It’s been a while since I’ve taken a look at Valve’s PC hardware statistics. As I’m sure most of you already know, Valve periodically releases results of a hardware survey they conduct from within the Steam software. Information is gathered from a user’s machine – like what processor they use, how much system ram they have, hard drive space etc. It can be fun to see the demographic you yourself fit into in the overall hardware pallet. Let’s take a brief look October’s results.
Intel vs AMD
Unsurprisingly Intel has a monopoly on processors, but you might be surprised at just how much. According to Valve’s October Hardware & Software Study, 72.37% of its users have Intel processors. This dwarfs AMD’s small footprint of a mere 27.63%.
As more and more PCs are equipped with multi-core CPUs, let’s take a look at the percentages. Single-core processors still make up 11.22%, that’s down from over 14% 2 months ago. Dual-core seems to be the dominant blend with a whopping 56.97% share. Quad-cores are on the rise but still only account for 33.13, up from 27.24%. With hex-core still in its infancy, only 0.57% (up from 0.43%) are booting up their Steam-based machines with 6 processing cores. This is obviously bound to change with AMD’s low-cost Phenom II x6 processors and whatever lower-priced variants Intel unleash next year.
As with Intel, Nvidia also makes up a larger share of the pie with 59.11% of users having their GPUs, compared to AMD’s 32.98% market share. Tragically 6.22 % still use on-board Intel graphics. Maybe we should take a moment’s pause to reflect on their pain. Why are they even using Steam?
Interestingly enough only 0.56% of users have 1.5Gb of Vram. It looks like Nvidia’s GTX 480 is not too popular among users of Steam.
Ram is not quite as important as it once was when it comes to gaming with 4-6 Gb being the mainstay for most avid gamers. 24.04% (down from 26.9%) are still on 2Gb, with 27.02% using 3Gb. 4Gb users are a slightly smaller bunch with 26.00% (up from 22.9%) of the chart. Do you use more than 4Gb of ram? You’re in an illustrious club of 14.06%.
It seems that Windows XP just won’t die. Microsoft has cut off the life-support machine, and many PC vendors have already stopped supporting the aging OS. But like a stubborn old man, XP fights on with 26.55% (down from 31.49%). I should note that Windows 7 64-bit has surpassed XP with 33.37% (up from 29.62%). The 32-bit version of Vista still has a surprising 13.65% of users, but this is on the decline as you would expect.
Has anything changed? Well, not a whole lot since August. Single-core CPU usage is slightly down while dual-core hasn’t changed at all. Quad core has made a promising gain of 5%, although 6 core gaming clearly has along way to come.
No real push on the GPU front but this may change over the next few months with newer cards from both ATI and Nvidia already released with more on the way.
I’m convinced there is a deity operating chest-paddles on Windows XP. Microsoft’s aging OS has had its life-support machine cut off, no more care has been given to it, but XP must have a stronger heart than Microsoft realized and is not looking likely to call it a day any time soon. I guess a lot of people running Direct x 9 titles are still happy with the plucky little senior citizen.
Windows 7 is on the rise, with a lot more people adopting the 64-bit variety to take advantage of all that RAM they invested in.