements and types of games. It is the best OS for gaming for mobile by far. Android is compatible with many high-end video games such as Call of Duty, FIFA 20, and Need for Speed Payback. All you need to have is an Android mobile that is capable to run these games. Google is gradually raising the bar as far as game quality is concerned, removing all kinds of useless mobile games from is store in the process.
Android still lacks drastically behind Windows in terms of gaming performance. Most of the games are full of crashes and glitches. Only premium games are free of these issues. However, not many people can afford them. Similarly, game quality is different for different games. OS related errors are also pretty common in Android.
As mentioned above, Android is compatible with many high-end games. Similarly, more and more game developers are building Android versions for their games. However, compatibility may still be an issue. Similarly, Android is a good platform to play casual games only.
Choice of Games
Google Play Store currently has over 600,000 games and the number is increasing by 40% annually. Therefore, it has a wide variety of games for every kind of user. It lags every operating but iOS behind in terms of choice of games.
6. Is iOS worth considering for gaming?
Just like Android, Apple’s APP Store is jam-packed with all types of games. Several developers release their games for iOS weeks before making them available for Android. This is because they have to make games for only two devices that are iPads and iPhones. Therefore, it is easier to develop games for iOS than Android. As a result, iOS users usually don’t have to wait long to play their favorite games.
Performance wise, there is not much difference between iOS and Android. However, you would only find games of the highest quality on iOS. Apple also deletes all substandard apps from its store in 2016, leaving users with good-quality games. Similarly, some of the premium games on iOS offer brilliant gameplay, speed, and performance.
The one major problem with iOS is gaming restriction. Apple tends to delete thousands of games, including your favorite ones, from its store once in a while. You could be playing your favorite game one day, it may disappear the other day which can lead to sheer frustration. However, the gameplay happens to be seamless most of the time.
One compelling argument against purchasing an iPhone for gaming is high costs. The iPhone 11, the latest version of iPhone, costs around $1100 in the United States. On the other hand, you can buy Samsung S10 for only $600.
As there are more games on App Store than Google’s Play Store, iOS is compatible with pretty much any game. Hundreds of established publishers upload all types of gaming ranging from adventure to racing, puzzles to actions. Some of these games are exclusive to the App Store and superior to their Android versions.
Choice of Games
Apart from featuring games from numerous categories, iOS offer a huge number of games to play. In fact, the App Store currently has over 900000 gaming apps, which is 300000 more than Android.
7. Benefits of Playing Games on Personal Computers
It is also appropriate to highlight some of the benefits of playing games on PCs. To begin with, PC gaming offers a lot of variety to gamers. You can choose from unlimited hardware components to improve your gaming experience. On top of that, you also have the option to choose the operating system which suits you best.
The following are some of the biggest advantages of PC gaming.
· Affordable Games
As compared to gaming consoles such as PlayStation4 and Xbox One, PC games tend to be cheaper and affordable. All the operating systems offer free resources needed to develop games for game developers. On the other hand, developers have to pay high fees to use expensive commercial platforms to compile games for Xbox and PlayStation, hence the games being more expensive.
· Bigger Variety of Games
As the PC games cost less to develop, there is a wider variety of games for PC or even smartphones compared to consoles. Similarly, the open-source nature of the PCs has also contributed a lot towards the release of a huge number of PC games. According to PC Games Insider, more than 8000 PC games were released on Steam only in 2019, which makes over 22 games released in a single day.
· All Major Studies Release Games for PC
Gone are the days when AAA games were console exclusive. Nowadays, you can play all the major Triple A games such as God of War, Far Cry 5, Destiny 2, and The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt on your computer as well. In fact, some of the AAA games are exclusive to PC only. Then there are some brilliant PC exclusive games in the likes of Besiege, Hunt: Showdown, Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Alien Invasion. Therefore, you get to play more games on PC than the gaming consoles.
· Greater Control and Accuracy
PC gaming controllers including keyboard and mouse offer greater accuracy, complexity, and control which consoles’ controllers cannot simply match. This is the main reason games like Civilization and Counter-Strike failed to make any impact on consoles but gained massive popularity on PCs. Playing these games with a controller is incredibly difficult but a breeze with a keyboard and a mouse. Most of the simulations and strategy games have also exploded on PCs because of the inherent advantages of a mouse and keyboard.
· Upgradable Hardware
What makes PC gaming such a great thing is the opportunity to upgrade hardware on demand. For example, you can buy a new graphics card if your current one does not support newer or heavier games. Similarly, you don’t always have to purchase the latest hardware. There is so much variety available that you can pick the one which suits your budget and gaming requirements. On the contrary, there is no other option but to buy the latest consoles if you want to play the newest games.
· Affordable Hardware
PC hardware and spare parts are usually less expensive than their console counterparts. Spare parts branded for consoles sell at higher prices as compared to pc branded spare parts.
· Different Playing Modes
You usually have greater control over your games if you play them on PC. For example, you can play games in many different modes. A mode is a character that is not present in the original game. You can add a new character in a PC game with the utmost ease by editing the game files. Keep in mind that editing game files in PC are as simple as that. You can even add your favorite TV, film or cartoon characters in the game.
· Different Game Controllers
While playing video games with a keyboard and mouse has its advantages, you can use different types of controllers to play PC games. For example, many people prefer gamepads over the keyboard even playing games on PC. It is just a matter of your preference. Just install the hardware’s drivers and you are good to go. Most controllers and gamepads are plug and play. For gaming consoles, you can only use the provided or compatible game controllers.
· Gaming Console Simulation
You also can stimulate a gaming console on Your PC, another wonderful feature of PC gaming. Just find the right application which stimulates a PlayStation or Xbox on your computer.
· You can Play Old Games
Most modern PCs are still compatible with older games. Therefore, you don’t have to discard your old games. You can still play them on your personal computer.
Every best OS for gaming has three factors in common. These factors include hardware compatibility, high performance, and how user friendly it is for gamers. If the operating system lacks any of these features, it cannot be considered as a good gaming operating system.
You must determine what operating system is best for gaming if you want to play the latest video games in 2020. The gaming industry is constantly evolving, putting extra pressure on operating systems by introducing highly advanced and sophisticated games. Similarly, gaming hardware is also improving by every passing day. Therefore, you must choose an operating system that can handle not only the games but the software and the hardware as well.
In this article, we have compared different OS and their pros and cons to find the best operating system for gaming 2020.
You can also share your experience regarding what is the best operating system for gaming in the comments section below.