Todd Hollenshead, id's chief executive, said Doom 3 will require these system specifications:
• A 1.5-gigahertz Intel Pentium 4 chip or AMD Athlon 1500.
• 384 megabytes of memory.
• Two gigabytes of hard drive space.
• An nVidia GeForce 3 graphics card or better; or an ATI Technologies 8500 or better.
If your existing rig doesn't meet these specs, here's a guide to beefing it up to play Doom 3 in all its gory glory.
• Graphics card. This is the best upgrade you can make for Doom 3. It's also where computer makers, looking to cut corners on mainstream systems, often wimp out.
Here's hoping the PC you own doesn't have a graphics adapter that borrows memory from the main system. So-called shared graphics notoriously choke on high-end games, and most budget systems don't include an AGP slot that lets you install a better card.
ATI Technologies and nVidia are the two biggest providers of graphics cards. As you move up either company's set of offerings, the results will improve. Cards at the top of the heap — nVidia's GeForce FX and newer 6800 series, or ATI's Radeon 9800 or newer X series — will provide the best experience and cost the most.
If you're upgrading, look for at least 128 MB of video memory in a card with Direct X 9.0 capability that installs into an AGP slot. Cards in the $150 to $200 range — such as a GeForce 5900XT or a Radeon 9600XT — will be a sweet spot.
• Memory. The 384 MB minimum may trip up a lot of systems. Many mainstream PCs in the last few years have come with 128 or 256 MB of memory. If you want to play Doom 3, more memory is better. I'd recommend 512 MB, and adding up to a gigabyte would be smart.
Check with the maker of your PC to see what type of memory it requires. Prices varies depending on the source and type, but use $50 per 128 MB as a benchmark.
• Hard drive. This is one category that may not require an upgrade at all — just some spring cleaning on your part.
If your hard drive is nearing capacity, take some time to clear off at least twice as much space as the game requires. That means you'll need at least 4 GB free.
Of course, if you're down to your last few gigs, you probably should buy a new drive. Get the biggest you can afford, with at least 7,200 revolutions per minute. You'll pay in the $80 range for a 120-GB Enhanced IDE drive or around $95 for a Serial ATA model.
• Processor. Although this is harder to upgrade, it's key to your Doom 3 experience. The minimum may be 1.5 GHz, but you'll probably want at least a 2-GHz Intel Pentium or equivalent AMD Athlon chip. The ideal is 3 GHz or better.
But if you do need a new chip, unless you take joy in swapping out a motherboard or building your own system, Doom 3 is probably as good an excuse as any to buy a new PC.