If you're wondering just how much Crytek's upcoming shooter Crysis 3
, the latest in a line of games that make even the beefiest gaming rig beg for mercy, will demand of your system, the release of official system requirements from publisher Electronic Arts should be of interest.
First, the minimum specifications: to play the game at all without it degenerating into a slideshow of pretty snapshots, you'll need a DirectX 11-capable graphics card with at least 1GB of video RAM such as the Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 or the AMD Radeon HD 5770, a dual-core CPU of equal or better performance than Intel's Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD's Athlon64 X2 5200+ and at least 2GB of memory. Those gaming on Vista, rather than Windows 7 or 8, will need to have at least 3GB, EA recommends.
If you'd like things to look a little prettier, the recommended specifications bump things up to 4GB of RAM, a quad-core chip of Intel Core i3-530 or AMD Phenom II X2 565 equivalence (both, as has been pointed out in the comments, actually dual-core processors in spite of EA's insistence that a quad-core chip is required,) and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or AMD Radeon HD 5870 or better. Finally, if you want to really push the boat out and turn the graphic settings up high, you'll need 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7-2600K or AMD FX 8150 or better, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon HD 7970 or better.
In short: if you've got a cutting-edge rig, you should be OK - but if you're running a generation or two behind the curve, expect to have to sacrifice some image quality in order to get acceptable framerates.
The interesting thing about EA's recommended system specifications is the quad-core processor found in all but the basic level: this suggests that Crytek's latest CryEngine build can take full advantage of today's heavily multithreaded processors, something games engines have been poor at doing in the past
Crysis 3 is due to launch in February 2013, closely followed by tweaked graphics drivers from AMD and Nvidia as they both attempt to outdo the other in offering the most frames per second at the higher quality levels.