In the past, we’ve taken a look at the latest hardware statistics of PC gamers with the help of Valve’s Steam platform, and going forward, I’d like to begin doing that monthly. Steam is currently the largest digital provider of PC games, and as such, its hardware survey provides the most definitive information we can get our hands on. Taking a look at the updated charts monthly will allow us to closely monitor trends, and get a feel for what most gamers are using for gear.
As it’s been a while since we last checked out the survey, let’s start fresh and see where things stand today – at least, as of May 2012.
With almost a 50% share (47.93%, to be exact), NVIDIA leads the GPU charts, with AMD lagging just a bit behind with 35.77%. Intel surprisingly (at least, to me) holds a 10.46% share, while “Other” captures the remaining 5.84% (VIA, SIS and other obscure GPUs). While NVIDIA’s share of the GPU pie is impressive, Intel truly dominates the CPU chart with a 71.91% share (AMD gets the other 28.09%). Of those, 37.85% are quad-cores, and 50.47% dual-cores. Dual-cores are in the decline, while quads are on the up, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see these roles reversed within the next year.
On the topic of graphics again, 41.34% of Steam’s users are able to take advantage of DirectX 11 – that is, are equipped with a DX11-compatible GPU and also use Windows Vista/7. 36.47% of Vista/7 users use a DX10 GPU, while the remainder use Windows XP, or a pre-DX11 GPU.
The most popular GPU used on Steam at the moment is the GeForce GTX 560. It holds 4.67% of the total share, while its predecessor, the GTX 460, hits up second place with 2.84%. Perhaps a bit sadly, Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 sits in third with 2.75%, and Intel’s HD Graphics in fourth with 2.41%. AMD makes an entry in fifth with its HD 5770, capturing 2.31% of the total share.
What resolutions are these GPUs powering? Currently, the most popular resolution used according to the survey is 1080p (1920×1080, to be exact), with a 25.60% share. 1080p is a “de facto” sweet-spot for gaming, so it’s nice to see that more and more people are picking up monitors to handle it. But to be fair, just because someone uses 1080p as a desktop resolution doesn’t mean that they use the same one for their gaming.
Other popular resolutions include 1366×768 (17.74%), 1650×1050 (10.21%) and 1280×1024 (11.19%). For multi-monitor use, it seems that tri-monitor gaming has yet to truly catch on, according to the survey. The most popular resolution used is 3840×1080, which requires two monitors. It holds a 16.19% share. In second place is 3200×1080, with a 10.29% share. A popular 3×1 resolution, 4320×900, holds a mere 0.04% share, while 3×1 1080p (5760×1080) earns just over 1%.
Regarding OSes, Windows 7 64-bit’s usage has sky-rocketed since the last time we checked, currently sitting at 56.35% (the 32-bit version holds 15.51%). Vista users total 11.58%, while those refusing to give up XP hold onto 15.83%. It’s interesting to note that all OS versions aside from the 64-bit Windows 7 are in decline. Month-over-month, XP lost 0.72% of its users. If that trend continues, XP usage will soon reach the sub-10% mark.
One thing that becomes clear with our look at Steam’s hardware survey is that mainstream dominates, so it’s rare when we see a high share percentage belonging to something higher-end. In terms of RAM, though, it does appear that more and more people are equipping themselves with a ton of breathing room. Currently, 30.96% of Steam users have 5GB+ of RAM. This percentage grew 1.24% month-over-month, while those with less than 5GB of RAM slowly decline in numbers.
Overall, I’m rather impressed by a couple of the statistics here. About half of the people using Steam can take advantage of DX11, and a staggering number of people use the most up-to-date Windows. Once Windows 8 drops, this survey should prove really interesting to monitor. We’ll revisit the survey next month and see what’s changed.
While on the topic of Steam, we recently launched our own group and encourage everyone to join. If you’re a gaming addict, you’ll be in good company.