Microsoft aims to take the guesswork out of answering that question with a new method for evaluating a PC’s capability to run a given piece of software, including the complex games that often choke older PCs. The system, described in a patent application published two weeks ago by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, would assign a “capability rating” to a PC or specific component that describes a comprehensive system, including an independent ratings board, that would provide an easy-to-understand numerical rating for determining whether a PC can handle a given piece of software. The application describes a “capability tool” application that would examine a PC’s innards and assign it a numerical rating based on standards set by an advisory board. A software application or game would be assigned a similar rating, based on the amount of computing resources it requires. Match the numbers, and you should be able to buy that new game or graphics application with confidence.

Microsoft aims to take the guesswork out of answering that question with a new method for evaluating a PC’s capability to run a given piece of software, including the complex games that often choke older PCs. The system, described in a patent application published two weeks ago by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, would assign a “capability rating” to a PC or specific component that describes a comprehensive system, including an independent ratings board, that would provide an easy-to-understand numerical rating for determining whether a PC can handle a given piece of software. The application describes a “capability tool” application that would examine a PC’s innards and assign it a numerical rating based on standards set by an advisory board. A software application or game would be assigned a similar rating, based on the amount of computing resources it requires. Match the numbers, and you should be able to buy that new game or graphics application with confidence.