Recommended CPUs and GPUs for 1080p, 1440p & 4K (60FPS or 144FPS)
Published: May 23, 2021
Escape from Tarkov (EFT for short) is still in Beta yet already a proven success with a large, passionate player base. It’s one of those games that inspires many to upgrade their systems – or to build an entire new one for – so if you’re currently planning to do exactly that and want to know which parts will get you what performance, in this guide I share my GPU and CPU recommendations after having analyzed as many different performance benchmarks I could find out there (sources linked at the end of the article). For complete PC build examples that are ready to assemble, see the main best PC builds section in conjunction with this guide, or the best prebuilt PCs if you don’t fancy putting your own rig together (or don’t want to play the waiting game with GPUs seeing as it’s still tough finding GPUs in stock).
How Demanding is Escape from Tarkov?
EFT is a fairly demanding game, and the fact it’s still in Beta phase doesn’t help as that means performance optimization is still a work in progress (AFAIK). In other words, weaker and/or older hardware can have a hard time maintaining a good frame rate. Of course it depends on your monitor’s resolution though, as well as the visual settings you select in-game. Relative to other popular FPS titles like Warzone, CSGO, Overwatch, Valorant and PUBG, EFT is quite clearly more demanding, especially for 144Hz since it’s such a CPU intensive title (making a constant 144FPS almost impossible, but we’ll get to that).
That said, it doesn’t mean you need a beast of a high-end rig to run the game decently and have a great experience, especially if 40-60FPS is your target like most people. But if you want to consistently get 60FPS and above, or up near 120-144FPS or thereabouts to make the most of 144Hz monitors, you’ll need to bring some seriously solid specs to the battlefield.
Besides the GPU, CPU, and RAM, when building or upgrading your PC for Tarkov don’t forget your storage drive. Having the game installed on an SSD instead of an older HDD makes a huge difference to load times. Since SSDs have now become the norm these days and are very affordable, there’s no reason NOT to use an SSD, even if it’s a small one like a 250GB SSD because Escape from Tarkov’s current download size at the time of writing is only 12GB. A 250GB SSD gives you plenty of space for not just installing Windows but for EFT and other games/programs. Enough small talk and let’s dive into specific CPU and GPU requirements based on your resolution and refresh rate.
Note: Recommending specific hardware for Escape from Tarkov is not easy due to its poor performance optimization at this time and erratic nature (eg different maps offer quite drastically different performance). The recommendations I make below are simply the best I could do based on all the data (benchmarks) I could find out there online, but are simply estimates and there are many factors that could change the frame rate you get (besides EFT’s erratic behaviour) such as your particular system’s CPU and RAM combination, CPU clock speed and cooling, GPU clock speed and cooling, game version, map, whether playing offline or online (former is more demanding due to AI), and so on.
Escape from Tarkov Requirements for 1080p (1920 x 1080)
Since EFT is such a demanding game, even the simple aim of 60FPS at 1080p resolution is going to require a decent mid-range GPU. Nothing too crazy though – a GTX 1660 Super will get the job done on around medium settings. But if you want to crank those graphics settings to the max, I recommend something along the lines of a RTX 3060 (or an older equivalent such as a RTX 2060 Super or RTX 2070). If you just want 60FPS on low settings, from benchmarks I’ve seen it seems a GTX 1650 Super will suffice.
In terms of choosing a CPU, while EFT is definitely CPU intensive and will benefit from picking the strongest CPU you can afford, to reach a consistent 60FPS you can get away with a budget modern processor like a Ryzen 3 3100 or Core i3 equivalent. A Ryzen 5 or Core i5 would be ideal though. For RAM, you really want to get 16GB if at all possible for such a demanding modern title like this, but if you’re on a really tight budget and can’t afford more than 8GB, it’s not going to get in the way of achieving 60FPS (though will limit multitasking performance so make sure to close other programs when gaming).
For 144Hz monitors – the ideal type of display for a First-Person Shooter – you will need some seriously strong hardware to reach 144FPS. In fact, most setups, no matter how powerful, will not reach such heights unless you’re in a less intensive map like Factory. Why? EFT is both highly CPU intensive and poorly optimized. It’s possible to get 144FPS, but you’ll need a great setup and you’ll have to also tweak/sacrifice settings.
For the best 1080p 144Hz experience, a RTX 3080 and top-tier modern CPU like a Ryzen 7 5800X or Intel i9 is ideal. For lower settings, you can get away with slightly less beefy specs, but you’ll still need a capable gaming CPU like the stellar 5600X or better to keep those frames as high as possible. Whatever you do, don’t expect a constant 144FPS at all times due the nature of this game. Maybe the final version of EFT will be better optimized, but who knows when that will be.
Escape from Tarkov Requirements for 1440p (2560 x 1440)
As you can imagine, since EFT is such a demanding game, for excellent performance at this higher resolution you’re going to need very solid specs. Especially so for 1440p 144Hz monitors which are all the rage these days, where you not only need a very good GPU but a top-tier CPU – reaching such high frame rates in a CPU intensive game like EFT is no easy task.
But first let’s go over what you’ll need to hit a smooth 60FPS for standard 1440p 60Hz screens. Since reaching 60FPS is far easier on the CPU than reaching 144FPS, you don’t need a crazy CPU for 1440p 60FPS, and even the same minimum recommended CPUs for 1080p 60FPS from earlier would do (Ryzen 3 or Core i3) when paired with a suitable graphics card.
But when getting a solid mid-range GPU like a RTX 3060, you want to pair it with a more capable processor like a Ryzen 5 or i5 to remove any potential for CPU bottlenecking (ie holding your GPU back). Plus, even for 60FPS gaming, having a better CPU in a CPU-intensive game like Tarkov is going to help keep frame stutters at bay and elevate those minimum FPS numbers, resulting in smoother overall gameplay.
Just keep in mind that personally, and most FPS players will agree, if you haven’t chosen a gaming monitor for your setup yet, for a game like EFT you’re better off with a 1080p 144Hz display, as the faster refresh rate is objectively more important in shooters compared to having more pixels on screen. Nothing wrong with 60Hz for EFT though, as it’s still nice and smooth and absolutely fine for more casual players,
As for 1440p 144Hz, you can basically forget it unless you want to run low or medium settings. High or ultra is just not possible with current hardware, even if you’re rocking a RTX 3090. Don’t forget to also bring serious CPU power to the party, as EFT is notoriously taxing on the processor, partly because it’s still in early-access and partly because it’s simply a demanding game with complex mechanics.
Escape from Tarkov Requirements for 4K (3840 x 2160)
Now to 4K resolution, where EFT’s requirements become beefier than GabeN’s well-deserving wallet. Again, like I mentioned about 1080p 144Hz monitors being better for a game like EFT compared to the higher resolution but slower refresh rate of 1440p 60Hz screens, instead of 4K 60Hz you should really consider 1440p 144Hz instead if you’ll mostly be playing EFT since the faster refresh rate is more beneficial to FPS titles like this. That said, nobody can deny that 4K gaming looks superb, so if you can afford the required GPU horsepower, let’s get into the specs you’ll need to reach 60FPS on ultra settings.
Either a NVidia GeForce RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card will get the job done, though the former will perform slightly better as NVidia edges out AMD GPUs in this title based on the benchmarks I’ve seen (especially at 4K; the difference is less so at 1440p). A RTX 3070 will get decent frame rates at 4K too, though you won’t be clearing 60FPS unless you turn down those settings. So, you don’t need a RTX 3080 for 4K, but it’s the ideal besides getting a RTX 3090 of course which would be the ultimate choice (albeit far less “bang for buck” due to its insane price tag).
As for those with cutting edge 4K 144hz monitors, no current consumer setup is going to consistently stay above 144FPS on ultra settings at 4K – not even the single best gaming GPU out there right now (RTX 3090). But on compromised settings, it’s doable, and when paired with a high-end CPU you can get there with a RTX 3080 on low settings. For medium settings, a RTX 3090 will do the trick for excellent frame rates on a 4K 144Hz screen, though don’t be afraid to use higher settings than medium with such a monster GPU because despite not being able to reach that magical 144FPS mark at 4K High or Ultra, assuming you have a G-Sync compatible monitor gameplay will still be smoother and faster than 60Hz. In other words, 100-120FPS on a 144Hz monitor is still better than a 60Hz display, and you don’t need to get 144FPS (or reach that amount at all times during the game) in order to make a 144Hz screen worth it.
Fixing or Improving Bad Performance in Escape from Tarkov
Other than making sure to have good enough specs for the specific resolution and settings you’re using, and also making sure to install the game on an SSD as also mentioned earlier, here are some other things to keep in mind in order to maximize your frame rate in EFT:
- If you think you’re experiencing bad performance and/or frame stuttering in Escape from Tarkov, make sure you’re not basing this on the offline performance of the game because Escape from Tarkov runs faster online than in offline mode. When playing offline and practicing your skills, the AI bots take a toll on your CPU.
- Make sure you have installed the latest NVidia or AMD graphics card drivers for your specific GPU model (explained in What to Do After Building a PC).
- Check the official EFT website for any new patch updates which may help performance issues.
- Don’t forget to manually check and set your RAM speed in the motherboard’s BIOS (also explained in the guide I just linked).
- Close as many background programs as you can before running the game, including browsers, documents, etc
- If gaming on a laptop, make sure the Windows power plan is set to “High Performance” and not “Balanced” or “Power Saver”. You can change this under “Power Options” or “Power Plan” in Windows. Desktop computers will already be set to high performance mode by default, so this only applies for laptop gamers.
- It goes without saying, but tweak the in-game graphics settings if you’re not happy with the performance you’re getting. Also, instead of just testing the different preset settings (low, medium, high, ultra), try custom settings with textures set to ultra, shadows on medium or high, and the rest on low or medium which will make most of the visuals look great but without the costly rendering features that don’t add as much to the overall experience compared to the aforementioned settings (thereby striking a nice balance of quality vs performance).
Sources (EFT Benchmarks)
These are just some of the Escape from Tarkov performance benchmarks used in order to make the hardware recommendations for this guide, but with a little digging around YouTube you can quite easily find a ton more for specific hardware combinations.
If you found the guide helpful, spotted an error, or have any feedback you can use the comments below if you wish. Good luck and happy gaming guys.
I’m Julz, creator of BGC. In my teens I learned game programming as a hobby in my spare time, which led to a keen interest in the hardware side of things as well. I then started this site to share what I was learning about DIY at the time, and through years of trial and error and slow reiterations in the quality and depth of content, over time the site has evolved from a very rudimentary little blog with only a handful of pages into a relatively in-depth resource for PC builders and gamers that has helped many gamers and power users take the plunge to build their first PC with confidence to reap the benefits of doing so.
My fav games of all time are the immortal OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, and HL1, but since trying VR for the first time a few years ago I’ve been completely fascinated by it and the limitless possibilities it presents. Once you experience the greatest virtual reality experiences available today like Half Life Alyx and Saints and Sinners just to name two, if you’re like me you’ll feel pretty freakin’ excited about the future of gaming and entertainment as a whole.
PS: After a long hiatus from hobbyist game dev, I recently made a return and am excited to say I’ll soon be announcing my first official game release – an immersive story-driven VR Sci-Fi Adventure powered by Unreal Engine. When the time is right I’ll be announcing the first sneak peak trailer on my Twitter if interested.