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Best GPU-Melting Games

Best GPU-Melting Games

Apart from benefitting from increased performance, most players choose to play on the PC because of the visuals. However, there are a few titles that will test the capabilities of your GPU. Hundreds of assets can be on the screen simultaneously, or a single breathtaking view might be full of details and textures. Both situations require a vast amount of video memory, and you can tell that the card is working at a higher gear, so to speak, when you hear the fans are spinning at a faster rate. The games on this list--chosen and voted on by the Tom’s Hardware community--are some of the titles that demand(ed) the most from the GPUs of their respective days.


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#14: 'Black Desert Online'

Usually, an MMO isn’t as graphically impressive as a AAA title, but that isn’t the case with Black Desert Online. Everything from the character creation screen to the overall world environment is stunning. However, the true beauty lies in the details. With the right GPU, grassy areas, bodies of water, and buildings closely resemble their real-world counterparts, which can give you something to admire as you continue to level up your character.


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#13: 'Project Cars' (VR Mode)

Racing games featured a cockpit camera mode for some time, but Project Cars stepped up on the experience by adding support for virtual reality. With an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, you can simulate the feeling of actually sitting in the driver’s seat of some of the most popular vehicles in motorsports. The studio even made sure that portions of the interior matched the real-world version of the vehicle. With the help of a racing wheel, you can immerse yourself even further into every race. Just make sure that you come back to the real world after a few laps.


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#12: 'Batman: Arkham Knight'

Gotham City is once again in danger, and Batman must save its citizens from terrifying villains. The combination of the constant downpour of rain and the city skyline, makes for an impressive stage for the Dark Knight. Each building is meticulously detailed, and you can see the difference in textures between a classic building and a modern structure. Lighting, or lack thereof, further highlights the game’s dark and terrifying story. Rocksteady’s last chapter in Batman’s story is a feast for the eyes, and it’s such a shame that the PC version encountered so many issues shortly after launch.


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#11: 'Rise of the Tomb Raider'

Lara Croft’s latest adventure takes you to some majestic locations such as the icy cliffside of a mountain and the underground levels of a massive ruin. These wide, open areas are incredibly detailed, with stone carvings, hanging cloth, and old paintings. The lighting in some areas pushes the visual spectacle even further. However, it’s sometimes easy to miss these spectacular views because you’re in search of collectibles, fighting enemies, or simply trying to avoid a lethal trap. Next time you decide to play the game, make sure you take it slow and see the sights.


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#10: 'Hitman'

IO Interactive’s latest entry in the long-running assassination franchise features multiple locations around the globe, including Paris, Thailand, and Japan. Each of these areas is a small sandbox because of the many ways you can infiltrate restricted areas and kill your target. Even with the size of some levels, the studio put some effort into making them look fantastic, mostly through lighting effects. However, the addition of many detailed non-playable characters is what breathes life into a single level. Whether it’s a palatial villa, a hospital for the wealthy, or a seaside hotel, you’ll always find some visual aspect that makes you appreciate the level design.


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#9: 'Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor'

Monolith Productions hit the nail on the head with its take on the most evil place in Middle-Earth. The ground is void of any plant life, and slaves dot the landscape as they gather resources for Sauron’s forces. Even the Orcs themselves, as grotesque as they are, look amazing. The details on their faces and armor give a real sense of how terrifying they can be on the battlefield. It’s a good thing that you can recruit them to work for you instead.


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#8: 'Ashes of the Singularity'

This is the real-time strategy genre on a global scale. Instead of fighting for small portions of territory, you’ll have to build a massive army that can literally take over the world. Managing these units can be daunting at first, but once you get accustomed to it, you can have some memorable battles where hundreds of frigates, cruisers, and dreadnoughts take over the screen as they shoot their suite of weapons at the enemy. The overwhelming number of units under your command looks like something out of a Hollywood movie, and it’s quite impressive to see them all participate in a giant conflict.


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#7: 'Metro: Last Light'

The story of post-apocalyptic Russia takes place underground, but the many tunnels in the subway system show that there is beauty within chaos. Cobwebs, broken furniture, and fungi litter the tunnels to give you a sense that the world is slowly crumbling around you. Just like Batman: Arkham Knight, the lack of lighting, except for a few choice areas, further enhances the feeling of being below ground. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have to watch out for mutants, which have grotesque looks that will make anyone tremble in fear.


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#6: 'Star Citizen'

Even though it’s still in its Alpha stages, Star Citizen continues to impress people with its looks. Everything from your crew quarters to the actual ships themselves are meticulously detailed to give you a lifelike sense of living out among the stars. Even the actual planets, which are procedurally generated, are a sight to see, featuring everything from a seemingly endless desert to a deep canyon that houses a small but busy outpost. You can take a look for yourself now, but if you want to play the final version, you might have to wait for quite some time.


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#5: 'Battlefield 1'

DICE returned to World War I for the latest Battlefield game, and it’s quite the visual experience. Explosions from mortars and tanks look realistic, with dirt flying up in the air along with the initial blast. Even the ruined buildings look fantastic as they crumble from explosives or because a tank drove through them. Horses kick up dirt as they run past you, and the gunfire raining down on enemies from an aerial behemoth is terrifying. With all the chaos going on in each match, it’s sometimes hard to admire the graphical prowess of Battlefield 1. Be sure to take in the sights before you get shot in combat.


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  • Cryio
    This list is horrible. GPU melting games?

    1. Batman Arkham Knight now runs like a dream on PC. It's arguably more important to have an SSD than a fast GPU. It even runs fine on 1 GB GPUs today (minim spec is 2 GB VRAM)
    2. Shadow of Mordor is a last gen game with slightly prettier graphics. It runs on a toaster, even on max settings.
    3. Battlefield 1, again incredibly optimized, it runs flawlessly on Intel HD graphics easy, lmao.
    4. Skyrim? Seriously. Get out.

    What this list should've contained: Quantum Break, Gears of War 4, Dishonored 2, Far Cry 4/Primal, Watch Dogs 2, Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
    Reply
  • Sir3x6
    Yes, CRYIO skyrim. There is not one PC game that will tax a high PC unless modifed. Skyrim may be old, but the Skyim/Nexusmod community continue to improve it.

    Here is a link to some of my screenshots of my modded game taken over the past 4 years, that tax a Titan Black.
    https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/users/11731803/?tb=images&pUp=1
    Reply
  • JoeMomma
    Just Cause 3 melted my GPU so bad I was only getting 20 fps.
    That same GPU was able to run GTA V at 80 fps.
    I had to invest in a new $400 GPU in order to play it at 60 fps.
    Reply
  • ClubSpade12
    20179669 said:
    3. Battlefield 1, again incredibly optimized, it runs flawlessly on Intel HD graphics easy, lmao.

    Are you kidding? This game doesn't run on max settings for my 1070 or my friend's 480 smoothly. If you can find proof that the game runs at even 30fps on Intel graphics I'd be surprised.
    Reply
  • daniyalkhokhar
    3 words, Dark Souls 3
    Reply
  • coolitic
    This list is garbage.
    Reply
  • pigboy122
    what about Ark?
    Reply
  • pigboy122
    Ark Survival i mean.. :)
    Reply
  • blppt
    Black Desert Online? Seriously? The main reason I cant get into it is that even with details completely maxed it looks terrible. And the draw in is horrendous.
    Reply
  • puckettgw
    To the guy who said Battlefield 1 runs on Intel HD... this list isn't "the games you can probably run on lowest settings on shit hardware." If you've got an intel HD graphics chipset that runs this game at max, you're lying. Straight up.
    Reply