What just happened? The latest Steam Hardware and Software survey has landed with some good news for Intel and Nvidia. For the first time in years, Chipzilla has seen its CPU share among participants increase for the second month in a row, while Ampere cards had their best period to date.
Watching AMD chip away at Intel's lead in the survey's processor section has become an expected trend in recent times. Team red hit the 30% mark in May, and while there were a couple of months where its share dipped, it always bounced back straight away. But a -0.04% decline in February and a -0.26% fall in March is the first time that this writer can recall two consecutive months of shrinking user numbers for AMD CPUs. The Ryzen maker is now at 30.66% as Intel draws closer to regaining its 70% slice of the pie.
Moving onto GPUs, more people started using the GTX 1060 last month (0.19%), cementing its place in the top spot that it's held since January 2018. However, the RTX 2060 keeps breathing down its neck. The Turing card saw the third-largest gains last month (0.24%), pushing it past the GTX 1050 Ti and into third place on the main GPU chart.
March was also the best month so far for Ampere cards. Six of the top ten biggest gainers were from Nvidia's latest RTX 3000 series: the RTX 3060 led the pack (up 0.56%), followed by the RTX 3070. The 3060 Ti, 3080, 3070 Ti, and 3050 made up the rest of the big movers. Could this be a reflection of graphics cards moving ever closer to their MSRP as availability improves?
Sadly for AMD, the Radeon RX 6700 XT remains the only RDNA 2 card on the main chart, thanks to its 0.23% share. It was up just 0.01% last month and currently sits between the GT 720M and RX 590 Series.
Elsewhere, Windows 11 continues to slowly but surely erode Windows 10's lead with a 1.25% gain in March, taking it to 16.84%, and six is now the most common number of physical CPU cores among Windows users, moving ahead of the long-time most popular option of four-core CPUs. The majority of participants have 8GB of VRAM in their graphics cards, over 1TB of storage space, and 16GB of RAM, and if you use a VR headset, it's probably the Oculus Quest 2.
As always, the caveat here is that participation in the Steam survey is optional among the platform users, but it does give a good indication of what hardware people are buying and using.