Computer manufacturers that join the AMD Game program will be able to display a logo identifying the machine as meeting minimum requirements for gaming. The hardware requirements are based mostly on AMD products, so the initiative is self-serving. Nevertheless, the program offers some relief from the confusing specs computer makers rattle off in lists to make even middle-of-the-road systems appear game ready.
"We in the PC industry owe consumers the same predictability, simplicity, and affordability in finding a PC for gaming that the console industry currently provides," Nigel Dessau, senior VP and chief marketing officer at AMD, said in a statement.
According to figures provided by AMD, two-thirds of the desktop and notebook PCs sold last year had only the most basic capabilities, which is considerably less than what's needed to drive graphically intensive games.
The program has two levels of configurations: AMD Game Ultra and AMD Game. Ultra includes an AMD Phenom 9650 or 9600+ Black Edition processor; an ATI Radeon HD 3870 or 3870 X2 video card, also from AMD; and a minimum of 2 GB of system memory. To qualify for the AMD Game sticker, a system must have an AMD Athlon 63 X2 5600+, Phenom 9500+, or Phenom 9600+ Black Edition processor; a Radeon HD 3650 video card; and 2 GB of system memory. A complete list of the specs is on AMD's Web site.
Alienware, a gaming PC maker owned by Dell, is the only major manufacturer listed as agreeing to join the program. It remains to be seen whether support will also come from Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest PC maker; Sony; and other major manufacturers.