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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  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Shoot, $345 for a 1600x1200 LCD? I'd grab a 24" 1920x1200 LCD for about the same price instead. Not many companies are still making new 1600x1200 LCDs, which is why prices are often higher.

    As for the bigger picture, the idea sounds nice but the real problem is the games, not the hardware. Take just two games on the list: Sins of a Solar Empire is nowhere near as demanding as Quake Wars, but they're both tested. What we need is good categorization of the games, not the hardware.

    Vista sort of attempted this, but their mechanism overall is flawed. You could have a killer GPU/CPU, but if your HDD or RAM doesn't "match up" it will lower your overall score. 3DMark Vantage actually could work if used properly... something like "you need a system that can score 2000/3000/4000/etc. on the Performance setting" would be relatively informative. Too bad you now have to pay for 3DMark Vantage if you want to run it more than once. And too bad it requires DX10 and Vista.

    FWIW, I have an X1950 XTX setup that can still handle most games without difficulty - and outside of DX10 support I'd wager it easily beats a 3650 card. Meh. Looks like the real solution is to get people to quit being stupid. :-)
  • SniperWulf - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    The point of this labeling thingy is to help Joe Sixpack that goes into bestbuy to buy a computer, actually get a half ass decent machine to play on. Its not about the best of the best components etc.

    I really hope this catches on. Although the 3650 isn't the fastest card around, it sure as hell beats intel integrated and most IGPs. Get enough people out there with those and the minimum spec for games can also increase, etc etc.

    That said, I do think they should label the specs by year. Just as others have said, they are basically hitting a moving target as more demanding titles come out. Adding the year at the end of GAME! or GAME! ULTRA will at least help
  • AssBall - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I agree SniperW.

    The average person getting a computer at Walmart or even their local shop has no clue what is actually in it, and they get pissed when it won't run something and they don't know why.

    Its kinda like buying a car that you didn't know has a 70mph limiter because you thought all cars were basically created equal. What you needed was just a passable means of transportation. You don't want to be an automotive engineer or mechanic, nor do you want to spend time researching how everything affects the performance of your vehicle. You just need it to be able to do a certain level of work for you.

    This is where the GAME! comes in for PCs, it is a gaurantee of passable gaming satisfaction based upon standards for folks who don't care to constantly keep up on PC technology.
  • tshen83 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    All I can say is this: SHORT AMD. Reply
  • Iketh - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    they need to date each iteration... AMD Game! 2008, 2009.... Reply
  • Rich4757 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I know I'm not in their target audience of 200 million casual gamers but this is just a marketing gimmick that is more worthless than the Vista/Games for Windows initiative that MS dropped the ball on. At least the MS program seemed like a better plan than this does. I was very skeptical as soon as I saw the benchmark for the Ultra badge was based on a 4:3 resolution, do they even sell 4:3 native resolution LCD's in stores still? IMO programs like this prey on ignorant people who won't do research which in turns leaves a bad taste in their mouth when the Ultra system they bought won't run the new game that just came out 3 months after they bought their PC from a big box store so they then abandon the idea of gaming on a PC altogether because their "game" PC won't run games. Another idea put forth by people more worried about quarterly revenue instead of looking forward to year’s worth of revenue.

  • batmang - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Its a marketing ploy, but its a decent one. I'm an AMD fan so I'm glad to see them finally step things up and try and take over the general users area. Grab more attention, get more sales, competition is never a bad thing. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    But this is one killer program that if marketed correctly should destroy the Intel IGP problem!! Are these going to be the highest end systems available? No, but you know what... Compare a regular GAME! logo PC to what the average user is using today!! Just imagine how the average PC meeting GAME! Spec is going to improve PC gaming for us all!!!

    But again, AMD does need to market it right... It's my guess that the real positive effect of GAME! won't be felt unless AMD is wildly successful with the program forcing intel to come out with a compteting GAME! platform of their own. Once that happens, say good by to horrifically LCD games.
  • can - Saturday, May 24, 2008 - link

    I think what most excites me about this is the possibility that developers could have something of a fairly standard set of requirements to design for. It could very seriously boost the popularity of PC gaming, which I'm all for...With a fairly standard benchmark to work from, many many more titles could be released with target audiences in mind. I think the problem they face is the lambasting they receive regularly. I posted a link to this article on another forum and the discussion that ensued consisted a lot of "LOL AMD" and "AMD Suks" and similar attitudes. I tried to show them benches for phenom 9850 and compared it to a Q6600 and also compared a 3870x2 to the 8800 GTS 512...It fell on deaf ears. The mere mention of AMD was a cause for laughter.

    AMD needs to advertise this...and do it well.
  • mmntech - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I have to applaud Microsoft and AMD for attempting to revive PC gaming but I can't help but wonder if they're trying to breath life into a corpse that's already rotting. The problem with PC gaming today is not with the hardware. It's the poor quality software being pushed out by developers and publishers that's the problem. Just look at EA's latest fiasco with Spore and Mass Effect as an example. I just don't think unified platforms are going to improve PC gaming if there aren't any games.

    Still, this will definitely make buying and playing games somewhat easier since "minimum system requirements" have been misleading for a long time. This gives average users a guarantee that the game will run well on their system.

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