The latest Steam Hardware Survey (opens in new tab) shows a big jump in Nvidia's share, helped by the recent laptop and desktop GPU launches. The best graphics cards remain in short supply, and even cards from one or two generations back still sell at unreasonable prices according to our GPU price index, but if you believe Steam's data (#SpoonfulOfSalt), Team Green is doing a better job at getting its latest cards into the hands of gamers. It's not just Steam, though, as a recent JPR GPU market report also confirms these results.
We've used the data from Steam's API page, selecting GPUs that support the DirectX 12 API — this helps to eliminate a bunch of old cruft, including potato GPUs integrated into old Intel CPUs. Of course, there are plenty of caveats, like the fact that the percentages don't add up properly to anything close to 100% for all GPUs on the various APIs, but we've adjusted things to account for only the cards shown in the tables. And here's how things break down, looking at the past few months:
|RX 500 and Vega Series||5.71%||5.62%||5.19%||5.22%||4.77%|
All told, the past three generations of AMD and Nvidia GPUs account for about 75% of the DirectX 12 GPU share, according to Steam's nebulous statistics. However, most of that still goes to the old GTX 10-series and RX 500-series GPUs, followed by the GTX 16-series and RTX 20-series. Nvidia's RTX 30-series Ampere GPUs meanwhile now account for more total share of the Steam userbase than all of the past three generations of AMD GPUs combined.
Based on the Steam data, it looks like RTX 30-series has outsold AMD RX 6000-series by a factor of about 18 to 1. Which, of course, raises some interesting questions. The latest JPR report shows AMD dedicated GPUs accounting for 80% of the market, and AMD only has 20% of the market — that's for both desktop and mobile GPUs. So either the Steam data is suspect (it is!), or proportionately more of AMD's latest generation GPUs are ending up in the hands of miners that never participate in the Steam Hardware Survey, or both.
What's interesting to note is that the latest August data is how many new Nvidia GPUs now show up: RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 3050 Laptop GPU, RTX 3050 Ti, and RTX 3050 are all there for the first time this month. Oddly, the RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU first showed up in June. In contrast, the only "new this month" entries from AMD are the Radeon 540X Series and the RX 6800M, which together are only 0.06% of the Steam userbase.
There are plenty of reasons to question the Steam HW Survey, of course. It has had problems in the past where it counted gaming PCs at internet cafes multiple times, for example. But arguably, the biggest red flag is that Valve itself doesn't provide details on how the data gets collected. Without purely random sampling, the numbers can skew wildly.
The RTX 3070 Ti is a great example. Last month it didn't even show up, but this month it's already at 0.23%. That's the biggest first month showing on the Steam Hardware Survey that I can recall from the past year. So was RTX 3070 Ti really that popular, or does Steam skew toward sending more survey queries to PCs with new/unknown hardware? Either is entirely possible, but I suspect there's truth to the latter. That should help new AMD GPUs as well, though, so it's still unclear as to why the Steam HW Survey data tends to be so different from what we hear elsewhere.
Looking at the latest generation GPUs only, the RTX 3070 continues to be the most popular card, with 1.56% of survey respondents. RTX 3060 meanwhile showed significant gains this past month, increasing its percentage by 0.38% — it will pass the 3070 in two more months at the current rate. Overall share actually dropped on the RTX 3080, to 0.83%. That could just be the margin of error in the sampling, or it could mean fewer RTX 3080 cards are being sold and manufactured now that the RTX 3080 Ti is available.
AMD's best selling RX 6000 series card is the RX 6700 XT, coming in at 0.13% of respondents, with the RX 6800 XT at 0.10%, RX 6900 XT at 0.08%, and RX 6800 at just 0.04%. The RX 6600 XT only just came out last month, so it hasn't shown up on the survey yet — it would be great to see it make a big splash like the RTX 3070 Ti.
The good news is that more and more gamers are getting their hands on RTX 30-series GPUs, and it saw overall growth from 5.68% in July to 7.75% in August. AMD's RX 6000-series only went up a bit as well, from 0.40% to 0.43%. Hopefully things will start to improve with the looming end of Ethereum mining — it's hard to imagine things getting any worse.