Valve survey reveals gamer hardware trends

Valve is running a new hardware survey of Steam users, and while the results aren’t exactly scientific, a sample size of close to 350,000 does reveal some interesting trends. Steam users are practically split down the middle on the processor front, with just over 51% favoring Intel CPUs. More than 21% of respondents are running two CPU cores, as well.

Nvidia has a clear lead when it comes to graphics, with the green team pushing pixels for over 58% of respondents. Those running ATI graphics drivers make up less than 37%, with a lowly 2.4% stuck with Intel integrated graphics. Nvidia’s commanding lead comes largely on the strength of its mid-range and budget GPUs, with the GeForce 6600, 7600, and FX 5200 taking the top three spots overall. In fact, 10 of the 13 most popular graphics cards in the survey bear the GeForce name.

Other interesting tidbits include Realtek’s dominance of the audio segment, with over 37% of respondents fearing the crab. By comparison, only 3% of respondents are running a SoundBlaster X-Fi. Users continue to favor Windows XP over any other operating system by a huge margin, as well. Close to 93% of those surveyed have XP under the hood, with just over 5% running Vista.

Comments closed
    • indeego
    • 12 years ago

    Impressive that Vista already has ~6g{<%<}g

    • swaaye
    • 12 years ago

    258 people have less than 9.9 GB total HDD space. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • provoko
    • 12 years ago

    ewwwww 5200

    • JSchwetz
    • 12 years ago

    /[<"Valve is running a new hardware survey of Steam users, and while the results aren't exactly scientific, a sample size of close to 350,000 does reveal some interesting trends."<]/ So this is a new thing for Valve, then? I could have sworn I've seen this survey before in past years. I'll have to look it up, but I'm _sure_ I remember it. Someone else want to confirm/refute my idea? I'll have to look it up again....

      • Dirge
      • 12 years ago

      Yes they have been running their survey for a while now. Its interesting none the less as hardware configurations are always changing.

      • feek
      • 12 years ago

      They reset it recently. These are all new results.

    • d2brothe
    • 12 years ago

    63% of users with 60 Hz refresh rate…those poor bastards. Its a wonder windows doesn’t make that setting more accessible. Nobody notices how bad it is till they set it higher, then its painful to go back.

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      uh, most people have LCD’sg{

    • SGT Lindy
    • 12 years ago

    What I find funny is that Valve teamed up with ATI when HL2 came out and there was speculation that HL2 would suck on a NV card…….ATI payed alot of $$$$ for that right.

      • DarkUltra
      • 12 years ago

      No, Half Life 2 were supremely best in ATI cards that time, with higher presition shader calculations (much faster at complex shaders and results looking less blocky.). At that time the competition was GeForce 5 FX, remember. And the GeForce FX was optimized for Doom 3 type of graphics, bumpmapping and per-pixel shading, and it became clear it sucked at anything but Doom 3 and NVIDIA overclocked it with an extremely noisy cooler.

      When GeForce 6 came along, NVIDIA used different architechture (much better) and ATI had nothing on HL2 any longer.

      Now NVIDIA is screaming with their 8800 and its amazing HDR performance. Waiting for better HD 2900 drivers.

      • lethal
      • 12 years ago

      It DID suck on NV cards. Even the midrange Radeon 9600Pro/XT beat the much more expensive 5900Ultra while using the DX9 path.

    • marvelous
    • 12 years ago

    I tend to stay in the mainstream to high end bracket. These $500 video cards are not worth it when they drop to $200 after 1 year.

    • blitzy
    • 12 years ago

    fear the crab

      • Dirge
      • 12 years ago

      I wonder what ‘Other’ is with 22.30% of the user base.

    • indeego
    • 12 years ago

    Amazing. I can’t get HL2 to work reliably on Vista. Crashes on many level loadsg{<.<}g

      • Palek
      • 12 years ago

      I cannot get Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 to work on XP! Similar thing, crashes on level loads, or during in-level loads. Figure that.

      Yes, I do have an X-Fi, and yes, I have tried to run HL2 without it – using my motherboard’s onboard sound. Same result. Grrr.

    • PRIME1
    • 12 years ago

    I’m sure now that steam is included with the Catalyst drivers is should help ATI’s numbers some.

    • sigher
    • 12 years ago

    Typical valve that they STILL insist a 19″ 1280×1024 monitor is 4:3 and a 1680×1050 display is 16:9 even thought people have pointed out that error.

    • lethal
    • 12 years ago

    some interesting numbers =)

    Videocard description:
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 12,691 6.75 %
    NVIDIA GeForce 8600 1,495 0.79 %

    DirectX10 Systems (Vista with DirectX10 GPU) – 1.23% of users (!)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 3,770 1.07 % #
    NVIDIA GeForce 8600 396 0.11 %
    ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT 112 0.03 %
    NVIDIA GeForce 8500 76 0.02 %
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 1 0.00 %

    Multi-GPU Systems (4659 of 353353 Total Users (1.32% of Total) )
    -NVIDIA SLI (2 GPUs) 4,472 95.99 %
    -Nvidia SLI (3GPU) 2 0,04%
    -ATI Crossfire (2 GPUs) 185 3.97 %

    Windows Version
    Windows XP 328,452 92.95 %
    Windows Vista 18,803 5.32 %

    First, we see that approximately for every 5 DX 10 card in the market, only one is used in vista. There are two people running a *triple* SLI configuration somewhere, Crossfire barely makes a blip in the multi gpu market, and finally that the vast majority of gamers are still using XP. We’ll have to check this survey again when crysis hits to see if people finally bite the hook.

      • SGT Lindy
      • 12 years ago

      I think its amazing that Vista has 5% after only being out 4 months. In a year it will have 30+%.

    • Chryx
    • 12 years ago

    huh?

    NVIDIA SLI (3 GPUs) 2 0.04 %

    ? tri-sli?

      • Hotdog
      • 12 years ago

      “Tri SLI” might also mean SLI+a third Nvidia video card. I ran that way for a little over a year, when I had 6800GTs in SLI+a GeForce2 in a PCI slot, for tri monitor support. With some driver hackery, I could get the second, GeForce2 driven monitor to stay active while SLI was enabled.

      Depends how they’re checking. I didn’t think SLI allowed for 3 cards, at least yet.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 12 years ago

    haha, and here I am running Intel, dual core, ATI and an XFI in Vista. Guess I’m not very mainstream, and I have no problems with that.

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      Seconded….although vista drivers for creative blow chunks.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 12 years ago

        I assume you saw the new ones that came out last week?

          • DrDillyBar
          • 12 years ago

          Yup, got them, but hesitated to install.

            • DrDillyBar
            • 12 years ago

            … so far so good….

            • d2brothe
            • 12 years ago

            Hmm…I did not, I will have to download those…

    • Deli
    • 12 years ago

    did anyone catch that HD2600XT at the directx10 survey??

    interesting…only 1

    • poulpy
    • 12 years ago

    /[<"Nvidia's commanding lead comes largely on the strength of its mid-range and budget GPUs, with the GeForce _[<6600<]_, _[<7600<]_, and _[

      • moose17145
      • 12 years ago

      Yea i was a little shocked when i saw the “FX 5200” up there too… Like just wow… didn’t know it was such a popular card. On that note though… i did buy a FX5200 from best buy for $100 bucks for this computer back when i first built it. But that was my first build and i was still learning (obviously… since i bought it from best buy… **slaps self**). It really wasn’t a bad card though, did a decent enough job in games (at the time) and was the first really cheap directX 9.0 card out there, so it’d kinda be like “why would you buy a 8600 over a X1950 Pro … the Pro has better performance overall it seems”. Also the drivers had some damn nice desktop tools for runner virtual desktops and such… But yea… still shocking the card is still that popular apparently.

      • packfan_dave
      • 12 years ago

      It was a very common OEM card for one step up from integrated video. That’s what my old P4 desktop came with (was later upgraded to a 6600GT, then I remembered that I never play PC games and bought a C2D laptop).

        • Kharnellius
        • 12 years ago

        Wow did you copy me or something? ๐Ÿ˜›
        I following the same trend except for the laptop part.

        • poulpy
        • 12 years ago

        #6 & #7> Yeah the cheap first timer OEM part makes sense but I still have a hard time believing people would keep it that long (I mean we’re talking about 4 years with FX -aka fiasco- parts here) and kind of wondering why on earth would they do this to HL2! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Pretty even on the CPU front though!

          • SNM
          • 12 years ago

          Actually, HL2 looks fine and runs great on an FX5200 at 1024*768. Especially for poor teenagers, who (last I checked) make up most of the mainstream-hardcore market.

            • poulpy
            • 12 years ago

            Alright then fair enough. Although all “poor” teenagers I know tend to “save” on the software and manage to replace their sub $100 GPU more often than every three or four years :-p

            ps: last time I checked (i.e. back in the days) HL2 was defaulting in DX8 mode on FX hardware, which is rather ironic considering DX9 class hardware was kind of the only thing FX had to boast about

    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    This survey only reveals the mainstream gamer market.

    These the are same users that play CSS, HL2 and such. These games run fine on older hardware nor need 2GB of memory + multi-core chips. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Mithent
      • 12 years ago

      Although, of course, the mainstream gamer market are the largest market? These are the people who will be buying the majority of games, and on whose computers they need to generally run acceptably, even if they can be scaled up for better graphics on high-end machines.

        • Gungir
        • 12 years ago

        Not quite. Taking that to its logical conclusion, we’d never have any need to improve hardware to keep up with software (ignoring any arguments about whether hardware or software is the determinant, and the necessity of games in the first place). A game will *run* on practically anything, so that’s not much of a concern. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Valve was idle for a few days, and came up with the hardware survey. Valve is an amazingly unstructured, unscientific company, but for all that, they’re a model of success and productivity.

        It surprises me how few users have 2GB+ of RAM… I won’t build a machine with less than that these days. It seems that most are doing just fine with none-too-stellar hardware. I like the fact that I’m one of only 1.32% of users with an SLI system (still stand by the decision).

          • SPOOFE
          • 12 years ago

          You didn’t take that to a logical conclusion; you assumed permanent stagnation.

          The logical conclusion is that the gap between low- and high-end is widening. This is not because the low-end is refusing upgrades; it’s because the high-end is advancing faster than the low-end improves.

          The moral of the story? People don’t spend top dollar.

      • SGT Lindy
      • 12 years ago

      “This survey only reveals the mainstream gamer market”????

      Yeah that is pretty clear.

      I know its hard to swallow for some here on a TR that have sunk $$$$$$$$ into some crazy rig so that their e-penis/3dmark score is respectable among like kind.

      Moving to 360 gaming a year ago has saved me a lot of time and money. Heck my 360 and my $800 Acer notebook cost less than a high end SLI setup…..and runs MANY more games.

      Kind of makes things like add-in sound cards seem like a huge waste of money.

        • Krogoth
        • 12 years ago

        That was my point.

        You don’t need SLI, CF to have fun on any gaming PC!

        It is true that gaming consoles are practically raping PC gaming in the long run.

          • lemonhead
          • 12 years ago

          Blasphemy!

          Everyone needs SLI, RAID, 2 huge LCDs, gobs of memory, and the latest CPUs to read TR!! Plus you must have ‘I hate Apple everything’ on the back of your car.

          Friends, this is reality for most folks. You didn’t need to blow all that money to beat Joe six pack’s Dell down the street. He doesn’t care about your e-penis.

          • swaaye
          • 12 years ago

          Unless you want to play Supreme Commander. There’s no enjoying that game without top of the line hardware, as far as I’m concerned. My “gimpin” Pentium M 2.13, 2 GB, 7800 GTX laptop can’t do more than about 5 fps (regardless of video settings) in a decent multiplayer session. Of course, then the game crashes about 10 mins from the grand finale of our match lol! Crashes every computer at once (5 of us), oddly enough.

          Or Oblivion with, say, Qarl’s Texture Pack 3 and Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul. Anyone for 700 MB of VRAM usage? ๐Ÿ™‚

          These folks are more of the droolingly ignorant mainstream crowd, IMO. Heh heh. They probably game relatively casually and don’t really care about the “hardware enthusiast” aspect which is what really drives me in this hobby.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    wonder how many of the dual-cores are hyperthreading.

      • pureevilmatt
      • 12 years ago

      Unless I missed a generation, and they actually made dual core pentium d’s with hyperthreading, and that’s what you’re talking about… chips with hyperthreading are rightly recognized by the survey as 1 physical CPU. hyperthreading has it’s own category (~20%).

        • derFunkenstein
        • 12 years ago

        i missed the HT option the first time I looked at it. They did, however, make dual-core with HT, they were Xeons and Pentium Extreme Editions.

          • pureevilmatt
          • 12 years ago

          Interesting. Thanks for the info. Whenever anyone mentioned “EE pentiums”, my mind simply translated it as “BLAH$$$BLAH$$$BLAH”. But, now as a curiosity, I think I might see if I can score one of these chips on the cheap.

    • moose17145
    • 12 years ago

    wow… what surprises me is the relatively few computers that have 2.0GB or more of ram…

      • Ozenmacher
      • 12 years ago

      There must have been a mistake. I am guessing the 22% of users with 1.5-1.99 gb of memory also includes the group with 2.0 gb of memory. I find it hard to believe that many people have 1.5 gb’s of memory. And I find it hard to believe only .27 percent have 2 gb of memory.

        • SGT Lindy
        • 12 years ago

        If you right click on My Computer and go to properties in Windows XP with a system that has 2gig….most of the time it says 1.99gig of RAM.

        A 2.80ghx CPU(or whatever number) will also show 2.79ghz alot of the time on the same dialog box.

          • grug
          • 12 years ago

          No, it is a mistake. I have exactly 2GB RAM, I don’t have integrated graphics, Windows says 2.00GB in System properties, but Steam says 1.99GB when I submit my hardware details.

        • lethal
        • 12 years ago

        it must be all those 2.0 Gig system with integrated graphics ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • SNM
      • 12 years ago

      The most prevalent GPU is the 6600, and based on the video cards in use most of the systems they surveyed are ~2 years old. Back then 1 gig was huge for gaming purposes; I don’t know many people with more than a gig of ram on my campus and we’re a tech school. It doesn’t surprise me much; I bet the numbers are right.

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