Building a gaming PC you can set up in your living room to replace a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One is great, but can be limiting.
Unless you spent the required amount on a Microsoft Windows key for your new machine, you would be stuck with a Linux-based installation.
There are versions of Linux such as Valve’s SteamOS which can be great for controller navigation and console-like gaming, but these have traditionally received little support from game developers.
Building a new PC with a SteamOS installation therefore resulted in a greatly-limited video game library, as there are many games on Steam which are Windows-exclusive and will not run on Linux installations.
Valve recently addressed this problem, however, with the launch of its latest Steam Play beta.
Valve describes Steam Play as a platform which “allows you to purchase your games once and play anywhere”, although the software still has a while to go before it allows for true cross-platform compatibility.
The latest version of Steam Play boasts some impressive features, though, including a number of libraries and a custom version of WINE called Proton, which greatly improves the Linux gaming experience.
Following this update, Linux gamers have found that thousands of Windows-exclusive games have been made available to them to play – without compatibility issues.
While there are a number of approved games which Valve has confirmed will work with the platform, many users have taken it upon themselves to test the stability of Windows-exclusive games running on Linux.
The Steam Play Compatibility Reports show that while Valve’s whitelist for Linux gaming only features 27 titles, users have reported 1,324 games which have earned at least one “Completely Stable” ranking.
Valve is also continuing to work on developing this platform to improve general Linux gaming, as well as gamers who use its SteamOS platform.
This means that Linux gamers are not nearly as restricted as they were before, and there are more reasons than ever to build a new gaming PC with SteamOS installed.
Using mid-range PC components equivalent to those of a PlayStation 4 Pro, we have calculated the price of a living room gaming PC which can runn SteamOS and play the latest titles.
It is important to note that this build will not require the purchase of a Windows key, as SteamOS is a free Linux-based operating system.
Below is the price of a good living room PC in South Africa, which can replace a current-gen console.
As you can see, no longer needing to buy a Windows key – around R2,000 for Windows 10 in South Africa – greatly reduces the overall cost of the machine.
|Intel Pentium G4560||R986|
|ASUS Prime B250M-K Motherboard||R833|
|G.Skill Ripjaws V 8GB DDR4 RAM||R1,249|
|MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC 4GB||R2,899|
|Kingston A400 120GB SSD||R449|
|Corsair VS450 Power Supply||R519|
|Raidmax Vortex V4 ATX Case||R479|
This build is around the same price as the PlayStation 4 Pro and offers similar gaming features, although the latest Steam Play update allows PC gamers to access a much larger library of games.
Besides allowing users to play more games than what is available on the PS4 and Xbox One, a gaming PC also provides access to game stores such as Steam and Humble Bundle – which are well-known for their cheap prices and big catalogues.
It should be noted that SteamOS offers an experience very similar to a traditional console and is compatible with a variety of controllers, too.