As any PC gamer can attest to, the system's lack of uniform hardware that helps distinguish it from consoles is a double-edged sword. Although a high-end PC is often capable of outperforming even the latest and greatest console tech, high-end PC games make a habit of pushing the technical envelope, which forces PC gamers to upgrade regularly in order to meet ever-escalating system requirements.
The latest such PC game is Crytek's first-person shooter Crysis. With the game set to arrive November 13, Crytek today revealed the minimum and recommended system requirements for the game.
Minimum System Requirements:
OS--Windows XP or Windows Vista
Processor--2.8GHz or faster (XP); 3.2GHz or faster* (Vista)
Memory--1GB RAM or 1.5GB RAM (Vista)
Sound Card DirectX 9.0c compatible
* Supported Processors: Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz (3.2GHz for Vista) or faster, Intel Core 2GHz (2.2GHz for Vista) or faster, and other similar CPUs.
** Supported chipsets: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT + or similar GPUs. Laptop versions of these chipsets may work but are not supported. Integrated chipsets are not supported. Updates to your video and sound card drivers may be required.
Recommended System Requirements:
OS--Windows XP / Vista
Processor--Intel Core 2 DUO @ 2.2GHz
GPU--NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS/640 or similar
No doubt those specs will inspire a number of gamers to upgrade their rigs. So with Crysis nearing release and countless gamers' credit cards dangerously close to being maxed out, GameSpot took the opportunity to discuss the system requirements with Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli.
GameSpot: Let's talk about the minimum system requirements. How would you describe the graphics on this setting, and how do they compare to other games? What do you lose, in terms of graphical fidelity, at the minimum system compared to the recommended system?
Cevat Yerli: The quality of Crysis running on [minimum spec hardware] does equal the shading and texture quality of games that are about three years old, but with polygonal detail that is bigger then games from that same generation. The scaling happens in various areas, such as shading-quality, texture-resolution, shadows. View distance and interactivity are close to Far Cry. Our goal was to reach a quality with the game on the various specs to compete with games that are from the last two generations until today's generation, respectively for low, medium, and high [specification setups], with the very high [spec setups] hoping to define the upcoming and introduced generation with Crysis.
GS: Crysis requires a minimum of 256MB of video card memory, which is pretty unprecedented for a PC game. Are you afraid that a lot of PC gamers won't have powerful-enough hardware to run the game? Is there no way around that?
CY: The 256 MB 6800 was [available] in 2004 as the high-end card, so hence we picked this. Further compromises were possible but quality and frame rate would have suffered more. We are not afraid, since we know by statistics from our partners like Nvidia and Intel and from PC manufactures the base to play our game is theoretically bigger than the consoles, plus we hope Crysis inspires people to play at very high configurations that--like in the past with top-tier titles--usually required you to upgrade your PC.
GS: What's more important to have for Crysis: A powerful CPU or a powerful video card?
CY: Actually they should be in sync. Low CPU and high GPU makes little sense, since the game might then become CPU-bound; likewise, if you have a strong CPU and low GPU, your game may not render fast enough. So you should align the generations of hardware when building your PC, in general. If you have a CPU and GPU both from the last 12 months, though, and you want to upgrade one of the components, then it should be the GPU.
GS: How important is system memory to the performance of the game? Are the load times a lot shorter if you have 2GB or more of memory? Does the game run smoother?
CY: More memory means usually less stalls, more stable frame rates, and loading times will speed up indeed. So yes, 2GB or more is better.
GS: The game will ship with support for DirectX 9 and DirectX 10. However, all recent events have shown the game running in DX9. Does the DX10 version offer the same, or slightly better, performance? If gamers have Vista and DX10 cards, do you recommend that they play in DX10 over DX9?
CY: Players who have DX10 will get a better-looking experience, with all of our settings dialed all the way up, but this will take up more of your hardware's resources. This is what our "Very High" settings are reserved for, and if you have the hardware, we fully recommend it. Our "High" settings can be used by DX10 and DX9 users, and will perform better in DX10, though our DX9 players will have nothing to worry about because we are really pushing that technology to new levels.
GS: When we talked last year it was said that Crysis will ship with 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Is 64-bit still in the box? Does it offer any kind of performance improvements as predicted?
CY: Yes, 64-bit in general runs better than 32-bit. In fact I would recommend gamers run 64-bit only under very high configurations. We ship both 32- and 64-bit out of box.
GS: As demanding as Crysis is in terms of technology, Crytek has always stated that the technology serves the gameplay. So what does all of this power let you do with Crysis?
CY: Higher interactivity with physics, [and] more intense analysis of artificial intelligence for dynamic obstacles, since obstacles are created through breakabilities. Shadows and lighting impact gameplay perception and decision making; so does the environmental art. Impacts in general exist in all aspects of Crysis gameplay.
GS: Finally, any last thoughts on Crysis' technology and its system requirements?
CY: My final thoughts are, I am happy that we managed to scale down Crysis--which is on average 10 times more pushy than Far Cry--down to Far Cry specs. But Crysis is a high-end game that shall define what's now and in the future. Enjoy it as such as much as you can. It's like a concept car available and affordable now. I like also this quote somebody gave: "It's like a sexy blond girl with a PhD degree," upon which I said, "But with curly hair."