New Steam hardware survey results are in: Windows 11 surges, but 1440p gaming takes a hit

Image of the HP OMEN 27qs gaming monitor in use.
(Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

What you need to know

  • Each month, Valve conducts an optional survey through Steam that collects data about the hardware and software its customers use in their PCs.
  • The results of the November 2023 survey have been published, and they suggest there have been some interesting shifts.
  • Compared to October's survey, the use of 1440p resolution has fallen by over 7%. Meanwhile, Windows 10 use has decreased by 12.05%, while Windows 11 use has gone up by 11.51%. 
  • Most users are still playing at 1080p, and the most commonly used GPU is still NVIDIA's RTX 3060. However, it did fall by 4.79%, which is notable.

Every month, Valve conducts an optional and anonymous hardware and software survey through Steam that collects data about its customers' PC builds. The results of these surveys are posted publicly on Steam's website, and now that December's here, the data for November 2023 is in — and it suggests that there have been some interesting shifts.

Arguably the most surprising result is that 2560x1440 resolution was found to be used by just 15.97% of users — a large 7.17% decrease from October's sampling. I definitely wasn't expecting to see this, especially since 1440p looks considerably better than 1080p and isn't too much harder to run in most cases. To be clear, it's still the second most popular resolution after 1080p, which accounts for 60.09% (+1.08%) of Steam's player base. However, a drop of over 7% is a lot, and implies a good number of PC gamers may be moving to more budget-friendly displays. 1366x768 gets the bronze at 4.10% (+0.86%), followed by 3840x2160 (4K) at 3.72% (+1.13%); all other resolutions each account for ~3% or less of what folks are using.

The use of the Windows 10 operating system has also fallen to 53.53% (-12.05%), accompanied by an increase up to 42.04% for Windows 11 (+11.51%). This indicates that many folks who've stuck with Windows 10 since the launch of the newer OS in late 2021 have opted to migrate to Windows 11, likely enticed to do so by numerous improvements and refinements that Microsoft has made over time.

Valve's official breakdown of the most common display resolutions used by Steam users. (Image credit: Steam)

Notably, both Intel and NVIDIA are still beating AMD in the hardware department here, with 65.28% of survey participants using Team Blue CPUs and 75.12% playing with Team Green graphics cards. The most commonly used GPU is still the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 at 4.89%; however, that's still a 4.79% decrease compared to October's results, suggesting that gamers have been making upgrades (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday season discounts certainly helped with that, I'm sure).

49.88% — close to half of all survey participants — are using 16GB of RAM in their system, while 31.88% have 6-core CPUs (23% have 4-core chips, and 20.55% have 8-core ones). Also, 23.46% of users have 100GB to 249GB of storage space free, while 51.99% have over 1TB of total space. The storage struggle is real, and I'm not sure if even the best SSDs can save us.

You can view the full results of the survey here. Something important to note is that since all these stats come from randomly-chosen participants every month, they don't represent the entirety of Steam's user base. Even taking that into consideration, though, big shifts of 4% or more are uncommon, and likely are indicative of noteworthy market shifts.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.