Steam's hardware survey provides an interesting snapshot of the PC industry—or at least the portion of it that plays games using Valve's distribution service. The numbers for February are out, and perhaps the most interesting statistic is the percentage of folks using the Steam for Linux client, which sits at just over 2%. That may be a relatively small number, but it's an impressive figure considering the fact that the Linux client has only been available to the general public since December's open beta. The client was officially released in mid-February.
Since the Linux client's unveiling, the number of compatible Steam games has grown to 131 titles, most of which come from smaller independent developers. Apart from Counter-Strike: Source, Team Fortress 2, and Serious Sam: BFE, you won't really find anything resembling a blockbuster release.
To put things into perspective, Steam for the Mac came out in May 2010 and now accounts for about 3% of surveyed users. And that's with the benefit of more than three times the number of compatible games, including AAA releases like Civilization V, Borderlands 2, and Left 4 Dead 2.
The Steam survey also tallies hardware configuration details, yielding a few interesting tidbits. DirectX 11-class graphics can be found in 58% of systems, while DX10 gear accounts for 36%. Only about 13% of surveyed systems are using Intel GPUs, so the firm's various HD Graphics solutions don't sway the numbers too much.
Predictably, the most popular display resolution is 1080p, which has a 30% share, followed by 1366x768 at 20%. Resolutions higher than 1080p make up only 4.5% of the total. In a bit of a surprise, that figure is half the 9% of systems rocking 12GB or more of system RAM. CPUs are split pretty evenly between dual-core models at 48% and quads at 43%.
Valve's games run well on budget hardware, as do all those indie releases that find their way onto Steam, so the survey results tend to be biased toward lower-end configs. Too bad the numbers can't be sorted by game. I'd be curious to see how the stats differ for those who play newer titles, like Borderlands 2 and Far Cry 3, versus those playing older games, such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2.