Starcraft II runs well on a lot of computers, but performance really depends on a few key factors. We'll go over the basic points in this article to help you figure out what you might need to upgrade to get the game to run optimally.
We tested the game with a saved game that had over 170 Marines marching to and fro across a map. This proved to be much more intensive than many decent sized battles. While you might not see such a scenario play out in a single player mission too often, it's more than likely to occur when you have a 4v4 online, where each player can output hundreds of units apiece.
The bare minimum CPU required to run the game is a 2.6GHz Pentium 4, and like other games before it, that's like saying all you need is a pair of legs to run a marathon. We found quicker Core 2 CPUs to be more than adequate to play the game, with only the occasional slowdown when under heavy load. Quad core CPUs didn't help out all, which means that brute MHz is key. Switching up to the Core i7, we found that Starcraft stretches its legs if given the room. But as we mentioned, the number of cores doesn't matter; you can easily get a quick Core i5 or Core i3 as a substitute with minimal performance degradation. Our AMD Phenom test bed was acting up; thus, we have no performance numbers for it, but the same basic trend should hold there as well. If you have an AMD platform, opt for brute speed over more cores.
CPU Performance Tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
GeForce 9800 GTX+, 1920x1200, Ultra Quality
Radeon HD 5870, 1920x1200, Ultra Quality
• Single core Pentium 4s do not hack it.
• A dual core CPU is enough.
• Opt for brute MHz instead of more cores.
We recommend stopping at the $125 Core i3 540. It'll get you running briskly without coming close to breaking the bank. For extra juice, jump up to a Core i5 with Turbo Boost.
Intel Core i7-870, Intel Core i3-530, Intel Core i7 965, Intel DX58S0, Intel DP55KG, 4 and 6GB DDR3, 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows 7 64-bit. Graphics Drivers: Catalyst 10.7, Forceware 258.96.
Way to include tower, PSU, disc drive etc. I know it wont send you sky rocketing upwards, but \$550 the cost of upgrading from existing parts, even assuming some of these prices (which, honestly, have to be like weekend deals from some store in Oregon or something). Also @ Wavey57 lolno. Maybe it runs at a smooth 30 FPS during the first two minutes of the game, when there are zero units onscreen, but that rig is not up to the task.
I'm sure there's already a dozen posts like this... but I'm running Vista (yeah shoot me) with an intel dual core 2.80Ghz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE GPU. Already have Starcraft II beta on here, it's playable on lowest settings. Would I be able to play on higher settings with more RAM and an upgraded GPU, or do I just need to start over from scratch? If you reply or send me a message I'll love you forever :)
i really found this article helpful. It has inspired me to get rid of my old gaming laptop in favor of a similar rig described in this article. Gamespot estimated that you could build that rig for $550, but after ordering all the parts my bill is about $700 (im candian so the parts were a little more expensive due to the exchange). I would love to know where they get a case/powersupply for $50 though, they must be junk at that price and i needed a PS that can support an upgrade to crossfired 5770's (XFX). i spent $100 on the two items and my case is used and the PS was a bundle deal with the gfx card. It's my first time building a computer from its components and im realizing now how much of a sucker i was buying from best buy/futureshop...buy online, way cheaper and better selection.
@Teka, Intel hasn't aways been ahead. Intel really picked up with multi core systems + better management + good quality for price products in the last 5 or so years. While AMD had to deal with financial woes and ATI(even more financial problems). Yet now it seems things are getting interesting again with AMD getting good quality products out promptly as well as ATI with 5000 series cards. CUDA is great but OpenCL probably is worthwhile competitor (and available for both ATI + NVIDIA cards). Time will tell what will happen. Hopefully interesting times are coming in ahead :D. btw I am no fanboy. I have i7 920 + SLI XFX NVIDIA 8800GS XXX.
Ive got a AMD dual core 2.6ghz cpu, 2gb ddr 2 memory, HIS ICE-Q 4670 1gb ddr3 (AGP) gpu. And i can run the game with all the gpu settings on high, at 1024@768, which blows i thinks its a compatibility problem, crank it up to my naieve monitor resolution at 1400@900 and then it starts to shudder.
@Wavey57 Are you sure man? I've a Core i3 (2.6ghz), 2GB RAM, Radeon HD 4650 (1GB memory), resolution 1024x768, and it can't even run proper at default "HIGH" settings.
To the people who is a fanatic of amd: the only thing you see on amd's fellas is his good price, and no the cpu quality and performance; one thing for you "gamers": INTEL, ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAS THE LEAD, INTEL LEAD THE WAY.... To the people who is a crazy fanatic of ATI : NVIDIA RULES, almost every game in this planet is are made with CUDA, please....
I'm running SC2 on a core2duo (2.2Mhz) and nvidia 9600GT Sonic(512mb), 2 Gb ram....and it runs great at ultra (rez 1280-1024 :D that's what my screen suports- it's a 19")
@Edmor_t they said their AMD rigs were having issues, so they didn't get a chance to run the comparison tests with them
I am curious as to how my dual processor 3.8GHz Extreme Gamer with 4GB Ram installed will handle the game .... so far it hasn't had any problem with any game .... either SP or LOTRO MMO.
My GPU is ATI 3850 CPU is core to quad Q6600 mother board is MSI P45 d3 Platinum and my soundcard is Asus Xonar D2X the temperature is GPU 69C CBU 55C the game is running high detail but the anti alysing is shut off So i well wait for the next gen CPU But i need now a new GPU ati 5870 from asus
This article fails at all levels. it clearly shows bias towards Intle which is the more expensive brand when you can get better performance with a smaller price tag with AMD. and THAT is a FACT people
The performance gain is most visual when you go from 1 to 2 cores and from 2 to 3 cores. There are no point in going more than 3 cores if you are a gamer. Just check out reviews on Toms Hardware, they always get to the same conclusion.
for people that go on about how useless this article is, This information is important especially to people that only play console games and want to try thier hands at PC Gaming, that dont know too much. So this article is important for many reasons. If you have been gaming on pc for years then you wouldnt need to know this stuff if you do the research. BUT THERES MANY people that have no idea about this information , but want to get into the awesome power of pc gaming. Nothing misleading in this title at all. Artivles lieke this give us all some very useful information. My rig is 4 years old, a Intel Core 2 duo 2.66Ghz, a 8800 GTS 512mb card 3GB ram of DDR2 runs Call of duty modern Warfare 2 on MAX and Crysis at 45FPS on high at 1024 x 1280 and running windows xp. Runs starcraft with no probs at all. Thsi system would be pretty cheap now even if you swapped the 8800 GTS card for a Ati 5770 HD you would get even BETTER performance and play the latest games easy. You dont need an expensive rig to play anything out today accept Bad company 2 requires a bit of beef a 5770HD or higher to run properly.
I have an AMD Athlon X2 7750 (2.7 GHz & 2 MB L3 Cache), and an MSI n9800GT T2D1G-OC Graphics Card (1GB 9800 GT). My native screen resolution is 1680X1050. So, around what FPS should I be expecting?
AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+ (2 CPUs), ~2.6GHz Dual GeForce 8800 GT SLI Enabled1523 MB 1440 x 900 (32 bit) (60Hz) Monitor. These are my specs on an Alienware Aurora thats almost 3 years old and I can play it with everything on ultra. I've never upgraded anything on my system and I'm not having any problems. I would love to upgrade everything on my system but I'm too broke. Any Ideas for good upgrades at a lower price?
I got 4 gb on 1066 ddr2, a phenom X 4 965 at 3.8ghz. and a 9800gtx+ 770mhz. and the game in realling smooth in 1680X1050. my faithful 9800gtx+ run most on the game i play really well, G92 Gpu are maybe old but still holding well!
ViperAnaf "here is my trick ro play on everything on high and keep the terrain textures more sharp in the Variables.txt file in the "Starcraft II" folder in you "Document" folder find this TerrainTextureSize=(what ever you use) and change it to TerrainTextureSize=1024" I'll try this trick in a second!!!! In the meantime, i'll give my report on performance: C2D E7400 2.8GHZ OC'ed to 3.2GHZ, 3GB RAM DDR2 800MHZ, Geforce 9500GT GDDR3 512mb Running the game at 1440x900 (my native is 1600x900, but the cutscenes are a bit laggy at that res), everything on high, VERY SMOOTH =) Oh and @Kulcan and everyone else who wants to know the pricings and *sigh* scams, the price of Starcraft 2 (full version, unlimited acces) is of 300$ Argentinian pesos in my case (dollar=3.80$ approx).....it's a pain, it's REALLY expensive, as expensive as buying a 5.1 channel sound system.
@diegocancun I can actually agree with you in some points, it's extremely odd to buy a game like you are indeed renting it for 6 months. We received that version of SC2 here in Brazil too. That's a marketing trick from Blizzard, though I didn't like it so much, but anyone who doesn't agree with it should simply inform themselves and NOT buy it, as I didn't. In my opinion, if a developer wanna please an emerging market, it shouldn't make it spend more money to play a game after 6 months, when in the developed countries the players are either buying for a fair price and playing forever. Now about the article: It's good to know quad-cores isn't that great as expected to play this game; thank god when I bought my computer I really opted for brute MHz instead of more cores. It was a clever point to remember, Gamespot!!
i have a 980a amd board a 1055t six core processor 4 gigs 1150 memmory with cpu and memmory liquid cooled and 2 msi gts 250 i gig twinfrozers in sli with a 1100 watt psu and win 7 ultimate feeding a 40 inch monitor on 1950x1080 enhanced with a 1000 watt surround sound system do you think i can play starcraft 2
Does Star Craft 2 force 16:9 resolution? Does it force black bars or stretch the image if the resolution is not 16:9?
This game runs fine with an ati 4670 which is around 100 bux and the 8800gt or gts will run this game fine as well. You won't beable to max out the settings but you will beable to play the game. Like they said MHZ is everything so you'll need to be running C2D (highly overlockable) or phenom's (black editions would be better) Once you break the 3ghz barrier you really allow this game to open up and spread its legs like they said. Shockingly this game runs on 512mb cards.
When I see the title "STARCRAFT II ON THE CHEAP" I cant help but think they gonna tell me where to get Starcraft II for 20 bucks...
A 9800GTX+ comparison is closer to what most of you currently have. 80%+ of all desktop GPU sales come from low to midrange cards. Not the beasts that are first released like the GTX 470/480 and 5850/5870.
@diegocancun: @redstar: @Joe_Zombie Let me see if I can help make sense of this, if I may. To those who aren't aware, according to Gamasutra ( http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28433/Blizzard_Reveals_StarCraft_II_Subscription_Option_For_Emerging_Markets.php ), there ~is~ a deal in certain countries to where people actually do have to pay a subscription fee to play Starcraft II after six months or so, at least in a sense. You can either pay full price for the game up front ($60, like in the U.S.), or you can pay $30 or so and then pay a subscription fee after the first six months. Yes, I know it sounds awkward, but diegocancun's not high. That's simply the way it works in certain "developing" countries, according to the linked article, where I'm guessing he or she lives. ---------------------------------------------- Now enough about that. Hopefully, God willing, I can get a new PC soon (I'd like to do some advanced 3D modeling besides just gaming, so I'm aiming for fairly high hardware requirements), so I'm looking forward to being able to blast this game through the roof. :-P
@Joshgt2 I'm perfectly aware that both the 480 GTX and 5870 cost considerably more than the 9800GTX. Note that I only included those two flagship single GPU cards, and not any of the other mid to high end GPUs. The whole point of their inclusion was to demonstrate that it's not worth pouring your money into the GPU even if you have it sitting around.
Rocano. The correct answer would be that more cores won't increase speed. The only way more cores mean more speed is if the program is written to run parallel threads on multiple cores (very few programs out now utilize this) so you're really never reaping the benefit from having a higher numbered core processor. For now and for a good time in the future more MHz will always mean faster performance.
i know quad core isnt that helpful for this but would it rly hurt to have a quad core i mean if anything i would call that epic win Core i7-965 @ 3.20GHz quad awsomeness
Im playing the game on High and it looks great, I would put it on Ultra but it gets a little laggy. Im happy with high:) anything lower and I wouldnt even play the game, lol.
@Joe_Zombie - @RedStar Actually there are localizations with subscriptions plans ( Latin America , Mexico , Argentina , Chile , etc) You pay for example, $300 MXN ( about $23 USD) for a version that will give players six months of free access to the single and multiplayer modes. After that players can choose to continue to play in 30 and 60 day increments. Specific pricing for those options I don't know exactly. Players in those countries will still have an option to purchase StarCraft II and get unlimited free single and multiplayer access for a price comparable to the US's $59.99 price tag. I repeat this is only for Latin America , Russia , Asia and others locations.
Ultra - super cool, High - almost the same, Medium - very good though missing light effects, Low - wow what a downgrade, nobody should play on that.
Buying a case and power supply together for $50 is just asking for trouble. I would also highly recommend against a super cheap motherboard and get one with a high quality P55 chipset for only $30 or so more.
They need to test Eyefinity or Nvidia's version since RTS games are the perfect games for that type of use and is also advantageous to players as well.
Wow... I hope GameSpot knows that there are AMD processors out there and that the 9800 GTX is NOT comparable to the HD 5870. This is truly a piece of stupidity right here. And plus, you can get a better combo of hardware from AMD for a much cheaper price! The Nvidia 470 is the only thing that can be compared to the 5870, just an FYI.
im currently in the the market for a new pc and need some help with the psu. amd 3.6ghz x6 core 8gig 1600mhz ddr3 ram ati 1gig hd5770 asus pro motherboard around 4 case fans surround speakers what ammount of wattage should i get for this rig?????? i was gunna get a 700watt psu but i would really like comments if this is fine or that i may need a more powerfull psu to run it.