Steam Hardware Survey Reveals Love Affair with NVIDIA Graphics, Intel CPUs - HotHardware
Steam Hardware Survey Reveals Love Affair with NVIDIA Graphics, Intel CPUs

Steam Hardware Survey Reveals Love Affair with NVIDIA Graphics, Intel CPUs

For school age kids and college bound adults, August represented the last month of freedom to hunker down in the bedroom or basement with the shades drawn so that the sun and its pesky glare wouldn't get in the way of gaming. Those same PCs are now turning their attention to school work as research reports and other types of homework are on the horizon, but as we look at Steam's latest hardware and software survey, we can see what most gamers were using this past summer.

From March 2012 to August 2013, the majority of gamers -- 52.28 percent -- ran NVIDIA graphics, followed by a third leaning on AMD/ATI. Intel came in third at 14.18 percent, though the script gets flipped if heading over to the CPU category.

Steam

Nearly three out of every four gamers rocked Intel silicon, with the rest leaning on AMD. In August, 21.50 percent of the CPUs that accessed Steam were clocked between 2.3GHz to 2.69GHz, nearly half of which were dual-core processors, according to Steam's survey.

Here's a look at what a setup consisting of the most popular parts that accessed Steam last month would look like:

  • Intel dual-core processor clocked between 2.3GHz to 2.69GHz
  • 8GB of RAM
  • NVIDIA graphics card with 1GB or onboard memory
  • 250GB - 500GB storage
  • Display with a 1920x1080 resolution
  • Windows 7 64-bit

Windows 8 seems to be gaining, uh, steam (pun only slightly intended). Windows 8 64-bit, Windows 8 32-bit, and Windows 8.1 64-bit combined for nearly 16 percent of total users, compared to barely than 1 percent who accessed Steam from a Linux platform.

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sounds like a laptop survey on steam

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I wouldn't say driver updates are rare, they just don't do one a month like nvidia does. They drop a new beta driver every 2 months or as needed. In my experience, AMD works better when connected to a HDTV than a nvidia card.

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Nvidia and Intel have been the way to go for a very long time. AMD is simply a second class manufacturer. I'm not saying AMD sucks, but they're just not as good in my opinion.

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Most off the shelf PCs come with Intel and Nvidia, so that explains the numbers ... Budget builders like myself tend to go AMD because they are slightly slower but way cheaper. AMD is catching up in the raw power department and most tests show AMD takes the lead when it comes to multitasking, the fact that they tend to stay cooler makes them better for overclocking too. But for gaming alone you cant beat Intel CPUs. Graphics wise I have used both, the Radeon cards last longer in my experience, but that just means they outlive their usefulness when they are no longer strong enough to play the newest games.

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Simply put - intel is better clock for clock, and their manufacturing process for their CPUs is second to none. AMDs CPUs are fine for APU designs, small file servers, low power.

On the GPU side, its always a battle, and more based on your own experience in the end. Ive had MANY Nvidia GPUs dating back to the 7600 series, along with ATi/AMD dating back to the 5400 series. Personally, Ive always found Nvidia's cards to be the better card in terms of QC. Rarely have I needed RMA for any of them (even the real hot gtx 295 still hums). Most I have had happen, was a lightening strike that ended a gtx 580.

I wish I could say the same for AMD/ATi, currently I have a 7950 that is less than 6 months old(purchased in May). Already I am on RMA #3. The second RMA was a NEW card mind you. Already, I need to send it back for service. due its display outputs just dropping out and no longer working. I dont use my GPUs for gaming,but for CAD/CAM and some mild video editing; Exploiting the OpenGL, CUDA, OpenCL languages, and we NEVER overclock our GPU's. Granted, Ive better luck with the 6700 series, none of them are still working as of now.

(To those ready to jump on my case)Yes, they are properly powered, cooled, etc.. Our machines sit in a dedicated server room, kept at 65F at all times. Using nothing but gold to platinum rated PSU's with 30%(10-15% being average) capacitor degrade equated. Our PSU's NEVER see past 60% load to them.

This isnt me saying AMD sucks, this is nothing more than my own experiences with both companies. To me, it comes as no surprise. OEMs aside of course.

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I used to be an AMD fanboy myself, but as time has gone on, Intel has given me far less issues between CPU, Motherboard selection, and peripherals, drivers are easier to maintain, and all of the "troubleshooting" I used to do on AMD pc's got so time consuming I spent more time trying to solve problems with my PC than actually using it. I only do custom builds but it's not like I don't know what i'm doing. I always research my parts and make sure I select components that are compatible based on the latest QVL's. Intel the last 5-6 years have just done better for me in my experiences with needing high performance, high-stability workstations and desktops. I'm not a rich bastard, I'm actually quite broke, but my freelance work requires performance parts... and well... Intel and Nvidia deliver the best bang for my buck.

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Who else thought that the article headline meant Steam had their pockets lined to have their games better optimized for Nvidia and Intel somehow?

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You wont be saying that when the Radeon 9xxx comes out. Nvidia will get dominated in price point and performance once again. Even now a 7970 smokes comparable Nvidia cards (6xx) in price and performance.

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Granted AMD CPU's DO suck. I have a 3570k and a 7950 personally.

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That will just force Nvidia to drop their prices (which is great)

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The Linux numbers are actually not so bad, when you consider a few things:

- Almost all the 'Other" 0.6 percent consist of Linux users running non-tracked OSes like Arch and Ubuntu 13.10beta.

- A large number of those Linux users dual-boot or are also running Steam under Wine in order to run some game that hasn't yet been ported (old Civ games, in my case). So, they get counted as Windows users too.

- There are only 279 Linux games available as of yet for Linux in Steam, and they're mostly Indie titles. Think of this as 279 reasons for Linux users to install Steam. That's opposed to 890 reasons for Mac users, and what must be close to 5000 on the PC - Including all the AAA titles.

If Valve would have followed through on the SteamBox, the numbers could have gotten _really_ interesting... but it doesn't look like that's going to happen now. The fact that they didn't strike early, and that the major consoles are about to do a refresh is likely to put it in limbo forever.

When you considered the numbers in relation to the numbers for Mac users and the money they spend on advertising, it's not bad.

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