Nvidia RTX 3060 Begins its Reign as the Most Popular GPU

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The latest Steam Hardware Survey (SHS) is out, and as usual it provides insight into the dynamics of the PC hardware configurations favored by gamers. What caught our eye this month was the impressive surge in Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 / 3060 Mobile usage, one of the best graphics cards. Added together, these 3060 category Ampere GPUs become the only double digit percentage ranked entry in the survey. It's arguable whether such a merge is ‘justified’ or not, but the previous two GeForce generations don’t separate out the desktop and mobile GPUs as far as the SHS is concerned.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 has become something of a legend for mainstream gaming. It has every right to its success, as it was priced competitively, provided a great gen-to-gen performance uplift, and can still be used for PC gaming fun today. Ironically, Team Green might be looking forward to the demise of the GTX 1060 more than its rivals, as it continues to frame modern PC gaming in terms of features that aren’t supported by ye olde Pascal architecture — ray tracing, DLSS, and so on.

It's no surprise the GeForce GTX 1060 is still holding onto the official top spot in the SHS GPU tables with 7.24% (DX12 PC gaming figures derived from the survey will be used throughout this article). It's even made sporadic gains over the last few months — perhaps cards have been sold by upgraders and are being subsequently enjoyed in ‘new’ entry level systems.

Again, bear in mind that there's only a single entry for "GTX 1060" in the charts. That aggregates GTX 1060 6GB and 3GB desktop variants, plus any laptop models as well. There's no question that the 1060 was a very popular card back in its heyday, though it's less so now.

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Steam Hardware Survey, Corrected Data (100% Sum)
1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10607.46%7.28%7.41%6.89%7.24%0.35%
2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16507.02%7.21%6.81%6.89%6.92%0.03%
3NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20605.44%5.39%5.42%5.40%5.55%0.15%
4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti5.95%5.74%5.96%5.34%5.22%-0.11%
5NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU2.93%3.32%3.59%3.75%4.40%0.65%
6NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30602.56%2.88%2.77%3.54%3.83%0.28%
7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti3.05%2.93%3.00%2.81%2.82%0.00%
8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER2.69%2.65%2.65%2.70%2.74%0.04%
9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10503.05%3.04%2.99%2.78%2.63%-0.15%
10NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30702.33%2.23%2.46%2.56%2.56%0.00%
11NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti1.85%1.89%2.03%2.20%2.31%0.11%
12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10702.59%2.32%2.57%2.21%2.14%-0.07%
13NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30501.27%1.49%1.48%1.79%2.13%0.34%
14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16601.86%1.90%1.86%1.82%2.05%0.23%
15AMD Radeon Graphics1.56%1.78%1.42%1.86%1.91%0.05%
16NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30801.65%1.60%1.81%1.88%1.86%-0.02%
17NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER2.17%1.93%2.13%1.96%1.84%-0.12%
18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti1.53%1.51%1.40%1.40%1.39%-0.01%
19NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20701.50%1.42%1.51%1.43%1.36%-0.06%
20AMD Radeon RX 5801.62%1.47%1.58%1.42%1.31%-0.11%
21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10801.57%1.42%1.56%1.40%1.30%-0.10%
22NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER1.29%1.20%1.27%1.22%1.22%0.00%
23NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti0.97%1.00%1.14%1.20%1.21%0.01%
24NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU0.73%0.81%0.79%0.97%1.07%0.09%
25AMD Radeon RX 5701.29%1.18%1.29%1.14%1.04%-0.10%
26NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER1.09%1.03%1.05%1.00%1.02%0.03%
27AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics1.10%1.14%0.99%1.12%1.01%-0.11%
28NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU0.80%0.84%0.91%0.89%0.93%0.05%
29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9701.13%1.02%1.12%0.96%0.88%-0.08%
30NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU0.57%0.64%0.61%0.70%0.87%0.17%

If we merge the GeForce RTX 3060 and 3060 Mobile into one, using Steam's data, it turns out the unified RTX 3060 entity eclipsed the GTX 1060 between May and June of this year. In the newest September data, the RTX 3060 products are very clearly in the lead with a total of 10.53%, the only GPU to make double digits in the table.

Even as separate line items, the GeForce RTX 3060 and 3060 Laptop GPUs are 6th and 5th, respectively. If we didn’t ‘help’ the RTX 3060 with the merged figures, they could still easily make it to first and second position on their own steam (sorry) sometime in 2023. Also note that there's no launch window in sight for the RTX 4070 or below. Nvidia’s increased pricing might mean something like the RTX 4050 could end up as the best selling Ada Lovelace generation GPU.

Elsewhere in the Steam survey, hexacore CPUs have very firmly cemented their lead over recent months. In OS usage, Windows 11 continues to look strong and will certainly break the 25% milestone before the next survey is published.

Lastly, there has been some VR headset controversy. Upload VR noted that Valve has had to step in and correct the VR headset market share information, as it had some ‘extreme’ figures for the Oculus Quest 2 (now Meta Quest 2) and ‘Other’ headsets. Apparently, there might be some misreporting in this segment due to the hardware detection method.

And that is reason enough to question all Steam hardware survey results. We've long wondered whether Valve uses proper statistical methods (ie, fully random sampling), rather than looking for other trends in hardware use. Sadly, Valve never says precisely what it's doing, though it remains the best publicly available insight into PC hardware.

Mark Tyson
News Editor

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

  • -Fran-
    Let's see if Intel gets the ARCs into the Steam charts before 2030 :LOL:

  • spongiemaster
    -Fran- said:
    Let's see if Intel gets the ARCs into the Steam charts before 2030 :LOL:

    Intel's top two representatives on the Steam Survey would be the 2nd and 3rd most popular AMD GPU's. Because of the huge volume of OEM sales that Intel does, they'll have no problem getting ARC on the survey if they produce enough.
  • PlaneInTheSky
    What a misleading headline.
  • rluker5
    -Fran- said:
    Let's see if Intel gets the ARCs into the Steam charts before 2030 :LOL:

    That is the market segment they are targeting.
  • ohio_buckeye
    If they can be similar in price performance to an rx 6600 they’ll likely have no issues. Those cards and the 3060 are kind of like the 1060s of yesteryear in regards to mainstream performance per dollar.
  • hotaru251
    Combined desktop and laptop puts the 3060 at the top of the Steam charts

    deceptive statement.

    desktop 3060 is not same as a mobile 3060.

    a 3060 mobile is a kin to a 2070 in terms of performance.
  • spongiemaster
    hotaru251 said:
    deceptive statement.

    desktop 3060 is not same as a mobile 3060.

    a 3060 mobile is a kin to a 2070 in terms of performance.
    Nothing deceptive here. They both use the same GA106 die. Mobile actually has more shaders and TMU's enabled than the desktop version, but is held back by much lower clock speeds.
  • escksu
    Its not surprising. ITs about the only card thats still considered affrodable
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    It would be wild if this is the case going forward, considering Intel's performance per dollar, and AMD's potential performance per dollar as well.

    After playing some games with Ultra DLSS 2.0 settings, I'm really not impressed, it's not something I'd notice, especially on fast paced games, to begin with.

    Maybe Control, and slower paced ones like that one, but even then, not even too impressed, I'd make do with an AMD or Intel card for most of my older games, provided performance does not choke.

    Newer games I can either play with lower settings or get on a console, it's WAY cheaper.
  • Johnpombrio
    As usual, high-end graphics cards are far down the list and have a meager percentage of ownership. My 3080 Ti is less than 1 percent share ( a little less than one out of a hundred). 3090 are at half of a percent. Yet, these are always the cards that are most argued about. Go figure.