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System Requirements for The Sims 2
What Your Computer Needs to Have
and how to tell if it has it

You're ready for The Sims 2, but is your computer? Maxis is pulling out all the stops this time, designing a state-of-the-art game for state-of-the art computer hardware.

Scroll down to learn how to find out what you've got, but first, here's what Maxis has to say about the minimum system you'll need to run the new version of the game, slightly paraphrased from the official site.

The Sims™ 2 Minimum System Specs

If you have a T&L capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM (such as nVidia GeForce 2 or better or ATI Radeon 7200 or better) then you need at least:

  • 600 MHz P3 processor
  • 256 MB RAM if Windows XP, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
  • 128 MB RAM if Windows 98

Please note: Previously we said "ATI 7000 or better;" however, the ATI 7000 is not a T&L-capable video card. If you have an ATI 7000, your main CPU will be doing all the work and you'll need at least a 2 GHz processor speed. We found that with an ATI 7000 and an Athlon Thunderbird CPU clocked at 1 GHz, The Sims 2 has too much lag to make the game playable.

If you're wondering where to get a graphics card, see our notes about where to buy graphics cards.

If you have a non-T&L capable video card (such as TNT2 or Intel Integrated) then you need at least:

  • 1.5 GHz processor
  • 256 MB RAM if Windows XP, Windows ME, or Windows 2000
  • 128 MB RAM if Windows 98

Note: Based on the webmasters' experience, a fast CPU by itself is not enough to run The Sims 2 Bodyshop without a T&L card. You also need *lots* of memory; our testing so far shows that 256 MB won't cut it, but 1 GB will. It might be easier to just get a T&L card; they're going for US$100 to $120 on the net these days. (You can add speed and memory to your T&L card and spend thousands if you really want to; but if you can afford to do that for a computer game, let us tell you about our Webmasters Relief Fund...)

Recommended video cards (and the more video memory the better):

  • ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
  • nVidia GeForce 4 or FX series cards

nVidia's glossary defines Transform & Lighting (T&L) thus:

Two separate engines on the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) that provide for a powerful, balanced PC platform and enable extremely high polygon count scenes. Transform performance determines how complex objects can be and how many can appear in a scene without sacrificing frame rate. Lighting techniques add to a scene's realism by changing the appearance of objects based on light sources.

T&L video cards started shipping around 3 years ago, so if you got your computer in the last couple of years you might already have a T&L card.

Make sure you have the most current drivers for your video cards. Visit the nVidia site or the ATI for the latest drivers for those video cards.

How to find out what kind of video card you have

Before you run out and buy a new video card, use the Device Manager to check what you already have in there. As you can see in the illustration below, our main machine is more than ready for the challenge.

(Our example below is serious overkill. It's an hp m380n media center pc with 1 gigabyte of RAM. Not to worry; you don't need dual 3-GHz P4 processors to handle The Sims 2.)

The Sims Device Manager
Where to find the Device Manager
  1. On Windows, right-click on "My Computer" and select "Properties".
  2. On the "System Properties" window, click on the "Hardware" tab.
  3. On the "Hardware" screen, click on the "Device Manager" button.
  4. On the "Device Manager" window, click on the "+" next to "Display adapters". That will show you what video card (or cards) you have installed.
  5. Also click on the "+" next to "Processors" to find out what kind of CPU you have and how fast it is.
  6. While you are here you can find out what version of the driver you have installed for your video card by right-clicking on the name of your video card and selecting "Properties".

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Copyright © 2007 by SimsHost. All rights reserved. Updated Mon, Jan 1, 2007.