Tempted by a new game on Steam, but not sure if your PC can run it? We’ve all been there. Contrary to consoles where any game is guaranteed to run no questions asked, PC gaming is a little more demanding when it comes to compatibility.
Because a PC isn’t a standardized device with the same components, it can be a little tricky to determine whether your particular build is capable of handling the demands of a specific game. The numerous graphics cards models, processor types, and the amount of RAM found under the hood – and the seemingly infinite permutations of these – are quite simply mind-boggling.
In this guide, we explain how to determine the hardware requirements of a specific game as well as how to find out your own PC’s specifications.
Figuring Out The Minimum and Recommended Specifications Of A Specific Game
We’ve all come across a list of components published by developers in the build-up to the release of a game. This information is newsworthy enough that it features among daily news pieces in prominent gaming media outlets, especially for big budget AAA titles.
In general two specification profiles are offered; minimum and recommended. Minimum refers to the bare minimum specifications required to run a game. These are synonymous with low graphics settings, less than ideal FPS rates, and a just about acceptable game experience.
Recommended, on the other hand, is what’s required to run the game in all its glory with all the trimmings and graphical options enabled. Performance and the game’s visuals are notably better with FPS in the 60 or more range, and resolutions nearing 4K. Recommended is what’s needed to play the game how it was intended.
The two profiles usually list what OS a game supports (i.e. version of Windows, and whether a Mac/Linux port exists), processor requirements (usually one for the Intel family of units and AMD processors), RAM memory, graphics card (Nvidia and AMD options), and finally the minimum amount of free hard disk space required to install and run a game. Some developers throw in extra details such as DirectX version or sound card requirements, although these aren’t as widespread as those listed above.
Aside from coming across these specifications in a news article, there are multiple ways to track them down. First and foremost, official game websites are a great source of information. More often than not nestled in the FAQ or listed in the details of the title, the minimum and recommended specifications are readily available.
A second and universally more reliable method is to visit a game’s dedicated Steam page. Just below the ‘’About This Game’’ section are the ‘’System Requirements’’. As above, there are two lists, one for minimum and one for recommended.
By way of example, here are the specification requirements found on Steam for Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed title, Odyssey, set in the Mediterranean climes of Ancient Greece. As you can see the demands take quite a drastic jump between the minimum and recommended in the GPU and CPU department. It must be said that for a game released relatively recently the specifications aren’t too demanding.
Finding Out Your PC’s Specifications
Now you know what a game needs to run comfortably, it’s time to compare these requirements with what’s lurking under the casing of your PC. You can either figure this out manually or employ software to help with the process, although doing it yourself is a doddle and in our estimation, there’s fundamentally no need for third-party software.
To figure out a PC’s specs, click on the Windows start button and search for ‘’System Information’’. Select the option titled ‘’System Information’’. A window then appears displaying all the hardware components of the PC. The ‘’System Summary’’ option in the left-hand menu is more than sufficient for our purposes as it displays the OS, processor, GPU, and RAM.
We’ve also authored an in-depth guide that walks through multiple methods to check your computer specs, which you can find here.
From here, it’s a case of comparing the minimum and recommended specifications to your PC. If they correlate, or your PC has hardware significantly better, then the game is set to run without any issues. If your PC falls shorts of the requirements expect the game to run with difficulties or not at all.
Falling below the requirements doesn’t necessarily mean the game won’t run. It’s worth heading over to Reddit or searching on Google for testimonials from players with similar PC specifications. If the results are palatable and the game works, it’s your call as to whether it’s worth the price tag for a sub-par experience or not.
If you’re unsure of where your hardware stands in comparison to the specifications (whether it’s better or worse), here’s a classification of all current generation Nvidia graphics cards, AMD Radeon cards, Intel processors, and AMD processors. If you’re packing a card from the RTX line, go by the mantra that it’s better than anything else on the market. Perusing these sites should give you a firm understanding of where your specific component sits in the hierarchy.
As for third-party solutions, websites such as ”Can You Run It’‘ offer a downloadable tool that analyzes your machine and compares it to the specifications of a chosen game and then advises whether it will run or not. Although ‘’Can You Run It’’ is safe and legit, as a rule, we are always wary of third-party software for something that is quickly done by yourself as outlined above.
”Can You Run It” is, however, a reliable resource for minimum and maximum requirements for pretty much every game under the sun. The library of games becomes particularly useful when trying to hunt down the specifications for an obscure or older game.
Otherwise, sites like ‘’Game Debate’’ offer similar resources, but without having to download the software and install it on your machine. The library isn’t as expansive though.