Five Games That'll Break Your PC

Is your computer tough enough to run this year's most promising titles? You'd better know your weaknesses

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobylmore
What It Will Break: Your struggling CPU

Another hopeful title that has been cooking for quite some time is STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, a gigantic, open-ended shooter that beats with the heart of Deus Ex. Combining role-playing, "life simulation" and highly evolved enemies, we anticipate that it will offer a wickedly realistic environment. Due out last year, STALKER's creators have pulled the plug on an early shipment in order to crank up realism and AI even more. Rest assured that all of these logic-intensive features will do a slam-dance with your CPU. If your motherboard has room to grow, add a faster CPU before you enter into STALKER 's "Exclusion Zone."

We Recommend: Check out the latest offerings from Intel and AMD. We'd say not to settle for less than a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 or an Athlon 64 3500+, and go higher if you can afford it. Either way you're looking at a $200ish upgrade, minimum.

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