In a recent Letter from the Producer LIVE from Square Enix’s Naoki Yoshida, we found out that graphics improvements are coming to Final Fantasy XIV. These will be a part of the new expansion Stormblood, releasing June 20, 2017.
With such a change in PC requirements, I wanted to design a PC build to handle it. So in this article I take a look at both the minimum and recommended system requirements and try to build the best PC for your money. So read on to find out more.
New Expansion: Time for a new build?
Whenever you get a change in specifications like this, there is always a level of uncertainty. Do I need to upgrade something? Do I need to do a complete overhaul? This can be painful (and costly) for those loyal players of a MMO who suddenly don’t meet the requirements. Those playing FFXIV on PS3 know this pain, with Square Enix announcing the end of PS3 support with Stormblood.
So what are those PC system requirement changes? Well, as noted at the top, they were announced in a recent Letter from the Producer LIVE. The changed requirements are as follows:
Minimum System Requirements:
- CPU: Intel Core i5 2.4GHz or higher
- RAM: 3GB or higher (4GB if 64-bit)
- GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 750, AMD Radeon R7 260X, or higher
- Recommended Resolution: 1280×720
Recommended System Requirements:
- CPU: Intel Core i7 3GHz or higher
- RAM: 8GB or higher
- GPU: NVIDIA Gefroce GTX 970, AMD Radeon RX 480, or higher
- Recommended Resolution: 1920×1080
Although the minimum specifications are still pretty acceptable, the recommended specifications should be a key indicator to the level of graphical improvements made to the game for Stormblood. That CPU and GPU combination especially means that you’re going to need a fair amount of horsepower behind you to play the game smoothly on maximum settings.
Below, I pick some parts to give you two good priced PCs around those system requirements. These builds won’t be the only way you can play the game, of course. Part of the fun of building a PC is that you can mix and match parts. However, for the sake of this article, I’m going to aim for balanced builds that cover the system requirements.
The $440 New Adventurer Build
If you’re just looking for a small PC build that can just run the game then look no further! This is a great performer for the price, and although it’s nothing fancy, you’ll still be able to log in and enjoy the whole game, including Stormblood!
CPU: Intel Pentium G4600 ($85)
With a base frequency of 3.5GHz, this is the little dual-core that could. It is a great choice for performance on a budget.
GPU: RX 560 ($100)
The 560 provides really great GPU performance for the price.
RAM: 8GB G.SKILL NT DDR4 2400 ($58)
8GB is more than enough to handle the game and a few other applications at the same time.
Motherboard: Gigabyte B250M-DS3H ($70)
Although this is a smaller and more budget motherboard, it still comes with good features to create a modest gaming build.
HDD: 1TB Seagate BarraCuda ($50)
Very cost effective storage for the build, can’t go wrong.
PSU: EVGA 500 B ($45)
A bronze rated 500W power supply from EVGA is excellent for the price and provides plenty of power for the build.
Case: Rosewill Micro ATX Mini Tower SRM-01 ($30)
A no-frills micro ATX case to finish off the build nicely. Comes with a 80mm rear fan to assist with air flow.
Total Build Cost: $440
What a great little build for the price! This matches and beats the new minimum requirements fine and should give you around 60fps at 720p, dropping to the mid-40’s at 900p.
All told, this PC will allow you to start your adventure in Eorzea on a budget. So if you’re just after a cheap PC so you can jump in with your friends and start playing Final Fantasy XIV, you can’t go wrong!
Optional Upgrade: Kingston 120GB SSD ($65)
Although I didn’t include a SSD in the main build, if you want to add a little zip to your system, consider this cheap SSD from Kingston.
The $790 Warrior of Light Build
With this build, the aim is to match or beat the recommended specifications, with the overall aim to give you super smooth 1080p gameplay. The added bonus will be to have enough power to allow you the option for 1440p if you mess around with some settings. The parts will be chosen to ensure that even if the frame-rate fluctuates, you’ll still get a nice 1080p60fps experience.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1400 ($160)
I’m a big fan of the new Ryzen range from AMD. For us gamers, it means we get great CPU performance for the price, like this excellent quad-core clocked at 3.2GHz with a 3.4GHz boost. It comes complete with a new AMD cooler, which is strong enough for light overclocking!
GPU: MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 3GB ($190)
The GTX 1060 is a great workhorse of a GPU. It’s a touch more powerful (and more power efficient) than the recommended RX 480 at similar prices, making this the clear choice here.
RAM: G.SKILL NT Series 8GB DDR4 2400 ($58)
This 8GB stick of DDR4 gives us plenty of RAM for the build.
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC MATE AM4 ($90)
A decent AM4 motherboard with a great feature set for the price. Gives us plenty for our build.
SSD: SK Hynix 250GB ($90)
This SSD from SK Hynix is good for the price. There’s enough storage on here for both your OS and a full install of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood too!
HDD: Hitachi GST Deskstar 2TB ($55)
Our main storage drive for the build. Plenty of storage for the price.
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G3 ($90)
This gold-rated 650W PSU from EVGA provides us with plenty of power and performance for the price. There’s enough overheads on consumption too if you fancy overclocking the CPU and/or RAM.
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ($60)
One of the more popular cases since its release a few years back for good reason. Has great airflow and internal design which makes putting your build together that little bit easier. Can’t go wrong for the price.
Total Build Cost: $790
Clocking in at just shy of $800, this build ticks all the boxes of the recommended specifications. For your gameplay, this means you’ll be able to enjoy all the new graphical improvements, while playing at a smooth 1080p and 60fps. Thanks to the performance of the new Ryzen CPU and the efficient GTX 1060, you’ll be able to push the output to 1440p, so long as you’re comfortable tweaking some in-game settings.
Overall, this is a great build for any serious gamer and will show all that Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has to offer.
The two optional upgrades below are part swaps which add an extra $110 to the build cost. Either individually or together, they are the best priced options for improving on the above build.
Optional Upgrade: Ryzen 5 1600 ($220)
This is the bigger 6-core Ryzen CPU, so if you fancy spending more in that department, consider switching out the CPU to this model.
Optional Upgrade: GTX 1060 6GB ($240)
The bigger brother of the GTX 1060 used in the build.
Go Forth and Build!
As mentioned at the start of the article, there are extras that you might need to finish off these builds:
- A copy of Windows. If you are a student or work for a big business, you might be able to get a copy for free or at a significantly lower cost. If not, we recommend Windows 10 on DVD ($90) or USB ($120).
- An optical drive – critical if you are wanting to install Windows 10 via DVD. Good thing here is DVD-RW drives are cheap these days (here’s one for $21).
We also have general recommendations for:
If you want to see other builds with even higher performance, check out the main page at Logical Increments.
There you have it, two great gaming builds to get you ready to play Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood! One should allow you enough power to simply get in and play, while the other allows you to really take advantage of the new graphical improvements. Yet both are really great all round gaming builds for the price!
If you have any questions or suggestions about these builds, then let us know in the comments.