Valve has updated their Steam Hardware Survey with November 2021 data. The most intriguing statistic is that Windows 11 now accounts for 8.6 percent of all surveyed PCs, up from 1.9 percent in October. We’ll also look at statistics on the best graphics cards and CPUs for gaming to see what else has changed — or hasn’t.
A quick disclaimer: Valve has never fully disclosed how it samples and collects data, and many have questioned its authenticity, but we still think the information is intriguing even without confidence intervals or margins of error.
The most significant news for this update is that surveyed gamers use Windows 11 on 8.3 percent of all PCs. That may not sound like much, but since the OS has only been publicly available for two months, it’s a very quick adoption and more than quadruples the number of Win11 users in October. In comparison, only 2.7 percent of the polled PCs were running OSX, and 1.2 percent were running some kind of Linux. Of course, Windows 11 still has a long way to go, with 83.4 percent of polled PCs running Windows 10. However, it has already exceeded Windows 7, which has a market share of 3.3 percent.
It will be fascinating to watch how these breakdowns evolve once the Stream Deck is out. This might lead to an increase in Linux usage, although Steam Machines never gained traction, and it’s unclear how many Steam Decks have been sold.
There’s a lot of ambiguity in these statistics, but we’ve chosen to utilize the DirectX 12 estimates (which, interestingly, sum up to about 90 percent rather than the expected 100 percent ). This excludes a large number of older Intel GPUs, which we believe is appropriate given the quantity of DX12 games and how poorly those older GPUs perform. Here’s an adjusted breakdown of the figures from the last several months.
Overall Series Popularity of GPUs on Steam for DirectX 12
|RX Vega (and VII)||0.82%||0.87%||0.86%||0.82%|
As you can see, despite modest advances in overall share, Nvidia’s GTX 10-series graphics cards remain by far the most popular GPUs, followed by the GTX 16-series, RTX 20-series, and RTX 30-series. AMD’s most popular GPU series (on Steam) is still the RX 500 cards, which roughly match the market share of Nvidia’s GTX 900-series. Meanwhile, the RX 6000-series continues to account for slightly more than half of all surveyed PCs.
Nvidia’s RTX 30 GPUs are gaining headway, and at this rate, we can safely anticipate RTX 30 to outperform RTX 20 within the next month or two. This is even though it is still impossible to get any of the current graphics cards in stock at affordable pricing. According to our most recent study at GPU pricing on eBay, several models are still selling for nearly twice their MSRP.
Of course, this is mostly true for desktop graphics cards. While some have reportedly attempted to establish GPU mining farms using laptops, the expenses and hazards of destroying the hardware are too high, thus gaming laptops with the newest RTX 30 GPUs are rather cheaply priced in contrast.
According to the poll, the single most popular RTX 30-series GPU is the “Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU,” which currently accounts for slightly over 2% of all surveyed PCs. Meanwhile, the RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti laptop GPUs account for just 0.42 percent and 0.38 percent of the market, respectively. The RTX 3070, on the other hand, comes in just below the laptop 3060, with 1.99 percent of the market.
You can look at the rest of the figures for yourself, but one final intriguing fact is that AMD APUs with integrated Vega graphics solutions account for only 2.67 percent of all GPUs. Similarly, Intel graphics solutions (remember, the DX12 requirement removes anything older than Skylake CPUs from 2015) account for only 3.73 percent of the PCs examined.
Although Intel produces the most graphics processors overall, the UHD Graphics 620 is only ranked 29th among Steam players. We’ll see if the impending Arc Alchemist can make a difference in 2022.
Because Intel only recently released the Alder Lake Core i9-12900K and similar CPUs, they aren’t currently included in the poll. That could change in the coming months, but the Steam Hardware Survey gives almost little information into what precise CPUs individuals are running – we don’t even know the CPU generation. What we do know is the total market share, and we can also get data on the number of cores and clock rates, but given the diverse designs, this isn’t especially useful.
That’s a shame because we’d want to know how the Ryzen 5 5600X compares against the Core i5-11400, for example. Before Alder Lake, we evaluated Ryzen 5000 series CPUs as the superior overall option in our AMD vs. Intel CPUs comparison. It would be fascinating to see how many PCs are running the best processors, but that isn’t happening.
AMD CPUs accounted for 31.53 percent of surveyed PCs, while Intel CPUs accounted for 68.45 percent (and 0.02 percent for “MicrosoftXTA,” a new addition to the survey). This is a 0.69 percent increase in AMD’s market share and a corresponding loss in Intel’s. Except for an inexplicable decline in August (statistical variation? ), AMD CPU share has been gradually growing for much of the last year, due to Ryzen and, in particular, Ryzen 5000.
Another factor to consider is that the great majority of PCs still use 4-core and 6-core CPUs. Together, they account for 68 percent of all PCs, with 8-core CPUs accounting for another 16.5 percent and 2-core CPUs accounting for slightly under 12 percent. 10-core, 12-core, and 16-core CPUs account for just 2.32 percent of surveyed PCs, with 12-core CPUs (most likely Ryzen 9 3900X and 5900X) accounting for around half of that figure.
I feel sorry for anyone using a 2-core CPU, as I haven’t used a dual-core processor in over a decade. Most are presumably using laptops, which is more understandable. Intel didn’t make 4-core CPUs and beyond the standard for ULV components until the 8th Gen Coffee Lake family in 2019, while Core i3 processors with only two cores are still available in the 11th Gen Tiger Lake family.