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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  • Holly - Monday, May 26, 2008 - link

    Tbh this sticker campaign is just a advertisement to catch computer greenhorns.
    As a rating system of computer performance it sux since there is nothing to compare with from other manufacturers (Intel, nVidia).
    Also, why use such a stupid system of rating, when you have integrated rating system with Windows Vista; any newer game already has data available how much points are needed for minimal and recommended configuration.
    Nope AMD, this isn't the way...
    Reply
  • Kyanzes - Sunday, May 25, 2008 - link

    "AMD! The bitter side of gaming!" Reply
  • Wolfcastle - Sunday, May 25, 2008 - link

    Among developers and engineers, ok no problem. From the marketing team, wowie wow wow wow! Spell check! Reply
  • fkinwah - Friday, May 23, 2008 - link

    Another marketing gimmick! Requirement for PC Game could change significantly month over month. Can AMD guarantee and accountable to the consumer who buying PC with Game! Ultra label off the shelf (could be old PC inventory launch many months ago) still able to demostate ULTRA performance with the latest and highest requirement PC Games in the market? Obsolutely Not. So this label is totally not making any sense and will not benefit the consumer in fact just creating more confusion and help dealer to convince, push and sell their old inventory for higher price.

    Say YES to AMD Puma, Say NO to AMD Games!
    Reply
  • can - Saturday, May 24, 2008 - link

    I said this before in another post, but I'll say it again here...If this takes off, it may provide developers a fairly standard set of benchmarks to design for. Things do become dated, and that is an issue, but upgradability is part of the x86 PC, I think overall it's a good thing. Reply
  • Ratzenheich - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - link

    I've seen some other people comment on how the HD 3650 would be crap, won't be enough, or something along those lines. Apparently, they've been stuck using high-end cards their whole lives, seemingly disgusted with the 'horrible' performance of mid-range cards. My laptop with a 2.0 Ghz C2D Santa Rosa, 4 GB of DDR2-667 RAM, and a Geforce 8600M GT can easily play most games right out of the box @ 1440x900 with relatively high settings, save games like Crysis (this is why I have a desktop gaming rig, right?).

    Most of my friends who are Average Joes come to me when they want to buy a new PC or laptop because I'm familiar with these things. Recently, I had a friend who wanted an HTPC that can also play some games -- different from the usual gaming setup most people asked of me and I've always recommended an 8800GT or 8800GT SLI depending on budget. This time, however, I recommended him a Powercolor Radeon HD 3650 with a 512 MB GDDR3, built-in HDMI and sound processing for less than $100 and he's extremely happy. The CPU is an Athlon X2 5000+ Black Edition and the RAM is a 2x1 GB DDR2-800 Kingston ValueRAM. He plays CnC3, TOCA Race Driver 3, CoD4, HL2, World in Conflict, and a slew of many of the newer games at their pre-set 'high' settings and 2x AA at WXGA resolution and everything looked incredibly smooth (and good). It's not like everyone can notice 30 FPS from 40 FPS in a snap. Average Joe won't care as long as it's smooth and 30 FPS is a definition of smooth gaming. 60 FPS is a luxury -- it's butter smooth. A hardcore gamer that loves his PC to death would care if he got 5 more FPS than his friend's PC because it induces a sort of self-gratification that comes from confirming that 'my PC is faster!'.

    Another issue they may have is with the games themselves. We'd be lucky if most of the games out there are as straight forward and optimized as COD4, but fact is it isn't. Maybe it's true that we should just try to educate them instead. These AMD GAME! PCs should come with quick-fire manuals that will show the owners what things like 'anti-aliasing', 'anisotropic filtering', 'soft shadows', etc. are and show them what it does and how much it impacts performance. Or they can just stick to some kind of list that AMD will post on their website regarding games and what pre-set settings they should use to have it running over 30 FPS or 'smoothly'.

    But the whole fact that they're trying to mold PC gaming in similarity to the simplicity of console gaming is might be whimsical to some mainly because it veers away from the notion that PC gaming is for people who want to be able to customize and do their own sort of thing. Consoles have recently been borrowing some from the PC in forms such as Xbox Live, but it won't be as wide as it would otherwise be on a PC even given the same game. The broadness of PCs is what's keeping many away from PC gaming. I'm still lauding AMD for their efforts though. It's a joke having most of the mainstream PCs from Dell, Acer, HP, etc. with Core 2 Duos and banners saying it's fast and all that. But come game time, Average Joe doesn't know why his 'Dell blah-blah system with a super fast 3.6 Ghz Core 2 Duo' is running his game so slow. It's not just broad in hardware, but also in marketing their products as well. If companies like Dell actually said to their customers like: 'To be able to play games on this computer, we are offering the following upgrades to the video card to allow for awesome graphics and smooth gaming', they might be selling less. To them, it's none of their concern if they play games or not. Please, so it's 'super fast in general applications, super slow in games with the Intel Core 2 Duo with an Intel X3100 "Extreme Graphics" built-in GPU' slogan now eh? LOL. 'Extreme Graphics'. I remember one of my friends before a few years ago, he asked me why CnC Generals won't run on his computer and I asked him what 'video card/graphics processor' his PC has, he told me 'Intel Extreme Graphics 2'. LMAO. We had a happy ending though. We went out to buy an ATI Radeon 9600XT, much to his delight.
    Reply
  • 6354201 - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - link

    PC gaming is not dead. WoW and countless other MMORPGs have millions of subscribers.

    One genre that many people forget even exists in gaming is strategy. Strategy games are almost exclusively on the PC, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The list of strategy games I have bought within the last year include Galactic Civilizations 2, Europa Universalis III plus the expansion, Democracy 2, Hearts of Iron 2:Doomsday and Age of Empires III. All of these games are great and fantastic replay value.

    All in all, PC gaming is far from dead.
    Reply
  • gochichi - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - link

    One type of comment I'd like to address is the "computer gaming is dead" comments. This is the most ridiculous concept, games are highly portable and becoming even more so every year. With production costs being as high as they are, why would companies who built the games on computers not release them to market for computers. Computer "gaming" leads, it always has and will for a very long time. Back in the day consoles and computers were vastly different, and this is really no longer the case. Example: An SNES and a 386 were vastly different. Now the consoles have graphics chips from no other than the two major PC gaming graphics card developers. Even if there weren't huge gaming events like WOW, Half-Life 2 deathmatch, and on and on, computers would remain a viable platform simply by ease of portability to the consoles. WIthout this portability, how could games ever be created? Remember when Microsoft was using Power Macs for the first XBOX 360 demos?

    Even if AMD and NVIDIA didn't want to address the PC gamers any longer, they would continue to do so because these are the people that subsidize the R&D for whatever future console chips need to be produced.

    PC gaming is relatively affordable, PC which you may already have + $120.00 graphics card and you have a gaming machine that can do true 1080P unlike the PS3 for example. The other thing is that people that some of us people that buy legitimate copies of games do not even consider "gaming on a console". I swear my Wii is collecting dust, my Xbox 360 is ring-of-death dead and I haven't bothered getting it repaired/replaced though the media extender feature was cool the games and the controls were beyond ultra-lame. I played Halo 3 to the end (b/c I kept thinking, this has to get good at some point) ... WOW COULD IT BE MORE OVERHYPED? What a mediocre game, seriously. A lot of people eat at McDonalds, that doesn't make it fine dining.

    The other line of comments that I would like to address is the "People don't overclock anyway" crowd. I agree with you, that most people don't bother with it. HOwever, Intel's chips are overclockable because Intel ia two generations ahead of AMD. Basically, AMD is selling a factory overclocked CPU that doesn't carry with it the same amount of legroom that Intel's cpus do. I remind everyone that the Q6600 is not the holy grail, it is just one chip released a while back now. I am sure that AMDs chips are good/decent, they just aren't as good as Intel's right now.

    I think the so-called mainstream will be happy to see these labels and whatever. I can see sales people in brick and mortar stores really using these labels as sales tools which is going to be good for AMD.

    Reply
  • davedree - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - link

    the thing is I've been utterly peed off with the pc gaming industry for the last year. the lack of games and how everything seems to be ported over from the xbox,

    I have been a pc gamer for years, and i always have built the best system i can afford. Im gonna cut this short,,,basically it all evolves around the xbox 360. I believe its causing the pc gaming market to suffer. The game that annoyed the most ,,
    Ubisoft,, SPLINTER CELL DOUBLE AGENT. i STUPIDLY BOUGHT THIS and there were so many bugs, i threw it in the bin.

    Secondly Grand theft auto 4, was marketed purely to make a huge income,,, but where ??? in the console market.
    why not in the pc market?? because it would have been copied and shared across the world and reduced sales profits.
    I read that its due for release on pc in october 2008..
    how true that is i dont know.

    How many people do you know who have a pc, but use it for work, and own a xbox or playstation for games but not their pc.??
    nearly all my friends

    have u noticed how the average joe consumer are buying more laptops as opposed to pc desktops.
    sorry i mean intel-tops.

    amd should make their own laptops and desktops, release them with their intergrated (780g chipset/ next version) and sell them directly or if they have to oem , i think theres a market there for that.

    Reply
  • zade - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - link

    Yeah, there are problems with as most people are pointing out, but it is a step in the right direction.

    PC gaming is in dire straights. Even if the average user knew what he needed for gaming when shopping for a new PC, he would have a hard time finding it at the local Best Buy. A tag just might help this situation, although they absolutely should not allow a 3650 to be included in a gaming PC.

    As an avid PC gamer for a long time, it is sad state of affairs when people like my little brothers, who owns an Xbox 360, genuinely think their Xbox is more powerful and has better graphics than a PC. I'm sorry but CoD4, Bioshock and Gears of War all look much better on my 8800GTS 512.
    Reply

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