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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  • ap90033 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I think more OC than you think. My Q6600 is at 3.2 right now and runs great! Reply
  • Griswold - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    And how many out of the (estimated) 250 million casual and mainstream gamers are overclocking? Much more than the total of the (estimated) 13 odd million enthusiast gamers? I dont think so.
    Overclocking is mainly a thing of those who see more in their computer than just another electronic device. The rest turns it on to do what they want to do and then turn it off again, not caring about the "what" and "how". And thats why I think AMD got a little marketing jewel there. Now, they just need to make it shine instead of losing it as per usual.
    Reply
  • fitten - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    So your Phenom X3, which was launched a couple months ago, compares similar to the first processor in a line launched well over a year ago on (most likely) single-threaded code? I used AMD exclusively on the desktop for about 7 years but bailed when they hosed me over on two sockets longevity (Athlon64 platforms) and the fact that Intel got their act together and made a better product. But yes, processors are fast enough now that people don't notice the increase fro 90fps to 100fps or whatever.

    Anyway, I hate these 'system spec classification names'. As another poster already said, new games come out all the time that push the machine's capabilities... what's a GAME!Ultra today will be below just GAME! in 1.5 years. So you'll see people selling GAME!Ultra on Ebay and confusing people all along. Other than that, these names just sound stupid, to me, but I'm not in the audience that AMD is trying to woo with these 'make things easier' names.
    Reply
  • FITCamaro - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Exactly. This is a mainstream platform. It's not meant to win any benchmarking awards. Fact is most desktop PCs come with integrated graphics. Even a C2D system with integrated graphics won't play games well. Phenom X3 and X4 processors and ATI graphics cards are more than capable of playing todays games. Are they necessarily the fastest out there? No. But they don't have to be.

    Yes Intel's processors are faster. Nvidia's GPUs normally are faster. But the real world difference typically isn't that much. Even the 3650 is capable of playing modern games on the typical 1280x1024 resolution of today.
    Reply
  • Harkonnen - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    ....but I do not think that it goes far enough. I believe the games themselves should have a certification to go along with the hardware.

    Like 'Game A' is certified for Extreme or something and the computer has the matching certification. Which means 'Game A' would need an 'Extreme' certified PC to run at the game's maximum settings. So the game could be labeled 'Extreme' for resolution 1920x1200 and up with maximum game settings and for smaller resolution, say 1600x1200 it would only need a 'Mainstream' Certification.

    I hope you guys are getting what I mean. It is kind of hard to explain.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Also what about as time goes by?

    Today the Game Ultra requires a minimum of a 3870. Next year that wont be as powerful, and the year after it will be weak. Are they going to date it? Game ultra 2009, 2010? Or just call it Game ultra and up the specs, thus creating even more confusion?
    Reply
  • anandtech02148 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Amd can have my slogan, I will sell you "Game On Baby!" for a Zeelleon dollars.
    They exclude gaming on small electronic devices why? I've seen people in traffic playing cellphone games.
    Does this mean Pc gaming is still alive? Pc game development seems to die.
    Reply

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