PC gaming is an area that is more tuned towards heavy gamers than console gaming. Not all computers are created equal, and in order to run certain PC games, a computer has to have certain minimum requirements. Naturally, games run on computers with lower specs will operate slower than games run on computers with higher specs. Much of this has to do with memory and graphics processing; and in order to play most PC games to their full potential, you have to make a few considerations when purchasing a gaming PC.
Central Processing Units, or CPUs, often determine the overall speed of your computer and have become less important to PC gaming over the years as computers have hit the point where there have been no major advancements in speed since the introduction of the Pentium 4 processor. Just about any computer you can buy new today, whether it has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or an AMD Athlon processor should be powerful enough to play games to their full potential.
Video Cards, or graphics cards, are what essentially create all of the graphics you see in games. A less powerful graphics card may not be able to reproduce all of the detailed textures and smooth frame rates of a higher-end card. With today’s games, the Radeon HD 2600 XT and GeForce 8600 GT cards would be the minimum for playing games like “Crysis” or “Company of Heroes.” You’ll also need to install DirectX 9, which is an API (application programming interfaces) and needed to run most modern games.
The RAM memory is the memory required to perform the various actions on the computer. As a minimum, many modern computers come with one gigabyte of RAM memory, with most models coming with two. To run a game properly, you’ll need at least three gigabytes of RAM memory, preferably four. Even if your current PC only comes with one or two gigabytes of memory, you can purchase extra memory to put into your computer’s PCI slot, so you can always expand it. Most games will claim on the back of the box that only one gigabyte will be required, but remember that having only one gigabyte may allow you to play it, but only at its lowest graphical settings.
Because Windows XP takes up less RAM memory and is far more efficient and less buggy than Windows Vista, XP is typically the better option as an operating system on a gaming PC. While most new PCs come with Vista (or Windows 7), you can always downgrade or have a PC custom-built.