The Most Popular GPU For Gaming On Steam Only Costs $150

Render of the retail packaging for PNY's GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, on a gray gradient background.
When it comes to playing games, few people would dispute that NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090 is the king of GPUs, or the Radeon RX 7900 XTX if looking at AMD's product stack. That's if judging solely on performance. If looking at market share among gamers on Steam, the king of GPUs is a budget graphic card that released a little over four years ago.

That would be the GeForce GTX 1650, according to the latest Steam hardware survey results (June 2023). This is interesting for a number of reasons, one of which is that there were better budget options when this card came out in 2019. As we noted in our GeForce GTX 1650 review at the time, while a better option than the similarly-priced GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti cards it supplanted, higher-performing 8GB Radeon RX 570 cards could be had for around $10 to $20 less, and there was an even bigger price gap with the 4GB Radeon RX 570 cards.

Chart of GPU results from Steam's latest hardware survey.

Be that as it may, the Radeon RX 570 apparently didn't resonate with gamers to the same extent as the GeForce GTX 1650. Either that or gamers were faster to move on from AMD's budget offering—the Radeon RX 570 sits in the No. 30 spot with a 0.8 percent share among Steam gamers, versus the GeForce GTX 1650 in pole position with a 5.67 percent share.

It's important to caveat that the Steam's monthly survey data is not an exact science. For one, users have to opt into sharing their hardware and software configs, and not every Steam user is invited to do so each month. Results can (and sometimes are) skewed by who and where the data comes from—internet cafes in China, for example, can produce misleading results.

Still, it's probably the best audit available of what types of hardware and software gamers are actually running, and the results are fairly consistent save for the occasional odd swing. It's also helpful for analyzing trends. To that end, it's clear that gamers flock in larger numbers to budget and mainstream GPUs, compared to higher end and costlier hardware. For example, as much as any gamer would love to rock a GeForce RTX 4090, it sits at No. 42 with just a 0.56 percent share on Steam.

Additionally, the latest Steam survey results show that NVIDIA's GPUs are by far the more popular choice, which has been a consistent trend. Of the top 50 most used GPUs, only eight are from AMD. In part, this indicates a massive gulf in mindshare over the past several generations of GPU architectures.

As to the GeForce GTX 1650, the cheapest price we found on Amazon is $150 for a PNY card. If you're looking to stay in cheaper territory and have the budget jump into mainstream waters, however, there are several candidates. Some of them include...

XFX Radeon RX 7600
  • XFX Speedster SWFT210 Radeon RX 7600 (8GB): $257.99
  • Gigabyte Radeon RX 7600 Gaming OC (8GB): $269
  • Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4060 Windforce OC (8GB): $299.99
  • MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X OC (8GB): $299.99
  • Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition (8GB): $239.99
  • MSI GeForce RTX 3060 (8GB): $259.99
  • PNY GeForce RTX 3060 Ti XLR8 (8GB) - Renewed: $274.99
  • MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Ventus 3X OC (8GB): $337.49
If you have to keep it under $200, you're looking at GPUs like the PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT (4GB) for $149.99. There's also the XFX Speedster SWFT210 Radeon RX 6600 Core (8GB) for $210.67 if you can nudge just above the $200 mark.