MSI and Futuremark present game-o-meter

In a bid to combat the baffling system requirements found on game boxes, MSI has teamed up with Futuremark to provide its new laptops with a straightforward gaming rating.

Based on scores from Futuremark's DirectX 10 benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, the "game-o-meter" system simply gives each MSI laptop a rating out of ten. It then provides some examples of which games will be playable, and which ones won't.

You can see the system in action at MSI's BeatIt gaming website, where you can also run a basic test on your own machine to see how it stacks up against MSI's laptops. However, we couldn't get it to cooperate with our Core 2 Quad machine with a Radeon HD 4850, and were instead presented with an error message saying "unfortunately we are unable to rank your computer."

So far, the system has been used to rate MSI's latest gaming laptops, including the GT660, GE700, GE600, GX740, and GX640. At the bottom end of the scale, the GE600 has a Radeon HD 5730 and gets a score of six out of ten. According to MSI, this means it can play games such as Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and Assassin's Creed II, but will struggle with Battlefield Bad Company 2, or GTA: Episodes from Liberty City.

Then, at the top end of the scale you get machines like the GX740. With a Radeon HD 5850 under the hood, this machine gets the full ten out of ten rating, which means it can play all of the games mentioned above, as well as Dragon Age: Origins.

Of course, this is a highly simplified system when it comes to gauging gaming performance. Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage engine isn't used in any games outside of Futuremark, so it's a synthetic test. Not only that, but you also don't get any detailed information on frame rates, detail settings and resolutions.

However, 3DMark Vantage does at least give you a basic gauge of comparative 3D performance, and the "game-o-meter" provides a simple way for non-technical gamers to get past the jargon and find out which machines are more powerful for gaming.

Futuremark says that its 3DMark series of benchmarks have now clocked up over 45 million downloads, and it announced its plans for the new version, 3DMark 11, last month.