Over half of gamers still using DirectX 9

While a cursory glance at various tech sites might have you believe that most gamers are still splashing out on the latest toys, Valve’s latest Steam hardware survey reveals that most gamers are still stubbornly sticking to technology from over three years ago.

According to the latest Steam stats, the average gaming system has a dual-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, integrated Realtek HD audio and the 32-bit version of Windows XP. This is all ageing tech that was available at the end of 2006, showing that most gamers have resisted the temptation to plunge into the realms of the latest hardware.

Perhaps the most interesting statistic, however, is that less than half the systems surveyed (48.94 per cent) are DirectX 10-compliant, meaning that they have both a DirectX 10 graphics card and a supporting OS (Windows Vista or Windows 7).

Interestingly, 27.21 per cent of those surveyed had a DirectX 10 graphics card, but had still decided to stick with Windows XP, resisting the lure of features such as DirectX 10’s Geometry Shader.

That said, while most gamers are sticking to the classic OS, the 64-bit version of Windows 7 is steadily climbing up the popularity charts. The new OS has already claimed 19.5 per cent of Steam users; a climb of 3.9 per cent that means it’s already overtaken the 32-bit version of Vista as the second most popular operating system.

The increasing popularity of the 64-bit OS also corresponds with the mounting popularity of systems with 4GB of RAM. Although most systems either have 2GB or 3GB of RAM, 4GB systems have increased in number by around 1.5 per cent since the last survey, making up 16.5 per cent of overall Steam users.

In terms of brands, Intel and Nvidia are currently leading the pack by a long way. Intel currently commands 69 per cent of the processors, while Nvidia has taken charge of 65 per cent of the graphics cards.

It’s not all bad news for AMD, though. While most of the overall graphics cards detected have Nvidia chips, ATI’s Radeon HD 4800-series is quickly closing in on Nvidia’s GeForce 8800-series at the top of the chart, with both series commanding just over nine per cent of the graphics arena.

Meanwhile, dual-core CPUs are leading the charge, with a dominating share of 56.5 per cent. However, it’s worth noting that quad-core CPUs are steadily becoming more popular at 24 per cent, while old-school single-core CPUs are evidently being phased out with a share of a just 18 per cent.

Finally, it looks as though the days of the gaming sound card could be severely numbered. A whopping 40 per cent of Steam users are currently just using integrated Realtek HD audio, and similar integrated systems make up the majority of the rest of the audio subsystems. As a point of comparison only three per cent of Steam users had a Sound Blaster X-Fi system detected.