New Steam Hardware Survey is great news for AMD and Nvidia

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The latest Steam Hardware Survey has been published, and it looks like PC gamers are embracing AMD and Nvidia’s latest hardware.

According to the survey, AMD has increased its CPU market share by 3%, while Intel lost 2.99%. That’s a pretty big shift in numbers, and it could spell trouble for Intel, which has usually been the go-to brand for gamers when choosing a new processor.

However, as the Technosports website points out, this large leap could be partly explained by the fact that December’s survey showed a rare recent drop for AMD. This was a surprise, as AMD has been steadily eating away at Intel’s lead for a while now, which meant December’s results were a bit of an outlier.

January’s results, it seems, could include adjustments for December’s blip. The Steam Hardware Survey is an opt-in survey of Steam users, so results can be impacted by which users are asked to participate (and which ones agree to take part).

While Intel still has a clear lead with Steam gamers, with 72% of users running Team Blue’s CPUs and 27.99% using AMD’s, it does show that AMD is continuing the momentum it built up last year with its new Ryzen 5000 series processors.

However, while the Steam Hardware Survey suggests that AMD continues to eat away at Intel’s CPU lead for Steam gamers, we’ve also seen news that Intel is mounting a bit of a comeback as well when it comes to general desktop CPU market share.

It certainly seems like competition remains fierce in the CPU market, and that’s great news for consumers, as it should spur on Intel and AMD to make even better, and more innovative, products in a bid to win our custom.

Nvidia wins 

Moving away from the CPU wars, it also looked like January was a very good month for Nvidia, with its new Nvidia RTX 3000 series graphics cards seemingly making some decent headway.

This is impressive considering how many of these new GPUs are still very difficult to get hold of. According to the latest results, the RTX 3080 is now on 0.66% of PCs in the survey, a decent jump from 0.48% in December.

If this growth continues, the RTX 3080 could soon overtake the cheaper (and more readily available) GTX 1660 Ti.

The RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3090 are also on the list of most used GPUs by Steam users, with 0.27% and 0.23% market share respectively.

While these seem like small percentages, Nvidia will still be pleased with the results, as it does seem to show that gamers are moving to its newer GPUs.

Its older GTX 1060 still remains the most popular GPU overall, sitting in 9.75% of PCs. This is a drop of 1.61%, and the first time in ages that the GTX 1060’s share has fallen below 10%.

However, this can also be seen as a good thing for Nvidia, as it could indicate that people are now moving on from that stalwart GPU to newer models. It’ll be interesting to see if the RTX 3060 Ti’s share continues to rise, as it’s a great GTX 1060 replacement.

Overall, Nvidia continues its dominance of GPUs, with a 74.41% market share, with AMD, its closest rival, on just 16.49%.

We should point out that the Steam Hardware Survey isn’t a definitive glimpse of what hardware people are using, as it only asks select Steam users every month, but thanks to Steam’s popularity, it does give us a bit of an idea of what kind of components gamers are using, and both AMD and Nvidia will be pleased with how things are going in 2021 so far.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.