Up For Debate - What are the first games to play and benchmark your new PC on in 2021?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, May 8, 2021 5:00 PM
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Every year that rolls around we get brand new games and brand new PC hardware. This last year has been pretty difficult on everyone, so the prospect of actually buying any of the new games (since a lot are delayed) or even getting your hands on a desired piece of hardware is nigh impossible.

Despite that, we wanted to come up with a comprehensive list of games to play and benchmark your new PC in 2021, if you managed to get any new hardware. This is by no means an official list of the best video games to benchmark on, but is instead our pick for the best modern titles to test your PC on. 

But we absolutely welcome any and all feedback and suggestions from you guys in the discussion area below! So let us know if you have any better titles to benchmark your new PC on or even a completely reworked list of your own.

As for our top picks? Here’s our list of the first games to play and benchmark your new PC on in 2021…

  1. Cyberpunk 2077
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2
  3. Resident Evil 8
  4. Assassins Creed: Valhalla
  5. DOOM Eternal

We picked this list as a diverse entry of games that have and don’t have ray tracing and/or DLSS implementation. This is because if you buy a new PC today, chances are it would be with a ray tracing-capable GPU just because of the most recent hardware. However, in this current climate you’ll be hard pressed to even find one let alone pay the original MSRP for it. So a good range of ray tracing and non-ray tracing games gives us a decent range to test new hardware on.

CP2077, despite the launch issues and bugs, is now running a bit more stable since release. With some of the best looking ray tracing graphics and a stunning world, this game will absolutely push your new hardware to the limit. RDR2 also remains in this same category, but does not have any ray tracing graphics to choose from.

RE8 and AC Valhalla are two big games that have come out recently with good looking graphics and an open world to explore (the former more so for Resident Evil Village, the latter more for Valhalla). RE Village also has ray tracing, and both titles are a pretty demanding games for modern hardware, so being able to push out more frames at higher graphics settings/resolution always feels great.

And DOOM Eternal still remains as one of the best optimized games ever made, so here it’s mostly an indulgent title just to see how many hundreds of frames your new system can crank out compared to your old setup.

What do you think? What are the first games to play and benchmark your new PC on in 2021? Do you agree with our list? What other games would you choose to play first to test your new system? Let’s debate!

Which game would you run first to benchmark your new PC on in 2021?

Do you run benchmarks before playing a game for the first time?

Do you usually benchmark games to test your new PC setup?

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13:50 May-11-2021

Damn with these gpu prices that's pretty optimistic to assume I'm getting new components in 2021 xD

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07:37 May-10-2021

my 2080 can't run CP2077, RDR2 and AC Valhalla at 4k Ultra 60FPS, it sucks, I have only one 4k monitor and running games either at 1080p or 1440p is very blurry experience, I hate it.

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08:39 May-10-2021

"Ultra" in those games is just unreasonable (especially Ubi titles...), unfortunately, regardless of system. Tweak the settings!

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08:48 May-10-2021

On one end Far Cry 5, runs perfectly fine, but AC titles since Unity have been a mess on PC, RDR2 with HUB Optimised settings gives 45-50 FPS on 4K without much loss on visual fidelity.

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09:10 May-10-2021

FC5 does run much better than FC4, for example, but I saw the same problems with WatchDogs2, for example, where certain settings would completely tank the framerate for almost no visual gain. Ubi does video games weird.

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09:24 May-10-2021

Watch Dog 2 is definitely a mess, imo, if they can't optimize the games well, then at least add DLSS to the games.

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04:55 May-09-2021

Shouldn't this be what games would you play if you could get a new PC right now?

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18:56 May-09-2021

I will not buy now, it is the theft of these prices is fantastic and insane, especially graphics cards,but I assure you that ten-year-old processors with a graphics card that supports DX12 will get rid of the bottleneck at a very impressive

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20:04 May-08-2021

RDR2 with luther-d fix avg 33 1080p low setting , some on med and the texture on ultra, Cyberpunk 2077 AVG 28 on 1080p Low S , Resident evil village low setting 900p Avg 60 , 1080p 58,CPU Phenom II X4 955 Gpu gtx 960 4gb ,8gb ram

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01:30 May-09-2021

what is luther-d fix?

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02:47 May-09-2021

Ubisoft also provided a fix with farcry 5 for old processors that do not have SSE 4.1 and SSE 4.2 instructions. Luther D a free developer also introduced a patch patch for the following games: Cyberpunk 2077, RDR2, Horizon Zero Dawn, AC O

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18:33 May-08-2021

Witcher 3 (with HD Reworked mod of course) - dense open world, Forza Horizon 4 - driving through open world VERY fast, thanks to dynamic optimization framerate should rock-solid lock at monitor native rate, and Frostpunk - crowded map in extreme cold is what its engine can't even really handle;
unoptimized Cyberpunk has no real benchmark value yet, and Red Dead Redemption is particularly taxing and not so well optimized ingame settings, too big filesizes for just a benchmark

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07:29 May-09-2021

What are you talking about? Cyberpunk has basically all the graphic options you can benchmark.
Not being so well optimized will not bother the benchmark. If your rig can't run them and prefer old games, that's your problem.

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14:11 May-09-2021

Nah, I agree with Tzzsmk here - CP is a mess and it's not really a bench. Have you seen on their forums the kind of mess people discover after every patch? Reflections disappear, shadows spaz out, etc. Very unstable as a bench, especially between versions. Maybe when CDPR are done developing the game :D

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14:57 May-09-2021

afaik CDPR is primarily focusing on Witcher 3 "NextGen" right now, even the Witcher 3 HD Reworked Project and other mods will be fatured, and PS5 and new XBOX will be supported

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16:10 May-09-2021

Aren't you tired of undermining Cyberpunk already? It is perfectly good for benchmarks as it is...sure it's not well optimized and I don't know what are you talking about reflections and shadows, they are perfectly fine.

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17:13 May-09-2021

"I don't know what you're talking about" is not an argument, is it...

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19:37 May-09-2021

I haven't seen yours either. I don't have any arguments. I may be very lucky cause I didn't have the things you mentioned in my 100 hours played up to the last patch. You may be unlucky. It's unlikely to happen if you want just to benchmark

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13:59 May-12-2021

more than a few, here's part 9 video of bugs series even with patch 1.21, roughly 2 weeks old
https://youtu.be/lkSZMVzB7rQ

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14:59 May-09-2021

unfinished Cyberpunk 2077 which is still being patched cannot serve as reliable benchmark platform - only once it goes GOTY/Complete, it can be used for comparisons of PC performance

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17:09 May-08-2021

I also enjoy The Witcher 3. That bastard runs at 5K very smoothly on a 3090, where previously I had to deal with SLI microstutter. Playing games at above 1440p (preferably at 4K as a minimum, 5K being ideal) allows you to experience proper supersampling (formerly known as FSAA, for those old-enough to remember), which makes foliage and small/distant objects so much sharper. Playing FarCry5 or TW3 at 1440p looks like a mess, but at 5K - gloriously smooth!
I guess any game could be a bench for a new PC if the resolution is high enough :)

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18:35 May-08-2021

depends what's supposed to be benchmarked, for CPU benchmark, lower resolution and extreme frates are more taxing on processor :)

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19:12 May-08-2021

Yeah, but why even bench at a resolution lower than intended for play...

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Can They Run... |

Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 9 5900HX 8-Core 3.3GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Core i7-2600 4-Core 3.40GHz Radeon HD 5770 1024MB 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-6800K 6-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 970 MSI Gaming 4GB Edition 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]