The system requirements is a quite great topic to discuss and talk about.
Gamers and game developers want and have to push their games and hardware to the limit and they want to squeeze out every single drop of performance out of your cards and chipsets.
The game developers must adapt to the current computers specifications and consoles, so they cannot easily (at least on paper) create a high system requirement for their games and choose to go only with the high-end section of the gaming community.
In this article I will be writing about system requirements, in particular about the requirements of the already released games and the coming ones.
If we would like to see what’s going on in the background and get some information for the upcoming games, we should have to look at a system survey, like Steam’s Hardware & Software survey, which is update every month.
In my perspective over the last 4 years this whole topic really meant nothing to me, because I had all the great quality parts so I was able to play on High or even on Extreme settings (without anti-aliasing) with nearly every given game, but now, before Next Year I am planning to upgrade “myself” with some RAM, and in the future, when GDDR6 comes out, with a GPU with 3 or 4GB GPU.
First, I would like to start out with analyzing the operation systems.
More than 95% of the users have Windows, the most popular one is clearly Windows 7 (64bit) with 48%, while Windows 8.1 (64bit) [which is a free update to Windows 8] is running up with its 19%.
OSX has 3.3% and Linux has about 1%, which are quite small compared to Windows.
As you can see from these stats, there is no point to make a game for only to OSX or to Linux, while Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 (both 64bit versions) are the rulers. We can expect to see more and people switching from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 in the next 4 months.
I believe that there is no point to stay with Windows 7. You can easily upgrade the whole system, you just delete Windows with all the installed software, leaving all the other files untouched (selecting the personal files only option). Windows 8.1 is faster, better, stronger and much more comfortable to work with (under 10 seconds to load, about 6 seconds to switch off, and you don’t need to wait 3-4 minutes after you switch it on to start doing something), it updates itself in the background, you don’t need any anti-malware or antivirus on your PC, while you are using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 (please be aware, that ATI has dropped the support of Windows 8, so the drivers will be only available in the future either for Windows 7 or for Windows 8.1).
A 64 bit Windows 7 or a 64 bit Windows 8.1 must be excellent for the upcoming games.
28% of the PCs have 8 GBs of RAM, while 21% (including mine) are running with 4 GBs, and 12% is with an overall 12 GBs of RAM or with even more.
Since Call of Duty: Ghosts and Watch_Dogs came out, we can expect that a minimum of 6 GBs of memory is needed for every newly released game now, while the optimal would be 8 GBs of RAM or more. Everybody is interested in Grand Theft Auto, the game will be released on 27th January, next year, and I think that the minimum system requirement will be either 4 GBs or 6 GBs of RAM.
I think you can easily get 12-16 GBs now, because the prices are not so high. Personally, I am going to pick up an 8 GB module, so I will expand my current 4 GBs to 12 GBs of memory.
Microsoft is already working on DirectX 12 and it will support all DirectX 11.1 cards. The best part is: the video cards will be able to access the system memory, so if you got 2 GBs of video memory and 16 GBs of system memory, you will be able load more than 3 GBs of textures at once.
48% of the current machines are running with 2 cores, while 43% are running with 4 cores, and 2% with 6 cores.
As you can see from these stats, a 4 core CPU must be fine for the upcoming 2-3 years. You could pick up a 6 core or a 8 core CPU, but there is no difference between a great 4 core and a great 6 core CPU if you are not a fan of processes which require computing (like video conversion). As I have a 6 core CPU for about 4 years now and my brother has a 4 core CPU.
Between a 4 and a 6 core CPU there could be one factor: Which one could be more easily overclocked for more performance? For example my AMD Phenom II 1055T (hexacore) can perform 2.8 GHz and 3.3 GHz overclocked, my brothers CPU, which is a Black Box AMD Phenom II 965 and it has a normal performance of 3.4 GHz, it can perform with air-cooling 4.2 GHz easily. That should be the main reason to buy one over the other. You can also go with a 8 core chip if your budget allows.
While Intel processors have better performance, AMD wins more and more customers, because they have a better price-value ratio.
A good and strong motherboard is very important to make your games stable and fast. MSI has the best ones out there with their Military Class motherboards (extended lifetime, auto overclocking, SATA Express, etc).
At the moment according to Steam, the most popular size is 1 GB with a 33% share and 2 GB is a runner-up with its 19%.
I think that on hardware forums everybody is talking about the graphics cards. It is not necessary the most importable component of your system, but without a great piece of hardware you cannot enjoy visually rich games. There is little information out there about the new GDDR6 technology, which will change gaming with its 200% bandwidth compared to the GDDR5 design. According to rumors and other pieces of information: those cards are going to hit the market this year, in November. With the release of the new GDDR6 architecture GDDR5 graphics cards should be cheaper and more accessible to everyone.
As you can see, all the new games require a gigabyte of video memory as minimum and 2 GBs as an optimal. At the moment there is no sense in buying a VGA with only 1 GB of RAM from gaming, I think every gamer, who wants to play on PC with the latest games should look for a card with 2, 3 or 4 GBs of memory.
Although making your choice is not easy, you must plan for the future, so you will be able to enjoy your hardware for 3-4 years, before you upgrade or replace them.