Steam has released their monthly survey on components used in Gaming PCs and it’s somewhat of a surprise to learn how modest the most common gaming PCs are. Gaming PCs have always been at the forefront of technology and its likely if you’re building one today you will probably opt for specs that exceed these. You can see their page here:
Most Popular Gaming PC Components (Steam)
|Windows 10 64 bit
|Most popular OS
|Most popular RAM size
|2.3 Ghz to 2.69 Ghz
|Most popular CPU speed range
|Most popular number of CPU cores
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
|Most popular GPU
|Most popular VRAM size
|Primary Display Resolution
|1920 x 1080
|Most popular primary display resolution
|Multi-Monitor Display Resolution
|3840 x 1080
|Most popular multi-monitor resolution
|Most popular language
|Free Hard Drive Space
|100 GB to 249 GB
|Most popular free hard drive space range
|Total Hard Drive Space
|Above 1 TB
|Most popular total hard drive space size
|Oculus Quest 2
|Most popular VR headset
Breakdown Of The Parts
- Windows 10 64-bit: The majority of games are developed and optimized for Windows, making it the de facto choice for gaming PCs. While Windows 11 is available, many gamers haven’t upgraded due to potential compatibility issues or preference for the familiar Windows 10 interface.
- 16 GB: This amount of RAM provides enough buffer for most modern games to run smoothly, especially at Full HD (1080p) resolution. It’s also the minimum requirement for many new titles, making it a safe bet for future compatibility.
- Speed: 2.3 GHz to 2.69 GHz
- Cores: 6 cores
These CPUs offer a good balance of processing power and affordability for 1080p gaming. The 2.3-2.69 GHz range falls within the sweet spot for many popular games, and 6 cores provide enough multitasking ability for running games alongside other applications like streaming software or web browsers.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
The RTX 3060 is a popular choice for its balance of performance and price. It can handle demanding games at 1080p with high frame rates and even offers decent performance at 1440p in some titles.
- 8 GB
This amount of VRAM is sufficient for most games at 1080p and even some at 1440p. Higher resolutions and demanding textures may require more VRAM, but 8 GB remains a good mid-range option.
- Primary: 1920 x 1080
- Multi-Monitor: 3840 x 1080
1080p is the most popular resolution for gaming due to its affordability and compatibility with most games and hardware. Many gamers utilize dual monitors, and the popularity of 3840 x 1080 (ultrawide) reflects this trend, offering increased multitasking space and immersive gaming experiences.
This reflects the global reach of Steam and the dominance of English in the gaming industry.
- Free Space: 100 GB to 249 GB
- Total Space: Above 1 TB
While game sizes are increasing, 100-249 GB is enough for a few installed games and basic applications. Larger total storage capacities (over 1 TB) are preferred for extensive game libraries and media storage.
- Oculus Quest 2
The Quest 2 is a popular choice for its standalone functionality (no PC required for some games), affordability, and decent performance.
- LAHF / SAHF: This relates to a specific CPU instruction and doesn’t directly impact gaming performance. Its 100% usage likely reflects a standard system setting with no significant influence on gaming experience.
Understanding Gaming PC Components
The Heart of Gaming: Processors
When it comes to gaming PCs, the processor (CPU) is the heart of the operation. The most popular CPUs for gaming in 2024 are those that offer a balance between performance and price. High-core-count processors from AMD and Intel dominate the market, with gamers favoring CPUs that can handle multitasking and high-frame-rate gaming simultaneously.
Key Specs to Consider:
- Core count and thread count
- Clock speed
- Compatibility with motherboards
- Overclocking capabilities
Graphics: The Visual Powerhouse
No gaming PC is complete without a powerful graphics card (GPU). The trend in 2024 sees a mix of NVIDIA and AMD cards topping the charts, with features like ray tracing and AI-driven performance enhancements becoming standard. Gamers look for GPUs that can deliver 4K gaming at high frame rates, with good thermal performance and power efficiency.
Key Specs to Consider:
- GPU architecture
- Memory (VRAM)
- Ray tracing capabilities
- Power consumption
Memory and Storage: Speed and Capacity
RAM and storage play crucial roles in the overall performance of a gaming PC. In 2024, DDR5 RAM has become the norm, with gamers opting for at least 16GB to ensure smooth gameplay and efficient multitasking. For storage, NVMe SSDs are preferred for their blazing-fast load times and responsiveness.
Key Specs to Consider:
- RAM: Speed (MHz) and capacity (GB)
- Storage: SSD vs. HDD, read/write speeds, capacity
Popular Gaming PC Builds of 2024
The Budget-Friendly Build
For those looking to enter the gaming world without breaking the bank, a budget-friendly build focuses on cost-effective components that still offer great performance. A typical budget build might include an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, NVIDIA GTX 1660 GPU, 16GB DDR5 RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
The Mid-Range Marvel
Mid-range builds offer the best balance between performance and price, suitable for most gamers. These PCs might feature an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3060 or AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT GPU, 16-32GB DDR5 RAM, and 1TB NVMe SSD.
The High-End Behemoth
For the ultimate gaming experience, high-end builds spare no expense. Expect to see Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 CPUs, NVIDIA RTX 3090 or AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT GPUs, 32GB DDR5 RAM, and multiple TBs of NVMe SSD storage in these machines.
Enhancing Your Gaming Experience
Beyond the core components, gamers enhance their setups with high-refresh-rate monitors, mechanical keyboards, and high-DPI mice. Sound quality is also crucial, with many opting for surround sound systems or high-quality gaming headsets.
Insights From The Data
The importance of balancing budget with performance is clear from what we see in the survey. While top-tier components get all the press and buzz online, it’s important to realize that mid-range specs often represent the sweet spot for value and performance. For instance, the AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 series CPUs are frequently praised for their affordability and capability in handling demanding games without breaking the bank. You don’t always have to max out everything when building a gaming PC. Game designers make the games so that a broad range of users can play them.
GPU Preferences: A Mixed Bag
The debate between NVIDIA and AMD GPUs is as lively as ever, but it’s still clear that it’s NVIDIA’s game. Some advocate for NVIDIA’s RTX series citing superior ray tracing capabilities, while others may lean towards AMD’s Radeon RX series for its price-to-performance ratio. Interestingly, discussions often highlight the importance of software drivers, with some users suggesting that AMD’s improvements in this area have significantly enhanced the stability and performance of their GPUs.
RAM and Storage: More Than Just Numbers
When it comes to RAM, the consensus is that while 16GB is sufficient for most current games, opting for 32GB can provide a noticeable improvement in multitasking and future-proofing. Having an NVMe SSD for speed is fairly common now, but having a larger HDD (as a secondary) for bulk storage of games and media is also recommended.
Cooling and Overclocking: Not to Be Overlooked
Cooling solutions and the potential for overclocking are topics that get a lot of attention. There are good options whether you go with an air or liquid based cooling system. Just figure out what works best for you and your build. Overclocking, while not for everyone, is also a way to squeeze extra performance out of components if your cooling can handle it.
The Importance of a Good Power Supply (PSU)
An often-overlooked component that should receive more attention is the power supply unit (PSU). The importance of choosing a high-quality PSU with enough wattage to support your components cannot be stressed enough. Also, give yourself room for future upgrades. The quality of your PSU goes a long way in protecting other components from power surges and providing cleaner power delivery for better performance.
Looking to the Future
As we see more and more widespread adoption of 8K gaming, VR advancements, and the potential impact of cloud gaming on traditional PC gaming setups, these specs will shift in a lot of different ways. 8K and VR will definitely push hardware requirements to the max while cloud gaming gives people with more modest setups a better chance to enjoy the games they want to play. In the future there will be options for both types of gamers and the line between them will blurr.
The most popular gaming PC specs of 2024 reflect the industry’s push towards higher performance, better visuals, and more immersive gaming experiences. Whether you’re building a budget-friendly setup or a high-end machine, the key is to balance performance with your gaming needs and budget.
Remember, the best gaming PC is one that provides the performance you need, at a price you’re comfortable with, and with the potential for future upgrades.