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.

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  • BPB - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I'd like that too. But like politicians and what they tell us, could we really rely on what they told us if they were to say what AMD did for them? This whole thing is ridiculous, it really is, mainly for what has already been posted, but for other reasons as well. The Ultra is already NOT an ultra platform, so what will they call a platform with the newest chipsets and 4000 series graphic cards? Mega Ultra? And next year, Mega Ultra 09? Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    or most likely many future games.

    They should have at least made the minimum requirement for Game an HD3850.

    Game Ultra should be a 790 board and an upcoming R770
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    then again, a casual gamer might not be interested in Crysis, and a 3850 is overkill for WoW at lower resolutions. And from their charts, it seems they realize there is a class above what would be looking at the GAME! Ultra spec, who know enough to actually pick their components (labeled CrossfireX).

    Too bad they can't just throw a sticker on the case that tells the consumer to do some homework on what they can do before buying a certain system. That will never happen though.
    Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    The thing I don't like abou this labelling is how it will (or won't) handle progress. In 6 months/a year, specs will be higher. Yet the upper level will still be called "Game Ultra" and the midlevel "Game". There won't be version numbers or years tacked on to that, so one will find today's Game Ultra being outperformed by regular old Game in a year or so. I'm not sure how that's supposed to reduce confusion. Reply
  • krwilsonn - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - link

    Well there is one thing that people might be overlooking. I have seen many PC's from Best Buy or another big box retailer that look great and have fast performance but guess what, they will never be able to game. Why? Because not only do they have integrated graphics, but they also didn't include an AGP or PCI-E slot for graphics cards. Presumably because adding a discrete graphics card would exceed the wattage of the PSU, as well as the thermal and space requirements of the chassis that is designed for looks and a small footprint rather than performance or upgrade ability. Obviously Sony
    VAIO or HP would rather sell you a brand spankin' new PC rather than you upgrade your old one. So if you are an average Joe that buys a pc with one of these stickers, guess what? It WILL handle progress. It will have a PSU sufficiently able to handle the higher amperage requirements and maybe if you're lucky it will be of a standard form factor. It will have a PCI-E x 16 slot so you have a chance of upgrading when it comes necessary. I'd say that is pretty good for consumers. Personally I think its a good idea.
    Reply
  • Brucmack - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    A hooker should be discreet - not a graphics card.

    Normally I try to ignore these kinds of issues... but AMD's marketing department doesn't know the difference between discrete and discreet?
    Reply
  • npp - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I don't know how the others may feel about that but every time I see the next sticker coming I simply feel sick... This reminds me of nVidia's extreme architecture thing or Microsoft's stupid Vista ready/not ready initiative... It's plainly stupid and I hate TAGS. It's just the next ingenious PR decision that's supposed to sell more crappy products, but I guess it's always better for some people to have the right sticker on it. (Remember THX certificates? The majority of high-end audio vendors don't even care about that, although their equipment by far surpasses the requirements for a... sticker.) Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    It's not just a tag, look at centrino. Yes it was marketing-based, but centrino provided a laptop with guaranteed wireless and performance specs, and it worked very well, and it basically drove the at-home wifi laptop revolution.

    So if AMD manages to really offer a platform that gives a reliable sub-enthusiast gaming experience to buyers, then that's great! Marketing meets functionality and everyone wins.
    Reply
  • Comdrpopnfresh - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I thought having an Intel cpu was a cornerstone of a very good gaming experience. lol
    But they can't add that to the credentials.

    Too bad AMD is in the budget cpu market, and only has a small handful of competitive gfx cards.

    Bet they wouldn't be in this boat if they had just bought nvidia instead of ati- I bet ati didn't bring all that much to the fusion project as was hoped. And the acquisition doesn't seem to be balancing the choice to release processors aimed at the enterprise segment...

    tough boat indeed... hopefully they don't do something stupid like try to drink all the water surrounding them.

    I own a system with an amd processor btw... not a fanboy, but seeing as I'm not directing the company, I am entitled to look in the rear-view and poke at what became unsavory decisions.
    Reply
  • just4U - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Out of curiousity, I built a secondary system based around the Phenom X3.. Just because. People really shouldnt be giving it a bad rap especially if they haven't used one. It's not far off my Q6600 in terms of performance at stock speeds. Infact there is very little difference at all. Atleast I can't notice any just booting around on the computer and playing games.

    Granted, once you start overclocking the core2's pull away but most people don't overclock at all so I mean it's a moot point for anyone but enthusiasts who make up a very small percentage of computer users out there. You know?

    Reply

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