Here's Why Crysis Still Strains Modern Computers 10 Years Later

Here's Why Crysis Still Strains Modern Computers 10 Years Later

The evolution of computing power is not as clear-cut and direct as you might believe.

Approximately ten years ago, Crysis came to PC. EA's first-person shooter received critical acclaim, but it's probably best remembered for its role as a status symbol for PC gamers. The game was notoriously resource-intensive and getting it to run on available hardware without compromise was as much a challenge as beating the game itself.

Ten years is an eternity when you measure time by tech, though. Crysis' legendary spec requirements are a joke now, right? You can probably get the game to run on a Canon printer. Well … no. Not at all. The building blocks that form Crysis hold up brilliantly by today's standards—and in fact, most modern PC's still have a hard time running the shooter at its optimal performance.

What? Why? How? That's a question for Digital Foundry. Earlier today, our tech-obsessed compatriots published an incredible breakdown of what made Crysis a marvel back in 2007, and it also outlines the reasons why it still puts today's computers through their paces.

Long story short, EA anticipated computer tech would gradually improve and make it easier for people to run Crysis at peak performance—but said tech didn't improve in the ways EA predicted.

"Crysis … hails from an era where the future of CPU technology was heading in a very different direction than Crytek may have originally envisaged," writes Digital Foundry's Alex Battaglia. "[T]he expectation for PC computing, especially from Intel with its Netburst architecture, was that the real increase in speed in computing would happen from massive increases in clock speed, with the expectations of anything up to 8GHz Pentiums in the future. It never happened, of course, and that's the key reason why it is impossible to run Crysis at 60fps, even on a Core i7 8700K overclocked to 5GHz."

In other words, the tagline that carried PC gaming through the late aughts—"But can it play Crysis?"¬—remains nearly as relevant as it was a decade ago. May its echo never fade.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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