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Nvidia RTX 3060 grabs the top spot for Steam GPUs – but is something else happening here?

Nvidia’s RTX 3060 graphics card has made a big leap to take the top spot in the ranking of the most popular GPUs used on Steam, according to the latest hardware survey conducted by Valve.

The survey data for September shows that the RTX 3060 rose from 4.87% the previous month, where it was in second place behind the GTX 1650, to hit 6.27% and claim the number one slot (the 1650 dropped a touch to 4.78%).

That’s a pretty remarkable rise of 1.4% month-on-month for the RTX 3060, the kind of gain that isn’t seen often.

Mind you, we must take the Steam hardware survey with some caution, as the PCs included in the breakdown change from month to month, and that can cause some variance in itself as you might imagine. And there have been incidents where really weird things have happened in the past, as you may recall – let’s dig into that a bit more.

Analysis: A case of a skewed survey (again)? Perhaps…

A few times in the past with the Steam survey, we’ve seen a large uptick in Chinese PCs skew results quite badly. We know they’re PCs from China because when looking under language, simplified Chinese will see a big rise in these cases (and English inevitably has a similar shift in the other direction).

Notably, this has happened with the RTX 3060 in the past, with the GPU leaping to almost 10% adoption on Steam before levels returned to normal the following month. In that case, the rise did correspond with a big shift to more PCs in China getting included in the survey.

What about this time? Well, there is a slight rise in the percentage of PCs that use simplified Chinese of just over 5%, but that’s nothing like the tilting that has been observed in the past. As another example, we’ve witnessed an increase of 25% of Chinese PCs surveyed which caused a big swing in the percentages of Windows 10 and 11 users – and this was the size of the shift when the 3060 hit 10%, too.

So, a 5% uptick for Chinese PCs won’t make nearly as much in the way of waves – though it could possibly explain the gain made by the RTX 3060 GPU (which is clearly popular over in Asia, based on previous survey results). Or at least partly explain it, anyway.

The only way we’ll know for sure is if the RTX 3060 holds the top spot next month, or whether it reverts to more like previous percentages (just under 5%) – but we certainly can’t rule out that Nvidia’s GPU is making progress in terms of becoming more popular at this point.

As you may be aware, Nvidia very much owns the Steam GPU rankings, with Team Green taking the top 11 spots. The first AMD GPU seen, at number 12, is integrated graphics (meaning laptop gamers), and the top desktop graphics card for Team Red doesn’t even show up in the top 25 (the RX 580 is at number 26).

Via Tom’s Hardware

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