There are more people using the latest generation Nvidia graphics card on Steam than using one cap of AMD’s new GPUs. This is the latest issue of the Steam hardware survey, which will be a depressing read for Radeon fans.
Relatively few people damage a flagship GPU compared to the rest of the range within any series of graphics cards combined. That is, how more people will end up owning a GeForce RTX 3070 than a GeForce RTX 3090. The latest Steam hardware survey supports this, but here's a more interesting nugget that comes from reviewing the latest issues: Steam's survey shows that even the RTX 3090 has a larger share of users on its platform than AMD's full range of Radeon RX 6000 cards.
In this case, the standard disclaimer applies Steam survey results they are not a completely accurate snapshot of market share, not even fully representative of the entire Steam population. However, it is one of the best resources we have for observing trends in hardware usage among gamers (like Linux which has a 1% OS share).
This is what makes the latest image so interesting. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 series and AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series are based on each company’s state-of-the-art GPU architecture (Ampere and RDNA 2, respectively) and have been out for several months. Graphics cards have been immensely difficult to buy, of course, but those that reach retail shelves are only there for a fraction of a second before being captured by scalpers, miners, and gamers (probably in that order, unfortunately).
It’s a bit tricky to try to compare numbers. This is because AMD's state-of-the-art GPU hardware doesn't even appear in the "All Video Cards" section. Reddit user zyck_titan found a file smart solution to this problem. It turns out that AMD's RX 6000 series does appears in Category "Vulkan Systems", and we can use this information to extrapolate a global quota.
"If you compare Vulkan Systems shares with the general shares listed in (the Steam Hardware Survey), you'll see that all cards have twice the share in Vulkan Systems. So all you have to do is split by two to get the overall share, ”they wrote.
It’s not an exact split, but it’s close enough. For example, the RTX 3090 shows a 0.74% Vulkan Systems share and a 0.38% overall share. The numbers in the Vulkan system are about twice the RTX 30 table, so the formula seems to work.
If we apply the math to AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series and compare the calculated figures to the overall share of Nvidia’s RTX 30 series, here it breaks down (though keep in mind that these are desktop graphics cards, no of mobile chips):
- GeForce RTX 3090: 0.38%
- GeForce RTX 3080: 0.93%
- GeForce RTX 3070: 1.58%
- GeForce RTX 3060 Ti: 0.42%
- GeForce RTX 3060: 0.67%
TOTAL = 3.98%
- Radeon RX 6900 XT: 0.08%
- Radeon RX 6800 XT: 0.1%
- Radeon RX 6800: 0.05%
- Radeon RX 6700 XT: 0.11%
TOTAL = 0.34%
Add it all up and you have a combined 0.34% share for the entire Radeon RX 6000 series range. The total share is less than the individual share of each Ampere card, including the flagship RTX 3090, which starts at $ 1,499. And it is well below the total Ampere card quota, which is billed at 3.98% (or 3.8% if the same formula is applied to the Vulkan Systems quota instead of using the quota figures already collected).
Steam does not ping all systems that connect to its servers and there are all sorts of factors that can affect the results. But make no mistake, Valve believes the data is "incredibly useful in making decisions about what kind of technology investments we need to make and what products we offer." Like the recently announced Steam Deck.
What the numbers don’t reveal is why quota works the way it works. In that case, it could be a combination of gaming performance and mining that pushes more Steam users into Ampere territory. Or it can be as simple as giving the green team more cards to buy, so users can pick up whatever is available at any given time.
Either way, the latest survey results indicate that AMD has some tasks to catch up on.