50% of Steam users now use 6-core or 8-core processors

Over 50% of Steam users on Windows now use systems with more than 4 cores

The end of Quad-Core gaming is coming - High Core Count CPUs are starting to dominate Steam's hardware survey

The end of Quad-Core Era is coming - The Era of 6/8 Core CPUs has arrived

Steam's hardware survey can be a valuable source of information for developers and other analysts. It can track hardware trends over time and help developers to optimise their games around the popular hardware that PC gamers use today. If your game/software doesn't run well on the hardware that most gamers process, you are limiting your potential audience, and increasing the number of potential refunds that Steam will need to provide. 

Currently, 47.43% of PC gamers have systems with 16GB of RAM, making that a great target for PC developers. Nvidia's GTX 1060 remains as Steam's most popular GPU, and that means that most PC games should be able to run well on that level of graphics hardware. Even today, 4-core CPUs remain the most popular core count on Steam, which means that most games should be designed to run well at that core count. That said, things are changing. 

The Quad-Core era is coming to an end

Back in July 2020, quad-core CPUs were used by 46.5% of Steam's userbase. Today, only 35.3% of Steam users use quad-core processors. Over the coming months/years, that number is expected to decrease further, as 6-core and 8-core desktop CPUs are becoming dominant within today's gaming landscape.

On Windows, over 50% of PC gamers now use 6-core or 8-core processors, with 6-core CPUs being used by 33.25% of Steam users while 16.78% of users utilise 8-core CPUs. Together, these gamers account for 50.3% of Steam users on Windows.

The high core count PC gaming era has arrived!

The end of Quad-Core gaming is coming - High Core Count CPUs are starting to dominate Steam's hardware survey

What changed? Why are 6-core and 8-core CPUs becoming so popular?

With the launch of AMD's Ryzen series of desktop processors, the PC market started to get access to CPUs that featured six or more cores at affordable prices. After AMD launched Ryzen, Intel also started to release higher core count desktop processors with their 8th generation and newer Core series processors. 

Today, most processors that are targeted at PC gamers feature six or more CPU cores, and many modern game now run much faster when played on processors with higher core counts. Today's best gaming CPUs now feature more than four CPU cores, and software has started to utilise these higher core counts. 

The Call of Next-Gen

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S all feature 8-core Zen 2 CPUs from AMD. While Xbox One and PlayStation 4 already used 8-core CPUs, their modern equivalents now deliver much higher clock speeds, and utilise AMD's powerful Zen 2 architecture. The latest consoles now use high performance 8-core CPUs, and that means that new software will be developed with this hardware in mind. 

Gamers know that they will need a CPU that is equivalent to or stronger than the CPUs uses in PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles for their systems to continue playing modern AAA games. This has helped to fuel upgrades to 6-core and 8-core CPUs, and will ensure that quad-core CPUs will continue their decline in future Steam surveys. 

High Core Count CPUs are starting to dominate Steam's hardware survey

Quad-Core PC Gaming is Declining, but it isn't dead

Steam may be seeing 6-core and 8-core processors become increasingly popular amongst PC gamers, but that doesn't mean that quad-core CPUs will soon be useless for PC gaming. Remember, over 30% of Steam users still use quad-core processors, and developers are still targeting quad-core processors with their latest titles.

Valve's Steam Deck handheld will launch this year with a quad-core Zen 2 CPU, and that alone is evidence enough that quad-core processors will remain "good enough" for PC gaming for years to come. Yes, 6-core and 8-core CPUs will soon be recommended for new desktop gaming systems, but that doesn't mean that all PC games will be unplayable on quad cores.

Remember, over 30% of Steam users on Windows still use quad-core CPUs. PC developers would be silly to ignore that userbase, even if 50% of Steam users have more cores in their systems. The PC market is moving away from quad-core CPUs, but that doesn't mean that quad core CPUs aren't still useable. 

You can join the discussion on 6/8 core CPUs dominating AMD's latest Steam hardware survey on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

12-01-2022, 21:37:09

NeverBackDown
This isn't really worth much. Steam hardware survey needs to be taken as a long term mini sample of the PC users using it. It only surveys a handful of people a month compared to the millions upon millions who use it without submitting a survey.

If this trend happened over the course of 12 months then I'd say it probably has some statistical relevance.

I really wish they surveyed everybody. They have all the data to make it really important and viable for developers.Quote

12-01-2022, 23:25:07

AlienALX
They can't survey everybody. You have to agree to it for starters, and maybe some people don't want to.Quote

13-01-2022, 09:33:49

Warchild
Not really newsworthy stuff though.. its inevitable that this will happen over time. When I read this, I compare it to topics like "more people now using windows 10" or "less people using 9xx series Nvidia cards"

Quote:
I really wish they surveyed everybody. They have all the data to make it really important and viable for developers.
The problem with this is that Developers are under pressure more than ever and so have got either lazy, or forced to cut corners. We have wanted multi core support for years and its still not there. We see developers releasing horrendous titles these days e.g. CDPR, Bethesda, DICE, Square Enix. Hoping for them to focus on multi core enhancements is asking for miracles. Its not often the Devs fault they want to be scrupulous, but their reckless publishers leave them no choice sometimes.Quote

13-01-2022, 12:18:31

NeverBackDown
While true if you gave them concrete data to support their wants for technical enhancements it could give them more leverage against the publisher for updating engine pipelines that are both time consuming and not really the eye candy publishers want. If more data helps then I'm all for it. Let everyone opt in or out and let it be automatic.Quote

13-01-2022, 13:25:55

Warchild
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
While true if you gave them concrete data to support their wants for technical enhancements it could give them more leverage against the publisher for updating engine pipelines that are both time consuming and not really the eye candy publishers want. If more data helps then I'm all for it. Let everyone opt in or out and let it be automatic.
Same. I couldn't give a damn if people want to snoop my data, I have nothing to hide, nor do i care about my privacy being used from a data point of view. If it helps them, then have at it.Quote
Reply
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