I have a PC nearly identical to the minimum requirements:
Core 2 Duo 1.86 E6300
2 GB RAM
I've been playing with the Open Beta and I'm pleasantly surprised on the playability so far. I do intend to build a new PC this winter, but I just haven't had the time to undertake that (no sense buying parts that I'm not going to have time to put together - last possible moment = best value).
So, intending to try to play FFXIV on a lower computer, I was extremely curious to try the beta. After all, it wouldn't make much sense to pre-order the premium collection if it was going to be unplayable until I built a new computer.
All-in-all, the performance has been to the degree that it's quite playable. I've been in some crowded areas and while there's obvious slowdown, it's a good deal more playable that I've found Whitegate at times or in the last stages of a campaign when you have 50 people on top of each other beating the **** out of the last mob.
Generally speaking, my framerates in Limsa have been in the 22-29 range, with a very occasional short (less than half a second) dip to the 18-21 range when I initially enter crowded areas. The graphics were turned down whenever possible - always a necessity when using software with requirements your computer barely meets.
Do I recommend this as an ideal setup? Of course not. You're paying a monthly fee, so if you have the opportunity, you might as well get as much eye candy as possible (it is still a beautiful game with graphic quality smushed down). I also expect it would run worse in the long-term as SE adds bloat. However, at least in my particular case, a minimum build yields play of the quality that it is fine for someone who wants to play XIV in the short-term, enabling people to time their PC purchases to maximize value rather than frantically putting together a build they don't want to do now just so that they can play XIV. In my case, I don't like building computers when the current socket is on its last legs because I find motherboard replacement to be really annoying.
I also would not recommend having a browser or any other software open. This may be inconvenient for some, but it's really a necessity for maximize performance at the low end. Personally, I always use my laptop for surfing the web and doing work rather than windower + other apps (I'm a sportswriter for a living and am frequently writing articles while playing). Of course, that may not be a feasible scenario for everyone.
For the purposes of this post, I did not overclock anything. The E6300 is a really easy chip to overclock; my chip runs extremely well overclocked to 2.5 with stock cooling and that's actually fairly conservative as some people have reported getting the E6300 1.86 up to the 3.0 range.
Your experience may vary, but to those wondering about low-end computers, it's definitely a good idea (if you haven't already figured it out) to try to get into the beta if you're currently not bothering out of despair due to low PC specs.
So, other low-end users, what has been your experience? The more we can share, the better an idea we can really get on what computer can do what so that we're not occasionally ping-ponged between the extremes of some people convinced that the benchmark is lying and they'll be able to play on a P4 and people who think it'll run terribly unless you have a triple CF 5870.
Edited, Sep 3rd 2010 10:09am by DSzymborski
Edited, Sep 3rd 2010 10:15am by DSzymborski