What is System Requirements Lab and How Does It Work?

What is System Requirements Lab and How Does It Work?
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Few things are more frustrating and disheartening in the gaming world than buying an exciting new game, only to find out that your PC can’t run it

Well, usually you should have an idea of what your PC is made of and what hardware games require, but some people just don’t have the intimate knowledge of their computers. System Requirements lab (SRL) is mostly for those with budget computers who just want to see if their PC can even run a game without gambling on it with their hard-earned money.

SRL is for computer novices

To be very clear, SRL is built for those who have little knowledge of their computer’s hardware or with little understanding of how games use your hardware. It’s pretty easy to install, just google system requirements lab or systemrequirementslab.com.

From there type in a game and a download will start. Don’t worry this is just a program that checks your PC’s hardware and sends info back to the site. Now the site checks the minimum and recommended system requirements for your selected game. A quick word on uninstalling; simply delete the downloaded file whenever as the information about your computer is saved by the website, no lingering effects on your PC.

The difference between simply playing and having the best experience

The minimum requirement is what you need to simply run the game. The recommended requirements are what you need if you want higher graphics settings or a better framerate. Search for a game and you will see checks or a red slashed circle and a breakdown of which components succeed or fail at running the game.

In my experience, however, it is far easier to do your own research and look on message boards or simply look up your PC’s specifications and go from there as I got endless errors and misinformation from SRL. My work computer uses Intel’s integrated graphics, which seriously confuses SRM. You could give it a pass as running graphics through a processor makes it hard to gauge performance but I won’t let it slide here.


Integrated graphics are budget graphics, and budget users are the ones using SRL

SRL is built for those who have budget computers and just want to see if they’re able to play a game; 90% or more of these systems will likely be using integrated graphics, and those can actually power a lot of games. I struggled to find a game in my Steam library that SRL said I would be able to play. I have 40+ games on this laptop and I can play all of them. SRL only said I could play about six of them. Plague Inc is a pretty basic game that my PC runs effortlessly, but a no-go according to SRL. This will unfortunately keep good games from budget gamers who take SRL’s word for it.

A few concerning errors

Also, the report sometimes quoted my graphics memory as 256MB, 126MB and even a whopping 3GB. It just didn’t know what to do. That said, even players with a separate graphics card can usually play games that have minimum settings higher than what their PC has. Almost any place where you can purchase a game will list the minimum requirements for the game, usually if you are just close in RAM or processor speed, then you should be fine.

Finally, I upgraded my drivers before using the SRL but it still wanted me to go to another website and download useless bloatware driver updating software. Ads were everywhere including those more annoying ones that play sound randomly.

You can use it, but look at other information too

Ultimately, you can get used out of the SRL, but take their advice with a grain of salt. If they say you can’t play a game, you probably can, depending on your setup. One good thing, however, is that if the site says you meet all the requirements, you probably can as it is pretty accurate when it does say you can play the game.

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