Valheim PC performance report - Graphics card benchmarks

Written by Chad Norton on Fri, Feb 26, 2021 3:09 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Valheim has been out for a while now and has skyrocketed to fame on Steam, wracking up some seriously impressive numbers for an Early Access title. But how well does it perform? And what kind of hardware do you need to play at its best? Let's take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for Valheim...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for Valheim, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end RTX 3070 as well as the RTX 2060; to the lower-end R7 370; and the mid-range GTX 1060 which is the recommended GPU for 1080p High graphics settings.

Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card running at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the minimum and recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized Valheim really is.

Valheim unfortunately does not include an in-game benchmarking tool, so for these results we spawned in a new world, ran around a foresty area for a bit and beat up some enemies. Considering the game is in Early Access and most of the most demanding moments are in the late game, we found this benchmark run to be pretty representative of your typical gameplay experience in Valheim.

Interestingly, the developers of Valheim have just recently updated their system requirements to more accurate specs. Where beforehand the minimum required graphics card to run Valheim was a GTX 500 series or similar, the minimum required GPU now is a GTX 950. So for these benchmarks at first we tested using an R7 370 before the system requirements changed, but after the change should have tested the R9 380 instead to judge the minimum required specs.

Additionally, Valheim does not include any graphics quality presets, and so we had to create our own in order to standardize the benchmark results bellow. There are 4 main graphics settings in Valheim that can be toggled between Low, Medium, and High graphics settings (with 1 setting having an additional option for Very High), and the rest of the options are a simple toggle On and Off.

For our GD-created Low graphics preset we turned everything down to Low or Off, and for Medium we turned everything On or at Medium settings. Our final preset, High, Saw all settings turned up to their maximum quality option, including Very High for one of them. All results were tested using the DirectX 11 API.

Valheim GD presets Low Medium High
Vegetation Quality Low Medium High
Particle Lights
Draw Distance/Level of Detail Very High
Shadow Quality High
Bloom Off On On
SSAO
Sun Shafts
Motion Blur
Tessellation
Soft Particles
Depth of Field
Anti-Aliasing
Chromatic Aberration

With that in mind, let's jump into the PC performance benchmarks for Valheim...

Check your PC can run Valheim system requirements

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Valheim minimum system requirements

Valheim recommended system requirements

(*Valheim's system requirements did not list any specific processor to use for either minimum or recommended, so we have chosen the best suitable components based on the hardware descriptions provided).

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Valheim RTX 3070 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Aorus Master | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in Valheim @ 1080p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 105.5 84 68.1
Min FPS 83.3 66.6 50.3
Max FPS 122.6 100.1 78.9
1% Low FPS 58.1 47.1 42.1
0.1% Low FPS 17.1 15.8 14.9

The FPS performance of the RTX 3070 in Valheim at 1080p is pretty good but surprisingly low on the Highest graphics settings, achieving just under 70fps. Overall the RTX 3070 is perfectly suitable for playing Valheim at 1080p on the Highest graphics settings.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in Valheim @ 1440p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 102.3 81.9 67.2
Min FPS 81.9 63.6 56
Max FPS 119.6 96.5 78.9
1% Low FPS 58.1 49.7 41.7
0.1% Low FPS 16.8 15.8 15.3

At 1440p, the FPS performance of the RTX 3070 in Valheim isn't much lower than at 1080p, but still performs pretty well, once again achieving just under 70fps even on the highest graphics settings. The RTX 3070 is perfectly fine for playing Valheim at the highest graphics settings at 1080p

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in Valheim @ 4K

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 99.4 62.4 53.2
Min FPS 82.9 55.9 48.5
Max FPS 117.9 66.4 57.7
1% Low FPS 58.7 44.3 39.9
0.1% Low FPS 16.4 15.4 13.3

Finally at 4K resolution, the RTX 3070's FPS performance in Valheim has started to drop down a bit. Here the frame rate drops down to 53fps on the highest graphics settings, though is still certainly playable. If you want the most comfortable experience though then stay on Medium settings, or drop some of the most demanding graphics options first.

Overall, looking at the results above we can see that the RTX 3070 is perfectly suitable for playing Valheim at 1080p and 1440p on the highest graphics settings. At 4K you can still play on High settings but you won't get a full 60fps experience, but it is still playable and barely noticeable in this type of game.

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Valheim RTX 2060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia PNY GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in Valheim @ 1080p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 104.5 82.7 63.8
Min FPS 83.7 68.3 55.6
Max FPS 120.9 93.4 70.9
1% Low FPS 50.4 40.5 41
0.1% Low FPS 12.3 14.8 13.3

The FPS performance of the RTX 2060 at 1080p in Valheim is pretty good as well. This graphics card is still able to achieve over 60fps on High graphics settings, and so is perfectly suitable for playing at this resolution on the best quality options.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in Valheim @ 1440p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 100.4 67.4 51.9
Min FPS 86.5 60.7 47.1
Max FPS 117.7 70.7 59.4
1% Low FPS 50.3 47.6 38.4
0.1% Low FPS 15.8 15 13.4

At 1440p the FPS dips down a bit for the RTX 2060 in Valheim but is overall still fairly good. Best performance is on Medium graphics settings but even on High settings the game is still playable and enjoyable.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in Valheim @ 4K

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 83.5 36.9 27.1
Min FPS 72.5 33.8 25.3
Max FPS 93 39.1 30.9
1% Low FPS 50.6 27.8 19.5
0.1% Low FPS 14.7 14.8 13.7

At 4K the RTX 2060's FPS performance in Valheim is pretty poor, at least for the higher graphics settings. At Low settings this card is perfectly fine to play Valheim at 4K, but turning up to Medium does reduce the frame rate to a less desirable performance, still playable, but not ideal. On High settings the game because pretty uncomfortable and tough to play.

Overall, looking at the results above the RTX 2060 is perfectly suitable for playing Valheim at 1080p on the highest graphics settings and 1440p on the Medium-High settings depending on what kind of performance you are okay with. At 4K the RTX 2060 is best suited for playing on Low graphics settings, though it is still fine to play on Medium settings but at a less desirable frame rate. However, High graphics settings was very uncomfortable to play.

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Valheim GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in Valheim @ 1080p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 101.8 69.8 35.8
Min FPS 89.2 61.1 32.7
Max FPS 121.2 75.5 44
1% Low FPS 60.1 47.7 27.4
0.1% Low FPS 17.3 16.6 12

The GTX 1060's FPS performance in Valheim at 1080p is okay. At Low-Medium settings the performance is pretty good, without dropping below 60fps unless you move up to High graphics settings where the performance drops below 60fps and reaches just above 30fps. At this point the game is still playable, but is best suited for Medium graphics settings instead for the most comfortable experience.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in Valheim @ 1440p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 89.8 46 35.4
Min FPS 78.1 41.3 32.7
Max FPS 101.7 48.8 39.7
1% Low FPS 50.2 35.2 26.5
0.1% Low FPS 15.4 14.4 14.2

At 1440p the FPS performance of the GTX 1060 doesn't actually change that much compared to 1080p on High graphics settings, so if you were fine playing at 1080p with this performance then 1440p should be fine too. However, Medium graphics settings drop below 60fps and so the most comfortable experience at this resolution is Low settings unfortunately, though Medium is still pretty comfortable to play at.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in Valheim @ 4K

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 56.4 23.6 16.9
Min FPS 49 21.7 14.8
Max FPS 63.8 25.4 20.2
1% Low FPS 41.9 18.2 13.4
0.1% Low FPS 16 14.5 9.8

At 4K resolution the GTX 1060's FPS performance is not bad on Low graphics settings, delivering just under 60fps. It is still playable at this performance, however moving up to Medium and High graphics settings results in an uncomfortable and less-than-desirable experience. High settings particularly were pretty much unplayable.

Overall, the GTX 1060 - Valheim's recommended graphics card - is perfectly suitable for playing Valheim at 1080p on Medium graphics settings at 60fps, or on High settings for 30fps. Moving up to 1440p and you'll need to stick on Low graphics settings in order to get 60fps performance, whereas Medium and High settings both deliver above 30fps. For 4K, it is recommended to stick to Low graphics settings for the most comfortable and enjoyable experience.

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Valheim R7 370 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD XFX Radeon R7 370 Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R7 370 in Valheim @ 1080p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 61 28.8 19.9
Min FPS 54.4 26.7 18.2
Max FPS 67.8 30.6 22.7
1% Low FPS 44.2 23.1 16
0.1% Low FPS 16.1 15 13.7

The R7 370's FPS performance in Valheim at 1080p is not too great. At Low graphics settings you get around 60fps which is perfectly comfortable, however moving up to Medium or High settings will drop below 30fps and is not the ideal experience.

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R7 370 in Valheim @ 1440p

Valheim Low Medium High
Average FPS 42.4 17.5 14.3
Min FPS 38.7 16.4 13.2
Max FPS 46.1 18.4 15.5
1% Low FPS 33.3 13.8 11.5
0.1% Low FPS 16.4 12.7 10.5

At 1440p the R7 370's FPS performance in Valheim is not the best. At low graphics settings it is still playable though not ideal, however moving onto Medium or High graphics settings becomes unplayable in terms of performance.

Overall, the R7 370 is perfectly suitable for playing Valheim on the lowest graphics settings at 1080p or 1440p, though Medium settings at 1080p is still playable. Any graphics settings higher than that though is unplayable in our experience.

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Conclusion

Overall, looking at the performance benchmark results above, Valheim is a surprisingly demanding game even on the highest end hardware today like the RTX 3070. Performance can be a bit all over the place but generally high-end hardware will still be able to play on the best graphics settings on higher resolutions.

For mid-range hardware performance is a little disappointing, especially on the GTX 1060 which is unable to reach 60fps on the highest graphics settings even at 1080p. However Medium graphics are still a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

For low-end hardware like the R7 370, Valheim is best suited to turn the settings down to the lowest options for optimal performance.

If you want to play Valheim at its best then you will need some of the top-end hardware today in order to play at 60fps at 1080p resolution on the highest graphics settings. Mid-range hardware will still be able to have good performance but on Medium graphics settings, or on the Highest settings with a few options tweaked down a bit for optimal performance.

Interestingly, Valheim seems to perform better on higher resolutions than on higher graphics settings, with some cards achieving better performance at 4K on low graphics than at 1080p on High graphics settings. So if you are playing at a decent frame rate then consider bumping up the resolution without changing any graphics settings and you may see alright performance on the higher resolution as well without sacrificing any graphical quality settings.

It's clear that Valheim still has some optimization fixes to go through during Early Access, and so we expect performance to get better in later updates to the game over the course of its Early Access period.

Of course we welcome any feedback from you guys and your own experience in Valheim with your own hardware so that we can all gauge a better understanding of how well our systems will be able to run Valheim.

Our favourite comments:

The newly released Vulkan API makes full use of my GPU now (75-99% usage) and the frames stay locked at 60FPS/1080p (very occasional drops to mid 50's) with everything on High. Great improvement tbh. CPU usage went WAAAY down. Highly recommend using it.

bichoxxx

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01:25 Feb-27-2021

The newly released Vulkan API makes full use of my GPU now (75-99% usage) and the frames stay locked at 60FPS/1080p (very occasional drops to mid 50's) with everything on High. Great improvement tbh. CPU usage went WAAAY down. Highly recommend using it.

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19:33 Feb-26-2021

The game is just really poorly optimized and you wont get full gpu usage from it if i go to the main village where everyone on my server built i get like 30-50% gpu usage in better areas i get like 80% usage and this is with a 9900k and 1070 ti also there is an fps fix on reddit that helps alot actually (still bad performance though)

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17:39 Feb-26-2021

I feel like that i7 is bottlenecking that RTX 3070, time to change that CPU i guess

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18:42 Feb-26-2021

At 1080p or low settings - sure. But then I'd be crying over my 5960X all the same if I cared about low or 1080p with a 30 series GPU. The beauty of PC gaming is the upgrades. It's much more natural (and cheaper...and easier..) to keep a CPU for longer and to just swap out the GPUs.
Benching on the top-end CPUs like the big tech youtubers do is also unrealistic for most people. If you get more fps than the benchmark said - that's only a bonus and a pleasant surprise, if anything.

2

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 Radeon RX 5500 XT MSI Gaming 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3550H 4-Core 2.1 GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 3 2200G Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
0% No [1 votes]