Last month, we initialized coverage of Valve’s Steam Hardware Survey. Every 17th in the month, we are going to run a story with an update to Steam’s user survey, analyzing the hardware trends of well over 20 million users of Steam.

Without any doubt, Steam Hardware Survey is much realistic look at gaming computers than any other method, as it automatically collects the data from users and gives clear cut numbers on "who’s who" between millions of Steam users.

64-bit Windows 7 milestone reached: more than a million users!
Last month, we weren’t surprised to see that Windows 7 is being used by more than million gamers worldwide, even though this OS is scheduled for debut only on October 22, 2009 [i.e. more than a month from today]. However, according to the latest survey, 5.41% of all users 64-bit version of Windows 7, with additional 2.96% using the 32-bit version. When it comes to upgrade pattern, it seems that users of 32-bit Windows XP are jumping the gun and going to 64-bit Win7. Windows XP power 53.48% of all systems but they’re on a downward slope with -1.56% of all users moving elsewhere. With Steam powering more than 20 million gamers, Windows 7 now have more than two million gamers worldwide. For an unreleased operating system, this is adoption rate beyond belief.

CPU Wars: AMD fights back against Intel
When it comes to the world of CPUs, Intel is continuing to lead AMD, increasing its share to 67.99% of all users. AMD dropped to 31.99%. But when it comes to numbers, it looks like AMD found an interesting niche with their triple-core processors, who now capture 0.67% of the market.
But the interesting trend is installing Steam on notebooks, witnessed by steady growth of dual-core processors, who got another 100,000 users [56.46% total]. On desktop side, quad-core grew by 0.55% to take 18.32% or just around four million gamers own a quad core processor. When it comes to real number analysis, we have to wait until next month and combine August and September data to compile the "Back-to-School 2009" effect on newly purchased PCs.
CPU technology wise, it looks like a lot of users disabled Hyper-Threading, as Core i7 is significantly growing, yet there are less than 10% of users with active Hyper-Threading technology.

GPU Wars: nVidia still dominates ATI, but there is a change of power
ATI vs. nVidia is always an interesting war to witness. nVidia has a 65.38% share, with ATI keeping their 27.26% from the month before. Even though ATI Radeon 4800 series and two Mobility Radeon parts [3470 and 3650] won neat percentage, nVidia’s saviors were the low-end GTS 150 [OEM-only part] and GeForce GTX 275, a part that enjoyed a good run.
The problem that nVidia faces is the fact that the majority of its market share lies with GeForce 8800 series, and those users are mostly replacing that card with ATI Radeon 4800 series, rather than sticking with nVidia. Somehow we feel that this turn will accelerate with the introduction of Radeon 5700 series in October. This battlefield will be especially interesting in Steam surveys for November and December 2009.

System memory: 4GB dominates the market!
When it comes to the amount of system memory, we witnessed an interesting trend. Majority of users own 4GB of memory, split in 10.18% of users with 64-bit operating systems and 27.97% of users with 32-bit operating system that sees between 2.75 and 3.25GB. If 64-bit Windows 7 really pick up, we would expect to see 50% of all Steam users to have 4GB of memory by the end of the year.

Display: Widescreen domination continues, 16:9 panels attack
You won’t find many users who prefer 16:9 to 16:10 as far as computers go, but that is the general trend. After widescreen resolutions overtook the conventional 5:4/4:3 resolutions, it was a matter of time before 16:10 will start its decline towards 16:9 panels. According to this months’ survey, around 400,000 users bought 16:9 panels, now taking 18.58% of all Steam users. More than two million people use 16:9, and with widescreen resolutions capturing 56% of all users – there isn’t any pardon for modern games that have issues with widescreen resolutions.

As they say, you can’t stop progress and Steam is definitely the best example. Over 20 million people can’t be wrong.