Just over ten days ago, we kicked off our very first hardware survey. We asked our readers 15 questions pertaining to everything from processor type, motherboard brand, and how much they'd spent on their graphics card to their primary operating system. Since then, we've collected an amazing 5,500 responses, and the results have proved quite interesting.
Starting with processors, Intel's Core 2 Duo is by far the most popular choice among TR readers with almost a third of the vote. The Athlon 64 X2 in second place with 22% (just under a quarter), and the Core 2 Quad is third with 15%. We reckon this distribution of Core 2 chips to Athlons partly represents the ratio of folks with new machines to those with older ones, since the Athlon 64 X2 was still pretty much the bee's knees until about a year and a half ago. Overall, the split of Intel to AMD processors is around 60% to 35%.
On the graphics card front, Nvidia's GeForce 8 series is the clear winner with an astounding 44% of the vote. The second most popular series is the GeForce 7 line with 17%, and AMD's Radeon X1000 and HD 3000 series in third and fourth place with 8% and 7%, respectively. The overall split here is 68% Nvidia, 26% AMD, and another 4% for users who run integrated graphics. Interestingly, TR readers don't seem to significantly favor a narrow price range for their graphics cards, although most seem to have paid between $199 and $399. No big surprise there, since that's usually the range in which the most interesting cards can be had.
Moving on to motherboards, the picture is a little more mixed. Intel's 9xx-series chipsets are the most popular, with the Nvidia nForce4 series as the second most popular choice—another item that suggests the new versus old split we just mentioned. Intel's 3-series chipsets are in third place and Nvidia's nForce 600 series for Intel is the distant fourth. Here, the distribution we're seeing is 41% Intel, 40% Nvidia, 7% AMD, and 2% VIA. As for who actually built the motherboards housing those chipsets, most gerbils seem to favor Asus, which got 37% of the vote. Gigabyte is the second-most popular with 18%, while MSI and Abit are tied for third place with 8% each.
Picking sides is all well and good, but what about largely universal commodities like RAM and storage? Somewhat predictably, gerbils favor comfortable amounts of RAM: 48% say they have between 2GB and 2.99GB, and another 23% say they have 4GB to 7.99GB. Overall, we have 78% of participants with more than 2GB and only 21% with less. Regarding internal hard drive storage, most readers are between 500 and 749GB, with 52% of gerbils packing more than 500GB of total internal hard drive space.
A fair portion of our survey also covered displays. In this section, we weren't surprised to find that 84% of participants have LCD monitors and 77% only have a single display hooked up to their PC. More surprising is the most popular display resolution of 1680x1050 (although 1280x1024 is a close second) and the fact that 58% of participants have wide-screen displays. The most popular display size is 19", followed by 22" screens. Together, those sizes make up a little less than half of the results.
Among other notable tidbits is the fact that most gerbils still run Windows XP, but that almost a third of participants have moved to Windows Vista. The split of 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems is about 78% to 21%. High-definition disc drives are rare among our readership, with 97% sticking to regular DVD or CD drives. Discrete sound cards are also shunned by half of those responding, with the other half favoring Creative offerings by far. Around 40% of sound card users have X-Fis, while around 22% have Audigy 2 or Audigy 4 models.
Check out our Hardware Survey page for detailed results. Voting is closed, however, so you won't be able to participate.