This OS does what it sets out to do nearly flawlessly!!! Valve HAS been quietly continuing it's work on SteamOS and has updated the Nvidia AND Mesa drivers. I had superb performance and no hiccups what-so-ever. The only cons would be how old it's Debian 8 base is, meaning that you really can't do much on desktop mode.
All in all, an actual good OS that does provide a beautiful UI and gaming experience!
I cannot recommend this OS. The lack of regression fixes and other security access problems meant it was used for minutes before being uninstalled and Debian Buster/Sid used instead. As a gamer I need good software that is fixed as needed, not forgotten about or the fault pushed down the line to before Steam used the fork of Debian. Steam will only help if you are using pure Steamos or Ubuntu.
for a user friendly, streamlined console experience SteamOS is great. I've replaced my Xbox with a Steam box and am very happy with the results.
My one problem is that many packages are not released for SteamOS. There are some workarounds and unofficial repositories that build Debian packages for SteamOs, but the operating system is not as easy to find packages for as the major Linux distributions: Debian and Ubuntu.
That said, I'm a Linux noob and my first Linux machine ever is SteamOS. Experts may feel differently.
Crashed during first bootup after install. After rebooting 5 times it finally loaded.
It's slow, unresponsive, and yet somehow manages to be hypersensitive.
Only bottom of the barrel games that you wouldn't want to play are available.
Every game preempts its loading with a graphics configuration page that does not allow mouse interaction, and actually only allows the mouse cursor to travel over only 2/3rds of the screen area, despite being fine on previous, and later screens (if you can get to one). So that leaves keyboard navigation as the only effective means of applying graphic resolution settings to each title...but the keyboard is mysteriously not recognized half the time either.
When you finally bite the bullet, and decide to try some god awful indy title nobody else has ever heard of, and you get lucky enough to get past the just weird clunkiness that abounds, game play is hardly satisfactory as performance is far worse than in Windows on the same machine....and you wont have any sound either.
I could find no mention of supported audio chipsets and no way to install or change audio drivers.
I like the concept, but thats about it. Poorly Executed.
Installing was a pain - had two moments were nothing was happening and I thought I have to kick it.
And, No!, it won't erase your entire drive - you can select your partitions. If you ever setup your partitions manually, you can do that do here, too. Installer suggests main, recovery and swap but one was actually enough (have 16GB RAM - what's a swap area, lol)?
Behaved nicely with occassional hickups (downloads, crashes in certain games) - SteamOS itself was always running. Steam controllers work OOB. The desktop is there (gnome) and works. You can set the volume but it never remembered it.
Gameplay seems to be better than in my old Mint (means it was fun to play).
I might actually keep it until SteamOS3 (hopefully soon with Debian Stretch)