Last week during the Nvidia GeForce Special Event, CEO and founder Jensen Huang made a telling aside to the camera. After showing various performance slides comparing the RTX 30 series with various older GeForce cards, he addressed Pascal GPU (GTX 10 series) owners directly and told them "it is safe to upgrade now." This statement and the new more reasonable looking pricing structure seen with the GeForce RTX 30 series of GPUs makes it look like the RTX 20 series was something of a misfire by the green team.
As reported by VG247, the latest Steam Hardware Survey figures provide some background to the relative success of the GeForce Pascal and Turing lines of GPUs with consumers. While Nvidia products still hold a dominant 73 per cent share of GPUs among Steam gamers, the GTX 10 series is by far the dominant presence in the PC video card usage charts.
Above I've reproduced the latest video card chart, truncated to the top 10. Look at the relative strength of the top four, all Pascal designs and accounting for a quarter of all GPU models used by Steam gamers. The best selling Turing cards, the GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti eschew fancy RTX features to provide entry level 1080p and mid-range fast refresh 1080p gaming capabilities, respectively. In seventh place we get the GeForce RTX 2060, which some might say has only just started to become viable to use with RTX On thanks to the latest DLSS advancements. Finally, the only 'high-end' RTX 20 card in the top 10 is the GeForce RTX 2070 Super, in position 10 with a smidgeon over 2 per cent of Steam users packing this GPU.
So, in over two years of market availability the Turing GPUs look to have failed to replace the Pascal GPUs already in consumer hands. Will Nvidia's first self-proclaimed "RTX On and FPS On" graphics cards be able to unseat the GeForce GTX 1060, for example, and can we expect to see RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 models in the top 10 before the RTX 40 series starts to be teased? This is what Nvidia seems to dearly want, so hopefully its as yet unveiled lower tier Ampere consumer GPUs will make a big splash.
At the same time, it would be good for AMD to be able to penetrate the top 10, or top 25 in the coming year. At present the red team has the Radeon RX 580 in position 9 of the Steam video cards chart, you have to move down to position 16 to see the RX 570, with the only RDNA GPU in the top 25 being at position 25 - the Radeon RX 5700 XT.