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This Nvidia GPU just became a surprise Steam Survey hit

Valve has released the June Steam Survey, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 graphics card has just raced up the chart to number three.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang: A surprise GeForce RTX GPU is climbing the Steam Survey

Valve has just released the June Steam Survey results, and there’s a surprising new entry in the top ten most popular GPUs. One of Nvidia’s Ada GPUs is racing to the top of the charts, and it’s not one you might be expecting. Sitting at number three, after a 0.74% surge in popularity (which is huge in this over-saturated market), is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU.

This isn’t Nvidia’s entry-level GPU in this field either. Unlike the Nvidia desktop graphics card lineup, which doesn’t drop below the GeForce RTX 4060, you can get a GeForce RTX 4050 Laptop GPU, but this budget chip is well down the rankings in the latest Valve Steam Survey at number 30. Instead, it’s the GeForce RTX 4060 that appears to have captured the hearts and minds of gamers, as well as manufacturers of the best gaming laptops right now.

The GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop now commands a 3.58% share of Steam gamers who submitted their hardware details in June, up from 2.84% in May. A part of the secret of its success is this GPU’s versatility. Laptop manufacturers are able to set a thermal power limit on this GPU, varying from 80W to 115W, meaning it could be running at just 1,545MHz in a thin and light laptop with limited cooling headroom, or at 2,370MHz in a top-end laptop with a heftier PSU and room for a more substantial cooling system.

That means laptop makers can shoehorn this GPU into a variety of different chassis, but still maintain the same core spec, with 3,072 CUDA cores, 24 RT cores for ray tracing, and 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM. The clock speed still has a significant impact on performance, of course, but it means there’s no need to be limited to a GeForce RTX 4050 just because of the wattage.

Unlike many of Nvidia’s mobile GPUs, that core spec is also shared with the GeForce RTX 4060 desktop GPU – again, the only main difference is that the desktop graphics cards have a slightly higher memory clock speed, and again a higher GPU boost clock of 2,460MHz. The desktop RTX 4060 is also still in the top ten on the June Steam Survey, with a share of 3.02%, but it’s still a long way behind the last-gen GeForce RTX 3060 with its 5.66% share, despite the latter’s drop from 6.19% in May.

Meanwhile, AMD’s RDNA 3 GPU architecture is still struggling to compete with Nvidia. There’s only one GPU from AMD’s current-gen lineup listed on the June Steam Survey, and that’s the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, with a share of just 0.37%. All the top 15 GPUs on the survey are made by Nvidia, spanning several generations, from the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1060, through the Turing-based RTX 2060 and Ampere-based RTX 3060, right up to the latest Ada GPUs.

What this latest survey does show is that gaming laptops are now big business in a market that’s previously been overly dominated by desktop rigs. This laptop GPU is now being used by more Steam gamers than any of Nvidia’s RTX 4000-series desktop GPUs, and the last-gen RTX 3060 Laptop is also sitting pretty at number six in the survey.

If you’re thinking of upgrading your GPU, make sure you check out our full guide to the best graphics card, where we run you through all the best options at a range of prices.