Valve Corporation, a US publisher of popular computer games, surveyed the customers' hardware. More than 310,000 gamers responded to the survey, allowing Valve Software to measure the hardware platforms used by one of the most demanding audiences on the PC market. So what do gamers prefer?
As for the CPU speeds, it's almost an equal run between 2.0-2.3 GHz, 1.7-2.0 GHz and 2.3-2.7 GHz. Overall the majority (almost 55%) of gamers use a CPU that's between 1.7 and 2.7 GHz. As for the CPU vendors, it's a close match between Intel (51%) and AMD (49%) systems. 99.83% of the gamers surveyed used a single CPU system. With the amount of operating memory the configurations with 256-512 MB of RAM were a clear winner (52.16%) 512-1024 MB configurations took the second place with 26.08%.
In the hard drive arena it was a close match with 30-40 GB HDDs being used by 26.45% of the respondents, 70-80 GB HDDs running on 25.67% of the PCs surprisingly small 10-20 GB HDDs taking 3rd place with 22% of the audience. 4.68% of the survey participants said their PC systems had more than 250 GB of storage available. But total hard drive space matters little if it's all taken up. Most of the respondents (17.96%) said they had roughly 10-20 GB of free disk space. With 13.98% of the participants 20-30 GB on HDD were available. For disk drives 77.80% named DVD-ROMs, while 16.68% ran a CD-ROM/RW without DVD reading option.
Microsoft Windows operating system was clearly dominating the market with none of the competing OSs getting into the Top 20 list. Only 218 of survey participants ran something else than top 20 OSs in the list, and since Valve distinguished between different version builds and service packs, it's possible that the remaining 218 users out of 310 thousand respondents ran Microsoft OS as well. Variations of Microsoft's Windows XP dominated the gaming market heavily, reaching 90% of the market share. Valve distinguished between XP Service Pack 1 and XP Service Pack 2 users.
English was the language of choice for 79.54% of the audience, with 8.08% of the respondents choosing French and 4.47% voting for German. 29.67% had a connection speed of 256-768 Kbps, 29.00% boasted a 1 Mbps link or above, 26.54% were connected with the speed 768-1024 Kbps. NVidia GeForce4 MX Series, ATI Radeon 9800 Series, NVidia GeForce4 Series and ATI Radeon 9600 Series were the top video cards on the market, each one reaching a market share of 10-12%.