What Inexpensive PC Game to Validate Hardware?

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Sep 15, 2023
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All - newbie here, and really I'm not a gamer, but watch lots of YouTube videos on hardware since I am a bit of a hardware freak, and most of those channels use game performance to benchmark PC builds. I am getting ready to put together a budget offline system and have a few other PCs on which I would like to get some idea of FPS. I got The Witcher 2 but honestly I can't for the life of me get past even the first obstacle. Is there a low-cost, game I could get where I don't have a big learning curve to play the game, that would give me a representative idea to compare FPS between machines? Thanks,

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Fortnite is free and will squeeze the crap out of most PCs with lumen enabled. Or do you want a GOG game specifically to run games offline ? If that's the case, just see what's on sale. Witcher 3 should be cheap by now, and theres nothing too difficult in the early chapters.
You can play Steam games offline as well, but GoG is great for DRM free games and has a sale going on right now.

Meanwhile, you might want to check out Red Dead Redemption on Steam. It's not quite as complicated as Witcher games, is on deep discount right now and will challenge your computer pretty well. The Resident Evil 4 remake is on sale now, too, and is extremely uncomplicated to play.
I agree with @Jörmungandr about using 3D Mark to test your PC’s maximum performance, but if you want real world gaming performance, you should try Control Ultimate Edition. It’s on sale on Steam for $10, the download isn’t too huge (42GB on disk, I think download was closer to 25-35GB), and the graphics are great. It will push your graphics card as well as your CPU. Gameplay is fun and can be easy if you use a controller with aim-assist.
3dmark is good as it lets you compare your systems scores with people with potentially exact same hardware. It will show you results after the tests.

Good for ego if you manage to be first person to test a combo
3D Mark. If youre benchmarking a lot its worth getting the paid edition, at least a couple of years ago Firestrike and Time Spy were the main ones for high end PC's.

Some games have a built in benchmark, Total War Warhammer does, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Some sites used to use Ashes of the Singularitys benchmark because its quite CPU intensive IIRC.
Some sites suggest using Userbenchmark but their reviews are biased so I am not sure if the benchmark results aren't either. Hence reason I didn't link to it.

They inflate how good Intel are & how bad AMD are. They so biased towards Intel that Intel banned reference to them on their reddit. Talk about trying too hard. Nvidia are also treated same way, their GPU always better than AMD, regardless of facts... will be curious how they compare intel vs Nvidia GPU going forward.

benchmark sites shouldn't be biased or they defeat their supposed purpose. Unless they are only shills in disguise.
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Welcome to the forum :)

give me a representative idea
This depends hugely on what kind of games you intend to play. There will be a huge diff between the resources needed for a high-octane action game—eg a GPU-bound shooter—and those for a turn-based strategy game—eg a CPU-heavy like Civilization.

It's also relevant if you intend to play recent releases, say from 20s—they'll stress resources more than older games.
I am a bit of a hardware freak
So I assume you're fully wrapped up in the whole FPS thing? If not, there is the option of not worrying about it too much.

Everyone's eye differs, but—simplifying here—most can see 60-90 FPS for normal everyday gaming. If you're one of those who can see a bit more than average—ie nearer to the 90Hz range—then you'll get value from a 144Hz monitor, and also smoother animation.

Beware that there's relatively little benefit from having hardware speeds which your eyes can't process while you're busy assessing and reacting to on-screen action. If you're a competitive multiplayer and can afford it, then get the best—but if on a budget, take care of the rest of your system and peripherals first.
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