Thinking about getting a new game but you’re not sure whether your PC can handle it? Most of us have been there. Unlike consoles, compatibility is always a big question when it comes to PC gaming, so you need to be able to check your system specs and what kind of spec the developers are recommending.
After all, a PC can be comprised of a number of different components from across the years, which makes optimizing games for PC more difficult. With all the different models and specifications of CPUs, GPUs, and RAM, there are a ton of variables to keep track of.
Now, in this article, we’ll steer clear of the technicalities and provide a brief explanation as to how you can figure out whether your PC can run a specific game, so read on!
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Minimum And Recommended System Requirements
Whenever a PC game is announced, the system requirements inevitably follow at some point, and as you can see from the image above, the developers usually specify both a minimum and a recommended system spec for running the game.
These official requirements usually list a number of key hardware components such as the CPU and the GPU, the required RAM and storage capacity, as well as some software requirements such as the supported operating system and DirectX versions.
Generally speaking, the minimum requirements list the hardware/software that is the bare minimum for running a game, which usually means that the game in question would be running at low settings with a less-than-ideal framerate.
Meanwhile, the recommended requirements list hardware that should be able to provide the ideal gaming experience that the developers intended – maximum or near-maximum settings, running at a stable 60 FPS or more.
Of course, the minimum and the recommended specs are just generalizations, and are not always 100% accurate nor do they always tell you what exact kind of performance you can expect. After all, settings can be tweaked and different people have different performance requirements, not to mention that different resolutions and refresh rates are also a big factor in modern gaming.
Sometimes, developers specify exactly what resolution and graphics preset the specified configuration is supposed to be able to handle, but that is not always the case.
Where To Find System Requirements
In case you’re wondering where you can see the hardware requirements of a game, finding them is a very simple task.
Apart from being able to see them listed on the game’s official website, the easiest way to find the system requirements is right there on the store page. Steam lists the hardware requirements at the bottom of the page, and other legitimate online stores (even gray markets such as Kinguin) do so as well.
In any case, finding any game’s system requirements is only a quick Google search away. You can find the system requirements for a lot of games right here on GamingScan along with tips on PC builds that can run the game perfectly.
How To Find Out Your Own PC's Specifications
If you don’t already know your own system specs, then figuring that out is about as easy as finding a game’s hardware requirements.
This can be done in several ways. You could always do it the analog way by checking your bill and warranty details, but taking a look at your system information is easy enough. Simply search for System Information and Windows should show you an app that contains all the hardware information that you need, as well as plenty of other info you don’t.
Once you open the app, you can see which CPU model you have, as well as your total system RAM and OS version under System Summary. As for the GPU and the storage details, you can find them under Components > Display and Components > Storage respectively.
With that information, you can easily compare your hardware to that specified under a game’s minimum and recommended requirements.
Now, since there are so many different CPUs and GPUs available, you might not be sure as to how powerful your CPU and GPU are compared to whatever the devs have listed for their game’s system requirements.
In that case, you might want to take a look at UserBenchmark.com. It gathers data from hundreds of thousands of different PCs to give you an overall impression as to how specific pieces of hardware perform using UserBenchmark’s own simple benchmarking application.
Keep in mind, however, that UserBenchmark is by no means the perfect way of ascertaining any component’s performance, but it can give you an overall impression as to how two different components perform compared to one another. As mentioned above, this is especially good for when you’re not sure how powerful your CPU or GPU is compared to the one listed by the developers as a minimum or recommended requirement.
So, for example, if PUBG has an Intel Core i5-4430 listed as a minimum requirement, this doesn’t mean that you need an i5 processor. The newer i3-8100 and i3-9100 are both more powerful than the aforementioned 4th generation i5, so you can see why UserBenchmark is a good tool for quickly comparing different CPU/GPU models from across the years.
If you want to check actual in-game performance, however, you should be able to find benchmarks online or on YouTube which demonstrate how well the game runs on the GPU that you have. Keep in mind that you don’t need to list your graphics card manufacturer, so for example, if you have an Asus ROG Strix RX 580, you should just be looking for RX 580 benchmarks.
Searching for a specific model only needlessly narrows-down the search results, and the differences in performance between different graphics card models are usually minor and generally come down to a handful of frames.
Can You Run It
Another way to see if you can run a game is with the help of a popular tool called “Can You Run It”, and the name pretty much tells you what it’s about.
Can You Run It is a database that contains the system requirements of countless games, allowing you to find them quickly and easily. On top of that, it also offers a free piece of software that will automatically detect your computer’s hardware specifications and upload them to the site, allowing for quick and easy comparisons with the hardware requirements of different games.
And that would be everything you need to know when it comes to finding out whether your PC can run a game!
As mentioned before, the hardware requirements aren’t set in stone, so even if your PC doesn’t quite make the cut, it’s not necessarily a hopeless situation, as the game might still run even if some of your components aren’t listed as officially supported.
In the case that you are making do with an older machine and are thinking about upgrading, you might want to take a look at some of our builds, as they include a wide array of configurations, from budget-friendly setups as cheap as $300 to more powerful (and pricier) gaming machines.