Valve recently released its Steam hardware and software survey results for the month of February 2018. As a part of our new, regularly monthly feature, we’re going to break down and analyze the latest hardware trends among Steam users. It’s important to note that Steam’s hardware survey is voluntary, and as a result, it is not completely indicative of real-world numbers.
Table of contents
Nvidia owns 85.3% of the GPU market share according to Valve’s survey. This figure actually represents a 1.3% decrease from the previous month. Still, AMD trails in a distant second with 8.9%, followed by Intel’s integrated graphics solutions at 5.6%.
90.8% of users reported owning DirectX 12 GPUs, which indicate that most users are equipped with modern graphics cards. The most popular GPU remains Nvidia’s 2016-released mid-range GTX 1060 with 14.2% of the pie. The GTX 1060 is a great choice for maxing out most games at 1080p with smooth frame rates.
Surprisingly, while the GTX 960 held second place for several months, it’s been usurped by the older GTX 750 Ti, which holds 13.2% of the market share. The GTX 960 isn’t far behind, however, with 12%. The reason for this change is most likely due to the large, recent influx of Chinese players. Most users reported having graphics cards with 2GB of video memory, which is what both the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 960 offer.
While Intel dominated the CPU landscape with 90.8% of the market last month, this is actually down 1.1% from the previous month. The drop could be due to the fact that it was recently revealed that Intel’s processors were particularly susceptible to some major security risks.
71.9% of users reported owning a quad-core CPU. This is up 1.7% from the previous month and is what we recommend for most gamers. Second place went to dual-core processors with 24.2% of the pie.
34.8% of users reported having CPUs with clock speeds that fall between 3GHz and 3.29GHz. In second place with 23.3% are users with CPU frequencies between 3.3GHz and 3.69GHz.
Like last month, the most popular RAM allotment is 8GB, which sits at 44.7%. This is the minimum amount of memory we recommend to gamers. In second place is the 12GB of RAM of more category, which has 40.1%. 16GB is what we recommend for gamers who also like to run memory-intensive applications like Google Chrome.
76.4% of Steam users reported that they use 1920×1080-resolution monitors. This is surprisingly up 5.3% compared to last month. The higher saturation of this old HD standard could be due to the influx of Chinese players. In second place at 8.2% is 1366×768, which is an old, popular laptop standard. In third at 3.4% is 2560×1440, which is the resolution we recommend for most gamers with a GTX 1070/RX Vega 56 or greater GPU.
What about 4K? It only has .49% of the resolution pie.
While 1920×1080 is the most popular gaming resolution, 34.2% of Steam users reported using two 1080p panels.
71.5% of Steam users own a hard drive that offers at least 1TB of storage or more. This is the most capacious storage option the survey offers and it represents a 7.8% growth in this tier compared to the previous month. It’s important to highlight that Steam does not differentiate between SSD and HDD storage.
After battling neck and neck for months, the Oculus Rift managed to outperform the HTC Vive for the month of February. .14% of Steam users reported owning a Rift, whereas .13% of users reported owning a Vive. Both headsets grew by .02 and .01 percent, respectively.
The aggressive Oculus Rift price drop coupled with news that HTC will be releasing a Vive Pro in the near future could be reasons for why the Rift took the lead last month.
While Windows 10 used to be the most popular operating system among Steam users, it has since fallen to second place and now just has a 25.4% handle on the OS market. The 64-bit version of Windows 7 leads with 68.5%. The rising popularity of Windows 7 most likely has to do with the large number of Chinese users playing PUBG, which has become the most played game on Steam in recent months.
OSX only makes up 1.3% of the overall OS pie. Among Mac users, 51.4% of them use a Macbook Pro. Apple’s MacBook Air follows in second place with 23.9%.
The large influx of Chinese users to Steam have greatly skewed Valve’s hardware survey. Whereas English used to be the most popular language, simplified Chinese now makes up 63.9%. English is in a distant second place with 17.6%.
Taking the most common components from the Steam survey to spec out a build, you would get a fairly balanced mid-range gaming PC as is evident in the spec chart below.
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
CPU: Intel quad-core clocked between 3GHz to 3.29GHz
System RAM: 8GB
Storage space: 1TB+
OS: Windows 7 64-bit