Has Windows 7 really surpassed XP?


Steam is one of the overlooked analytics providers, probably because they derive their stats from gamers, who really are not reflective of PC buyers. Gamers tend to have more advanced rigs, are more likely to use a desktop instead of a laptop, and aggressively upgrade their system piecemeal instead of holding on to it for years and never opening the case once, then replacing the whole thing when it dies.

(In other words, how I roll.)

Steam isn’t primarily an analytics firm, it’s a digital game download service. With less and less shelf space for games in brick and mortar outlets, online distribution is a popular new model, and Steam is the leader in this market. Because it runs a small agent in the background of your computer, this gives the company a chance to collect analytics information on its player base, which it does for the game developers.

What they found is that in May, eight months after its release, Windows 7 has passed Windows XP to become the most popular OS among Steam users. That’s if you total up the 32-bit and 64-bit versions, however.

Windows XP 32-bit is still the most popular single operating system, on 32.9 percent of Steam-connected PCs. Windows 7 64-bit is 24.7 percent of the population and 32-bit Windows 7 adds another 11.2 percent. So in total, they surpass XP. Vista 32-bit and 64-bit combined have 21 percent total. In January, Vista had a combined 28 percent.

Windows is on a slight downward trend since Steam recently came out for Mac OS. Very quickly Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 now account for 8.1 percent of Steam-connected PCs. But that does not mean Windows is being abandoned, it just means the overall pool of operating systems is being diluted with a new OS.

Other stats from Steam show Intel holds 69.5 percent marketshare vs. 30.5 percent for AMD, which is well-above the numbers from IT-oriented market research firms. Nvidia has 60.9 percent GPU market share while AMD has 31 percent. About 25 percent of Steam users have quad-core systems, 55 percent have dual-core systems and 18 percent have single-core systems.

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