The monthly Steam Hardware Survey (opens in new tab) provides insight into the current gaming trends, showing which products are gaining steam, if you will, and which are losing it. The statistical methods may be somewhat opaque, but at present, it's the best we have. The month of August 2022 shows some significant milestones in the GPU realm, as well as some noteworthy trends in the CPU and OS areas. Sprinkle with salt as needed, but here's how things now stand.
Nvidia RTX 30-Series Takes the Pole Position
Starting with the best graphics cards, or at least the most popular options, we've used the data from Steam's API page (opens in new tab) as it's more granular than the main GPU page. We've also normalized the column values based on the total sum, so all columns add up to 100%. (Without that adjustment, the columns sum to anywhere from 90.05% to 92.92%, possibly due to different OSes or other factors that aren't immediately clear.)
There are two big pieces of news. First, the Nvidia RTX 30-series cards have surpassed any other GPU family in total survey share for the first time. All RTX 30-series GPUs combined now account for 21.65% of the August total, up 1.90% compared to July's data. On the flip side, the GTX 10-series dropped 2.15% and now sits at 22.09% — still the second most popular GPU family, though. AMD's RX 6000-series also saw a slight gain of just 0.03%, taking it to 1.84% overall. Every other family of GPUs saw a decrease.
(And before you ask: Yes, you could technically group the RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series under the Turing banner. The problem is that the feature sets are completely different. RTX 20 supports DXR and DLSS, GTX 16 does not, so we consider them as separate families.)
The other big news is that Nvidia's GTX 1060 no longer ranks as the most popular single GPU. Well, technically it still ties for first place at 6.88% of surveyed PCs, but the GTX 1650 has now climbed into the top slot as well — that's not even a GPU we liked, though it's undoubtedly helped by its use in budget gaming laptops. More notably, GTX 1060 dropped by 0.53% compared to July, while GTX 1650 increased by 0.07%.
The single GPU that saw the most significant jump in share over the past month is the RTX 3060, which gained 0.77%. "AMD Radeon Graphics" saw the second largest increase, of 0.44%, and that name likely applies to various integrated graphics solutions — probably including Valve's own Steam Deck. RTX 3050 came in third with a 0.31% gain. However, there's plenty of room for fluctuations, as evidenced by Intel's UHD Graphics 620 ranking fourth with a 0.23% gain in share.
Big Changes in OS Share and CPU Manufacturer
The other two interesting pieces of news come from the OS and CPU pages. Our list of the best CPUs for gaming has been dominated by Intel's Alder Lake offerings since they arrived, though the Ryzen 7 5800X3D also makes an appearance as a pure gaming solution.
Steam's CPU vendor share (opens in new tab) has been holding somewhat steady at around the 67% Intel, 33% AMD mark for a while now, give or take a few percent. This past month, things took a swing in Intel's favor with gains of 1.65% and a commensurate loss of 1.67% for AMD (those are relative percentages rather than absolutes, which is why they're not the same).
How meaningful of a change is that? It's probably more margin of error on sampling, as we've seen AMD gains in May and July, with Intel gains in April, June, and now August. It would make more sense if these figures were skewed toward new PCs, which are more prone to fluctuations than the PC market as a whole, but we'll take it as an interesting piece of data and move on.
Wrapping things up from the OS and API page (opens in new tab), Windows 11 saw another decent bump in overall share, improving to 24.71%. Windows 10 still accounts for the majority of all PCs, however, with 71.76% of surveyed systems. It's also interesting that Windows 7 and Windows 8 saw slight gains over the past month. We doubt that many PCs are actually replacing Windows 10 with Windows 7, so these are likely just variations in sampling, but we can't say for certain.
Over the past several months, there have been numerous reports of lower PC and component sales and inventory bloat. As a result, consumers and businesses aren't buying hardware as fast as it's being produced, and the near-term outlook isn't good. That comes from JPR reports (opens in new tab) and IDC reports (opens in new tab). The result has been falling hardware prices, and retail GPU prices continued to fall.
The situation isn't helped by all the next-generation hardware slated to launch in the coming months. On the GPU side of things, Nvidia RTX 40-series cards are expected to arrive by October, and AMD RX 7000-series RDNA 3 GPUs will likely land in November. Intel's Arc Alchemist GPUs for desktops are also expected in October, with improved drivers relative to the Arc A380.
Things are just as exciting over in CPU and motherboard land. AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs using the Zen 4 architecture officially launch on September 27, accompanied by 600-series chipsets and motherboards. That will usher in the era of DDR5 memory for both AMD and Intel platforms, though Intel continues to offer DDR4 support as an alternative.
Intel Raptor Lake CPUs should also launch by October (rumor of October 17 launch), adding more efficiency cores across the stack and providing renewed competition for AMD's Zen 4 chips. The 13th Gen Intel CPUs will also have new 700-series chipsets, though they're also socket compatible with LGA1700, and existing 600-series boards should work with a BIOS update.
All of those changes likely won't show up on the Steam Hardware Survey for many months, but come next year, we should see the new hardware start to pop up.