The recent release of Steam’s September hardware survey sheds light on the ever-evolving world of PC gaming hardware and software. One standout revelation is the rise of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, which has dethroned the long-reigning GTX 1650 as the number one GPU among surveyed gamers. This significant shift is reflected in its 1.4% increase in market share, making it the largest jump among DirectX 10 and newer GPUs. Currently, the RTX 3060 holds an impressive 6.27% share of the overall market. However, what prompted this sudden surge in popularity? One plausible explanation lies in the substantial price drop of RTX 3060s following the decline of mining demand and Covid-related supply shortages. Surprisingly, a closer look at the RTX 4060, a supposedly superior model, reveals only a marginal difference in performance. This makes the RTX 3060 12GB an appealing option for budget-conscious gamers. Given that cards like the GTX 1060 and RTX 2060 have remained popular for an extended period, it may take a while before the RTX 3060 is surpassed.
The remaining GPU statistics in the survey offer little surprises. The RTX 4060 and RTX 4060 Ti are predicted to steadily increase their market shares in the coming months and years, while AMD’s cards continue to struggle to gain traction. It is noteworthy that the RX 580, a six-year-old card, remains the most widely used discrete Radeon GPU. The RX 7000 series fails to make an appearance, with the sole representation being the RX 7900 XTX. However, once the relatively affordable Radeon RX 7600 is included in future surveys, its popularity is expected to surpass that of AMD’s most expensive card.
Contrary to expectations, Windows 11 has yet to gain significant market share, losing ground to its predecessor, Windows 10, in the September survey. This puzzling trend suggests that gamers remain content with Windows 10, particularly as Microsoft continues to provide security and update support for the system. Perhaps there is simply no compelling reason for gamers to switch to the new operating system.
When examining CPUs, the survey reveals notable changes, with the most prominent being the increase in systems equipped with 6-core CPUs, accounting for nearly 36% of the total. Meanwhile, 4-core systems are steadily declining in numbers. The slight decrease in 8-core CPUs can be attributed to the e-core counts of Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen CPUs. Interestingly, systems with 10, 12, and 16 cores have all experienced growth. Intel continues to dominate the market, with more than twice as many systems housing Intel CPUs compared to AMD CPUs.
Another noteworthy development highlighted in the survey is the increasing amount of storage in gaming systems. Over 55% of the surveyed systems boast more than 1TB of drive space. This surge in storage capacity can be attributed to the plummeting prices of 1TB SSDs in recent months, making it more affordable than ever to add a second or third drive. Considering that modern games continue to demand larger amounts of disk space, this trend is likely to persist. It would be prudent for Valve to consider adding 2TB and above 4TB categories to account for this expanding need.
While it is important to note that the Steam Hardware Survey is not a scientifically accurate representation, it provides valuable insights into the preferences and choices of millions of gamers. With its vast user base, the survey captures a snapshot of the hardware landscape at a specific point in time. Key takeaways include the dominance of Nvidia GPUs over their AMD counterparts, gamers’ inclination to hold onto GPUs for extended periods, the rising core count and storage capacity of gaming systems, and the lukewarm reception of Windows 11 among the gaming community.
The September Steam Hardware Survey offers a compelling overview of the ever-changing landscape of PC gaming hardware. From the meteoric rise of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 to the continued dominance of Intel CPUs, these trends shape the choices of gamers worldwide. As technology evolves and new innovations emerge, it will be fascinating to witness how the hardware preferences of gamers continue to transform in the future.