The next iteration of Sony and Microsoft’s gaming consoles are coming soon, and that means that some gamers will once again have to make a choice between PC or console gaming.
Windows has always been a hefty additional expense for dedicated gaming PCs, but luckily, Steam has provided gamers with a free operating system built specifically for gaming.
SteamOS features full Steam integration and provides a user interface similar to that of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
If you’re setting up a dedicated gaming machine and want to install SteamOS, there are a few things you need to know.
Firstly, you’ll need to build a gaming computer according to the supported system components of the operating system.
Although SteamOS is Linux-based, it does have certain hardware requirements.
Below are the supported system components for SteamOS:
- Processor: Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor.
- Memory: 4GB or more RAM.
- Hard Drive: 200GB or larger disk
- Video Card: NVIDIA graphics card, AMD graphics card (Radeon 8500 and later), or Intel graphics.
- Additional: USB port for installation and UEFI Firmware (recommended).
If your PC build fulfills all these requirements, you should be ready to install SteamOS on your system.
A Steam Machine is simply a gaming PC that runs on the SteamOS operating system, meaning that gamers can include a variety of hardware as long as it is supported by the OS.
This means that gamers will be able to build their Steam Machine systems according to their specific needs, such as a cheap casual gaming PC or a 4K monster build.
While the official Steam Machine partner consoles feature a small form factor, PC gamers can easily turn their high-end rigs into Steam Machines.
Because SteamOS is a Linux-based operating system, it is only able to run games that have Linux support.
Luckily, there are around 2,000 Steam games with Linux support, meaning that Steam Machine gamers will have access to a wide variety of games from the start.
A large number of popular games feature Linux support and the SteamOS operating system is specifically engineered for Linux gaming, making the Steam Machine a reasonable Windows replacement for either casual or high-end PC gaming.
Before installing SteamOS, it is important to note that doing so will remove all data from the target PC.
In order to install the operating system, you will need to download the installation files and unzip the SteamOS.zip file to a blank, FAT32-formatted USB stick.
Follow the steps below to complete your SteamOS installation:
- Put the USB stick in your machine. Boot your machine and tell the BIOS to boot off the stick.
- Make sure you select the UEFI entry, it may look something like “UEFI: Patriot Memory PMAP“. If there is no UEFI entry, you may need to enable UEFI support in your BIOS setup.
- Selected “Automated install” or “Expert Install” from the menu.
- The rest of the installation is unattended and will repartition the drive and install SteamOS.
- After installation is complete, the system will reboot and automatically log on and install Steam. At this point an internet connection is required and Steam will automatically install itself.
- After Steam finishes installing, your system will automatically create a backup of the system partition.
- When the backup completes, select “reboot” to boot into your freshly installed SteamOS.