This GeForce RTX Card Just Dethroned The GTX 1650 As Steam's Most Popular Gaming GPU

Angled view of an unmarked GeForce RTX 30 series graphics card.
As much as we all lust over a top-tier graphics card like the GeForce RTX 4090 or Radeon RX 7900 XTX, the majority of gamers don't end up buying a flagship GPU. Pesky things like rent and food disrupt the allotted budget for toys and thrills. That's why the aging GeForce GTX 1650 was, for a time, the most popular GPU on Steam. Not anymore, though, as that distinction now belongs to a more modern offering.

The latest Steam Hardware and Software Survey results (for the month of March) are in and they show the GeForce RTX 3060 jumping a significant 6.31 percent in penetration to nab the top spot. Meanwhile, the GeForce GTX 1650 dropped several pegs down and now sits in sixth place among the most commonly used GPUs.

Steam hardware survey showing the penetration rate of GPUs.
Source: Steam

We have to caveat this data, of course. The monthly Steam survey is just that—a survey and not an accounting of every Steam user. Results can and do shift depending on which systems Valve's digital gaming platform pings. Various trends tend to shuffle the data around as well.

Even so, it's the best accounting we have of actual usage among gamers. One thing we can reasonably extrapolate from the GPU usage data is that the majority of gamers seek out high value propositions. The GeForce RTX 3060 launched at $329 last year, debuting as the most affordable Ampere option on the market when it arrived.

The Steam survey doesn't discern between the 12GB and 8GB variants. You can generally expect to pay a little more the 12GB model, though we did find an MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB selling for $329.98 on Amazon (save 28%). As for the GeForce GTX 1650, we found a Zotac model selling for $169.99.

There is some useful data here for developers, too. The GeForce RTX 3060 rising to the top spot indicates that the market of gamers with GPUs supporting RTX features (like dedicated hardware for real-time ray tracing) is expanding.

What about the GeForce RTX 40 series, though? As is typical, NVIDIA came out of the gate with higher-tier (and thus higher-priced) offerings, and that remains the case now. The GeForce RTX 4090 sits in 52nd place with a 0.25% share, followed by the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti in 54th place at 0.23% and the GeForce RTX 4080 at 58th place with a 0.19% share.