What Types of Games Can I Play With an AMD Processor?
By David Perez
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) gears most of its processors toward the budget-conscious user interested in performing "everyday" tasks such as Web browsing, word processing and checking email. As gaming is one of the most demanding tasks in computing, processors in this range are strictly limited in the types of games they'll run. However, AMD also produces high-end processors that will run virtually any game on the market. The types of games your AMD-based system will run depends greatly on your processor model. Beyond this, there are other system specifications that you should consider before purchasing and playing a PC game.
AMD has two families of desktop processor suitable for gaming. These are the Athlon and the Phenom. The first of these is the company's mid-range product, while the latter represents the highest performing devices it has to offer. Put simply, you can get away with gaming on a high-end Athlon provided you're not playing any of the more demanding games on the market. In contrast, most Phenoms are adequate for any game, with high-end Phenoms generally offering ideal performance across the board.
While each game has different system requirements, first-person shooters and role-playing games, especially Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), demand the most processing power. A MMORPG is a type of game where multiple players interact in an online community. While you technically might be able to run these on an Athlon, chances are the game play will be choppy. For these, a Phenom that exceeds the game's system requirements should work well. Sports games may also require this high-end processing power. Simulation games such as the Sims, and strategy games such as Command and Conquer will work on an Athlon processor that meets their requirements. Puzzle-based games such as Myst should also work well with Athlons.
When games report minimum processor requirements, they typically specify a recommended brand, family and speed such as "AMD Athlon 2.7 gigahertz." Note that the game manufacturer isn't recommending this processor. Rather, it is merely stating that this is the lowest performing model that will run the game. Also note that there's more to a processor than speed. Also consider its cache memory size and number of cores. The more cache, the better. When it comes to cores, AMD's best core configurations for gaming are its two-, three-, four- and six-core units.
When it comes to gaming, processors always work in tandem with graphics processing units (GPUs), otherwise known as video cards. Whenever your PC runs a game, the GPU generally shoulders the majority of the processing burden. AMD makes a variety of GPUs through its sister company ATI. Of these, the top of the line are the FirePro and FireGL products. These are adequate to run virtually any game. GPUs in the company's Radeon series generally meet the minimum requirements of most games. In all cases, you should check with the manufacturer of the games you wish to play for detailed system requirements.