Low detail galore: FIFA 11, Medal of Honor and Gothic 4 on minimum graphics
One difference between games for PC and those for consoles is that developers have to flexibly adapt a game's demands to the available hardware's capabilities. PC Games Hardware shows how well or badly games can downscale.
Developers for console games have a huge advantage: The specifications of the Sony Playstation 3 or the Microsoft Xbox 360 are set. So the creators have plenty of time concentrating on exhausting the power there is. Games that are released for PC are a little more tricky there. A scalable game engine will be needed for a game to run on weaker machines. Developers have all kinds of understandings what a minimum system might look like. Let's look at FIFA 10. Its minimum system requirements are ridiculously low, since a 2,4 GHz single core CPU and a Shader-Model 2.0 graphics card is all you need. Operation Flashpoint 2 is way more demanding, requiring at least a dual core CPU of same clock and a graphics card with Shader-Model 3.0.
For quite some time now, PC Games Hardware has been testing nealy each important game for how it looks on minimum level of detail. It is alleged that these kind of settings are supposed to be used on PCs that meet the minimum specifications. In the image gallery you can see lots of screenshots that reveal a wide range of graphical leftovers, being more or less of a surprise how old brand new games can look.
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