what they are and why they cause problems

PC gaming requirements have undergone major changes over time. I remember perfectly well that when I started playing on compatible the minimum requirements were really the lowest possible level to run a game, at least in most cases. Having this configuration only guaranteed that we were going to be able to run the game, that it would work, but it did not guarantee anything else, neither in terms of fluidity nor graphic quality.

Little by little, that reality changed until we reached the point where we are today, a situation in which the requirements for PC games no longer reflect the minimum required to move a game, but rather the base configuration to play it with acceptable guaranteesthat is, with a minimum of fluency and reasonable graphic adjustments. This means that if we do not meet these minimum requirements we will be able to run the game, and perhaps even with a “tolerable” fluency, as long as we do not stay far from them.

Something similar has happened with the recommended requirements. Fulfilling them guarantees that we can set graphic quality at high levels and keep a smooth and stable frame rate per second. However, they do not guarantee that we will be able to move it in maximum quality with total fluidity, and depending on the resolution that we are going to use, they may have no value. For this reason, some developers and publishers list different PC game requirements based on resolution and other settings.

Interpreting the gaming requirements on PC has become somewhat complicated

PC gaming requirements

And in quite a big problem. The large number of graphic options that a game can include, the resolution that we are going to use and other issues such as the optimization itself or the API that each game uses can end up affecting performance in such a remarkable way and make that, in many cases, the advertised requirements end up being a mere unreliable benchmark.

We will understand it better with an example. Red Dead Redemption 2 is known to be one of the games worst optimized of the present generation, and it is understandable, since not even a GTX 1080 Ti is capable of maintaining 60 FPS totally stable in 1080p with maximum quality in that title. We are talking about a graphics card that was the most powerful NVIDIA in the previous generation, and which is only slightly below, in gross power, an RTX 2080.

Despite that reality, its minimum requirements list a modest GTX 770 or a Radeon R9 280, two graphics cards with which we can only move it in 1080p and low quality while maintaining stable 30 FPS rates. The recommended requirements indicate a 6 GB GTX 1060 or a 4 GB RX 480, two models with which it is possible to play it in very high quality, 1080p resolution and maintain 30 stable FPS. Obvious to say that 30 FPS is not an optimal fluency level, and that its we raise the resolution the performance collapses.

Well, How should we interpret the requirements of PC games then? That is the key question that we must ask ourselves, and I want to discuss it with you before we start talking about the problem of equivalences at the processor and graphics card level, another complicated question that requires its own section.

PC gaming requirements: minimum

We must interpret them as the minimum configuration that we must meet in order to move a specific game under the following conditions:

  • 1080p resolution.
  • Low or medium quality, at best.
  • Stable 30 frames per second.
  • No problems due to lack of key resources (available RAM, graphics memory, cores / threads, etc.).

If we do not meet the minimum requirements of a game but we stay very close we will have, in most cases, nothing to worry about.

By cons, if we meet them and we will play in resolutions lower than 1080p We can raise the graphic quality and enjoy greater fluidity.

PC gaming requirements

PC gaming requirements: recommended

These should be interpreted as the necessary settings to be able to move a game under the following conditions:

  • 1080p resolution.
  • High or very high quality, at best.
  • Averages between 30 and 60 frames per second stable.
  • No problems due to lack of key resources (available RAM, graphics memory, cores / threads, etc.).

Meeting the recommended requirements of a game is a guarantee, but does not mean that we will be able to play it to the fullest maintaining a good fluidity, and it does not assure us that we will not have to make sacrifices in terms of graphic quality.

If we meet the recommended requirements but we will play in resolutions lower than 1080p Most likely, we can configure everything to the maximum and maintain full fluidity.

Remember that, as we have said, some publishers and developers also publish recommended requirements for 1440p and 2160p resolutions. If this is not the case, be clear that the only thing that really increases as a hardware requirement when raising the resolution is the power of the graphics card and the available graphics memory. This means that the processor and RAM should be kept at the same level as the recommended requirements for playing in 1080p.

PC gaming requirements: the problem of equivalences

PC gaming requirements

It is another trouble spot that, unfortunately, has gotten worse over the years. I could put a lot of examples of PC gaming requirements showing wrong equivalences, but let’s focus on one from today, on Project CARS 3 requirements. On the equivalents of Intel and AMD processors, and NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards, Two mistakes have been made:

  • Core i7 8700K or Ryzen 7 2700X: Although the first one has a higher IPC, it only adds 6 cores and 12 threads, while the second one has 8 cores and 16 threads. It is a serious mistake, and the correct thing would be a Ryzen 5 3600.
  • RTX 2070 or RX 5700: The first is more powerful than the second. The correct match would be an RTX 2060, which performs slightly less than the RX 5700.

Providing wrong equivalencies in PC gaming requirements is a serious problem because makes some users believe they have to have more powerful hardware than a particular game really needs, and also because it generates disinformation and Makes you believe that certain components are better than others, when in fact the opposite occurs.

Let’s see it with another example. I have seen many requirements of PC games that put, as equivalence of a Core i7 6700K, to a Ryzen 7 1800X. This is very serious, since although the former has a higher CPI, it only has 4 cores and 8 threads, while the second has 8 cores and 16 threads. I think the numbers speak for themselves. The same applies to graphics cards, since I have also seen very unfair equivalences in which a mid-range model is assimilated to a high-end model, and vice versa.

I understand that there is something that we must take into account and that may affect the performance of each graphics card, the developments optimized under specific APIs and the specific improvements at the level of drivers for specific games. This makes for example titles like Fortnite perform better on NVIDIA graphics cards, and others like Resident Evil 2 Remake or World War Z have superior performance on AMD Radeons. However, we are talking about concrete and isolated cases (luckily).

We can’t stop developers and publishers from making mistakes with PC gaming requirements and equivalencies, but we can We can help you determine if an equivalence is correct or not.

A few months ago we updated our NVIDIA and AMD graphics card equivalencies guides and Intel and AMD processor equivalencies. In them you will find everything you need to correctly interpret the equivalences of the requirements of PC games, so I invite you to take a look at them if you did not have the opportunity to see them at the time.

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