The average gaming PC – 5 years ago vs today

PC gaming can be an expensive hobby, with gamers constantly upgrading their hardware to meet the needs of the latest titles.

Due to the price of new hardware, however, many PC gamers are content to use mid-range components for extended periods to save money.

Over time, users will upgrade – and this results in “the average gaming PC” getting more powerful each year.

Using archived data from the Steam Hardware Survey, we compared the average gaming PC on Steam today with its counterpart from five years ago to see how big the upgrade has been.

The dates in question: May 2013 and May 2018.

Setup comparison

The average gaming PC in May 2013 ran Windows 7 and had a 2-core CPU.

It is interesting to note that ATI Radeon (AMD) enjoyed a much higher market share than it does currently.

In 2013, ATI had 33.62% market share across the graphics card segment – compared to the 52.73% share enjoyed by Nvidia.

Today, Nvidia has a 75% market share of the GPU segment.

On the processor side, AMD lagged Intel, with only 26.59% market share. Intel had 73.41%.

A comparison between the average gaming PC from 2013 and one from 2018 is shown below.

Specifications 2013 PC 2018 PC
CPU cores 2 4
CPU speed 2.3GHz – 2.69GHz 3.3GHz – 3.69GHz
Storage 250GB – 499GB Above 1TB
Integrated Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 4000
Discrete Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
Operating System Windows 7 Windows 10
Display Resolution 1,920 x 1,080 1,920 x 1,080

PC build CPU

Discrete graphics

It is worth noting that the Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip was actually more prevalent among gaming PCs than any discrete GPU in 2013, while Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 currently leads integrated GPUs by a comfortable margin.

This is indicative of more systems adopting dedicated graphics, leading to an improved gaming experience.

The amount of RAM in the average gaming PC, however, has remained the same over the past five years at 8GB.

More than 8GB of system memory is still not typically necessary unless you are running extremely advanced games or multitasking.

The most popular display resolution for primary monitors has also remained the same since 2013, although 1080p monitors are now even more prevalent.

When comparing CPUs, the difference in performance is extremely apparent.

Older CPUs are based on less-efficient manufacturing processes, and this causes the average gaming PC in 2013 to fall behind on both core counts and clock speed.

While processor speed and multi-threaded performance does not make a big impact in most titles, it can be important for demanding games as well as general desktop performance.

Now read: Huawei MateBook X Pro called the “best laptop right now”

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The average gaming PC – 5 years ago vs today