System requirements describe the minimum specifications of the hardware and software required to play a game, in terms of performance and compatibility. Some requirements are clear-cut, like the operating system(s), 32 or 64 bit, minimum RAM and disk space, minimum DirectX versions, but for CPU and GPU performance, it's complicated:
- The megahertz/gigahertz myth applies, so it's inaccurate to say "1.6GHz or faster"
- CPU and GPU vary by generation ("Is my Core 2 Duo too old for this?") and segment ("Do I need a high-end rig or a budget rig is enough?"), so "1.2 GHz Pentium" won't cut it
- Many minimum system requirements mention Athlon, Core 2 Duo, Pentium, ATI and GeForce 8800 GT which sound irrelevant in the age of i3/i5/i7 and A6/A8/A10/FX, AMD-branded (not ATI) GPU and three-digit GeForce GPU numbers (like 760).
- Benchmark scores like 3DMark are accurate, but not everyone are aware of benchmarks or bother to run them.
- Screen resolution and graphic settings are variables not mentioned in most system requirements.
- "Playable frame rate" is subjective: It can be 12, 24, 30, 40, 60
My question is, is there a way to communicate the performance requirements of a game to a buyer that address the issues above. Or, should we ditch performance requirement descriptions and let the buyers do their own research on forums, benchmark sites and review sites? Are there any unusual ways of communicate system performance requirements?