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Six-core CPUs finally overtake quad-core processors on Steam

Six-core processors have finally overtaken quad-core chips as the most popular type of CPU for PC gamers.

Valve’s recently released Steam Hardware Survey for March has revealed that the period of domination for quad-core CPUs — at least where gaming setups are concerned — has ended due to the increasing popularity of hex-core processors, which is a system’s CPU that features six cores.

10th Gen Intel Core processor on a motherboard.

As reported by OC3D, 34.22% of Windows PC owners who use Steam are playing video games on a six-core processor gaming rig. Meanwhile, 33.74% of Steam users have their system outfitted with a quad-core CPU.

The confirmation of the aforementioned statistics shouldn’t be understated; it represents quite an important milestone in the PC gaming space for six-core processors. PCGamesN highlights how quad-core CPUs have existed for over 15 years.

However, as Intel and AMD upgrade their CPUs with the latest technology, it was inevitable that quad-core silicon would be phased out eventually to make way for more powerful processors. We already saw signs of such an outcome when the number of Steam gamers that relied on a quad-core CPU started declining in October 2021, according to PCGamesN.

Although that decline could be attributed to the arrival of Intel’s powerful 12th-gen Alder Lake processors, the end of the quad-core era was always expected: OC3D aptly points out that thanks to AMD’s Ryzen desktop processors, affordable CPUs with six or more cores have become more commonplace, providing gamers with the opportunity to upgrade their gaming systems with reasonably-priced products. Similarly, Intel launched its own processors that sport a higher core count in recent years.

Start of the eight-core CPU era

As CPU technology continues to evolve, video game developers are increasingly starting to develop titles that require at least six or more CPU cores in order to run. Contributing to the diminishing popularity of quad-core processors is the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

These gaming consoles are equipped with eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPUs. As a result, as OC3D notes, the latest games will be developed to accommodate such hardware, which means PC owners will have no choice but to outfit their system with equally powerful CPUs if they want to play newer titles.

To this end, 17.72% of Windows gaming PCs using Steam are now making use of an eight-core processor. Subsequently, 51.94% of Steam users have a PC with either a six-core or eight-core processor installed.

It’s important to highlight the fact that Steam is not the benchmark to necessarily determine where the consumer PC CPU market is heading. It’s a gaming platform through and through, and many will naturally incline toward equipping their systems with the latest CPUs to maximize gaming performance.

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