There's a new top graphics card on the Steam charts these days. Unsurprisingly, it's not the massively power-hungry and expensive RTX 4080 (opens in new tab). It's Nvidia's GTX 1650 that has overtaken the GTX 1060, which was in the top spot for years.
According to Steam's November hardware survey (opens in new tab), usage for the GTX 1650 went up to 6.27%, whereas the GTX 1060 fell to 5.77%, a nearly two percent drop off from October. This makes the GTX 1650 the graphics card Steam users around the world are playing on the most.
That is a somewhat suspiciously large drop-off for the GTX 1060 in just one month, though. Perhaps something changed in how Steam was recording user rigs, or how it collects data. The hardware survey is just that, a survey—users have to opt in to be counted—so changes in how the survey is run could affect results.
The GTX 1650 isn't a bad card: In our 2019 GTX 1650 review (opens in new tab), Jarred said it was the "fastest 75W GPU around." These days, the GTX 1650 is a budget GPU for lower-spec gaming machines that might get you to 60 fps at 1080p on low-to-medium settings on older PC games. It unfortunately can't squeeze out any extra performance via Nvidia's DLSS technology, which is only available on its RTX-branded graphics cards. That's why we've long stopped recommending this card. It's just not cheap enough to justify in most cases.
I suspect that GTX 1060 will hold steady in second place for a few more months. Last year, the GTX 1060 was brought out of retirement to mine cryptocurrency (opens in new tab), so there will most certainly be a lot floating around on the secondary market for cheap now that GPU mining is mostly over.
It was revealed that Nvidia is halting its production of the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Super GPUs nearly four years after their release; this leaves the GTX 1650 as one of the last remaining GTX 16-series graphics cards in production, for now at least. The RTX 3050 or RTX 3060 are Nvidia's current budget GPU offerings, and our recommendation is AMD's RX 6600.
The GTX 1650 is in stock for as cheap as $160 (opens in new tab) on Amazon, although that's a little more than its launch MSRP of $150. GPUs, at least on older generations, are now coming down from their comically inflated prices over the last two years. Still not a great buy, though.