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Are Those PC Game System Requirements for Real?

by: Finn Orfano ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Have you ever looked at the system requirements for a PC game, only to find that your computer still can’t run the game worth a darn even though it has better hardware than those base requirements?

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    CanYouRunIt.com

    Have you ever looked at the system requirements for a PC game, only to find that your computer still can’t run the game worth a darn even though it has better hardware than those base requirements? It’s a pretty common problem with PC gaming, and why many software purchases ended up going back to the store. A friend of mine at Sam’s Club told me that’s why they have a very limited game software selection.

    I found a very helpful website called CanYouRunIt.com that actually tests your computer against the minimum and recommended system requirements for most PC games. It requires you to install an ActiveX control in your browser, then only takes a few seconds to run the test. There is no spyware or malware installed, and the service is completely free. You don’t even have to sign up for anything. The site makes its money by providing links to purchase the game whose requirements you are checking.

    After you download the ActiveX module, it checks your PC hardware for compatibility. First, it identifies your CPU make and speed. Mine was detected exactly as it was. Next, it checks for your total RAM. It does not, however, do any kind of speed tests with the RAM. After that, it makes sure you have the correct operating system for the game.

    One of the most important factors in determining game hardware compatibility is the video card, so naturally the most detailed system information is given for it. First, the chipset is identified, then it checks for lighting and shaders compatibility. It also checks the driver version for the video card as well as DirectX. Thanks to this site, I realized I needed to update my Nvidia video card drivers. It also tests your sound card and driver version.

    The last two tests are for hard drive free space and drive compatibility, which basically just makes sure you have a DVD or CD reader. Some games these days do take up several gigabytes of hard drive space, so it helps to know just how much you’ll need free.

    If you have an older PC and are unsure about how well a game will run on it, use this site to test your system before you spend the money on the game. It will definitely save you the frustration of buying something that doesn’t work well on your computer. At the same time, the site will also show you what areas of your computer, such as the memory or video card, need to be upgraded.

    CanYouRunIt.com is powered by System Requirement Labs, a technology from Husdawg, LLC.