Steam Hardware Survey Reveals Rising Dependence on Low End Hardware

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News Posted: Thu, Jul 26 2012 12:03 PM
One of the side effects of Steam becoming the dominant online distribution platform for PC games is that it gives us a glimpse of what types of hardware computer users are wielding these days. Steam just released its latest collection of hardware stats, and there are some interesting trends taking place.

For one, reliance on integrated graphics is on the rise. That isn't terribly surprising considering that both Intel and AMD now feature GPU cores embedded in their latest processors, but the jump is significant. Around 11 percent of surveyed PCs play games using integrated graphics, compared to previous averages that typically fell in the 3 to 4 percent range.

Steam Hardware Survey
Image Source: Valve

The survey also notes an increase in the number of gamers using dual-core CPUs. Nearly half -- 49.84 percent -- of all Steam gamers use a dual-core processor, which is up 0.25 percent from May to June, and up from 44.84 percent in February of this year. Both single-core (as expected) and quad-core (somewhat surprising) usage is on the decline, according to Steam's hardware survey.

Another interesting stat is screen resolution. The most popular display resolution is 1920x1080 with a little over a quarter of all gamers sporting Full HD panels, followed by 18.31 percent gaming at 1366x768, which is a popular notebook resolution. Less than half a percent of Steam's gamer population frag at 2560x1600 and 2560x1440 combined, which are popular display resolutions for 30-inch and 27-inch monitors, respectively.
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lipe123 replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 12:33 PM

I personally see a lot of laptops here in our computer store with steam on it, I'm quite certain thats where the 2 core %'s are coming from.

A desktop that still runs a dual core typically wont be able to play much of anything nowdays, not because of the cpu but its a indicator of system age meaning the vid card will be sub par and prolly win XP.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 12:33 PM

The "Other Settings" FCMOV stat at the bottom is confusing. I don't think anyone would be gaming with a Cyrix CPU. Are there any modern processors that don't support those instructions?

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I do come across a lot of Dual-cores, most with integrated graphics. I am surprised quad isn't on the rise as single falls but most users don't see any need for a quad-core when they are price shopping around. Id also like to know if it distinguishes cores instead of threads as most/all i3/i5 CPUs are dual-core with hyper-threading, in which case I'd see the quad-core percentages less surprising. Also, It says "Physical CPUs" (Not cores/threads) I'd think most people still only have 1...

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realneil replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 12:13 PM

People have to make do in the crappy economy we live in, less capable hardware is all that many can afford.

The good news is that many new mid level video cards perform quite well.

I have two XFX HD Radeon R7770's here that are awesome for the $140.00 price tag.

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RiCoFrost replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 5:49 PM

I have to say it is funny how people are willing to play $800 (AUS) for a phone every 1-2 years but wont spend that on a computer.

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rear1946 replied on Sat, Jul 28 2012 9:40 AM

The good news is that many new mid level video cards perform quite well.

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