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This article lists the minimum system requirements to run Microsoft Age of Empires III. Additionally, this article lists the supported and unsupported video hardware devices, and describes an error message that you receive if the hardware does not pass a system check.

You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.

What To Try

Method 1: Verify that the computer meets the minimum system requirements

The following are the minimum system requirements to run Age of Empire III:

  • Windows XP

  • A computer that has a 1.4 gigahertz (GHz) processor

  • 256 megabytes (MB) of system RAM

  • A hard disk that has at least 2 gigabytes (GB) of available space

  • A 32x speed CD drive

  • A 64 MB video card that supports Hardware Transform and Lighting

  • An audio card and speakers or headphones

  • A Microsoft mouse or a compatible pointing device

  • A 56.6 kilobytes per second (KBps) or faster Internet connection for online play

  • DirectX 9.0c

Note These are the minimum system requirements that a computer must have to run Age of Empire III. You may experience increased performance on computers that exceed these requirements.

Note To install Microsoft Age of Empires III Expansion: The War Chiefs, you must have Age of Empires III installed.

Step 1: Start the DirectX Diagnostic Tool

Windows 7 or Windows Vista

To start the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start Start button .

  2. In the Start Search box, , type dxdiag

  3. Click OK.

User Account Control permission If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or provide conformation.Windows XP

To start the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start.

  2. Click Run.

  3. In the Open box, type dxdiag.

  4. Click OK.

Step 2: Collect computer details

  1. Click the Display tab.

  2. In the Device area, note the name of the video card and its approximate total memory.

  3. Click Exit.

Method 2: Compare computer details to requirements


Age of Empires III requires a minimum of a 1.4 gigahertz (GHz) processor. Additionally, the processor must support Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE). Processors such as the 1.4 GHz Athlon Thunderbird do not support SSE. Your hardware must pass a system check when you start the game. If your processor does not pass the system check, you receive the following error message:

Age of Empires III requires a processor that supports the SSE instruction set. This computer does not appear to support SSE, so the game will not attempt to run.


Age of Empires III requires a minimum of 64 megabytes (MB) of memory for video hardware. Additionally, the video hardware must support Hardware Transform and Lighting. Your hardware must pass a system check when you start the game. If your video hardware did not pass the system check, you receive one of the following error messages that indicate that Age of Empires III does not support the video hardware:

Error message 1

Your video hardware is below the recommended minimum requirements for Age of Empires III. If you wish to upgrade your computer, please contact your computer manufacturer for any necessary assistance.

Error message 2

Age of Empires III requires at least a 64 MB video card. This computer appears to have a less than 64 MB video card. If you wish to upgrade your computer, please contact your computer manufacturer for any necessary assistance.

Unsupported video hardware

The following list contains video hardware, chips, and chip sets that are not supported by Age of Empires III.

Hardware Provider



Banshee, Rush (Alliance), Rush (Macronix), Voodoo 1, Voodoo 2, Voodoo 3, Voodoo 4, Voodoo 5

3D Labs

GLiNT, GLiNT 300SX, GLiNT 500TX, GLiNT G1, GLiNT MX, Oxygen Series Gamma2, Oxygen Series R3, Oxygen Series R4, Permedia, Permedia 1, Permedia 2, Permedia 3, Permedia 4


ATI ES1000, IGP 340M, Mach 32, Mach 64, Mobility Fire GL, Mobility Radeon 7000 IGP, Radeon 7000 IGP, Rage 128, Rage 128 Pro, Rage Fury Pro-MAXX, Rage II, Rage II+, Rage IIC, Rage LT, Rage LT Pro, Rage Mobility, Rage Mobility 128, Rage Pro, Rage XC, Rage XL




CL4610, CL4614, CL5462, CL6729, GD5430, GD5434, GD5436, GD5446, GD5464, GD5465, GD5480, GD7543, GD7548






GeForce 256, TNT2, TNT2 M64, TNT2 Ultra, TNT Vanta


740, 752, 810, 810e, 815, 830, 845, 865G, 915, 915G, 915GM


Millennium, Mystique, Millennium II, G100 PCI, G100 AGP, G200 PCI, G200 AGP, Fusion G450, G400-450, Mistral, G550


128, 128ZV, 128XD, 256AV, 256ZX, 256XL

Number Nine

Revolution 3D, Revolution IV


GeForce 256, GeForce 256 DDR, GeForce 256 Quadro, GeForce 256 Ultra, NV 1, NV 2, Riva 128, Riva 128 ZX, TNT, TNT Vanta, TNT2, TNT2 Aladdin, TNT2 M64, TNT2 Ultra


Verite 1000, Verite 2100


Aurora 128, Graphics Twister, ProSavage, Savage 2000, Savage 3D, Savage 3D S3, Savage 3D S4, Savage IX, Savage MX, Savage4 ProSavage, SuperSavage 128 IX, SuperSavage 128 IX DDR, SuperSavage 128 MX, SuperSavage IX, SuperSavage IX DDR, SuperSavage IXC DDR, SuperSavage IXC SDR, Trio 3D, Trio 64, Trio 64 DX, Trio 64 Plus, Trio3D, Virge, Virge DXGX, Virge GX2, Virge MX, Virge MXC

Silicon Motion

Lynx 3D, Lynx 3DM


305, 315, 530, 650, 6205, 6215, 6326

ST Microelectronics

Kyro I-II


975, 9753, 3D Image, Blade 3D, Cyber, Cyber XP5, Cyber9320, Cyber9385, Cyber9388, Cyber9397, Cyber9397 DVD, Cyber9520, Cyber9520 DVD, CyberBlade E4, CyberBlade i7, CyberBlade XP, CyberBlade XPm

Tsend Labs

ET4000, ET6000, ET6300


CLE266, KM400, VIAS3G UniChrome Pro IGP


PowerVR, PowerVR2


P9000, P9100

More Information

For more information about graphics-related issues that you may experience when you play Age of Empires III, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

907881 Troubleshoot graphics issues in Age of Empires III

909534 When you install or start a Microsoft game, you may receive an error message that states that your computer’s processor does not meet the requirements for the game

For more information about how to run Age of Empires III on a Windows Vista-based computer, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

810209 Microsoft Games: MSXML Error Message


For information about how to contact video hardware manufacturers, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

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