Do you love playing PC games on your laptop? We love gaming here at LaptopNinja, that’s why we want to make sure you choose the best laptop that runs the best software so you can have a great gaming experience on your laptop.
Your operating system not only powers your computer, but it can greatly influence the experience you have when playing video games on your laptop. Today, we examine the best operating systems for PC gaming so you can the most out of your games and your laptop.
Best Gaming Operating Systems
Let’s get on with it, shall we? Below you will find a list of the very best gaming operating systems today in order of the best to the worst, with an honorable mention at the end.
As you all know, Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest version of their flagship operating system, and they haven’t disappointed when it comes to gaming. In fact, they are working hard to improve the PC gaming experience in Windows 10. It is actually one of their priorities. Today, you can unify your gaming experience between the Xbox One console and PC games and you can even stream games from your console to your PC.
On top of these new features, Windows 10 is highly optimized and efficient. That means that the games you will play will run even better than they will on other operating systems. In addition, you have the inclusion of DirectX 12, the latest version of Microsoft’s very popular platform for powering games.
All of these new features along with the fact that the operating system will continue to receive regular updates means that this version of Windows is definitely the best to use on your PC gaming laptop. Trust me you will be glad you did. You will have access to the most powerful OS filled with features designed to make your gaming experience that much better and you will future proof your laptop as Microsoft will continue to update this software for years to come.
Outside of Windows XP, Microsoft’s most popular operating system to date has definitely been Windows 7. It offered rock solid and quick performance much like XP but came with a much more updated look that everyone loved. On top of that, with the inclusion of the latest DirectX software, it became the go to version of Windows for gamer. In fact, it has managed to keep this title for many years. Only now is Windows 10 starting to eat away at its gaming dominance. But it is still one of the most popular gaming operating systems.
Why is it so popular? There are several reasons. First, Microsoft enabled it to run the latest software including the latest versions of DirectX. On top of that, it was very customizable so gamers could tweak their settings to get the most out of their performance. It was also stable and much more efficient than Windows Vista. This made it much more attractive to gamers as they updated their systems with the latest hardware.
Today, Windows 7 is beginning to lose its dominance to Windows 10, a definite worthy successor. Still, you will find this operating system in use all over the world and many gamers still use it for their gaming laptops and desktops. Of course, your time is limited. Microsoft will be dropping support for Windows 7 in 2020, meaning you will have to update by then. However, I suspect most gamers will have converted by then anyway to gain access to the latest features of Windows and the best hardware.
Notice Windows 8 is actually farther down the list than the older, Windows 7. That’s because the interface of Windows 8 is such an abomination Windows 8 failed to see the widespread adoption and support that Windows 7 and Windows 10 got when they were released. I don’t really know anybody that enjoyed using Windows 8, but I have to say it does run games pretty well.
From my personal experience, Windows 8 wasn’t as resource heavy as its predecessor. This translated into faster loading times and better performance compared to Windows 7. For gaming, that is definitely a good thing. If you are using Windows 8, don’t worry. While the interface may be bad, it actually does a pretty good job running games.
On top of that, Windows 8 will continue to be supported for several years, so you can expect that most game makers will continue to release games compatible with Windows 8. That means that you don’t have to upgrade if you don’t want to. However, I think you will find the experience on Windows 10 much better. Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been, and it just does a much better job compared to Windows 8. Still, you will find Windows 8 to be a respectable alternative to Windows 10 and, assuming you have the right hardware on your laptop, it should do a great job at running all of your favorite PC games.
There are millions of Mac enthusiasts around the world. Heck, even I own a Mac or two. However, I don’t use them for gaming. Sure, Apple has done a fairly good job recently of building machines with the power to game. Most machines today include good graphics cards and plenty of memory and macOS is a rock solid and efficient operating system, but there just aren’t as many games made for the platform.
This is mainly due Apple’s market share. They seem to always hover at around 10% of the market, meaning they are a huge minority in the PC market, and an even smaller one when it comes to the very specific gaming market. Because of this, many game makers don’t invest the money to port the game to the platform because they just don’t believe they will see an adequate return on their investment.
This has changed a little over the years. More and more we are seeing games being released for both the PC and the Mac, however games released for Mac are often released months or even years after their PC counterparts. In some cases, though, companies will release for both platforms, and that is good news for the platform. Still, if you want access to the most popular and very best games, you are going to have to use Windows.
Linux is, by far, the worst operating system you can choose if you like to play games on your PC. Don’t get me wrong, I love Linux, but the fact is it does not have the support of gaming developers that I wish it had. Sure, you can find games out there for it, and even Steam has an entire section devoted to games for the platform, but you won’t find as many games out there made for the Linux platform.
Most publishers today don’t even bother putting out a Linux version of their games. Instead, they rely on their Windows versions to drive sales. It’s understandable. Linux is very low in terms of presence, especially on home machines. So why invest the money to port their games to the Linux platform?
Still, you can find some games out there for the platform and there are ways of running PC games using software such as WINE. Overall, the experience won’t be the same, however. But, if you love the security and freedom of Linux, remember there are ways you can run some of your favorite games.
Honorable Mention – Windows XP
I felt like this operating system should at least be mentioned in the post. Today, I do not recommend you use this operating system. In fact, many games won’t even run on it as it just doesn’t have the latest software needed for the newest games. However, I wanted to mention this operating system and its contributions to gaming because the OS did so much for PC gaming.
Windows XP was one of the most popular versions of Windows ever released. It was rock solid, looked great (in its day) and supported the latest software and applications available. Because of its popularity, it was hugely popular with gamers and every game that came out for PC was made with Windows XP in mind. Without the success of Windows XP, PC gaming wouldn’t be what it is today. For that, it deserves a spot on this list and it should be remembered fondly for its contributions to gaming as we know it.
We love PC gaming here at LaptopNinja, we even have sections devoted to finding the best laptop for PC games. Still, you want to use the best operating system. While Windows 10 is the most common on new machines today, you can still find laptops running other operating systems as well.
Hopefully, this list of the best operating systems for PC gaming will help you when choosing a laptop. That way you will enjoy the games you love to play on whatever new machine you buy.
Do you agree or disagree with my list? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.