The Most Graphically Demanding PC Games

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jakear

You do realize Arma 3 sampling or ratio of rendering resolution to screen resolution can be set to 400%, and did you have the visibility settings set to max so you render all the objects and shadows at extreme distances? I own BF4 for my xb1 so I can not say for sure which is more demanding but I would like to know that you truly maxed out Arma 3 because I think it is the most demanding game by far. I use an R9 290x and when everything is maxed and I mean EVERYTHING MAXED (no mods) I drop to 1 fps and freeze for small periods of time when I try to look around and when I stay looking in the same direction not moving I hit a max of 13 fps and a low of 11. Please redo Arma 3 if you did not use these max settings.

This is an edit: I did a bunch of playing around and it lets me do 400% sampling when I am at really low settings. When everything is maxed I can only get the settings to allow 200%. I do not know why that is but you still probably didn't set that to 200% and you probably didn't have maxed out view distance on everything. Please redo and get back to us.

Second edit: Upon further testing I think this is a poorly optimized game. I set everything to low that I could and disabled anything I could AKA lowest possible settings on everything. With approximately 30 AI battling in a town with 10 vehicles around and 1 burning tank I am at an average 35 fps...... Just doesn't seem right.

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DASHONFIRE

How is the R9 290x btw? Thinking about getting one for my first PC build. Thanks :)

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The Mac

290 pro is better bang for your buck.

A decent oc will get you right to 290XT performance

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cobalt69

Boost arma III Sampling to 150 and it will make Battlefield look like 10th place the Arma Engine at max with 150 Sampling will be unplayable my GTX770 OC gets 13 FPS on that setting making your 680 get less

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cobalt69

Correction must have been a shitty server as ive been getting 30 FPS since changing servers so Maybe ??

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NinjAlan

Can't help but notice that BioShock Infinite is not on this list, seems like it should be higher than many of these, especially with the HD texture pack.

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Jkouw

I feel like some of these should be in a poorly optimized for PC list rather than being graphically demanding....

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NoNameForYou

You are clearly doing something wrong if Tomb Raider and Battlefeild are more intensive than ARMA 3... I get 3 times the frame rate in Tomb Raider than I do in ARMA. You know it has a 200% slider the same as Battlefeild right? There is no way you were getting 25 fps with that turned to max, I have 3 7900 cards all overclocked and at 100% on 5760x1080 (Less pixels than 200% of 1080p...) I only get 40. And my cards even have the 3gb VRAM...

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LordChristoff

Really? I can get at least 60fps with everything on Ultra (on Battlefield 4)using DxTory.. Get the settings configured right and its a constant 60...

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mryan707

Can anyone tell me what GTX 680 they are using. That would be pretty helpful. Thank you.

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chriszele

I used a liquid cooled EVGA Classified card.

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Tman450

IN NO WAY IS FUCKING BATTLEFIELD 4 more intensive than crysis 3 or metro: last light.

what the FUCK.

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jimmthang

With everything cranked up and resolution scale set to 200%, it is.

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cobalt69

With Arma III's Sampling set to 150 and everything up its more intensive than Battlefield 4...my My GTX 770 cant play it at that i know your 680 cant

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doomsaint

This is not a fair comparison as you said you tested BF4 at resolution scale of 100%. To get the equivalent of SSAAx4 you need to set it to 200%. Why did you not do this? Try again please.

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chriszele

You were right about the Resolution and that it needed to be set to 200%. I retested BF4 and it now takes the top spot on the list as the most graphically demanding game. Thanks for the comment!

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CappinCrunk

In my silly little opinion it seems that the "Most graphically demanding games" is only based on the fact of which ones get the lowest FPS on good hardware..

I think it should've been changed to "Most un-optimized games" in this case. Some of those games really shouldn't be on the list.

:)

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jimmthang

"most demanding" is another way of saying "most taxing." Notice we didn't necessarily say that these are the best-looking games out there. I hope that clears up any confusion. :) 

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burntham77

I used to think my gaming PC was really solid until I played Metro: Last Light. After that game, my Radeon 6850 doesn't look so hot.

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Chad727

Funny that this article should come about, as I just purchased GTA 4 via Steam last week (my wife likes to unwind while stabbing hookers and causing virtual chaos). Just to get the game to even recognize my 7950's 3GB of RAM I had to mod the launch properties in Steam. After that it was fine. Having to mod a game that's been on Steam since the beginning of 2009? That is absolute bullshit! Modding shouldn't be a REQUIREMENT just to get your game to work properly. And this isn't my first run-in with that type of situation and it probably won't be my last. Even though I've grown to enjoy what gaming on a PC has to offer, I tire of being shit on by piss poor policies in place at some (not all) software development companies.

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PCLinuxguy

That's part of what PC Gaming is sometimes, especially for older titles (2009 from your point of age of the game). Maybe a console would be more of your speed if it's so infuriating to adjust settings on a PC.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Umm....Bethesda?

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Chad727

Nope. Electronic Arts. Thankfully they had a refund policy on downloaded games that allowed me to get my money back but the game (NFS Shift 2) was clearly not ready for prime-time. I keep hearing that I should try Skyrim but I've also heard of the difficulty in getting it to run properly. Maybe it's time to give it another look once I've gotten bored with World of Tanks.

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The Mac

didnt have any issues with skyrim.

There are a gazzillion mods out there if you dont like something about it.

It really is worth the money just for the sheer amount of content.

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TheRyGuy

"Read on to see how it fairs against the competition!" - I think you mean "fares" ;)

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chriszele

Thanks for the comment!

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TsunamiZ

great list! but in the future when adding more games to it, don't limit the list to top 10. just keep adding to the list so we can see how all recent high-end games compare.

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servo101

Its funny how the article enables supersampling on some games and declares them as "graphically intensive" but doesn't do the same for other games, i.e, BF4.

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chriszele

I double checked the BF4 score, and some readers have mentioned Resolution Scale at 100% is the same as Super Sampling. This setting was enabled at 100% both times I tested the game, as I got the same average 59 FPS playing through the campaign's first mission again. 

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maverick knight

For those of you that say "you don't need all that hardware or crank up all settings to ultra to enjoy a game" is just like saying that you don't need a PC to enjoy a game when you can play it just fine in a console.

It is true that you don't need all that to enjoy a game but in just settling for what works I believe you are defeating the purpose of having a gaming PC. I consider myself a PC enthusiast and to me this is one of my hobbies. All hobbies are expensive but rewarding for whatever reason. I get the urge to upgrade when I cant run a game at a minimum of very high settings. This is Maximum PC after all, not "It gets the job done PC (Apple, for short)".

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Renegade Knight

What I like about PC gaming is the flexibility. While I won't automatically max out every setting I do like higher settings. What I like most of all though is mods.

That we can both enjoy our respective angles on PC gaming is why it's awesome.

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AFDozerman

I completely disagree. My first rig was an Athlon II 640 with a 5750. I could get decent framerates at medium settings, but nothing spectacular, and yet, those were some of the best times I had gaming. This isn't to say that maxing out games nowadays isn't enjoyable, but there is so much more involved in a good time than visuals when it comes down to it... like being drunk at LAN parties!

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JosephColt

Just because you have a gaming computer doesn't mean you need to crank up the settings to maximum at 1440P, it's only a single benefit of using a PC instead of a console.

Controls, modding, customization, graphics, frame rate, personalization, cheaper games, exclusives and so forth are all benefits to using a PC, but it does NOT mean you must go all out graphically. If a user wanted to play on a PC he does not need to go all out graphically.

I personally prefer the best visuals, but I know there are many, many PC gamers who do not care for visuals that much on the highest; they want other benefits of the PC, but not the graphics.

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bigscotty

First of all you could easily spend over $20,000 on a gaming rig with 3 4k monitors and 4 titans in SLI but thats rediculous.

I play all of these games and they look and run great but i did'nt spend alot on my computer and 1920x1080 is good enough for 95% of people.

You can spend thousands on a computer but if you dont have a good monitor or tv to run it with there is no point and your chasing your tail with upgrades, the monitor is a good upgrade and 32-42 is perfect.

I have an Asus GTX 660 oc and ive overclocked it, most games run on ultra by default and even the ones that dont look good on high. my card cost $175 canadian and you can run it in SLI if one isnt enough.

my processor is an amd Phenom II x4 995 overclocked to 4ghz and its worth about $100 when you can spend over $1000 for more than you need.

if you always crank everything to ultra settings then by all means spend $20,000 but you can build a GOOD gaming rig for less than $1000 if you dont mind turning it down just a little bit.

i hear lots of people saying they want 4k monitors but they cost thousands and so do the multiple cards your gonna need to make it worth it.

if your computer is out dated and your not sure what to upgrade i would start with an asus gtx 660 for $175 canadian, maby spend $200-$300 on a new motherboard and processor and around $80 for 8 gigs of ram if you dont already have that much and you should be happy. read reviews and dont put all of your eggs in one basket because your gaming is only as good as your weakest link!

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

I have to say that 1920×1080 is absolutely NOT good enough for 2014.

PC gamers have been stuck at that resolution for years, because that's what kiddie console gaming has been struggling to reach for years.

I would love to have a 36" to 48" monitor at 4K. It would be great to have text I could read clearly, space for multiple simultaneous applications, and a big freaking window into my virtual gaming worlds.

1920×1080 represents industry stagnation.

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trog69

Jumping directly from 1080p to 4k seems to assume that everyone can afford the money and time required to install and game with muliple GPU setups. What about 1440p as a more realistic upgrade? That's what I've just recently done, and I upgraded my 680 to a 780 in order to run things without excessive stress on the GPU. Most people would kill just to be able to run in 1440p, though it's much more achievable for the great majority of PC gamers than 4k.

Perhaps developers will have a better, more efficient platform to work off of that delivers the same visuals yet allow 4k resolutions, but that time is far down the road at this point, and I can attest that just going from 1080p to 1440p is a huge leap in graphics quality.

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dacimvrl

I am just gonna throw this out there - Graphically demanding, graphically superior, and code efficiency are not mutually inclusive.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Just read that Titanfall will require Origin.

Yippie skippie....

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dacimvrl

have you been living under a rock?

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jollyriffic@gma...

these games aren't graphically demanding at all. what is to blame is the coders and their lack of optimization. devs just push out a sloppy beta then release updates over time to fix what they should have done right the first time.
Please change the title to "top 10 worst coded games" with call of duty ghosts and bf4 at the top of that list

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vrmlbasic

It is sad that the tiny corridor-the most unrealistic "street market" ever-pictured herein from Hitman Absolution can stress the latest and greatest. A game designed to run in <512 MB of RAM shouldn't lag a system that could drop 512 MB of RAM on the ground and not feel compelled to pick it up.

Consoles never should have left x86 and standardish GPUs once the Xbox 1 "broke that suit".

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Fltmed

How come Arma 3 did not make this list? Especially since that game was the first one another game mag that has built a powerful game PC with 4 GTX Titans ran at 4K. Don't even know anyone that can even play it on max settings.

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jimmthang

We have updated the article to include Arma 3 on the list!

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chriszele

We just got a copy of ARMA 3, and we'll be adding it to the list shortly.

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jimmthang

Unfortunately Bohemia Interactive has not provided us a copy of the game. We'll see about getting a copy of the game in however and updating the story!

Thanks,

Jimmy

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speedrcr

FYI, for better optimization and IMO better gameplay, turn off Post Processing, which causes a motion Blur effect. I turn it either completely off or almost all the way down to nil.

Also Shadow Detail and others down to High or Normal can help.

Also when the game first fires up it does a performance test which sets some settings high by default depending on your hardware.

At 1920x1080 on just about most settings set to max,4000-5000M (4-5 Kilometers) view distance, Post Processing off, I get about a 30-40 FPS with a HIS 6950 TurboX 2GB, AMD 955BE OC'd to 4ghz, Samsung 840EVO 250GB, 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600(as if it matters), on a Sabertooth 990FX.

You might have different results @ 4k.

Just FYI.

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Valor958

Too many people think you have to game at max everything just to have the 'best' gaming experience. People dump tons on hardware, except for the monitor to keep up. On top of that, even at 24-27", 1080p is more than enough for a pristine looking game. 1440p is just trendy an not needed unless you're playing on a 40" or something.
I'm all for oc'ing and big hardware, but i'm running on mostly 2 year old equipment and still run BF4 wonderfully, as well as any other game I choose to play. I don't need 80-120fps to enjoy a game. I just need to be able to play it.
Haven't played Last Light yet, but want to... we'll see how well I hold up against that ^_^

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Dude....Personally, I'd love to kick my little 22" monitor to the curb and use something more like 48" with 4K resolution. I am sick of looking at my virtual worlds though this tiny ass window.

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methuselah

You clearly have never run 2560x1440 on a 27" or larger monitor.
Or run triple monitor setup of 5760x1200

If you ever did, you wouldn't have said what you said...

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ApathyCurve

I run triple 22-inchers on a six year old rig built around an ancient Barton 3.0 with 4G RAM, Vista and a single Radeon 6850. I run at 5282 x 1080 and I'm satisfied with all the games I play at that rez on medium settings: World of Tanks, War Thunder, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, SWTOR, etc. Is it perfect photo-quality graphics and 60+ fps? Of course not. But you don't NEED that to enjoy a game, which was Valor's point.

To be fair, it does get CPU-bottled in some games: Wargame AirLand Battle in 20-player mode, for example, will bring the poor old boy to his knees. So I don't play it in 20-player mode.

As to the article, it should be pointed out that the Cry Engines (all iterations) are infamous for being very poorly optimized. No amount of horsepower can speedily pull 50,000 metric tons of useless crap, which is exactly what the Cry Engines are. If you want to see how to optimize an engine properly, look at War Thunder. Gorgeous and runs glass smooth at triple-monitor rez with TrackIR on the above rig.

Having said all that, I am upgrading soon. =P Finally talked the wife into releasing some of that tax return for a new build. Even then I won't build top tier, however. One or two gens back is fine for me. Early adoption of bleeding-edge computer hardware is a hobby for the rich and neurotic.