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The Best Possible PUBG Performance: 10 Graphics Cards Tested

The Game, Graphics Engine & Settings

If you're not already in the know--maybe you've been too busy playing Fortnite--PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, otherwise known as PUBG, is an online multiplayer game that pits up to 100 participants in a battle royale. Players parachute onto the map and fight to survive as its boundaries contract every few minutes, forcing everyone closer together. The popularity of this genre is undeniable: both PUBG and its rival Fortnite: Battle Royale have sold tens of millions of copies, and frequently breaking Steam records for concurrent players.

Clearly, then, PUBG was designed for accessibility. Developer PUBG Corporation wants the DirectX 11 game to run across a wide range of hardware configurations. And yet the Unreal Engine 4-based title can still tax high-end components when you crank up its detail settings. According to our performance data across multiple graphics cards, CPU core configurations, and detail settings, it's probably worth upgrading your PC for an even better PUBG experience.

Benchmark Sequence

PUBG does not have an integrated benchmark, unfortunately. This forced us to create a reproducible test sequence. The problem, of course, is that each online match is inherently different, making it impossible to generate comparable results. Our workaround was to record an average match and use it as a replay. The entire benchmark we ended up with lasts a little more than eight minutes. You can watch the complete run through below.

The Steam page for PUBG reveals its minimum and recommended configurations, per the developer. At minimum, you want a good quad-core CPU. The game also seems to need plenty of RAM. And not surprisingly, capable graphics processing hardware is critical if you want to run at 1920x1080 using high-quality visuals.

Here's a rundown of the core components and settings of our tests machine:

ProcessorIntel Core i5-4430AMD FX-6300Intel Core i5-6600KAMD Ryzen 5 1600
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 960 2GBAMD Radeon R7 370 2GBNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GBAMD Radeon RX 580 4GB
Operating SystemWindows 7, 8.1, 10 (64-bit)Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (64-bit)
Disk Space30GB30GB

Test Configuration

AMD Ryzen 5 1600XView Deal

Asus ROG Strix X370-F GamingView Deal

G.Skill Flare X (2x 8GB)View Deal

Crucial MX200 (500GB)View Deal

be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 750WView Deal

Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900View Deal

Thermal Grizzly HydronautView Deal
Software Configuration
Operating SystemWindows 10 x64 Pro 1709 (16299.371)
Graphics DriversThe game was tested using the latest public drivers available at the time we ran our benchmarks:Nvidia GeForce Game Ready 397.31AMD Radeon Adrenalin Edition 18.3.4
GameThe most up-to-date version of the game was tested at the time we ran our benchmarks:PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds v3.7.33 - 3.8.21

We recently updated our test configuration to better reflect mainstream gaming in 2018. This time around, we picked an AMD Ryzen-based platform, honing in specifically on the 1600X as a great option for enthusiasts looking to save some money.

Steam’s survey of software and hardware configurations offers us a view of the most prevalent components and settings (the data comes from April 2018):

  • 8GB of RAM is found in 39% of gaming PCs. Our system has 16GB, similar to almost 37% of surveyed gamers.
  • Full HD resolution is used by 61% of gamers, while 14% are still running at 1366x768. QHD is used by only 3.3% of gamers, and 4K remains anecdotal. Keeping in mind the publisher’s recommended hardware specifications, we test PUBG exclusively at Full HD.
  • Quad-core CPUs are installed in more than two-thirds of surveyed systems (61% to be exact). In anticipation of what will likely be common in the near-term future, we used a mid-range six-core processor.

Graphics Card Selection

We chose eight graphics cards to compare, representing mainly entry-level and mainstream options. Here are the competing cards:

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WF2OC-3GD 3GBView Deal

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GBView Deal

MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4GView Deal

Asus RX 570 Strix OC 4GView Deal

XFX Radeon R9 390 8GView Deal

Test Procedure

All performance data is collected using the PresentMon tool and our own custom front-end.

In order to accurately represent performance, each graphics card is warmed up to a stable temperature before measurements are collected. Most newer GPUs employ mechanisms to optimize clock rates based on variables like power and temperature. So, tests run during this period would convey better performance than you'd see in the real world. We therefore play the benchmark sequence once prior to gathering official data.

For graphics options, we tested the game at 1920x1080 resolution, using the Ultra and Medium quality presets.

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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds PCView Deal