Hexa-core CPUs now dominate Steam as Intel 12th gen grows

Most Windows gaming PCs on Steam now use processors with six or more cores, and it looks like Intel 12th gen helped to push things over the edge

Intel 12th gen: Intel Core processor logos sit atop a psychedelic background

The latest Steam hardware survey marks the beginning of a new era of PC gaming, as hexa-core processors are finally more popular than their quad-core brethren, and it’s safe to assume Intel 12th gen CPUs are to thank for this. While the adoption of AMD Ryzen chips undoubtedly contributed greatly to the prevalence of more cores in the best gaming CPUs, the latest statistics suggest team blue may be clawing back its market share of old.

Valve finds that 34.22% (+1.19%) of Windows gaming PCs now use a hexa-core processor, versus 33.74% (-1.27%) that are currently using quad-core chips. This is likely down to the increased amount of Intel 12th gen processors finding their way into systems, with the company’s overall market share among Steam users growing to 69.32% (+0.26%.) Meanwhile, AMD’s shrank to 30.66% (-0.26%), its lowest since December 2021.

Given that the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles both use octo-core Zen 2 CPUs, it’s no surprise that more of the best PC games need more cores to get them up and running. Even the Elden Ring system requirements demand a hexa-core processor in order to meet its minimum specs, and it definitely won’t be the last videogame to do so.

Moving away from the topic of processors, Windows 11 continues to grow in popularity, with the operating system now installed on 17.44% (+1.26%) of Steam PCs. Strangely, however, Windows 7 also saw an increase in its prevalence to the tune of 4.29% (+0.05%.)

Despite the increasing availability of GPUs, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 remains ruler of the roost, with the card powering up 8.18% (+0.19%) of systems running Valve’s platform. That said, some users may be holding off on upgrading their pixel pusher and choosing to upgrade to the best graphics cards from Nvidia’s RTX 4000 and AMD’s RDNA 3 lineup when they release later this year.