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Steam Hardware Survey Results & Bug Fix

The Steam Hardware & Software Survey now offers the June results showing the hardware being used to play games on Valve's service (thanks VG247). These results reflect jump in the use of newer hardware, and they kick off with the following explanation of how this is in part because they've addressed a bug in the system:

There was a bug introduced into Steam's survey code several months ago that caused a bias toward older systems. Specifically, only systems that had run the survey prior to the introduction of the bug would be asked to run the survey again. This caused brand new systems to never run the survey. In March 2012, we caught the bug, causing the survey to be run on a large number of new computers, thus giving us a more accurate survey and causing some of the numbers to vary more than they normally would month-to-month. Some of the most interesting changes revealed by this correction were increased OS share of Windows 7 (as Vista fell below XP), the rise of Intel as a graphics provider and the overall diversification of Steam worldwide (as seen in the increase of non-English language usage, particularly Russian).

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17. Re: Steam Hardware Survey Results & Bug Fix Jul 26, 2012, 02:30 Jerykk
jacobvandy wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 15:55:
If you play Civilization a lot, upgrading from a dual-core processor to something like Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge will save you literally hours during a large scale, full length match. It cuts the waiting time between turns, while AI moves are being calculated, by more than half (I measured 50% decrease between i7-920 and Ivy Bridge, so I have to assume a dual-core would be even worse by comparison). Grand Theft Auto IV, and presumably any other game Rockstar puts out with the same engine, is VERY CPU dependant. In fact, I remember upgrading from Core 2 Duo to first-gen Core i7 increased my FPS a whole lot more than upgrading from an 8800 GTS to a GTX 275. Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3/NV and similar games on that engine also greatly benefit from a better CPU because of all the AI routines and other world simulation that goes on.

It's not necessarily about dual-core versus quad-core... Just that if you're still using a dual-core on a desktop, that is a very old CPU, and it's holding back all the games you're playing, albeit to varying degrees. Pairing a Core 2 Duo with any mid-range or better graphics card from the past couple generations is remarkably silly.

Games that are poorly optimized are usually CPU-dependent and also usually only take advantage of two cores at most. Skyrim doesn't make full use of quad core CPUs, for example. Like 90% of the load is put on one core. In most cases, if a game is well-optimized, having a Dual Core clocked at 3.0 GHz or higher is fine because a well-optimized game is GPU dependent, not CPU dependent.
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