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What kind of hardware is necessary to run high graphics?


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... I'd assume anything in the last decade should do it (barring, say, an emulator on a Raspberry Pi or the cheapest of cheap integrated CPUs.) I don't think we've had a big graphics intensity bump since Ultra mode was introduced. Minor one for the newest, shiniest Prae buildings - but even that's ages ago, computer-component-wise.

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6 hours ago, Chaos Ex Machina said:

Most of it maximum or with relatively inconsequential compromises like less of FSAA and so on, 60 FPS

 

Is CPU going to be important?

I'm running maxed graphics on a Dell optiplex 790sff with the quad core CPU, 16 gigs of ram, and a nvidia gtx1060 lp. It's good enough to play Ark survival evolved pretty high on the settings also so it's a good budget setup.

 

I bought 4 of those used on eBay and upgraded the graphics card and ram for around 300 each total so my whole family could play when I found out COH was back.

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For CPU you’ll want at least a 6th gen i5 or AMD 8350 processor or better, a 9th gen i3 (or newer) or Ryzen 3 would also have enough kick.

 

The game was optimized for graphics nearly a decade ago which would put you all the way back to either nVidia’s 900 series or AMD’s 200 series. With how tech has changed the game could actually be played on good settings with a Ryzen 5 with integrated Vega graphics or an i5 10th or 11th gen with Iris/EVO. Those later options aren’t necessarily ideal though. For stuff that’s currently on the market an AMD 580 or nVidia 1650/1660 will run it like a champ.

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Absolutely irrelevant note here, but the game is also blessedly frugal with bandwidth.

I have a crappy (and cappy) Verizon wireless link to the net, and CoH deals with it just fine.

Designed for dialup FTW!

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Disclaimer: Not a medical doctor. Do not take medical advice from Doctor Ditko. Also, not a physicist. Do not take advice on consensus reality from Doctor Ditko. But games? He used to pay his bills with games. (He's recovering well, thanks for asking!)

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I don't turn on the cel shader stuff, because I don't like the look, but I can max out all the other graphics at 1920 x 1080  60fps with a Nvidia 660M on a 2011 ASUS laptop.

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On 3/4/2021 at 4:17 PM, Chaos Ex Machina said:

Most of it maximum or with relatively inconsequential compromises like less of FSAA and so on, 60 FPS

Is CPU going to be important?

@Chaos Ex MachinaGeneral rule of thumb for gaming. Video card is most important, then RAM quantity second (up to a point),

then CPU cores & speed. Finally use a good SSD for your operating system if possible. A HDD is okay for game storage.

 

Also you didn't mention what resolution your monitor is as this can make a significant difference. 720p is much

less demanding than 1080p or 4k (which is 2160p) You also didn't say if you were upgrading or buying new.

 

For this game specifically to run high settings or better @ 60fps GENERALLY SPEAKING you'll want...

 

Processors: Any quad core or better made in the last decade should be fine. 2.0 GHz or faster

should be fine as most modern CPU's can ratchet up the speed when needed on the fly.

 

RAM quantity: 4GB minimum, 8GB the current sweet spot, 16GB unneeded but

nice to have if you run many things alongside your game, 32GB Overkill.

 

Videocard: Midrange GPU or better. How can you tell? In general terms the first number in the videocard series tells you

when it came out. The second or third number will tell you where it is in the stack for that series. Ideally want 6 and up.

So a "GTX 1060" the 6 says you're most likely set whereas a "GTX 1010GT" the 1 tells you it's not gonna cut it. On the

AMD side it should start with HD, R# or RX and again 6 or better so an "HD 9870 PRO" is good but a "R5 430" isn't.

 

Again, these are meant to be general tips only! If you have a specific

parts question it's always best to research or ask before you buy.

 

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4K30 on a 1050GTX, older i7, running 3 monitors. The only thing that slows performance is setting FSAA too high (noticeable fps drop at 8 ) or visscale over about 12. Everything else maxed, with cel shading active.

Edited by Shenanigunner
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As long as you're running a discrete graphics card from AMD or NVIDIA, you're on a system powerful enough to run the game with most settings cranked up.
Intel graphics is VERY hit or miss, especially with compatibility.

Running a chip with 2 or more physical cores is optimal.
Hyperthreading will help free up processor cycles, just don't rely on virtual cores like you would physical cores.

If you're building new, an 8th, 9th or 10th Gen I3 (low end) chip will kick the game in the balls and scream for more.
An 8th, 9th or 10th Gen i5 is just more of same.  They just use steel-toed boots.
Similar 8th, 9th or 10th Gen i7 includes spikes and a "taser to the crotch" function.
i9 looks attractive, but isn't really intended as a gaming chip.  Can they DO it?  Sure.  But no game is actually USING that many cores.  So it's VERY difficult to justify the price .

With i3/i5/i7, you have chips that can run between 3 and 4 Gigahertz for a base clock speed.  And, once you've gone multi-core, clock speed is the biggest single determinant for how well a game plays when factoring CPUs.

The 3000 and 5000 (if you can get them) Ryzen series Ryzen3, Ryzen5, Ryzen7 and Ryzen9 are basically "more of same".

Video cards.

Basically anything in the last 6 generations works pretty much like this:

##40 and below are barebones entry level graphics cards.  They can handle simple games, even CoH.  But they're usually going to be somewhat resource limited for things like Full Screen Anti-Aliasing, any resolution over 1920x1080, etc.

##50 cards are generally almost identical to the previous cards.  They're just given better memory, more memory and possibly a wider memory bus.  Think of these as bare-minimum "gaming" cards.

##60 are what NVIDIA sees as "mainstream" dedicated "gaming" cards.  Core counts on the GPU tend to shoot up, and memory becomes more plentiful.  Even if it's not always the highest speed or widest bandwidth.  At this point, you've hit absolute overkill for CoH at 1920x1080.

##70 cards are "enthusiast" cards  More cores, more and higher bandwidth memory, and more hardware options available.
Basically, as the song goes "Anything a ##60 series can do, I can do better!".  Can game at 1440 easily and can produce respectable numbers at 4K resolution.

##80 series cards are generally apex-level gaming cards.  If you wanna do it, these cards will generally "git er done"

##90 and "Titan" cards.  These are "aspirational" cards.

TIME FOR A CAR ANALOGY!

Ever known of someone who buys what is ALREADY a hideously, dangerously powerful  (in stock configuration) ride?
Then proceeds to supercharge it, throw on turbos bigger than a dinner plate, convert over to E85 and a blown nitrous system, delete the cats, while stripping out anything not absolutely critical to a driver inside, then replace every bit of sheet metal and fiberglass with carbon fiber replacements?
(Note: And HOPEFULLY putting on much wider tires for traction control and brakes strong enough to stop THE PLANET from rotating and installing a roll cage.)

Yeah.  That's ##90 and Titan series cards.  Hand-picked silicon, the absolute bestest, mostest card that takes whatever you feed them, belches loud enough to be heard ON THE MOON, then screams for MOAR!

The real beeyotch of it is, these cards don't really add terribly much to the experience over a ##70 or a ##80 card.  Because these cards are ALREADY so powerful, that the CPU and other things in the system are, again, the bottlenecks..

As for multi-GPU, SLI?  They add almost nothing to most games these days.  And, even way back, I had a friend at NVIDIA testing a quad SLI  setup against CoH.  And framerates just didn't go up.  Again, the cards weren't the bottleneck.  Now, that said, AVERAGE and MINIMUM framerate went up a bit, as the SLI setup could cover for severe framerate swings a lot better than a single card could (at the time).

I'd try to dig my original boards.cityofheroes.com article out of the Wayback machine.  I'm just not sure HOW.

AMD's a bit different.  They actually have whole different series of cards, rather than a flat numbering convention.

Their RX VEGA series are their previous generation cards.  They're still quite powerful.

The RX 540 and 550 are entry-level graphics cards.  They work.  Nuff said.

The 560-590 work similarly to the NVIDIA scaling and were entry-to-high-end graphics in their day.

The Vega cards, Vega 56 and 64 are steps up from there.  More cores.  Better specs.

The RX 5000 series cards: is the previous generation.  5500 is the entry level card.  5600 is the barebones gamer card.  5700 cards are the enthusiast cards.

The current RX 6000 series: 6700 to 6900 are ALL enthusiast grade cards.

The main problem here is that the current generation of NVIDIA 3000 series cards, AMD's Ryzen 5000 chips and AMD's RX 6000 cards...

JUST ARE NOT AVAILABLE.

AMD soft-launched Ryzen and RX 6000 with absolutely TINY initial runs.  And were promptly sold out.  Some of these CAN be gotten for markups of anywhere from 50-200% of their MSRP (and NO consumer CPU or graphics card is worth $1800 to $2500).  But you're buying from scalpers.  And as a third party purchase, you're not eligible for warranty coverage.  And, even if you WERE, AMD simply doesn't have any stock to handle RMAs with!

NVIDIA has all of these problems as well, but an absolutely HUGE problem with crypto-mining and their vendors' relationships with crypto miners.
Before RTX 2000 and 3000 series cards were generally available, certain vendors (who shall remain unnamed) were shipping FULL CRATES of the cards off to crypto-miners because they were getting premium pricing for them (WELL beyond MSRP).

And with the current silicon crisis, we have no way of knowing when new stock will actually arrive (I'm betting late July at the earliest).  What little they're getting out of the third party foundries, is being watched like a hawk.  There are actual YouTube channels set up to watch availability, and everything disappears in seconds.

They make noises about killing at least the entry level 3060 cards' ability to mine in drivers.
But this pre-supposes they;'re using WINDOWS.
Most miners aren't  They're using Linux and alternate drivers that're tuned for max-mining output.

It's actually so bad that PREVIOUS GENERATION cards and AMD chips are skyrocketing in price and becoming just as unavailable.

All I know is that, if I were Intel, I'd be salivating right now.  They have HUGE fab space for this stuff.  And if they wanted to be REALLY disruptive in the market, they could buckle down and release a graphics card that could compete in the entry level graphics and entry/midrange level gaming card space.

And they could churn the damn things out all day, every day.

And you'd watch the heads at AMD and NVIDIA positively *EXPLODE* (Both of 'em!  In as painful a manner as you could wish.)

Okay, enough diatribe.

HARD DRIVES.

Pretty much any PC storage will do for CoH.
If you decide to stick with hard drives, I recommend opting for 7200 RPM drives.  CoH can be slow to load locally.
Western Digital is my go-to.  Unless you're talking enterprise-grade (10,000-15,000 RPM Serial SCSI) drives, I simply do not recommend Seagate.  Their consumer-grade drives simply have an outrageous failure rate.  The only place they make sense is in massively redundant bulk hosting applications, because you're simply going for VOLUME and building in redundancy and data integrity at a level above the drive hardware itself.
Toshiba makes attractive-sounding drives.  But they're crap.  I'd rather hand assemble my data with a hand-held magnetic system than use Toshiba.

By preference, I recommend solid state drives these days.  They're now large enough that a minimal investment will get you a decent primary AND secondary drive.  And compared to a hard drive, they SCREAM!  Especially the NVMe drives.

Crucial (Micron) drives are inexpensive, solid and dependable, though they're not a raw performance leader.  If you just want to get the hell away from spinning rust platters, these are great drives.

Samsung: These are my preferred drives.  They have two classes.  The major differences are intended use and a tiny bit of bandwidth/performance.

The Evo series is their consumer grade drives.  Great drives.
The Pro series is, as the name implies, their pro grade drives.  They're provisioned a bit differently.

Most SSDs have more than the advertised amount of memory on them.  Flash memory has a certain amount of write cycles before that cell is no longer usable.  So drive controllers tend to spread their writes over the entire disk to stave off early cell death.  And most have a small amount above the advertised limit set aside to offset early cell death from extreme use cycles.
Most of the ones aimed at the pro/enterprise market tend to have MORE set aside.  Making the drives more "durable".
Think of it like an endless baseball game.  Where one team has 5 reserve pitchers and the other team has 50.

And, believe it or not,, another brand I trust here is Seagate with their FireCuda drives.  They're a direct competitor for the Samsung Pro series.
Samsung has the performance edge.  But the Seagate drives have the edge in durability.
 

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12 hours ago, Christopher Robin said:

@Chaos Ex Machina

RAM quantity: 4GB minimum, 8GB the current sweet spot, 16GB unneeded

 

 

I'd bump each of those up a tier. If someone offered me a 4 Gb system, it's either an old system or a Chromebook, I'd hope. I wouldn't go with less than 8, and would consider 16 where the standard should be.

 

That said, I've also got a 2014 Mac Mini with 4 Gb that's perfectly happy running the game (and you cannot upgrade the RAM on those.) I don't recall the settings - but it's running Big Sur and isn't on minimum - probably "upper midrange" at least. I just wouldn't have a lot else running on it. (Can't check the other settings as it's packed away in preparation for a move.)

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2 hours ago, Greycat said:

I'd bump each of those up a tier. If someone offered me a 4 Gb system, it's either an old system or a Chromebook, I'd hope. I wouldn't go with less than 8, and would consider 16 where the standard should be.

 

That said, I've also got a 2014 Mac Mini with 4 Gb that's perfectly happy running the game (and you cannot upgrade the RAM on those.) I don't recall the settings - but it's running Big Sur and isn't on minimum - probably "upper midrange" at least. I just wouldn't have a lot else running on it. (Can't check the other settings as it's packed away in preparation for a move.)

 

@Greycat That's fair & I do build new systems that way. A few points though.

 

1. Again he did not specify if he was buying all new, used or upgrading and I have

in the past both seen and built systems having only 4GB that could do what he asked.

I wouldn't want him to pass up on a great deal for a used system just because it has 4GB.

 

2. RAM is one of the easiest things in the entire PC to upgrade. As long as you have open slots

available (or are willing to give up the current RAM) & buy the right upgrade type (seriously look

it up or ask a tech not all RAM is interchangeable) even a novice can do it with the help of a YouTube

video or two. On laptops it's usually two screws, two pop up brackets and a couple retaining clips

and about 1 minute of time. PC's? Unplug, discharge, remove a side panel and 2 clips per stick.

 

I haven't personally or professionally built a system with less than 8GB in years and my 3

personal use main PC's all have 16GB in them so I hear you and it's good advice going

forward but because used hardware is a possible option I wanted to account for it.

 

Edited by Christopher Robin
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I had a similar question so thanks to Chaos for asking. Also thanks to those who confirm it works well with their equipment, good 2 know!

 

CR, your first post is a treasure trove of useful info! Just enough to get me started, simple enough that I can follow it and warnings and caveats where needed. 

Your second post answered follow-up questions I didn't even know I had. Brilliant!

 

While I am at it much of what I have seen you write lately is either helpful or hilarious, often it is both. Thank you! +1

 

Hyperstrike, man I think there's useful info in there somewhere but after trying to read it I am lost, confused and angry at cryptominers and soft launches and I don't even know what those are?!?!?

 

Greycat, thanks for highlighting the ram question and making CR explain himself. I also thought his marks sounded kind of low from what I have heard around the net.

 

Infinitum, that is an interesting idea thanks!

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I run (on a PC) with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, and have no problems during MSR or Hamidon raids. I don't do anything like over-clocking. I don't mess too much with CoH game settings, but I have had no reason to 'gimp' them. My (gaming) experiences are with 'full size' desktop PCs; in my circumstance I also use these machines for what I would describe as the 'high end of casual PC use': lots of office work, a fair amount of audio work, gaming (but nothing really cutting edge), and a smidge of video (re)work. I have some experience with smaller systems (including more 'embedded' variants) but no relevant information for trying to video game with them.

 

For a while I was using an AMD Radeon RX 560 and I had nothing but problems with the AMD Radeon. I'm not much of a PC gearhead, but I know how to replace the various guts of my PCs, how to manage drivers, how to pay attention to diagnostics, and how to follow directions. I'll never buy another graphics card from AMD if I have a choice. It didn't play nice with its own drivers (and overly complicated software), it liked to overheat, the default settings were simply stupid. I keep part of the original packaging just to remind me to never let this vendetta slip.

 

The Cryptominers using graphics cards are quite problematic for us gamers. This is one area where I try to buy brand new (never refurbished), and on a new machine the video card is the first element that I'd recommend that you go "bleeding edge" with, because (unless you burn it up it) can last you through many generations of both games and video. After the video card, try to make sure you didn't gimp your rig's power supply. A power supply 'on the margins' (or simply 'flaky') can cause issues for your video card.

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@Icanav thats why I always look for the orange text. just watch out for the puns he's a terror once he gets going on those. anyone else notice when CR is making a point his text is pointy! lol!

 

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11 hours ago, Hyperstrike said:

Intel graphics is VERY hit or miss, especially with compatibility.

 

It's worse than that. Since you can't find many good mobos without video, it's a choice between AMD/Nvidia... and even keeping my shop all-Nvidia, the mobo graphics are often low-end and outdated more quickly than any video card. My current station has Intel mobo graphics, which have been a huge PITA even though I keep them disabled... most Windows updates simply choke on the Intel/Nvidia combo and I have to pull the video card, reboot, make sure at least one monitor is connected to the mobo port, do the update, then put it all back together.

 

And I just discovered that Premiere/2021 finds the "dead" Intel video on every startup and holds until I assure it I know I am an idiot for even asking it to try. (Which I am not.)

 

Time for a new system in many ways, don't expect to be able to find a higher-end mobo without graphics. Sigh.

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39 minutes ago, tidge said:

For a while I was using an AMD Radeon RX 560 and I had nothing but problems with the AMD Radeon.

 

My main issue when I was running AMD was it looking ... a bit odd and jaggy. Most noticeable in Wentworth's. (That said, the main reason I'm running AMD now is Daz Studio and Iray.) I don't know if that's still an issue in game or not.

 

41 minutes ago, tidge said:

The Cryptominers using graphics cards are quite problematic for us gamers.

Though right now it's not even the cryptominers, though apparently ... Etherium? Some non-Bitcoin currency - is at the point where the graphics cards are helpful (and nVidia's putting aside some chips for "mining cards." Thanks.) Production in general is a problem right now - and not just for graphics cards. Even *automakers* are having to slow down production because they can't get silicon.

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On 3/5/2021 at 8:32 AM, DoctorDitko said:

Absolutely irrelevant note here, but the game is also blessedly frugal with bandwidth.

I have a crappy (and cappy) Verizon wireless link to the net, and CoH deals with it just fine.

Designed for dialup FTW!

 

Very few games actually use much bandwidth - far less than most Netflix video, in most cases. It's reliability and ping that really matter.

 

And, of course, having 200mbps so you don't have to wait when downloading new games. 😛

 

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On 3/4/2021 at 2:17 PM, Chaos Ex Machina said:

Most of it maximum or with relatively inconsequential compromises like less of FSAA and so on, 60 FPS

 

Is CPU going to be important?

Ram for COX is actually important. An SSD with 16G and a decent but not crazy graphics card will do fine. For CPU i5 is enough.

 

Here is what I use

image.png.f7d59bc30b57283b80d4836b505e870e.png

 

image.png.45e356c18d3ed995d58b28533a7787a8.png

 

Edited by Troo

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Sooo.. I guess I am taking a non-voluntary break until November?!

 

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1 hour ago, Shenanigunner said:

.......................................Time for a new system in many ways, don't expect to be able to find a higher-end mobo without graphics. Sigh.

 

Just so we don't confuse anyone, integrated (also called onboard) graphics are no longer a component of any modern motherboard.

They are integrated into the Central Processor Unit (or CPU). There used to be motherboards with their own graphics

integrated into a southbridge or stand alone chip but that hasn't been the case in a very long time.

 

With that said there are many AMD Ryzen chips you can buy that have no integrated graphics and several

Intel 9th gen processors also have the onboard graphics removed (or more likely disabled).

They are denoted with an F at the end of the designation (e.g. Core i5-9400F).

 

@Troo RAM is important to CoH but not to the point where anyone needs to buy 32GB of it.

Also if you don't follow tech regularly a phrase like "a decent but not crazy graphics card"

may not mean anything. That's why I gave some general guidelines above.

 

 

Edited by Christopher Robin
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51 minutes ago, Troo said:

Ram for COX is actually important. An SSD with 16G and a decent but not crazy graphics card will do fine. For CPU i5 is enough.

 

Here is what I use

image.png.f7d59bc30b57283b80d4836b505e870e.png

 

image.png.45e356c18d3ed995d58b28533a7787a8.png

 


Believe it or not, an I3 will actually kick butt every bit as hard as an i5.
If you've got 4 real cores, you're golden.  And with something like a 10320, you're running 3.8 to 4.6 Ghz.

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2 hours ago, tidge said:

......................................I had nothing but problems with the AMD Radeon. I'm not much of a PC gearhead, but I know how to replace the various guts of my PCs, how to manage drivers, how to pay attention to diagnostics, and how to follow directions. I'll never buy another graphics card from AMD if I have a choice.......................................

51 minutes ago, Icanav said:

Tidge, counter claim I have run AMD graphics in the last three computers and haven't had any problems but the last time I tried NVIDIA was hell! :classic_angry:

Before the Scrapper claws come out and this becomes a Red vs. Blue vs. Green teams melee lets take a step back

and keep an eye on the big picture. If you've been around the industry for long enough you can easily

point to a time period when any of the major players, Intel, AMD, Nvidia and ATi (which is what

team red videocards were called before AMD bought them out) made huge mistakes

and angered a segment of the population. Some more so and for longer than

others yes but they've all done it. Most of the minor players as well.

 

The thing to keep in mind is overall trends. No one company is always best or worst.

When you want to buy, look at what the company is doing right now. How are their sales?

How much of their marketing noise is actually panning out. Are there tons of complaints about

driver issues currently? That kind of stuff. Tidge you may not be an AMD fan but I think few impartial

techies would argue that they are having an golden age right now (especially with their Ryzen processors)

and Icanav NVIDIA has ruled the roost on their videocards for such a long stretch and their 3000 series

cards were so good they actually insulted anyone who bought a 2000 series. Any company can put

out a potential game changer or a real turkey that will annoy anyone unlucky enough to own it.

 

Times change and so do the various products/companies reputations for speed, performance and value.

The answer to "what's the best ? for $ amount right now" is, as always, a moving target.

Do keep that in mind and always do your homework before you buy. zb7XgP0P_o.png

 

25 minutes ago, Hyperstrike said:

Believe it or not, an I3 will actually kick butt every bit as hard as an i5.
If you've got 4 real cores, you're golden.  And with something like a 10320, you're running 3.8 to 4.6 Ghz.

Indeed. Quad core or better, 2.0GHz or faster,

released in the last decade and you should be fine.

 

 

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This machine has run at nearly max settings since originally built back in 2012(?). Back then I only had 16 Gb RAM and a GTX 770 Ti.

 

I've tested this machine at max settings as well and it performs even better visually...which makes sense because it's nearly a decade newer.

 

This one handles almost as well as the first one, probably because they're Basically the same architecture at the core.

 

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