Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Minimum Requirements - Are they bullshit?

Last response: in Video Games
Share
October 11, 2012 8:05:24 AM

Right, I've been umming and arring over purchasing a new gaming PC and have been on here before asking some questions. I have a PS3 attached to a 50" plasma but I feel I am missing out on PC gaming...or at least I thought I was.

What put me off PC gaming for a number of years was the fact that I have an old AMD Athlon X2 4200+, 3GB Ram, and an old Radeon 2600XT GPU.

The system requirements to play games seemed outrageous to me and so for a while I just didn't bother playing any. But a couple of years ago I started buying the odd game again on the PC, and to my surprise my PC played the games fine. Nothing was set to ultra high or anything, but the graphical quality that I was accepting was pretty decent.

Roll on to the modern day. I've played a couple of newer releases which the minimum specs would suggest that my PC could never even touch let alone play with any quality. BUT - my PC, running it's little Athlon X2 and 2600XT is still playing these games to an acceptable level. The only game I've had issues in terms of graphics with is Skyrim. Just unplayable. Or at least it plays but the graphics are distorted in some places. Oh and Dark Souls.

I've been looking at buying a 4170 FX rig, but if my ancient PC can play these games to a level that I'm happy with, then what's the point? And on another level, are these minimum specs that the modern games trumpet total bullshit?!? I'm playing Borderlands 2 currently with no problems. I've played Fallout 3 in the past and host of newer games. Going by these minimum specs my computer shouldn't even be playing the game right?

Any feedback welcome, what's your take on minimum specs and why is my crappy PC able to run these games?
October 11, 2012 1:13:08 PM

For all reasonable intents and purposes in the eyes of the person getting ready to try to play and enjoy the game, yes minimum requirements are BS.

The Min Req's are usually a reflection of what it will take to run the game at its absolute lowest of low settings with a stable 30 fps. The downside of that is that as a PC gamer, most of us want 60 fps minimum and a lot of eyecandy, but the upside is that lowest graphical settings and 30 fps is usually similar to Xbox360/PS3 quality.
October 11, 2012 7:55:47 PM

Out of interest if I was to upgrade the GPU (and indeed is it worth it) which would be the best GPU to get to get an improvement over the 2600XT without any bottleneck issues with the 4200+? Would a 7750 see any performance issues, is it worth the upgrade to this, or are there better cards that will play nicer with my Athlon 4200+?
Related resources
October 11, 2012 8:18:02 PM

ccshopland said:
Out of interest if I was to upgrade the GPU (and indeed is it worth it) which would be the best GPU to get to get an improvement over the 2600XT without any bottleneck issues with the 4200+? Would a 7750 see any performance issues, is it worth the upgrade to this, or are there better cards that will play nicer with my Athlon 4200+?


If I can be honest with you, your CPU platform is very old. You probably wouldn't find a GPU worth buying currently that wouldn't be bottlenecked to some degree by it. If I were in your shoes I would start setting aside some money and investigating more modern chipsets within my predetermined price range that would support the GPU upgrade.

If you're already looking at an AMD FX 4170, I would recommend looking into an i3-2100 instead. I can't overstate how much superior intel currently is to AMD where gaming is concerned.
October 12, 2012 7:28:26 AM

Isn't the i3-2100 dual core though? Forgive my ignorance but how can an FX 4170 Quad Core @ 4.2Ghz offer less performance than a dual core (albeit hyper-threading as four cores) i3 @ 3.10ghz?

The PC I was looking at is this one -
http://www.freshtechsolutions.co.uk/galaxy-3-amd-bulldo...

I'm really not willing to spend a huge amount on a gaming rig, I'm not one of these ultra settings people, I just want a rig that is comparable or even slightly better than my PS3 experience.

The trouble is Intel chips are far more expensive and as gaming rigs compared to AMD are more expensive. I can live with a dip in performance as I game equally with doing other work in the PC (editing, etc).

Is this deal above good, in term of bang for buck?

If it isn't then I really can't see myself spending the necessary amount required to play modern PC games to a very high level when I can play such games at an acceptable level with my old Athlon. Yes....I am tight lol.

Any feedback appreciated.
October 12, 2012 1:05:55 PM

The way the chip is build influences a lot. Thats why some dual cores are better than quad cores (note that duals normally can run faster than quads).

I dont know exactly if i3 beats FX in gming, but i would not be surprised by it.

The main interest however could be to see their overclocking capabilites.

The problem i see with buing a PC that is cheap is the fact that all componenets are underperforming, and because of that, most would have to be upgraded if you want to upgrade in the future.

For example, the PSU on that PC is probably very low quality, so you wont be able to put in a better GPU later on withouth changing the PSU as well (maybe even the motherboard).

I agree with the statement above that it would be better if you save cash and get something more powerfull lter on thou.
October 12, 2012 3:35:58 PM

ccshopland said:
Isn't the i3-2100 dual core though? Forgive my ignorance but how can an FX 4170 Quad Core @ 4.2Ghz offer less performance than a dual core (albeit hyper-threading as four cores) i3 @ 3.10ghz?


1: Because games don't (and never will) scale well
2: Intel does more work per clock. So even if the FX is clocked higher, Intel still gets more work done.

That being said, i'd recommend any i5 over an i3, as the i3 will age a LOT faster overall.
October 12, 2012 3:43:11 PM

gamerk316 said:


That being said, i'd recommend any i5 over an i3, as the i3 will age a LOT faster overall.


Same, but without knowing his budget kind of have to limit suggestions to things within the initial price range of his first choice :( 
October 12, 2012 3:50:07 PM

Actually, the first two cores of the 965 BE are about on-par with the two real cores of the i3 2100. The other two cores of the 965 pounds the two virtual cores of the i3 2100.

I'd actually recommend getting a 965 BE over any 4 core bulldozer. The 965 has a slight edge, works in the same motherboard (AM3+), and is cheaper.

The i3 2100 is still worse than the FX, though. Too many people are letting the intel fanboy get a hold of them.

But yeah. Get a 965 BE if you aren't feeling satisfied with your current processor, but I'd recommend waiting a few months for the AMD 8xxx series to come out, so the 6xxx series SHOULD be cheap as the 4xxx is at the moment, and the 7xxx series cheaper than it is now.
October 12, 2012 4:10:19 PM

MajinCry said:
Actually, the first two cores of the 965 BE are about on-par with the two real cores of the i3 2100. The other two cores of the 965 pounds the two virtual cores of the i3 2100.

I'd actually recommend getting a 965 BE over any 4 core bulldozer. The 965 has a slight edge, works in the same motherboard (AM3+), and is cheaper.

The i3 2100 is still worse than the FX, though. Too many people are letting the intel fanboy get a hold of them.

But yeah. Get a 965 BE if you aren't feeling satisfied with your current processor, but I'd recommend waiting a few months for the AMD 8xxx series to come out, so the 6xxx series SHOULD be cheap as the 4xxx is at the moment, and the 7xxx series cheaper than it is now.


965 BE is not a bad CPU and I would also choose it over any of the Bulldozer platform, but the i3-2100 still outperforms the 965 BE in the majority of games and leaves you with a Sandy B platform if you wanted to upgrade to a 2500k at some point hypothetically, so I wouldn't recommend the 965 over it to be honest.

All of this is ultimately a moot point if the OP can afford a 2500k or better though, as AMD has nothing comparable or even arguably comparable to that product at the moment where games are concerned.
October 12, 2012 4:26:30 PM

Answering your main question, yeah the minimum requirements are bullcrap. My previous PC with a quadro 4980 XGL (geforce 4 ti 4800) could run NFS Carbon max at 1600x1200 with no lag, and TF2 at max direct x 8 settings which only got choppy when alot of people were on the screen (probably because it only had 128mb vram). Medium was fine. My pc was supposedly only able to just run them on low.

Your CPU would bottleneck a new GPU, but if you can overclock it then that would be reduced somewhat. As already said you would probably need a new PSU for the new GPU and your motherboard may not be up to overclocking your CPU up to decent levels.

The AMD FX cpus aren't bad cpus, it's just that the Phenoms are better. However Piledriver is coming out this month which should be better than the Phenoms (I think). So wait out for those to come out first before doing anything tbh. If Piledriver does suck (hopefully it won't, we really need competition in the CPU market) it should bring down bulldozer prices so you'd save money there.

The 7750 is a good place to start GPU wise, I'd look at the nvidia GPUs as well, the GTX650ti overclocks very well and so does the GTX650, so you would gain big performance jumps.
October 12, 2012 4:34:05 PM

The responses to the question about minimum requirements is interesting. I've seen a lot of people who complain that the minimum requirements are not good enough to play a game. I guess it just depends on what you consider playable, as well as resolution. If you have a 1080p monitor, you may find the minimum requirements aren't good enough, but at 1024x768, you may find it very easy to play at minimum specs. For some people, they may find 20-30 FPS playable, for myself, playable is 50+ because I get simulator sickness and still do up to about 80 fps, but at 50+, it is not severe.
October 12, 2012 5:03:45 PM

MajinCry said:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i3-21...

Honestly, does the i3 2100 warrant the £45 more than the 965? £120 for the i3 2100, £75 for the 965 BE (Last time I checked).


Prices vary globally. In my country the difference in price is about $15.00 and that's a fair price to pay to get onto the superior platform (being Sandy B) and getting the better performing piece of hardware in even the lowly i3 as well.
October 12, 2012 5:24:42 PM

Thanks for the responses guys.

Interesting stuff, it seems where gaming rigs are concerned sometimes having too much choice and information is just as bad as not having any!

I can surmise that I really shouldn't add a GPU to my current set up - waste of money. My problem I think is that I want my cake and eat it I guess. I may just wait a little on my cash and see what happens to the 4170 in terms of a price drop if there are new AMD's coming out. I don't know why but I just feel the Intel stuff is overkill for my needs and thus bumping the cost of a PC rig up considerably.

For example, I played Dishonored today on my crap machine, 1280x1024 I believe and the game played well. Graphics seemed excellent. Whilst I don't want to waste £240 on a minor improvement on what I have, surely that package which I highlighted in my first post - http://www.freshtechsolutions.co.uk/galaxy-3-amd-bulldo... - will smash what I run now out of the ground? Also I don't think I want to future proof myself to the extent that I'm paying over £400 for a rig, won't this machine run games for a good few years anyway ala my current rig which is years old?

Am I just not 'getting' that this rig highlighted above will only be a slight improvement on what i have?
October 12, 2012 5:37:29 PM

Dishonored is gorgeous in its aesthetic but not remotely demanding. Most machines are running it at 1080 around 130-150 fps steadily. Don't use it as a benchmark.
October 12, 2012 5:43:35 PM

I guess the point is from my perspective though, if I can run a game that I've wanted to play and get aesthetic enjoyment out if it then should I just knock the upgrading on the head? I guess any game then therefore that is too physically demanding for my ageing machine I could either get for the PS3 or just miss as one of things?!?

I'm just trying to justify to myself if anything why I need a gaming rig lol?!?

Is the cost of a nice future gaming rig balanced out by me missing out on Skyrim, Max Payne, Crysis etc etc.

This is where the rig that I mentioned seems to hit the sweetspot. It's cheap, cheerful, and although may not be greatly future proof can play these games albeit at a lower level of detail, which is still much higher than a PS3 is it not?
October 12, 2012 5:51:59 PM

ccshopland said:
I guess the point is from my perspective though, if I can run a game that I've wanted to play and get aesthetic enjoyment out if it then should I just knock the upgrading on the head? I guess any game then therefore that is too physically demanding for my ageing machine I could either get for the PS3 or just miss as one of things?!?

I'm just trying to justify to myself if anything why I need a gaming rig lol?!?

Is the cost of a nice future gaming rig balanced out by me missing out on Skyrim, Max Payne, Crysis etc etc.

This is where the rig that I mentioned seems to hit the sweetspot. It's cheap, cheerful, and although may not be greatly future proof can play these games albeit at a lower level of detail, which is still much higher than a PS3 is it not?


To put it another way, Dishonored is arguably the least demanding but pretty looking modern game around right now. If you're only interested in it, then you may not need to upgrade. If you're looking at virtually any other title that is popular at the moment, you might consider upgrading. The choice is yours to make though. Only you know what's important to you.
October 12, 2012 11:53:16 PM

I quite like that about Dishonored. Low requirements, but it still looks nice. Me and my friend have been playing it, and even his computer with a 7570 in it can max it at 1600x900.
October 13, 2012 5:09:08 PM

It's not really worth buying an FX processor for gaming purposes unless you can get an incredible deal on it + the motherboard. Better choices are:
For absolute gaming performance with >$500 budget: i5-3570k + discrete graphics card (7770 or higher, generally - best value IMHO is around 7850 level which i've seen for as low as $150 or 7870 level around $200, or the NVidia equivalent)
For gaming performance on a smaller budget:
either i3-3220 (or similar) + discrete graphics card.
Or an AMD A10 Trinity processor (built in graphics).

The FX processors are a generation behind the cores in the latest FM2/Trinity processors, so they are slower per clock, and they don't feature decent onboard graphics. They really only shine in heavily multithreaded loads, so unless your gaming is Battefield 3 64-player multiplayer on a budget, FX processors are best left for budget Virtual Machine Rigs and for OEMs to sell to suckers.
October 13, 2012 9:52:42 PM



Hmm. Considering how the i3 is a dual core, the fx is a quad-core, did whoever was doing the test set the affinity to two cores of the fx?

Using a quad core on games that use only two cores without changing the affinity of the game to use two cores will have a heavy detriment to general performance of the game.


At least, that is what I've found. I get higher framerates on, say, Skyrim with two cores of my 965, than on Skyrim with all the four cores of my 965.
October 13, 2012 9:55:02 PM

While the i3 is dual core, it has hyperthreading, which mimics 4 cores.
October 13, 2012 10:25:08 PM

Not really. It just allows the two cores to have a combined total of four threads.

I'm not an expert in this area, but I am pretty sure that the performance impact of having 2 cores + 2 HT is much less than 2 cores + 2 cores.
October 13, 2012 10:43:57 PM

Basically, most games are poorly threaded, and that benchmark shows it. Compare against a video encoding benchmark say, http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/10/11/amd_bulldozer..., where the FX processors compare favorably to an I5-2500k.
Now if you look at current AMD offerings, the latest A10 is basically the FX-4100 with a 10-15% per clock performance improvement + a decent integrated graphics subsystem. If you look at that chart above and mentally add 10-15% to the FX-4100, that basically makes it virtually identical to an I3 + a similarly powerful graphics card, and it generally is available cheaper than an I3 + separate card. But IMHO AMD only really competes currently at the point where the graphics power in an A10 is what you are budgeted for.
They have basically nothing worth buying any higher end than that for gaming. An I5 pretty much crushes all AMD desktop processors in gaming.
October 13, 2012 10:49:22 PM

MajinCry said:
Not really. It just allows the two cores to have a combined total of four threads.

I'm not an expert in this area, but I am pretty sure that the performance impact of having 2 cores + 2 HT is much less than 2 cores + 2 cores.


They perform better than that, but not as good as 4 cores.

Most games have only 1 thread that needs a lot of power, then a couple small threads. HT seems to deal with the majority of games just fine as a result.
!