10 Most Demanding PC Games in the World 2017

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Sep 2, 2017 4:00 PM
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We're fortunate in PC gaming that no matter how great a game looks and how badly it performs, if we throw enough hardware at it, we should be able to get a great gameplay experience. For some of us, the more demanding games may not be playable on our systems until years after launch. But eventually, we'll get there. Playing the most demanding games on PC takes some considerable firepower, but we're rewarded with the best graphics in gaming. If you want to put your PC to the test, here are the 10 most demanding games in the world, 2017.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

A very pretty, yet fairly innocuous game, for the most part, Rise of the Tomb Raider’s demanding performance really comes into its own during the notorious Geothermal Valley segment. This secluded area demands some incredible pixel pushing performance thanks to a combination of dense woodland, flowing rivers, an AI-filled village and a vast draw distance. No matter how well folks can run Rise of the Tomb Raider up until that point, everyone, without fail, will need to pull up the graphics options and drop a few settings.

Planet Coaster

We maintain that no game is a sterner test of CPU horsepower than Planet Coaster. Frontier’s management sim can obliterate even the hardiest processors and large parks can swiftly slow the game to a crawl, even at lower graphics settings. It’s no slouch on GPU demands either, and even with a GTX 980 Ti and an Intel Core i5-4690K, most of the larger parks are off limits for me.

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

As with Rise of the Tomb Raider, it’s the hair effects that prove most demanding in The Witcher 3. Turning this on is a stern test of even the most powerful graphics card. The rest of The Witcher 3 doesn’t look too shabby either, comfortably earning its place as one of the best looking open-world games of all time. Dynamic weather conditions layer on additional complexity and the swamps, in particular, can be a nightmare for stable performance.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

One of the few games in this list that truly challenges both the CPU and the GPU, Ghost Recon Wildlands can often be a gorgeous spectacle, complete with vistas that stretch out for miles before you. From cocaine powder top mountains to the muddy swamps, Ghost Recon Wildlands is a visual tour de force. Up close and personal it lacks a little in detail but it makes up for it when viewing the big picture.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Yes, there has been a newer Assassin’s Creed game (Syndicate), but Ubisoft seemed to learn its lesson after Unity and toned everything down a bit. Assassin’s Creed Unity was the ultimate next-gen graphical showcase for the franchise and it really shows. No open world game has looked better but it proved to be absolutely crunching in terms of performance. The crowds of people hundreds-strong don't help, yet getting AC Unity running smoothly and it really is a sight to behold. Shame about the rest of it really.

Crysis 3

Comfortably the oldest game on this list, the Crysis series has long been known for its graphical excellence. Arguably Crysis has always been about graphics above all else, and you’d struggle to get a better showcase of this than Crysis 3. Even now, four years later, it really hasn’t been surpassed. Its jungle ruins can look thoroughly gorgeous but expect it to really put your graphics card to the test, particularly at higher resolutions.


Batman: Arkham Knight

A launch that appeared to be masterminded by the Joker himself, I had to wait almost a year after Batman: Arkham Knight’s launch before I could even play it on my GTX 970. No AAA launch has been more embarrassing than Batman: Arkham Knight’s. It was so bad, Warner Bros temporarily removed it from sale. How it ever got the green light to be launched we don’t know. After several patches Batman: Arkham Knight did become a much-improved game but it’s still a huge memory and VRAM hog, while all but the most powerful of gaming rigs will experience intermittent hitching. One to be endured rather than enjoyed. A great shame as it’s otherwise an exceptional game.

Project Cars

Forza Horizon 3 was going to edge into this list prior to getting a butt load of updates, yet now Project Cars is the more demanding racing sim. FH3 is remarkable for the sheer scale of it all but Project Cars exhibits an insane level of attention to detail, alongside some of the most realistic weather effects we've eve seen.

ARK: Survival Evolved

When a game is hideously demanding, it’s always preferable that it at least looks nice. ARK: Survival Evolved is the game you buy if you want to prove that spending $4000 on a PC perhaps wasn’t the great idea you thought it was. ARK is an unoptimised monstrosity, although it should be getting fixed soon now the final game’s out. It’s hard to get a gauge on just how good your gaming PC is while playing ARK, just let it be known that are definitely going to struggle.

Star Citizen

A bit of an oddity this one, Star Citizen stands out on its own as one of, it not the most demanding game in existence. We’re sort of inclined to let it slide as it’s still 87 years from release, but fans have been able to pay for play it for a good few years now. Originally created in the Crytek engine, Star Citizen moved to Amazon’s Lumberyard spin-off, while Vulkan support is also important. Star Citizen looks gorgeous, ambitious and humongous, but it’s also capable of crippling a GTX 1080 Ti at 1440p.

Honorable Mentions


Hellblade

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Our favourite comments:

there is a line between demanding game and very bad optimization....

Cipry007

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19:25 Sep-13-2017

Ok so i just noticed on my new Vega 64 that Rise of the Tomb Raider uses like 8gb of VRAM and 10gb or RAM, can anyone confirm that maxed out it uses that much? Siege uses like 4gb of VRAM maxed out which is still insane but 8gb of RTTR thats ridiculous.

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06:35 Sep-14-2017

could be in driver issues, thought; try using HBCC, it may reduce system memory consumption


question; which ultrawide are you using?

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09:23 Sep-14-2017

LG 29UM68, i actually had to google it and turns out its "normal" for RTTR to consume 6+ gb of VRAM, i even restarted my PC and it does the same, considering maxed out it keeps a steady 73fps in most places I'm assuming its working fine, it's not even using 99% gpu usage lol. I think most games aren't optimized for Vega yet, ETS2 uses like 70% but drops fps to 50 in cities and the gpu still stays at 70% lol. I cap my fps since its freesync. Oh im not worried about consu i have 16gb RAM 8gb VRAM.

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19:57 Sep-14-2017

nice! that's the newer version of my ultrawide (a 67)


yeah, it's pretty rare for me to see VRAM consumption past 5 gigs, with system memory going up to maybe 8 in some titles (NMS and Ashes mostly) but that's it

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21:18 Sep-14-2017

Yea i thought the same thing, tried it again today and it was like 7gb so yea i think its normal. I do have it cranked even with smaa so guess it's normal. Even siege uses like 4gb maxed out with no AA.

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10:01 Sep-11-2017

There is a big difference between demanding, and optimized..


Anyways, these are not match for my current setup. :P

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02:32 Sep-11-2017

I can run all of them at ultra, except The Witcher at high setting.

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22:01 Sep-10-2017

Can i run any of these games? at HD Resolution, Medium Settings and 40+ FPS.
My Specs: GTX 950M, Core i7 6700HQ 4GB and 8GB's of Ram.

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00:35 Sep-11-2017

Rise of tomb raider, Witcher 3, Wildlands, Crysis, Don't know if medium settings

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13:40 Sep-09-2017

Since Mafia 3 is not optimized and Arma, what is ARK and Batman doing here?
All these four games are considered to be under-optimized

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12:02 Sep-10-2017

Batman was fixed. ARK i have no clue.

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14:30 Sep-10-2017

It's better but Bataman still weak, memory leaks, micro stutter even on 6 cores and 12 threads, I would add Lords Of The Fallen and Orion New Dawn, on the other side of Crysis 3 and Project Cars work great

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16:16 Sep-10-2017

Batman plays fine for me, but I have to dedicate my second card to PhysX. Without doing that the stutter is very bad. If you happen to have like an old 750ti or maybe a 660 laying around somewhere install it and use it as a dedicated PhysX card when playing Batman. It probably won't help your average fps much, but it will help reduce stutter by bringing up the 1% and 0.1% lows quite a bit. At least it did for me

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11:23 Sep-08-2017

I at no point had to adjust my graphics settings in Tomb Raider and was able to max it with steady 60fps. Also, why is ARK on here and not Arma? both are just unoptimised not demanding and the same could be said about crysis.

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22:30 Sep-06-2017

I upgraded my pc last year from a 5 year old laptop with 555m gpu, Right now i feel like nothing is demanding xD, tho sometimes i need to turn down the settings coz of my resolution

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18:45 Sep-07-2017

The 1080 is a beast compared to a 555M! Must have been quite the jump :)

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15:03 Sep-06-2017

Mafia III

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17:15 Sep-07-2017

once again, there is a big difference between demanding and VERY UN-OPTIMIZED.

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19:45 Sep-07-2017

In this case it's a difference between demanding and not even done.

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10:53 Sep-06-2017

am i seriously seeing this? Where is ARMA 3,the game is like 40 fps or in some places 25 and my gpu usage be like,30%,i never got a 60fps no matter what settings or place in that game.

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11:38 Sep-06-2017

It's not demanding if it's optimization is ****.


For example Dark Souls 1 with GFWL, that **** got 15 frames in blighttown, crysis 5 years ago looked better.

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20:20 Sep-06-2017

Yeah, saying Arma is demanding is like saying FSX or FSW is demanding. Truth is, if these games were to make proper use of all CPU threads instead of just one or two, then they would run just fine.

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20:59 Sep-05-2017

What about Quantum Break? It's also very demanding, I consider it more demanding than Arkham Knight for ex. I disagree with this top 10 list.

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00:37 Sep-10-2017

agreed, it should be on here

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11:24 Sep-03-2017

i totally disagree...take PUBG for instance: very poor optimization, and therefore runs like horse**** on my system, yet lower requirements than witcher 3, which runs on highest settings, 60+ fps on my system....

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12:01 Sep-03-2017

Oh no, that's just because you have an AMD card, it runs fine on nvidia. Not sure if its an amd driver issue or pubg just loves nvidia tesselattion ( as usual in sponsored nvidia titles lol)

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12:50 Sep-03-2017

Ummm not sure if you know what bad optimization means, like you literally said it's because he has an AMD card, that means it's not optimized for AMD. So overall his point still stands. The game isn't optimized for his AMD GPU and that's not fine to just be tosset off as "that's just because you have an AMD card". I don't know why it just annoys me when people do this kind of thing.

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14:09 Sep-03-2017

Go blame the developer then and not me. It was the same with Project Cars, useless tesselattion for barriers on the side of the road. Pugb is still early access so it doesnt even count, every other game is a release. Early access just means late beta testing haha.

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14:12 Sep-03-2017

It is not his fault that the game devs decided to work with Nvidia, the dude just threw the fact out :)

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15:20 Sep-03-2017

I know right, I didn't say its because you BOUGHT an AMD card i said its because you have one, its probably the same with pubg.


A game can be optimized and not run well on another platform. Example, Far Cry Primal its very well optimized just runs much better on Nvidia.

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01:11 Sep-04-2017

PUBG doesn't work fine on nvidia cards like you say, the optimzation is terrible both on AMD and nvidia, maybe it's worse on amd but it's bad also on nvidia. i struggle to maintain even 50fps at 4k, and its not as if the game has mind blowing graphics. The developers have made a ton of cash from the game and should have addressed this by now because i for one really love the game

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02:30 Sep-04-2017

Yea it tends to be MUCH worse on AMD compared to Nvidia but I guess they took a cue from Rust developers, horrible optimization but really fun to play. It's not supposed to blow you out of the water graphics wise.

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20:07 Sep-03-2017

Are you sure you can run The Witcher 3 at max settings with 60 fps @1080p ?

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22:02 Sep-03-2017

I am seriously doubting 60fps with max settings at 1080p in Witcher 3 on his rig because I only get between 42 and 52 fps with all settings maxed at 1080p in Witcher 3. ! can lower a couple of setting to high and get 60fps, but with every setting maxed my rig just can't push 60fps unless I am standing still in the middle of nowhere. In the city I drop into the lower 40s, because of Hairworks on so many characters at once.

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22:09 Sep-03-2017

Yeah that's why I asked :) I get around 60 fps if I use high settings(w/o hairworks) at my current res AND even then I get drops at times. There is no way that 270x can outperform a 1050ti. The fx 6300 is ok but still won't suffice for highest settings @60fps

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23:10 Sep-03-2017

Levelcap runs an NVidia setup and he even talks about how badly PUBG runs so this entire convo is off base.

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00:04 Sep-04-2017

Yeah that Foliage Visibility Range setting at Ultra is a CPU killer imo. That and Hairworks are probably the two most demanding settings in the game. One pushes the CPU and the other pushes the GPU. Or at least that is how it appears to me.

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02:17 Sep-04-2017

as a previous owner of a crossfire 270x setup, i can tell you that one card isnt maxing out some games older than witcher 3, let alone witcher 3.

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12:32 Sep-04-2017

Tried this game on my old fx 6100@4.2ghz and 270x oced aswell it ran about 30 45 fps on low so it wasn't that bad

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21:32 Sep-05-2017

I can't get 60+ constant Frame on Witcher 2. How is it possible to get 60+ on 1080p on a similar rig?

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23:56 Sep-05-2017

Witcher 3 runs at 20-25 fps at best on my laptop, while PUBG gets 30-45 fps, I'd say that Witcher 3 is more demanding but still better optimized

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21:54 Sep-06-2017

Lol its not cuz of AMD, I have nVidia gtx 1050 and the game still barely runs on very low for me. Sometimes freezes my whole PC and the only fix is to restart it.

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18:04 Sep-07-2017

I disagree with you as I can play the game pretty fine on decent settings. Your VRAM might be running low if you tried cranking the textures up

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02:30 Sep-08-2017

I don't know what resolution he was using, but The Witcher 3 never uses 4GB of VRAM at 1080p for me. The highest I have seen it go when fully maxed at 1080p is 3.79GB VRAM.

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03:12 Sep-11-2017

@Darko6977
VRAM on Witcher 3 or PUBG? Witcher 3 never uses past 2.5GB even on my sister's 1060 6GB. PUBG on the other hand is notorious for memory leaks (both RAM and VRAM). Filled up my sister's 6GB of VRAM on HIGH settings and up to 14 GB of RAM in lobby. Ridiculous!

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11:27 Sep-11-2017

Yea see PUBG is indeed an unoptimized mess, but if you read reviews, any of em, you'll see that nvidia cards get much better fps then AMD does. I think from what ive seen the 1070 even beats out the vega 64 that i own so that should tell you something. I think it was the review from Steve at hardwareunboxed.

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22:10 Sep-11-2017

Could you run a FS benchmark one day?

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07:49 Sep-03-2017

Star Citzen is not hard to run problem is online its netcoding and awful optimization. Crytek Engine is awful in multiplayer so Robert Space Industry hired the team from Cry Engine to optimize the multiplayer first for now, so some of these "Demanding Games" Are just awfully unoptimized. As for Ark my GTX 1080 is getting 80fps average at 1440p with just one setting off which is Far Shadow Ambient Occlusion

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05:02 Sep-03-2017

there is a line between demanding game and very bad optimization....

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10:48 Sep-04-2017

But where exactly is that line?

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10:53 Sep-04-2017

Demanding games will always happen, especially with powerful GPUs becoming more affordable. It's not like a game CAN'T run on you average gaming PC anyways. For example GRW is demanding on both low and high and badly optimized. RTTR is demanding only on high, its very well optimized and runs great on your average system. I went from an r9 390 to a vega 64 and both cards handle their respective fields of RTTR just fine.

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19:31 Sep-09-2017

Batman: Arkham on release? Was very bad optimization.

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07:34 Sep-10-2017

Bad optimization? The game wouldn't even run properly lol.

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01:58 Sep-03-2017

I'm -lags- Batman.

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02:56 Sep-03-2017

LOL! That is funny.


I got lucky with BAK. Even though SLI doesn't work in BAK dedicating the second GPU to PhysX does. So it still runs decent for me. ;)

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14:10 Sep-04-2017

Yeah, that trick really made those with multiple GPUs laugh :D

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16:54 Sep-04-2017

I was honestly surprised at the performance increase that it made using a dedicated PhysX card on that game. It wasn't as good as SLI, but a heck of a lot better than trying to run on the one card alone.

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09:36 Sep-03-2017

Top kek m8

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21:35 Sep-05-2017

At least it is fixed! perhaps! I got around 60 fps normally and dropped to 40s only on some occasions.

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00:34 Sep-03-2017

Ark surely leads the list with tremendous advantage, damn that stuff don't know what optimization means LOL must be a forbidden word in Wildcard Studios

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00:07 Sep-03-2017

This is why I never look to games like COD, BF or any other mp focused games for bench marks, because those games never push new HE builds like these games.

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00:17 Sep-03-2017

Yeah but some of these games are actually just badly optimized

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14:14 Sep-03-2017

AND some of these games can't even utilize the full potential of your RIG like PUBG did for some time.

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23:05 Sep-02-2017

When u start playing batman and after u did something in ARK u say: Feelsbadman... and after a couple of seconds u notice your batman. :D

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20:55 Sep-02-2017

I have both Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Witcher 3. Both run well enough for me at my native 1080p. It would be nice to have a newer system at a higher resolution though.

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20:02 Sep-02-2017

planetside 2 battlefield 1 mp arma 3 mp pubg those are also very intesive games

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22:31 Sep-02-2017

Pubg is intensive because it's not optimized to the fullest yet.

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19:39 Sep-02-2017

I only have The WItcher 3 from this list an that runs at 100fps at 4K for me, so the question is - beside ARK, is there any other game that would drop below 60fps at 1440p?

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03:44 Sep-03-2017

Try wildlands. I haven't tried it with 2 1080tis yet but a single one struggled to keep a consistent 60fps even at 1080p.

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07:19 Sep-03-2017

Really? My Vega 64 does just fine at 2560x1080, I'll have to check what settings i have it set to but the bencmark gave me 70fps avg. Just took a look, i have everything maxed out, a couple of them i have on very high instead of ultra but its a solid 70fps.

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16:04 Sep-03-2017

I also took another look at how the game runs on a single card as well as SLI and... well... single card still struggling a bit at 1080p. However, it only happens in more demanding areas, especially those packed with vegetation. Also I have everything maxed out and I mean like REALLY maxed out (everything on the highest possible setting, except AA). SLI on the other hand works wonders here. Not a single drop below 60fps and both cards sitting at 50-60+% usage (1080p).

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18:47 Sep-07-2017

Why play at 1080p on a 4K screen tho..? Especially with 1080Ti SLI...

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03:45 Sep-10-2017

I'm not playing at 4k, because wildlands isn't demanding, it is badly optimised and I don't want to play at 30-40fps.

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13:31 Sep-03-2017

Could it be a CPU difference too? I wonder if there are games that run better on more cores for users of Ryzen chips or my 5960X and better.

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14:10 Sep-03-2017

Possible yea, i do run mine in hp mode, some games do make a difference setting core parking to 50% though. He does have a 7700k though its no slouch.

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Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 Radeon R9 280 Club3D royalKing 3GB Edition 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 4k
Core i5-11600 6-Core 2.8GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz GeForce GTS 450 Asus DirectCU TOP 1GB Edition 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-8250U 4-Core 1.6GHz GeForce GTX 1050 MSI 2GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1440p
Core i5-9400 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gainward Ghost 6GB 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i5-8250U 4-Core 1.6GHz GeForce GTX 1050M 8GB
0% No [3 votes]
| 60FPS, Low,
Core i5-7400 3.0GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600XT 6-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 5700 XT Asus ROG Strix OC 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-4820K 4-Core 3.70GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Core i7-4820K 4-Core 3.70GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i7-11700F 8-Core 2.5GHz GeForce RTX 3070 Gigabyte Gaming OC 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-4820K 4-Core 3.70GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-4820K 4-Core 3.70GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-10400F 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 MSI Ventus 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Ultra, 720p
FX-8120 Radeon R9 380X Sapphire Nitro 4GB Edition 24GB
100% Yes [1 votes]