Last Updated: September 3, 2020
Planning a new gaming PC build for League of Legends? In this hardware buyer's guide we'll explain down the minimum modern CPUs and graphics cards you'll require to get a super smooth 60FPS or 144FPS level of performance (for 60Hz or 144Hz monitors respectively) to play at your best without lame lag getting in your way.
If you've lived under a rock for the past decade or so, League of Legends (LoL for short) is a massively popular free-to-play MOBA game that is also (still) one of the biggest eSports on the planet as of 2020, with countless professional tournaments happening all the time and many millions of dollars in prize money having been given away in recent years.
To enjoy the game fully and/or play at your best, getting smooth performance is crucial, though the game is well-known to run decently on a potato. In other words, League of Legends is not a very demanding game at all, and is also less demanding than the other heavy-hitting MOBA on the scene today (DOTA 2 requires better specs for top performance).
League of Legends is low in terms of graphics card requirements, with even many cheap budget PCs and laptops with integrated graphics solutions (as in, CPUs with a basic built-in graphics chip) being more than capable of running the game decently. So if you have any sort of discrete (dedicated) graphics card, you're almost surely good to go for good performance.
However, when it comes to CPU requirements, if you want to get high frame rates of 144FPS or above (if using a 144Hz or faster refresh-rate monitor like pro players) then you'll need a decent CPU. But for casual gamers playing on a standard 1080p 60Hz display, any basic modern CPU is going to be just fine for that. Graphics-wise, and in terms of CPU requirements, it's not very demanding either. For example, LoL is a less demanding game than the other heavy-hitting MOBA on the scene today (DOTA 2 requires better specs for top performance).
Based on studying various benchmarks, a super cheap Athlon 3000G processor using its integrated graphics chip is all you need to get a consistent 60FPS and above - even on very high settings (the maximum graphical preset for League of Legends).
To get the most performance out of an integrated graphics solution like the 3000G (or 3200G or 3400G) you'll want to get two RAM modules with a speed of at least 2666MHz, but if you're wanting 60FPS+ on very high settings you'll need 2x8GB modules of at least 3000MHz or faster speed, as shown in this League of Legends 3000G 16GB 3000MHz benchmark for example).
Note: Don't forget you have to manually set your RAM speed in your motherboard BIOS interface, as DDR4 RAM will always automatically be set to 2133MHz or 2400MHz (and your FPS will suffer as faster RAM makes a huge difference with APUs like the 3000G).
Cheapest Parts for 1080p 60FPS (Low Settings)
Best Parts for 1080p 60FPS (Very High Settings)
Getting a single module of RAM is to be avoided, as you'll lose some performance; running 2 modules means your RAM runs in what's called "dual channel" mode, which is something that's proven to work wonders with APUs like the 3000G. As for the amount of RAM, 8GB would be just fine, though 16GB is ideal these days as (assuming normal hardware market conditions) it's not that much more money than 8GB and definitely helps get the most out of the 3000G (and also means you won't have to upgrade your RAM in future).
While MOBA's like League of Legends aren't as fast-paced as shooters or Battle Royale titles, where every millisecond absolutely does count and getting the highest frame rate possible does matter to maximize enjoyment and play at your absolute best, they are still fast paced games. Therefore, using a 144Hz monitor (or faster) for League of Legends is very common among competitive players, and recommended if you can afford a 144Hz display (they are very affordable these days and don't cost too much more than a standard 60/75Hz monitor). That said, you're not going to miss out on too much by playing this particular title at 60Hz, so don't feel that you absolutely need 144Hz to fully enjoy the game.
Anyway, if you do choose a 144Hz gaming monitor, to make the most of such a fast-updating screen you'll want to shoot for over 144FPS performance, so that you ideally stay above that mark at all times in order to never dip under (but if you do dip under 144FPS, it's not the end of the world as getting 100FPS+ is still going to appear smoother than 60FPS).
But if you're playing on a 144Hz screen, you might as well aim to get a consistently 144FPS+ for the smoothest experience possible. So, to get 144FPS in League consistently, you'll need a better CPU and GPU, but you still don't need much overall firepower as the game isn't demanding - even at a high performance level. These are the modern parts we suggest if you're building a new gaming PC yourself (or buying an already-assembled prebuilt gaming PC) based on what graphical settings you want to play at (either low settings or maxed settings).
Cheapest Parts for 1080p 144FPS (Low Settings)
Best Parts for 1080p 144FPS (Very High Settings)
Remember to uncap your FPS in the advanced settings (directly under the visual settings) so that your FPS is not capped, otherwise you might not reach the performance levels that you could otherwise:
Moving on up to crazy levels of performance, and yes - some competitive League of Legends players do use 240Hz monitors to get every little bit of an edge as they possible can - whether that edge is perceived or real. In games like CSGO 240Hz can help without a shadow of a doubt (if you do some heavy research into it you'll find fair reasons why CSGO pros exclusively use 240Hz or higher - even 360Hz is becoming a thing now believe it or not). But the importance of insanely high refresh-rate displays is debatable when it comes to a MOBA title like League (or DOTA 2), as they're not as crazy fast-paced as FPS/shooter games.
Anyway, if you're set on a crazy 240Hz monitor for this game, you're going to need a very capable CPU to pump out such high frames - especially if you want to do so consistently without dropping under 240-300FPS. At such high frame rates, your CPU is more important than the GPU, and especially so with League as it's not a very graphically-intensive game (therefore doesn't require much of your GPU) and so at this level it's all about the CPU. That said, you still need a decent GPU to reach 240FPS and above. So, here's the cheapest and best PC components we can recommend to get well clear of 240FPS+ in League.
Cheapest Parts for 1080p 240FPS (Low Settings)
Best Parts for 1080p 240FPS (Very High Settings)
Note that these are just our top picks based on the current hardware market, and you'll be fine with other combinations of parts assuming they're around the same performance. For example, the Ryzen 5 3600 is out top recommendation for 240FPS+ on low settings, but if you get the slightly older and slightly slower (not by much) Ryzen 5 2600 then you're going to do just fine (but check benchmarks yourself if you want to know for sure).
Same thing for the graphics card; a 1660 Super will do the trick here, and is the best "value" card for this purpose (IMHO), but similar-performing, similar-priced cards like the 1660 or 1660 Ti are going to be just fine and will give very close performance. If you want to run a 240Hz monitor on higher visual settings though, you'll want a better graphics card like the RTX 2060 Super, or something even better like an RTX 2070 Super (or a new upcoming RTX 3070 or RTX 3060) if you want to leave nothing to chance.
Just remember that at such high frame rates it's all about your CPU, so spend more on that before the GPU if this game is all you care about as getting a better GPU will give you diminishing returns (ie you won't notice much of a difference, especially if your CPU is holding you back ie "bottlenecking" your GPU).
If you prefer to play on a higher resolution monitor at the expense of having a lower frame rate, let's get into the PC parts you'll need to get either 60FPS or 144FPS (for a 1440p 60Hz or 1440p 144Hz monitor). And instead of covering both low and high graphics settings like for our 1080p recommendations, we'll just cover high settings for our 1440p recommendations since chances are if you want to play at 1440p then you'll also want to run at decent settings too (1440p low settings doesn't make much sense IMO).
Oh and like all our recommendations, don't forget that these are just estimations based on what benchmarks are available out there online, and there are many different factors that could change the FPS that you get - and especially so with League of Legends which I've found to be quite prone to performance issues of various kinds (research "low fps league of legends" and you'll see its a rabbit hole of confusion). So don't get our word for it and always do your own research. That said, these parts are safe bets to stay well above the 60FPS or 144FPS targets in 1440p on maxed settings (listed as "very high" in League's settings).
Best Parts for 1440p 60FPS (Very High Settings)
Best Parts for 1440p 144FPS (Very High Settings)
With a fairly basic Ryzen 3 3100 processor and a GTX 1650 Super graphics card, you'll easily reach 60FPS+ at all times on maxed settings in 1440p as shown in benchmarks like this exact test of said parts-list. You could even comfortably use a 1440p 144Hz monitor with these specs if you lowered the settings to medium. As for getting 144FPS+ in 1440p on maxed settings, you'll want a stronger CPU like the 3600, along with a better video card like the RTX 2060 Super 8GB, though a 1660 Super would be more than suitable for this performance level if you don't mind high/medium settings. Oh and yes, as mentioned earlier, Intel is better for the fastest League of Legends performance, as the game doesn't take advantage of many cores and is all about single-threaded performance (hence why we recommend Intel for pro gamers using 240Hz monitors). But to achieve 144FPS+ the Ryzen 5 3600 is still fast enough, and is better overall value compared to current Intel i5 processors.
That wraps up our League of Legends gaming PC build guide, and hope it helps a bit in putting together the ultimate setup for the game. If you're stuck choosing components or have any feedback on how we can improve this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments. GG.
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Indie game dev currently working on my first public release, a story driven VR FPS adventure built with Unreal Engine and designed from the ground up for virtual reality (to be announced here). Also likes writing about tech.
My favorites of all time are OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, THPS3, HL1, HL2, WC3, GTA3, and KOTOR, with the most recent addition to my list of immortals being the VR masterpiece Half Life Alyx. - Julz