Best GPU-Melting Games

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Rexly Peñaflorida

Rexly Peñaflorida II is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware news, with a major focus on gaming.

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ClubSpade12
    Anonymous 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.
  • daniyalkhokhar
    3 words, Dark Souls 3
  • coolitic
    This list is garbage.
  • pigboy122
    what about Ark?
  • pigboy122
    Ark Survival i mean.. :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ccampy
    Skyrim is much more CPU taxing then graphics
  • Sir3x6
    Anonymous said:
    Skyrim is much more CPU taxing then graphics

    Skyrim is thread limited as in it runs on 2 thread mainly. Up to four on occasion. You can turn HT off and all the cores apart from 2 and still run at about the same frame rate. It uses all the GPU power it can grab.

    I'm looking to upgrade my CPU and as I mainly use my PC for skyrim modding my current CPU is still as fast as a modern one, at least for Skyrim. This is because over the past 3 years since I had my PC all intel have really done is increased the number of cores and about 15% on a single core performance and for about 3 times the price. AMD are not even in the running.

    Change GPU massive improvement. As the GPU has to make up for the poorly thread game using about 25% of the CPU and then the GPU has to render the scene in a fraction of the time it took the CPU.
  • knowom
    Skyrim SE is vastly more taxing than the original Skyrim.
  • Sir3x6
    If you are looking for realism the orignal is the best currently and looks like to be the best going forward. The SKSE64 team (that do a fantistic job modding games) have only just released an Alpha release and that doesn't cover many of the improvements they added to the orignal. The ENB only currently covers getting rid of the bad post processor used. They used TAA Anti Alaising which is best turn off. The fog rays looks good until you see there is no light source in that direction i.e. the sun or moon. Once this is all turned off it is less taxing. All they did with Skyrim SE is add a load of bad rubbish and the texture pack the PC version had a few months after the orignal release. Add a couple of hundred mods (like DynDOLOD) and a good ENB to the original and watch a GPU cry. The ENB adds more effects then SE, like God Rays and Parallax, MSAA, etc, and does it better. There are patches for the bugs like the 4gb fix. SE was made for consoles. The only good improvement in SE was the water.
  • nitrium
    There are a number of games that just set your GPU to 100% load, regardless of settings - I actually thought that this what this list was showcasing. I'm wracking my brain trying to remember some of these notorious power hogs, but can't think of any at this time (someone here I'm sure can name one). In any case, those will defeat most of the titles on this list.
  • Dom_79
    1. This list is terrible

    2.SIR3X6 Go start a discussion about Skyrim if you want to talk about it so badly. That game's engine CANNOT offload the excess work from the CPU to the GPU i.e. it's poor coding does not make it harder on GPUs. The only thing that Skyrim does to a GPU is eat up the VRAM. It does NOT push the GPU.
  • Sir3x6
    Alright Dom_79, but I never gone over the 4GB VRAM limit of windows 10 when running Skyrim.

    This next bit goes for all poorly threaded games. CPU processes the information first, so GPU is basically idle while the CPU passes rendering information to the GPU. Then the 'present' command is sent to the GPU to render the frame and the GPU runs at 100% to normally beat the Vsync. As CPU have near enough reached there speed limit on 1 or 2 threads GPU make the biggest difference in these games. So we take Skyrim off the list, as it is CPU limited and it need to be modded. We also take any other game that fit into the category. Then we can take console ports off the list that have not been optimized for PC. As most consoles CPU and GPU share about 8GB of memory and are not optimized. That takes games like Dark Souls 3, etc off the list. So you are left with a small list of games that really pushes a high end PC graphics card. So here is my top 3:

    3. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux. Not one the most people know. Not much in the way of game play to trouble CPU or GPU. But the scenery pushes the GPU.

    2. GTA V. Released after the console version because ROCKSTAR always redo the textures to use what the PC has.

    1. Fallout 4 with the offical high res pack from Bethesda. That 50GB+ download with recommend spec of a GTX 1080 8GB.
  • Immaculate
    Its a POS and I hate the series, but WatchDogs2 absolutely ate my GTX 970 for lunch, so did the division..hmm Ubi.. If I'm not mistaken Company of Heroes 2 was pretty taxing for its time. Wasn't one the recent Assassin's Creeds incredibly demanding? Unity I think it was. Notice how almost all my games are Ubishit games??
  • DerekA_C
    hmmm i have no issues with my 1080ti on any of these games and I have almost all that are listed and the ones you guys listed in comments. but i guess that's what a 1080ti is for HUH... lol
  • Bob_8_
    Rust ! ! !