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Dota 2 Runs Well On Low-End Hardware

Dota 2 Performance, Benchmarked
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Dota 2 is one of the most popular games around. And, it's free-to-play, so anyone can try it out. How much hardware do you need to enjoy this title at smooth frame rates? Not much, it turns out. We test a number of CPUs and GPUs at different settings.

Free-to-play multiplayer games are only profitable if as many people as possible have access to them. So, it's hardly surprising that Dota 2 is not a particularly demanding title. It's really meant to run well on the lowest common denominator. Our little exercise today demonstrates just how little rendering horsepower it need.

At low (but still attractive) detail levels, gaming at 1920x1080 is smooth enough on both AMD's mobile A10-4600M with integrated Radeon HD 7660G graphics and Intel's Core i5-3210M with HD Graphics 4000. As far as discrete cards go, the GeForce G 210 is the only model we tested that couldn't handle this title's entry-level options. Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 6450 delivers frame rates in excess of 45 FPS throughout our benchmark run.

Crank up the detail settings as high as they'll go and you'll want at least a Radeon HD 6670 DDR3 or GeForce GT 630 GDDR5 for at least 30 FPS at 1920x1080. A GeForce GTX 650 or Radeon HD 7750 are better choices for that combination of details and resolution, though. And if you want more than 45 FPS at 2560x1600, get a Radeon HD 7770 or GeForce GTX 650 Ti.

The game is also pretty forgiving when it comes to processor performance. A dual-core AMD chip running faster than 2.5 GHz should suffice, and anyone with a modern Intel CPU clocked at 2 GHz or higher should be fine as well. Ideally, I'd say an LGA 1155-based Pentium or Phenom II X4/FX-4000-series processor running at 3 GHz should keep you up above 50 FPS.

As far as hardware goes, this game doesn't give you much to worry about. At this point, the only question is how Dota 2's main competition, League of Legends, compares. To answer, I'll be putting that game through a similar set of tests, so stay tuned to Tom's Hardware for the results.

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  • 13 Hide
    Cellarian , April 28, 2013 9:37 PM
    Quote:
    Some items offer in-game advantages, but Valve committed to a true free-to-play strategy (not pay-to-win), so none of the cash items are powerful enough to make or break a match.
    Just being nit-picky, but Dota 2 offers only cosmetic items. So all of the items you can buy have no power at all.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    rdc85 , April 28, 2013 9:21 PM
    As A former DoTA player.. (original WC ver.)

    I'm so glad they keep the game mechanic and the system requirement low...

    the one problems i had is no near server in my country, and the internet connection is quite bad...
    I'm wonder if this game is playable on LAN or private/local server?
  • 13 Hide
    Cellarian , April 28, 2013 9:37 PM
    Quote:
    Some items offer in-game advantages, but Valve committed to a true free-to-play strategy (not pay-to-win), so none of the cash items are powerful enough to make or break a match.
    Just being nit-picky, but Dota 2 offers only cosmetic items. So all of the items you can buy have no power at all.
  • -8 Hide
    de5_Roy , April 28, 2013 9:57 PM
    did i see that right - hd 4000 beat 7660 igpu in low res gaming. the 7660 igpu was designed to perform for this kind of games. looks like intel is stepping up to the game, geddit?:p  i hope rabid amd fanboys (r.a.l.f.) don't rage at toms like they did at xbitlabs when they showed hd4000 beat 7660 in f1 2012 @1080p low q.... *fingers crossed*
    and desktop core i3 is keeping up with fx8350 and then beats it in avg fps? so much for moar cores. the time has come again to recommend core i3 over fx!! relax c.a.l.f., i am kidding, it's not 2011 anymore. :p 
    i think..... this is the second multiplayer game since the guild wars 2 where core i3 has taken a lead.

    kidding aside, could you test core i5 3570k or 3470 (at stock) instead of core i5 3550, the 3570k is selling for $220 at newegg, i5 3550 is $225 and fx8350 is $200(excl. shipping). i5 3470 is selling for $200 and with a mobo like asus z77-v lx, i think it can hit 4 ghz with multicore turbo enabled.
  • 5 Hide
    dudewitbow , April 28, 2013 10:16 PM
    de5_Roydid i see that right - hd 4000 beat 7660 igpu in low res gaming. the 7660 igpu was designed to perform for this kind of games. looks like intel is stepping up to the game, geddit? i hope rabid amd fanboys (r.a.l.f.) don't rage at toms like they did at xbitlabs when they showed hd4000 beat 7660 in f1 2012 @1080p low q.... *fingers crossed* and desktop core i3 is keeping up with fx8350 and then beats it in avg fps? so much for moar cores. the time has come again to recommend core i3 over fx!! relax c.a.l.f., i am kidding, it's not 2011 anymore. i think..... this is the second multiplayer game since the guild wars 2 where core i3 has taken a lead. kidding aside, could you test core i5 3570k or 3470 (at stock) instead of core i5 3550, the 3570k is selling for $220 at newegg, i5 3550 is $225 and fx8350 is $200(excl. shipping). i5 3470 is selling for $200 and with a mobo like asus z77-v lx, i think it can hit 4 ghz with multicore turbo enabled.



    no one is going to rage, its a low requirement game as for cpu, all they needed to test was the general core difference. if your quad core intel cpu is faster than the tested cpu, then just add a few fps to the tested results +/- irregularities with systems and testing situations. the cpus chosen were just a bunch of cpus of different core count and architectures to gather data from modernish cpus for the game. No one is really going to argue against something like a 4.5 3570k being better than like a i5-3470 at max turbo clock. Its generally accepted that clocks in the same architecture will make it run better.
  • -2 Hide
    digiex , April 29, 2013 12:03 AM
    Just cheek the steam site, you have to pay $29.99 for the early access pack. Still waiting for the final release for true "free to play".
  • 0 Hide
    shahrooz , April 29, 2013 12:11 AM
    finally, a Dota 2 bench, thank you tom's. anyone who needs an invite add me on steam. you can find me there as pop.
  • 4 Hide
    rakadedo , April 29, 2013 12:15 AM
    That is a supporter pack that comes with a lot of cosmetic items. If you just want to play go look online for keys to activate on steam. There's thousands of people drowning in keys with no one to give them to.
  • 4 Hide
    beckstrom12 , April 29, 2013 12:16 AM
    @shahrooz Go to http://blog.dota2.com/ and click sign up on the right. They will send you a key via email, and probably 5 others. The game is really fun I have put a ton of hours into it.
  • 1 Hide
    shahrooz , April 29, 2013 12:31 AM
    @beckstrom12 I have access to Dota 2, I was offering invites to those who don't.
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , April 29, 2013 2:15 AM
    I wonder when multi-monitor supported is going to be added.
  • 1 Hide
    Wampbit , April 29, 2013 2:36 AM
    slomo4shoI wonder when multi-monitor supported is going to be added.

    Unless field of view is preserved it won't be.
  • 5 Hide
    CatAndSgtBaker , April 29, 2013 2:43 AM
    It's not Moba. Moba is a terrible term coined by Riot Games because they couldn't just call League of Legends a Dota-like. Multiplayer Onlina Battle Arena describes pretty much any online game out there, could just as well call Quake a Moba.
  • 9 Hide
    CatAndSgtBaker , April 29, 2013 2:49 AM
    Quote:
    New heroes are part of the revenue model, in fact, since cosmetic items for the characters are available to buy. Some items offer in-game advantages, but Valve committed to a true free-to-play strategy (not pay-to-win), so none of the cash items are powerful enough to make or break a match.


    This is just straight up wrong as well. There is no items that give in-game advantage, everything is purely cosmetic and nothing changes gameplay at all. Not sure where you got that from.
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , April 29, 2013 2:57 AM
    Quote:

    Unless field of view is preserved it won't be.


    It is a fun game but this is one of the reasons why I haven't touched it since October.
  • -2 Hide
    samuelspark , April 29, 2013 3:31 AM
    Has no one tried SMITE?
  • -1 Hide
    INTENZ , April 29, 2013 4:05 AM
    11
  • -4 Hide
    Aerione , April 29, 2013 4:06 AM
    Valve still has a lot of optimization to do though, that's probably the only place they've never actually bothered to touch.
    However, to say that any items in the Dota 2 provides an advantage is quite harsh and I recommend that the writer of this benchmark change that statement. On the theoretical side, one miiiiggghht be able to get an advantage by getting a Genuine Vintage item, and try to snipe his opponent when that poor fella tries to check out the item :3
  • 7 Hide
    INTENZ , April 29, 2013 4:07 AM
    For those of you that want to play the game.. log into steam, add this bot http://steamcommunity.com/id/dota2bot and you will get an invite instantly! You don't need to pay for the invite, there is tons of keys donated to the bot every day. See you in game!
  • 0 Hide
    Memnarchon , April 29, 2013 4:56 AM
    A lot of people asking for a PC able to maximize League Of Legends at 60FPS with minimum cost. Can you do the same tests you did with DOTA2 for LOL?
  • 2 Hide
    TripleKillTrio , April 29, 2013 5:00 AM
    I'd just like to echo some of the other people who commented and say that Dota2's cash items are purely cosmetic with no in-game advantages at all. This is an important value of Dota 2 and Valve that sets it apart from competitor games and companies. Please change it in your article. Thank you.
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