Gaming at minimal details: What games look like on their min spec systems
PC games differ from the console variants by the fact that the developers can make use of the huge hardware offer and target a variety of setups. PC Games Hardware shows who good or bad games scale their visual appearance in dependence to the available hardware.
Developers for console games are supposed to have a comparatively easy job: The technical specifications of Sony's Playstation 3 or Microsoft's Xbox 360 for example are fixed and so the programmers can focus on maxing out those setups. Games that are released for the PC require additional effort from the developers. In order to get a game running, even if the available hardware is rather weak, the engine has to have good scaling capabilities. The developers set individual minimal specifications that have to be met. For example: FIFA 10. With a 2.4 GHz single-core CPU and a Shader Model 2 graphics card the minimal system requirements are almost ridiculously low. Operation Flashpoint 2 in comparison needs better hardware: A dual-core CPU with 2.4 GHz and a Shader model 3 graphics card are required.
PC Games Hardware has been checking for quite some how a game looks on its minimal details. It can be assumed that the minimal quality settings are also used to determine the minimal system requirements. In the following we want to present some examples of recent games: What is the minimal visual quality achievable in the game and what kind of hardware is required to run it. So in this case we take a different approach than usually and don't show the maximal possible graphics but what the developers intended for gamers with weak PCs.
In some games the graphics are even looking quite good for minimal settings, but there are extreme examples for minimalistic graphics, too, which you would expect from a game that has been released during the last year. Nevertheless one should always judge the minimal graphics in relation to the system requirements they are based on. But see for yourself. In our galley we have for example: Cities XL, FIFA 10, The Sims 3, Need for Speed: Shift, Aion, Risen, Resident Evil 5, ArmA 2 and Anno 1404.
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