Did you know that you don’t always need to spend a fortune on a gaming PC? Sometimes it pays to look beyond the latest graphics card and processors to focus on older components that are still very relevant and able to run the latest games. PC Gamers sometimes find themselves wanting the latest hardware without really considering if we really need it. This presents some very interesting opportunities for those who are content to be slightly behind the curve knowing that that the hardware is still more than adequate.
The world’s most average gaming PC:
- Intel 4770k CPU
- Z97 chipset Motherboard
- GeForce GTX 1060 6GB for 1080p resolution
- 16GB DDR3 Memory
You can use this information to buy yourself a great value for money gaming PC without breaking the bank (hint: it costs under £600!). I’ll break down how we know this and suggest a capable gaming system at the end of the article using this formula.
The Steam Hardware and Software Survey
Many of you will be familiar with Steam – a game distribution service allowing you to store all of your games in a single library while receiving automatic updates and new content. Steam has thousands of games ranging from the latest AAA games through to games created by indie developers.
Did you know that Steam collects statistics from its users on a voluntary basis? Steam will periodically prompt you to take part in a survey where it analyses your hardware and software to publish its findings publicly via the Steam hardware and software survey.
Surprisingly we see that Intel is the most popular CPU’s on Steam. The trend appears to be downward with AMD slowly increasing its share every month by around 2%.
If we now look in to the Intel CPU statistics in more detail, then a CPU speed of between 3.3Ghz to 3.69GHz is the most popular.
By looking at the number of physical CPU’s (cores) the most popular CPU has, we can use this in conjunction with the speed which tells us…
…the most popular CPU is… the Intel 4770k. This CPU was released back in mid-2013 and features 4 cores running at 3.50GHz. This CPU is compatible with LGA1150 socket motherboards such as the Z97 range such as the MSI Z97 Gaming 5, Asus Z97-A or Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H. I remember using the MSI board back in the day!
The Steam survey also tells us that 16GB memory is most common with nearly half of all users with 8GB coming in 2nd with a quarter.
Note that if you were looking to pair it with the Intel 4770k and a Z97 motherboard then you’ll be looking for DDR3 memory rather than DDR4 which is used today. Something like 16GB of Corsair’s Vengeance Pro Series 1600Mhz DDR3 is recommended.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the most average gaming PC is the graphics card. It turns out that you don’t necessarily need the latest card to enjoy games.
The GeForce GTX 1060 is the clear leader in terms of market share. This card was released back in 2016 and has a choice of either 3GB or 6GB memory. The 6GB version is the one to go for, with 6GB memory accounting for 24% market share across all cards compared to just 4.5% for 3GB.
While the GeForce GTX 1060 remains relevant, we should take into consideration that while it’s a very solid card at 1080p (1920×1080 resolution), you shouldn’t expect performance to be great at 1440p (2560 x 1440 pixels) or beyond.
The most popular resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) which is to be expected with the CPU and graphics cards being a couple of generations behind.
It seems many people are gaming at 1366×768 (720p) while 1440p came out 3rd although I’m surprising this resolution is declining given the number of excellent 1440p monitors available.
Most gamers in the survey use a hard drive above 1TB capacity.
Given that SSD’s around 1TB and above are expensive (£90+ at the time of writing) I would assume that the majority of these hard drives are slower mechanical drives. We always recommend an SSD for gaming as the difference between an SSD and mechanical drive is like night and day! Mechanical drives are great for data storage but I’d always suggest having your games stored on an SSD where possible due to the speed benefits.
There is no data to suggest how many gamers are using SSD’s but given that there is nearly a 6% decline in derives above 1TB and a 2% increase in drives between 250GB to 499GB (which is a sweet spot for price/value for SSD’s) I’d suggest there is a lag and SSD adoption is increasing.
The average gaming PC recommend spec (with prices!)
As many of these components are a few generations old, we are looking at used pricing but this represents the opportunity to grab a bargain! I have therefore compiled a table below with the approximate cost of the average gaming PC recommended spec. Some components we didn’t get an insight into (power supply, case, cooling etc) but I have used my experience to suggest a reasonable new example that is compatible and offers a suitable price/value to keep the cost down.
The user prices have been compiled from average eBay prices so may fluctuate.
|GeForce GTX 1060 6GB||Graphics Card||Used||£200|
|Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB DDR3||Memory||Used||£40|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||Cooler||New||£22|
|Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-05||Case||New||£45|
|Seasonic S12III 550w||Power Supply||New||£55|
|240GB SSD (non NVME)||Hard Drive||New||£35|
Conclusion Popular Games
So the most average of all the gaming PC’s comes in at a little over £560 which represents great value being able to play some popular games on steam (more about that in a minute!). I’m sure you could shave even more money off by buying some of the components used instead of new ones.
The million-dollar question is what games will the average spec gaming PC play? Well, the good news is that the majority of popular steam games can be played at high settings at 1080p quite comfortably. I remember playing Global Offensive with a very similar spec PC around 4/5 years ago myself.
As you can see in this YouTube video benchmarking a system with a 4770k, 1060 and 16GB memory, most games within the last couple of years are more than playable as long as you keep the settings sensible and understand the limitations of the hardware.
I even found a similar benchmark demonstrating how Call of Duty Warzone performed (one of the largest, popular and most demanding games released within the last 12 months) and again it’s playable at 1080p.