PC gaming rocks--but figuring out whether the latest game will even run on your system can be a pain. You already know the answer to the question if you have a dedicated gaming rig, but for anyone looking for gaming thrills on their standard issue laptop, things aren't quite so simple.
Finding the answer can be easy, though. Rather than digging through spec lists to try and figure out whether you've got a suitably beefy graphics card or processor, get some quick automated advice from the long-running website Can You Run It.
Powered by System Requirements Lab, Can You Run It scans your PC and lets you know whether your machine is up to snuff for next week's Battlefield 4 LAN party.
Here's how it works.
Start by heading over to the Can You Run It website and searching for the game you'd like to play from the drop-down list. Click the button that says Can You Run It. A pop-up window will appear with three choices: detect your PC settings with a web app, use a desktop app, or just read the requirements for the game yourself.
Chuck out option three since the whole point of coming to the site is to automate the process of checking system requirements. Personally, I didn't choose option one for in-browser detection, because that requires Java and, well, Java. (I've used the browser version and it works just fine--Ed.)
For me, downloading the desktop app was the best course, and that's the method I'll explain here.
First, click the Start button to automatically downloadsan MSI file to your desktop. Just double-click it and follow the instructions to install the app, which is called System Requirements Lab Detection.
Once the app is done installing and you launch it for the first time, within a few minutes you should be automatically redirected to a Can You Run It web page, complete with the site's recommendation for your desired game.
After you've installed the Can You Run It desktop program, you can just go back to the site in the future to automatically check whether a certain game will work on your PC--no more downloads required.
Parsing the recommendation
While Can You Run It will automatically tell you whether your system is ready to run your favorite game, it pays to read the results a little closer.
The site errs on the side of caution and sometimes it may say you can't run a game when you actually can. Case in point: my PC is perfectly capable of running Diablo III, but Can You Run It said the system wasn't up to snuff.
Delving into the results a little closer, the site didn't like that I was running Windows 8.1--a version of Windows not on the official support list for Diablo III.
There are few problems when trying to run Windows 7 apps in Windows 8.1, but at one time Diablo III didn't technically support Microsoft's latest OS. If you run into a similar issue, it pays to check on gaming forums, Google, or the game's official support pages whether your game of choice plays nicely with Windows 8.1. (For the record, Blizzard has updated its support page to say Diablo III will run on Windows 8.)
Even though Can You Run It can sometimes get it wrong with operating system details, don't kid yourself. If the site says you can't run a game like Dead Rising 3 because your processor, RAM, or graphics card doesn't make the grade, heed the site's advice and don't waste your money.