Windows vs Linux version of Retroarch any advantages/disadvantages?

Hi, I’ve been getting fed up with Windows lately and I’m considering moving to Linux, Kubuntu to be more specific, I was wondering if anyone knows of any advantages/disadvantages between the two OSs for running Retroarch?

eg are there cores that run better on one OS vs the other, or perhaps some are only available for one or the other?

I would guess graphics drivers will have an effect to a degree; I’m planning on using a fairly low-end laptop, it has a Intel Celeron N2840 with just on-board Intel HD Graphics, 4GB RAM.

I’ll be using the OS for other stuff, so won’t be installing Lakka or Batocera etc.

Intel gfx are well-supported in Linux, so no real problem there.

The only big difference I know of for performance is ParaLLEl-N64 with threaded Angrylion, which is much faster on Windows due to some MSVC compiler mojo. Pretty much everything else should be relatively similar.

Ah, excellent, thanks for the info :grinning:

I’m hoping there might actually be a slight performance boost; Windows 10 has progressively reduced the performance of my laptop with each update.

AFAIK, Windows is going to offer better perf in general due to faster Intel drivers. Currently, the only Linux graphics driver that offers the same performance on Linux as on Windows is the NVidia one.

If you’re not running GPU-heavy emulators or shaders though, then this won’t matter much.


If you run your Retroarch installation in KVM/EGL mode you will get up better performance.

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If you’re hooking things up to a CRT I know that linux is a nice choice 'cause you don’t have to manually install modelines via CRTEmuDriver or CRU. If my build wasn’t so focused on including modern games, I’d be on linux just for that.


What don’t you like about Windows @retrogaming?

Hi, in general I am fine with Windows, I switched from Mac OS to Windows; there is plenty of software, emulators and retrogaming tools that work fine.

I have a relatively fast desktop, but quite a slow laptop.

Each update has progressively slowed my laptop, most noticable is Explorer which now takes a lot longer to just draw new window. The increased lag is making it frustrating to use. The updates often cause issues with hardware and I’m often wasting time fixing or blocking Windows from messing things up.

A while back I had was given an old laptop running Vista it had a legit key but decided to deactivate itself, fed up I decided to install Linux and chose Kubuntu. I was amazed at just how fast it ran, the OS is so much faster than my much newer laptop.

I also have an old Netbook, I have it partitioned with Windows 10, XP and Lubuntu. Windows 10 is pretty much unusable, XP runs incredibly fast in comparison, but it’s not safe to use online. So that’s where Lubuntu came in, it runs much faster than 10 and it has the security for online use.

I’ve also been fed up with the way a lot of modern software handles DRM, or requires a monthly subscription model and I’ve found equivalent open source alternatives (that originated on Linux).

Sooo, long story short, I’m planning on wiping the laptop and using Kubuntu. Then replacing any paid software with open source alternatives so I don’t need to spend so long messing about with issues from licence checks and forced unstable updates. I’m still looking into things, but there are also ways of running Windows software in Linux if I need to.

Thanks @RealNC :grinning: It’s mostly for emulating low-end non-3D systems. I’m looking to improve the performance of the OS and web browsing on the laptop but still run Retroarch.

Thanks @Mauricio :grinning: I couldn’t find much information on KVM/EGL mode, is that an option in Retroarch or Linux?

Thanks for the info @SkyHighGam3r that’s something I’d like to look into one day; I do have a CRT in storage so that will come in useful :+1:

@retrogaming sorry my bad. I mean KMS/EGL The thing is that I’ve been working for so long time with KVM which is a word that is already integrated in my mind. It’s an option in Retroarch, more information in the next link

@Mauricio aha, perfect, thank very much :+1:

This is somewhat off-topic but I recently started using Linux again (got fed up with Windows 10 too) and after checking out all of the current distros, I went with Pop OS (ubuntu based). I’m not sure about Retroarch compatibility as I’m new to using emulators but just wanted to recommend an awesome OS that I’m enjoying very much.

Hi @distresscode thanks for the suggestion :+1:

I’m always open to alternatives, that is one of the great things about Linux; if there’s something you don’t like about an OS there are plenty of alternatives :relaxed:

Really, if you can use KMS/EGL, go for it ! On all my Linux systems it performs way better than launching Retroarch from the desktop (Gnome Shell or Plasma, or Wayland).