While the performance of a gaming PC varies from game to game, developers follow a constant trend for the minimum and recommended requirements for hardware as years progress. This generality of moving to new hardware creates the new “minimum requirements spec” for releasing games has become a joint discussion in the enthusiast sphere.
The minimum requirements for gaming PC's today is an NVIDIA GTX 770 or an equivalent with 2GB of VRAM and a CPU from Intel’s 3000 to 7000 series, depending on the game. The recommended hardware for gaming is a GTX 1070 GPU with 4.5/4 GB of VRAM and an Intel i5-9600 CPU.
Every game's requirements differ; we find that these configurations cover a majority of hardware used in gaming in 2021/2022. Let's look into the most critical aspects of each component and what the FPS counter contributes when configuring one of our custom gaming PCs.
Minimum Gaming PC Hardware Specs
As time goes on, older systems become less and less able to keep up with newer titles. Because of this, the hardware required for a gaming PC to keep up with minimum requirements needs to get replaced and upgraded.
A motherboard depends on two significant factors to get the best performance out of a given set of hardware. Most BIOS versions only support the current or previous generation of hardware at release. Motherboards BIOS are either updated or come with the latest drivers via DISC or USB. This is to ensure that no matter the shelf life, the hardware supports the latest BIOS when given to the customer. This is not likely to happen for most individual resellers looking to pass on their PC.
The CPU is one of the most critical components when describing the capabilities of a system. A CPU is excellent for procedural physics and number generation and simulation in real space. If a game is CPU-dependent, you can look up requirements from the developers. Here are a few games that I came across using this article as a helpful list for determining game requirements.
- Kerbal Space Program
- Universe Sandbox
- BeamNG Drive
- Civilization 5 & 6
The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is one of the most coveted components in the gaming market due to being required for most games and display types. While games get more detailed, dated graphics cards need to get creative. The minimum requirement for VRAM (video RAM) has held strong for over four years however is starting to move up in requirement. Here are some examples of games considered GPU dependent:
- Apex Legends
- Rainbow 6 Siege
- Metro Exodus
- CoD: Modern Warfare
While viewed as a supporting component to the CPU, RAM is a necessary constant that brings out the best features in a CPU. While not always pushed to the max, specific workloads cause the most run-of-the-mill RAM to reduce performance. Here is a list of some games and VR titles that depend on a recommended amount of 16GB of RAM:
- Project Cars 3
- Resident Evil 8
The PSU is a mediation component that is better explained in this article. Its primary role is to provide adequate power to all hardware within a system. While the type and conditions of certain CPUs, GPUs, and RAM varies depending on their specification, the PSU gives the system the proper power budget to accommodate any needs, including overclocks or future component power requirements. While second-hand PSUs can be viable, the detailed history of a PSU leads to more confidence in its ability to provide a system with its needs and keep the components safe.
Storage is one of the most subjective quantitative issues for a given PC, and the importance goes into two questions for a given system: "How fast and how much would you like?” which is a different answer for everyone.
If a person plays, for example, three games with a combined storage space of 300GB, If you only want to play those games, then you could opt for an NVME like our 512GB option.
It is best to prioritize what games are played the most and their size to accommodate better vs. worse storage solutions. For example, If a game has substantially long loading times, it would be best to have them on the fastest storage option to reduce time loading assets.
Minimum Software Requirements
While no operating system is entirely out of service, the most popular operating systems for games on the Steam store hardware report are Windows 10 64bit (65.60%), Windows 11 (27.98%), and Windows 7 (1.88%). While a PC can use any steam compatible OS or game, developers often support the most popular OS versions for the intended user base.
As a result, along with hardware upgrades, you need to stay up-to-date with software updates to ensure your gaming PC meets the minimum requirements for new titles.
Gaming PC FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about the range of minimum requirements for games being released every year.
What Specs Matter Most For Gaming?
The GPU or iGPU(integrated GPU) is an essential gaming hardware piece. The GPU provides VRAM and the graphics processor to generate however many frames per second, depending on your model. This is followed by your CPU, RAM, Storage, Motherboard, PSU, and other accessories you need for your gaming PC.
How Much RAM is Good For Gaming?
The standard amount of RAM is 16GB for gaming workloads. As of 2023, we are in between DDR4 and DDR5 for available RAM for modern systems, at a significant price and specs between the two. Depending on the intended workload, like streaming or a workstation, research how much RAM is needed and at what speed it is beneficial before committing to hardware.
What Should I Look For In A Gaming PC in 2023?
A GPU from the RTX 30 series and a CPU from Intel’s 12th series are popular combinations in today's market. Options like our Apex Gold are a great entry-level value system for those wanting to get into PC gaming.
As of writing, not all of Intel's 13th potential generation, like an i5 13400 or i3 13100 model, has been announced for entry-level systems. This is the same with Nvidia, as they just recently announced the start of their lower tier of cards, the 4060ti.
Once all the current chips and cards are released, reviewers will determine the best bang for your buck regarding the related hardware on the market.
What PC Specs Are Considered High-End?
Intel’s higher-end CPUs are designated as i7 or i9. AMD marks their higher-end CPUs with R7 and R9. For Nvidia, the high-end components of each generation of cards go up from the generation number plus the designation(70ti,80,80ti,90,90ti).
Going into the naming slightly more, depending on the manufacturer, there are multiple conditions that CPUs and GPUs adhere to. Some CPUs manufacturers advertise overclocking; others have limiters on hardware to dissuade people from doing so. Thus CPUs that don’t have these limiters are mentioned as “unlocked CPUs,” which are often an important selling point for many consumers.
GPUs often don't have this issue as they have their regulations and are fairly easy to overclock via programs or adapt their BIOS via the manufacturer settings.
Conclusion for Minimum Gaming PC Specs & Requirements
As technology progresses, the minimum requirements for gaming PCs to play newer titles. Intel's 3000s series of CPUs released in 2012 are still viable as the minimum requirement for gaming releasing this year, and the last has not changed. From this behavior, recently released generations can last well into the 2020s unless we move away from our current understanding of silicon chips.
In the meantime, Apex has created its 50% PCs line, which utilizes these later generation components like the Intels 9th generation series of CPUs, mixing them with our RTX 30 series cards for competitive performance at a significant discount for savings.
Each component is a majority of games standard for both minimal and recommended specs to keep up with more modern PCs. Whatever your PC component needs to hit minimum game requirements, we hope to support you at Apex!
Written by Will Wilson
Photo Credits: Pavan Bhakta