The program works like this; any PC manufacturer looking to participate in the AMD GAME! program must meet these minimum requirements:

The GAME! Ultra logo actually has some pretty decent minimum requirements; a Phenom X4 9650, while not the fastest quad-core CPU available today, is more than sufficient for mainstream gaming. More importantly, the Radeon HD 3870 is a good enough GPU for the vast majority of titles today. The AMD 770 chipset choice is also a solid one.

The standard AMD GAME! logo unfortunately has more lax requirements; all you need to get this logo is an Athlon X2 5600+ and a Radeon HD 3650 as well as an AMD 770 or nForce 500 series chipset. A PC bearing the regular GAME! logo is better than your run of the mill desktop with integrated graphics, but honestly I'd prefer for there only to be one logo and for it to carry as much weight as the GAME! Ultra spec.

AMD comes up with these requirements by running a number of benchmarks internally with the following requirements:

1600 x 1200, default settings at above 30 fps (average frame rate) for AMD GAME! Ultra
1280 x 1024, default settings at above 30 fps (average frame rate) for AMD GAME!

The titles AMD tests internally are Quake Wars, Half Life 2 Episode Two, World of Warcraft, Lineage II, Call of Duty 4, Sins of a Solar Empire, Command & Conquer 3, Sims 2 Deluxe and Zoo Tycoon 2. While AMD obviously runs even more benchmarks internally, these nine titles are the ones that it uses in determining the minimum hardware requirements for the GAME! and GAME! Ultra logos. The 30 fps limit isn't actually a hard limit since the vanilla AMD GAME! spec doesn't always meet it, but the goal is to get as close to it as possible.

The benchmarks themselves are manual runthroughs of the games. Each game is played for a total of 30 minutes, three times, with the average frame rates recorded and averaged. An individual tester is assigned to each game/benchmark to maintain some level of consistency. Since AMD isn't really comparing hardware here and just making sure the games meet a minimum level of experience, this relatively unscientific approach to testing works just fine. And if you're wondering, should the tester die in the middle of the demo run the results are thrown out and a new run is recorded.

AMD selects the titles for its GAME! logo program based on sales data/popularity across some of the most popular genres of PC games. The games list will be updated approximately twice a year, with the first update to the program coming in early 2009.

This combination of data ensures that, for the most part, people who buy PCs with the GAME! Ultra logo will get a good gaming experience on current titles, at default settings, at 1600 x 1200. Those who buy PCs with the regular GAME! logo should also be guaranteed a good experience, albeit at 1280 x 1024 instead.

AMD will also be placing GAME! Ready logos on peripherals (e.g. mice, keyboards) that meet a separate set of standards. AMD has devised a list of requirements for these peripherals such as requiring that drivers install properly, docking stations for wireless mice and the ability to have up to 5 keys depressed at once on a gaming keyboard without triggering an error. These sorts of functional requirements are actually pretty impressive for AMD and it could mean that peripherals with the AMD GAME! Ready logo are actually a cut above the average.

Index Final Words


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  • can - Saturday, May 24, 2008 - link

    Not to mention things like a Parent shopping for their kid...this takes guesswork out of their purchasing a home computer...With a simple tag on the computer saying that it is suitable for gaming would hopefully relieve that. I do agree that the tags are ambiguous, and also that with bottom line thinking in computer companies that this may not fly as well as it could, and actually generate resentment. But overall, I think it will help educate people and really be of value to the PC gaming industry...I bet Valve will be thrilled if this takes off. Reply
  • Pythias - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - link

    "...vendors who face returns.."

    What? Who accepts returns on electronics or software?

    "It wont play my games" or "It wont play on my computer" never flies.

    "When we told you it would play games, we meant like...solitaire...or minesweeper".

  • netexpert - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    That's "Discrete" graphics, not "Discreet graphics" Reply
  • Quidam67 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Great article, and I like the idea. Certainly not original (eg. Centrino).

    BTW, Centrino got around the "moving target" issue otherwise known as progress, not by attaching a year to the certification logo but by updating the way the logo looks. While this method is somewhat more ambiguous, it is a fair compromise and I suspect AMD will do the same.

    Someone mentioned Games for Windows (Live), Please let me get on my soapbox: That is probably the biggest opportunity flushed down the toilet I've witnessed from MS in recent times. Considering that they had Xbox Live available as a template (and shining example) it makes it all the more appalling to witness what MS did with this. Logging into GFW should not require running a game. Online gaming is about community. People want to see who's online and what they are playing, and then make a decision about what to boot up -or perhaps they want to message their clan members and organise the evenings entertainment. At least Steam understands that, but GFW should have defeated Steam hands-down. MS should have made something brilliant that unified the PC gaming community by providing a robust and feature rich platform (whether in XP or Vista), but instead they blew it.
  • chizow - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Reminds me of Bill Paxton in the original Alien. :)

    I'm actually surprised it took AMD this long to leverage their position as the only complete PC gaming platform. Unfortunately, they've never been in a weaker position in their key product areas, CPU and GPU. Even with competitive products, often at attractive price points, the average consumer will still only see "2nd best" when they see these stickers on PCs. Hell, that happened years ago with Intel dominating marketshare even when AMD had the faster chips.
  • can - Saturday, May 24, 2008 - link

    Seconded, they almost should have done this out of the gate...It was the kind of thing I was hoping for out of their purchase of ATI...Well that and new chipsets and technology, but that's a given. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I don't know, I think the consumer this program is created for just doesn't have that much of a clue. Reply
  • AssBall - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Sadly I think you might be right...

    What value does another flashy sticker on your PC add when there are 18 other ones you also don't care about or understand. For AMD's "casual gamer" market, its kind of akin to saying: meh, standards, shmanderds... If people want to be lazy about their investments and purchases and then get disapointed because they find out they were retarded later, that's their deal, not manufacturer's.
  • Locutus465 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I don't know, what I think is sad is the current state of intel integrated graphics dictating a minimum set of game compatibility. I'm glad to see AMD taking the lead on this one and dictating that we're not going to be stuck with this for much longer. I hope that this program is wildly successful forcing a response from intal ah la AMD64. Reply
  • lifeblood - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I think some of you, including the articles author, should step back and look again at what is a reasonable system to play games. Between feeding my family, paying the mortgage, and filling the gas tank, I can’t afford to spend a lot on a PC. Just this week I replaced my video card and monitor. My new Hanns-G widescreen LCD is capable of a max resolution of 1440x900. A quick check on Newegg shows the cheapest 1600x1200 capable LCD costing $345 which is $160 more than what I paid for my new LCD. An extra $160 is not chump change. At $155, the cheapest 3870 is more than twice the cost of the 3650 I bought. Yet I still can play modern games at enjoyable frame rates and resolutions on the 3650. I know Crysis is stunning with visuals set to high, but is it ugly on medium quality? I haven’t played it yet but I bet it still looks and performs well.

    My world does not rotate around the PC and games, but I do like to play them. AMD’s Game! requirements are reasonable for the average gamer on a budget like me.

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