Dark Souls 2 is finally out on PC, and this time with much better support for PC features compared to its predecessor. In the video above, we see what the game looks like on a range of graphical settings. This guide will also provide some recommendations for the computer hardware necessary to run at those settings, from the minimum requirements up to maximum settings at 4K resolution.
Before we get started, please note that there are not yet benchmarks for the game available from major English-speaking sites, but there are enough user-reported data for us to comfortably give hardware suggestions.
A note on CPU requirements: Dark Souls 2 is very light on the CPU, and even CPUs in the $100 range can play the game with 60 frames per second at maximum settings. In our recommendations, we will suggest using progressively better CPUs paired with better GPUs, but that is because a PC should be balanced, and not because Dark Souls 2 needs an especially powerful CPU.
A note on GPU requirements: Even at 1080p on maximum settings, Dark Souls 2 is not very demanding for graphics cards. A GPU in the $100 range, like the R7 250X can still produce a smooth average framerate of 50 FPS. To get that up to 60 FPS, you will need something a little more powerful, like a GTX 750 Ti, which is what is recommended at our Good tier at Logical Increments. If you want 60 FPS on a 2560×1440 screen, then you will probably need a card from the Superb tier, such as the GTX 760 or R9 280. For 60 FPS at 4K resolution, you will want at least a GTX 780 or an R9 290X. We cover all of this in more detail below.
Dark Souls 2 is remarkably easy to run on low settings.
Here are the official minimum requirements according to the developer, FROM Software:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 or Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E8500
GPU: Radeon HD 5870 or GeForce 9600GT
These components, however, are a little outdated, and we believe the recommendation for the HD 5870 is a typo, as that is a much more powerful card than the GeForce 9600GT.
Instead, here are some more modern components we would recommend for a minimum build:
GPU: Radeon HD 6570
These components are currently found at the Minimum tier on Logical Increments, which is generally as low as we recommend for gaming.
To make the leap from low to medium settings, we’d mainly just recommend a better video card – one with at least 1GB of video RAM. You could also upgrade to 4GB of RAM, but it’s probably not necessary.
Here’s what we’d recommend as a build for achieving medium settings at 1080p resolution:
CPU: Intel Pentium G3220
These components can be found at our current Entry or Modest tiers.
MAXIMUM SETTINGS @ 1080p
Here’s what we recommend as a baseline for running the game on all the highest settings at 1080p:
These components are found starting around the Very Good tier.
MAXIMUM SETTINGS @ 1440p
Here’s what we’d recommend for running the game on the highest settings at 2560×1440. Please note that the CPU is not the bottleneck for this game, but we are recommending higher-tier CPUs to keep a balance with higher-tier graphics cards.
CPU: Intel i5-4430
These components are found at our current Excellent tier.
MAXIMUM SETTINGS @ 4K
Even if you don’t have a 4K monitor, the mod GeDoSaTo will allow you to render the game at 4K resolution and downsample it to your monitor’s resolution. It makes the game look even cleaner, though it’s seriously taxing on hardware.
Here’s what we’d recommend for running the game on maximum settings at 4K resolution:
CPU: Intel i5-4670K
These components are at our current Exceptional tier.
That’s it! Good luck staying human, everyone.
(images courtesy of darksoulsii.com)