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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and 3070 Fastest Climbers in Latest Steam Hardware Survey

Steam Hardware Survey RTX 3080 biggest gains
(Image credit: MSI)

Steam has published its latest monthly survey data (opens in new tab), gathered from peeking at gamer PCs around the globe. This month we are seeing some of the most substantial increases in figures for the mid-to-high-end GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards. Recent pricing action and improved availability appear to work some magic and inspire some upgrades. Elsewhere in the survey data, hexa-core processors have made a comeback (opens in new tab) in the CPU rankings, stealing the crown and knocking quad-core chips back into second place.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and 3070 were the fastest climbers in May, holding first and second place in this chart. In the third and fourth pace, jointly, are the RTX 3060 and the old GTX 1070. Before you choke over the GTX 1070's gains here, remember that such cards may be coming back into circulation as people sell their old GPUs to upgrade their PCs.

In previous months we lamented the sluggish growth of the RTX 30 series in the Steam Hardware Survey user data. It is straightforward to understand gamers holding off upgrading, though. Over H1 2022, we have seen some very encouraging new GPU pricing trends. PC gamers are buying again after holding their purses tight for many months.

With a potential glut of current gen GPUs forming, the Tom's Hardware GPU editor Jarred Walton has guessed that we might see AMD and Nvidia delay their RDNA 3 and Ada Lovelace consumer GPU releases until a more opportune time.

The CPU cores war took a new turn in May, as hexacore chips, which first grasped a taste of the top spot this March, were back in pole position. Plucky quad cores managed to regain the top spot in April, but we feel that hexa-core CPUs will be convincing leaders for many months, if not multiple years, before octa-core chips or better start to go mainstream in PCs.

Steam also plots CPU usage by the manufacturer. For Windows gamers, AMD adoption was good last month, up 1.24%, while Intel users fell by roughly the same amount (it's a two-horse race, with the barely noticeable presence of a Microsoft ARM CPU). While checking these charts, you can also see how fast Apple M1 adoption is climbing in macOS. In the latest survey, Apple Silicon has over 40% market share.

Last but not least, Linux gamers on Steam have been lapping up AMD CPUs. We may see Intel and AMD reach parity in popularity among Steam users gaming with this open-source OS installed.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • InvalidError
    Who could have imagined five years ago that the RX580 would still be growing in popularity today faster than its nearest equivalents?
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    InvalidError said:
    Who could have imagined five years ago that the RX580 would still be growing in popularity today faster than its nearest equivalents?
    None of the major US vendors are selling them, so the rise in steam usage by a pretty significant .1% in one month would seem to point to Asian mining operations dumping them on the market because they aren't profitable any more with the drop in crypto profits as opposed to new card sales.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    I would not be surprised to see AMD & Nvidia both NOT release their new stuff this year. Neither has stable supply still, and their latest line-up still doesn't have the market penetration they undoubtedly want, as evidenced by the Steam survey. AMD can likely just focus on Zen4 this fall, and Nvidia could get more 30x0 into the market.

    It also feels like both are not selling as many GPUs to cryptominers this year, judging from the dropping prices.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    2Be_or_Not2Be said:
    Neither has stable supply still, and their latest line-up still doesn't have the market penetration they undoubtedly want, as evidenced by the Steam survey.
    The RX6000/RTX3000 series sold plenty, albeit mostly direct to crypto-miners. Continuing to flood the distribution channel with GPUs that are losing sales momentum while crypto-mining may be about to dump millions of used RX470-6900/(G/R)TX1060-3900 GPUs on the market would be a dangerous thing to do. AMD and Nvidia's best insurance against that is to transition manufacturing and sales to next-gen before they they may have to eat massive cuts on excess old stock inventory.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    2Be_or_Not2Be said:
    I would not be surprised to see AMD & Nvidia both NOT release their new stuff this year. Neither has stable supply still, and their latest line-up still doesn't have the market penetration they undoubtedly want, as evidenced by the Steam survey. AMD can likely just focus on Zen4 this fall, and Nvidia could get more 30x0 into the market.
    While the Steam Hardware survey is a good piece of data, it shouldn't be taken as a representative of the market entirely. It still requires people to actively submit their hardware specs to Steam and as far as I can recall, I did get the pop-up saying if I would like to submit my results in, but I can't recall the last time I got this pop-up. Plus it requires me to actually run Steam. Considering the top 10 PC games played recently, only one of them actually requires Steam to run (CS:GO). The rest are either standalone (e.g., Minecraft, LoL), are on multiple platforms (e.g., Rocket League, GTAV, Apex Legends), or are exclusive on the publisher's launcher (e.g., Fortnite, CoD)

    Also consider the pandemic did cause a spike in PC sales, and while I'm too lazy to find out what percentage of that pie was from which system builder, I'm more than certain a lot of them sold with RTX 30 or Radeon RX 6000 cards.

    NVIDIA and AMD sold plenty of current gen GPUs. There's not a supply problem in its entirety. There was a problem getting loose cards to consumers who wanted it.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    hotaru.hino said:
    While the Steam Hardware survey is a good piece of data, it shouldn't be taken as a representative of the market entirely. It still requires people to actively submit their hardware specs to Steam and as far as I can recall, I did get the pop-up saying if I would like to submit my results in, but I can't recall the last time I got this pop-up.
    I got the survey prompt almost immediately upon putting my i5-11400 together and pretty sure I've gotten it at least two more times since, the latest one being a month or two ago. Seems to be in line with the 3-4 times per year I was getting the prompt on my previous PC. I don't know how Valve picks which accounts to request surveys from but it looks like my account gets picked with extremely high regularity.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    InvalidError said:
    I got the survey prompt almost immediately upon putting my i5-11400 together and pretty sure I've gotten it at least two more times since, the latest one being a month or two ago. Seems to be in line with the 3-4 times per year I was getting the prompt on my previous PC. I don't know how Valve picks which accounts to request surveys from but it looks like my account gets picked with extremely high regularity.
    I mean, it could also just be me not running Steam for a while because I was doing something else.
    Reply
  • magbarn
    So this confirms that the majority of cards were ending up in mining farms instead of gamers as card production hasn't really increased all that much since 2 years ago.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    InvalidError said:
    The RX6000/RTX3000 series sold plenty, albeit mostly direct to crypto-miners. Continuing to flood the distribution channel with GPUs that are losing sales momentum while crypto-mining may be about to dump millions of used RX470-6900/(G/R)TX1060-3900 GPUs on the market would be a dangerous thing to do. AMD and Nvidia's best insurance against that is to transition manufacturing and sales to next-gen before they they may have to eat massive cuts on excess old stock inventory.

    Yeah, it was annoying to know that stock was being eaten up quietly by miners, especially with direct deals. So that's definitely slowed for Nvidia/AMD. But I don't think they are sitting on any excess old stock; they've already sold everything they have in the current line-up to the AIB partners. If anyone takes a hit, it would be the AIB partners. But then all the AIBs have to do is price the new gen (4000-series, etc.) at higher prices & then when the inevitable out-of-stock happens at launch, then they still have 3000-series for those would-be buyers.

    I guess in all of this, AMD/Nvidia for sure won't lose anything, especially if they both release next gen this year. AIBs may take a small hit, but it won't be as much as the profit they made over the last year or two.

    Edit: although I guess you could say that AMD/Nvidia won't make as much in GPUs this year if they don't release their next-gen this fall. I don't see any massive sell-off in GPUs from miners yet, though. It probably would take the oft-announced-and-oft-delayed Ethereum switch to actually make that happen, and if you think that is happening soon, then that's some amazing optimism.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    magbarn said:
    So this confirms that the majority of cards were ending up in mining farms instead of gamers as card production hasn't really increased all that much since 2 years ago.
    No it doesn't. There's plenty of flaws with the Steam Hardware survey data that you can't draw any industry wide conclusions from it. It's still useful data, don't get me wrong.

    2Be_or_Not2Be said:
    Yeah, it was annoying to know that stock was being eaten up quietly by miners, especially with direct deals. So that's definitely slowed for Nvidia/AMD. But I don't think they are sitting on any excess old stock; they've already sold everything they have in the current line-up to the AIB partners. If anyone takes a hit, it would be the AIB partners. But then all the AIBs have to do is price the new gen (4000-series, etc.) at higher prices & then when the inevitable out-of-stock happens at launch, then they still have 3000-series for those would-be buyers.
    I think the only AIB you can buy direct from is EVGA (at least for NVIDIA Cards) and MSI. At least after checking those two plus Gigabyte and ASUS. Others may allow direct purchases. In any case, going on all this, AIB's then have already made their sales because store fronts have to purchase from them or have some other agreement like that. I don't believe there's an "IOU" system where manufacturers put their stuff on the shelves and ask the retailer for payment later because that's a logistical and accounting migraine. But in any case, there seems to be plenty to go around on NewEgg, Amazon, and the like.

    Trouble is when we start hearing stories that storefronts or AIBs are asking people up the supply chain for a refund. Like what happened with NVIDIA in 2019 or 2020.
    Reply