PC games sometimes have far too high requirements for even the best computers. It is quite expensive to build a computer that can handle all the games launched in 2013 and beyond. Given that there is such a wide variety of game production engines, each game reaches the limit of a PC’s performance differently, and a top with the most demanding games can be subjective, as it depends on many aspects.
So we decided to take a mainstream PC, but equipped with a high-end graphics card, to see how fast we reach its limit and which of the 10 games tested can be played to maximum detail on a monitor with Full HD resolution. Thus, we took a series of relatively inexpensive components and installed them on the test bench together with one of the most powerful graphics cards.
The test PC is made up of mid-priced, high-performance components. The only thing I relied on was the graphics card, where I chose an AMD Radeon R9 290, not 290X because of the higher temperatures it reaches. The price of the system is about 1000 euros, and the components can be found in many stores in the country, at the approximate price specified by us. The monitor is obviously not included in the total in the table, especially because it is intended for photo / video editing and not gaming.
Being a gaming system, I chose a 240 GB SSD to have enough space to install more titles – 120 GB deals quite quickly when it comes to 15-20 GB games.
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It is therefore time for testing. We ran each game for about 20 minutes, with all settings at maximum, v-Sync OFF so as not to hit the 60 frames per second limit, and we recorded the average frame rate using FRAP, a well-known utility .
An important note: considering that our testing was done live, not with the help of a benchmark, nor on a system with an identical configuration we will not get the same scores. These are influenced by the drivers, but also by the operating system (in our case, it was Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate). However, the overall picture remains the same, the differences between the games being the same on other systems.
10. Call Of Duty Ghosts
In this game we ran the first mission, which involves a little walk through space and some activity inside some buildings.
The engine used by the game is IW Engine, a creative engine from six years ago, which allows to achieve a fairly high frame-rate and on less powerful systems. Thus Call Of Duty Ghosts achieves an average frame-rate of 69.8 FPS in our test. As proof, this game can be run on slightly weaker systems than the one we built, with a graphics card probably at half the price of a Radeon R9 290.
The next version will probably benefit from a newer production engine, raising the bar for the hardware used.
Crytek had a purpose when he created this game. He wanted a “future-proof” title that could be played to great detail in a few years. Using the graphics engine CryEngine 2, they did just that.
The level of detail is quite high, and the game has quite impressive requirements and from a system built with fairly new components. The game ranks 9th on our list, running on average with 59-60 frames per second at a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels.
Why does this game consume so many resources? Well, the particles and special effects of the game are quite complex, as is the realistic reproduction of water, which consumes a lot of resources. Just like the previous title, the minimum of 30 frames per second can be reached on a mid-level graphics card.
8. GTA IV
Even though GTA V is currently not available for PC, GTA IV manages to enter our top with the most demanding games for the system we have built. The game uses the graphics engine roar (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine) and reaches an average level of 52 frames per second in a mad rush through Liberty City. The game is about five years old and is still able to use a large percentage of the hardware configuration we choose.
However, the optimization of GTA IV for PC is not the best, and for this reason we are waiting for the new title to see if Rockstar Games has advanced even further with the proprietary graphics engine.
7. Hitman Absolution
Hitman Absolution, the next game on the list, looks a little better than GTA IV, and the difference in resources consumed is insignificant.
Hitman Absolution ranks 7th in our tests and uses a Glacier 2 graphics engine. It runs at about 49 frames per second on average in our test. Of course, we took into account its first level, but it is unlikely that the level of complexity of a game’s graphics will increase as we advance in the gameplay. There will probably be times when the frame rate will drop to 30 frames per second, but we’re only talking about a few seconds during explosions, for example.
Hitman Absolution is a game that requires a lot from the PC processor, so an Intel Core i7 4770 would have made a major difference in this case.
6. Far Cry 3
Yes, Far Cry 3 is ranked 6th in our list and uses the graphics engine Dunia Engine 2. The original gameplay takes place in a rainforest and includes a number of neighboring islands, where the locals put up fierce resistance. The multitude of explosive elements in the game reduces the average framerate to 45 frames per second, but enough to experience the pleasure of playing this title. Another element that aggressively attacks the capabilities of the hardware is the very complex and ubiquitous vegetation in the game. So is water rendering, which is quite expensive for system resources.
5. The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings
The game benefits from the graphics engine REDengine with Havok Physics which has a number of elements that can make the game run quite hard, and on a strong configuration. Ubersampling is the name of an option, which activated, forces the rendering of elements in 4K resolution and then scales them to the monitor resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels. Once this option is turned off, the game runs at over 60 frames per second.
Why is it still in 5th place? Because that Ubersampling, or Super Sampling Anti Aliasing, makes a pretty big difference in the quality of the game’s graphics. That’s how we get on average 34 frames per second in gameplay, an acceptable level.
4. Crysis 3
Based on the CryEngine 3 engine, Crysis 3 proves to be another one of the games with high system requirements. The level of detail is significantly higher than in the previous version, for this reason the framerate is at an average of 30 frames per second for our system. The first level of the game involves a more defensive tactic, using a bit quieter weapons, a tactic that we did not like in the 200 minutes of play, sorry 20 minutes, I was quite captivated. Exploding barrels also reduce the speed at which the game runs. Crysis 3 therefore occupies a well-deserved place 4.
3. Tomb Raider 2013
tomb raider it’s a game I haven’t played in years. It is also the first time I installed the 2013 version, without thinking that I will need a more powerful PC to be able to play it without any problems.
The game uses the graphics engine Modified Crystal Engine and torments the installed video card and processor to an average framerate of only 26 frames per second. Like The Witcher 2, the game uses the Super Sampling to bring very good graphics, very expensive for PC performance. On the 2xSSA setting, we get a framerate of about 45 frames per second, but we give up the very good graphics that the game can offer.
2. Metro Last Night
Metro Last Night follows the same style as the first version. It is a very demanding game for a medium configuration, being thus ranked 2nd in our top. At 25 frames per second, it can’t even be called playable, maybe only if you have an extraordinary patience. The 20 minutes of testing passed quite hard, even if the game is very well built. The graphics engine used is 4A Engine, which turns out to be quite complex for our testing platform. Of course, once we lower the Anti-Aliasing level and reduce the number of particles generated, the game starts to catch on, with over 35 frames per second.
1. Battlefield 4
Using the graphics engine Frostbite 3Battlefield 4 also offers a number of interesting configuration options. Resolution Scale is a similar option to Super Samplingand set to 200%, the maximum value, brings the game to a gameplay of only 18-19 frames per second average. Quite a bit, proof that the 20 minutes of my life seemed annoying to me. At 100% setting, the game is propelled almost to last place, with an average of 50 frames per second, but with slightly weaker graphics.
We noticed a number of interesting results in this test with the most demanding games on PC and we were also impressed by the requirements of some games created a few years ago. Crysis and Tomb Raider are on the list of the most interesting games in this regard.
It is also important to know that PC gaming will soon benefit from new implementations of the Mantle and DirectX 12 APIs, as well as new graphics engines, improved to be as efficient as possible.