To say Starfield is one of the biggest RPGs in years is an understatement. Bethesda’s first new IP in decades is almost here, and while it’s an Xbox Series X | S console exclusive, the massive RPG is also hitting a gaming PC near you. But which of the best graphics cards are well suited for exploring this all-new galaxy?
Luckily, the system requirements for Starfield were released a while ago. And while Bethesda has partnered with AMD to bring some tech over, anyone with a decent modern gaming rig should have no problems stepping into the RPG on its September 6 release day – you can even preload Starfield right now if you’re using Game Pass.
Starfield PC System Requirements
Bethesda has released two sets of system requirements, as is usual with PC games these days. These are seperated in a Minimum spec and a Recommended spec. I’m not quite sure what settings these requirements are for, but with how lax the minimum spec is, you should be able to sneak through the game with a very modest PC.
Minimum System Requirements:
Operating system: Windows 10 21H1
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X / Intel Core i7-6800K
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700 / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
Storage: 125GB – although this might not be final
Recommended System Requirements
Operating system: Windows 10 / 11
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 / Intel Core i5-10600K
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT / Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
There are a couple of things to note right off the bat. Both the minimum and recommended specs ask for 16GB of RAM, so you can be fairly sure than an 8GB system isn’t going to cut it. 8GB of RAM on a Windows PC has been kind of rough lately so this shouldn’t be surprising.
The storage space is the other big one. It’s important to note that an SSD is required. This isn’t that surprising when you think back to the big deal both the PS5 and Xbox Series X made about their included SSDs back at launch. Both manufacturers constantly cited open world games as why SSDs are the future, as it allows for immediate loading of gigantic zones without obnoxious loading screens whenever you change areas.
Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but I have Starfield preloaded on my PC and it’s taking up 140GB of storage space, not 125GB. This might have included an update pushed through after the initial system requirements were published, but it is important to note that the 125GB number is about 15GB short. However, if you’re on Xbox Series X, the game is taking up only around 100GB.
How to Build a PC for Starfield
With how much of a splash Starfield is making about being this true next-gen experience, it doesn’t actually require a lot of horsepower to get running, especially at the minimum settings. If you don’t already have one of the best gaming PCs and you’re looking to build a fresh one for Starfield, I went ahead and gathered up the perfect components for a Starfield build, at least based on the recommended system requirements.
While you can still buy a Windows 10 key and get going, that operating system is really starting to look long in the tooth. Windows 11 is what you should get if you’re buying a new PC right now. Because while Starfield might not recommend it, many next-gen games that are running DirectX 12 Ultimate will require it.
I really don’t know what Bethesda whas thinking about when it recommended a Ryzen 5 3600 when the Ryzen 5 2600 was the bare minimum. Especially considering how CPU heavy this game is likely to be – which is probably why the game is limited to 30 fps on console – I recommend going a bit over the recommendation here.
Luckily if you just go forward a couple generations, the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X absolutely blows the older Ryzen 5 chips out of the water, making it one of the best CPUs of all time. This is a CPU that should easily be able to handle Starfield at 60 fps – take that Xbox Series X.
Just looking at the system requirements, it looks like the bare minimum you should go for is 16GB of the best RAM. However, if you plan on having other things open at the same time, like guides or music, you might want to jump up to 32GB. Modern CPUs are flexible when it comes to DDR5 or DDR4, but I’d recommend DDR5 if you can afford it – just because you’ll be able to carry it forward if you build another PC in the future.
The most exciting part of a PC build, the best graphics cards are unfortunately more expensive than ever. While I could be selfish and recommend everyone go out and buy an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 and forget about graphics settings, I know most people can’t afford that ridiculous graphics card.
Bethesda recommends an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 or an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT – two wildly different GPUs, but that’s another story. You can still buy the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, as AMD still hasn’t released a GPU in that tier as part of its Radeon 7000 series.
That Nvidia card, though, that’s a bit out of date. The RTX 2080 hasn’t been on the market for a while, but the closest comparison out of the latest generation is probably the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070. You can get that card for around $599 these days. And while that graphics card isn’t the most exciting gen-on-gen improvement over the RTX 3070, the RTX 3070 isn’t available on store shelves right now.
Unfortunately for spinning disks lovers, it seems like Starfield is going to require an SSD to run. To be fair, though, SSDs are dirt cheap these days so if you’re still using a hard disk, spend the $15 and just get an SSD, at least just for Starfield. The game takes up 140GB on its own, so I recommend getting at least a 256GB drive, just so you have enough space for Windows 11 on top of Starfield.
You can get a SATA drive of this size for just $14.99, but I’d recommend spending a little bit more for an M.2 drive, which will likely cost around $19.99 for a PCIe 3 unit. Or if you want something that will last a while, my SSD of choice these days is the Samsung 980 Pro.
Should You Play Starfield on PC?
Ever since Todd Howard told us Starfield would sit at 30 fps on console, I knew I was going to be playing this game on PC. Say all you want about PC gaming, but at least I’ll be able to play at whatever frame rate I want to play at, without having to worry about what my living room box can do.
Then again, I have played every Bethesda RPG on PC, and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon. It’s going to control better, look better and most importantly: it’ll have mods. PC is going to be the definitive place to play Starfield, and if you have a rig that can handle it, I recommend trying it out on PC first.