Last Updated: September 9, 2020
Overwatch 2 is around the corner, but the original remains one of the most played, most watched, and most popular eSports titles on the planet. If you're upgrading your system and currently planning the best gaming PC build for Overwatch to ensure great performance to play at your best, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about choosing optimal PC components and accessories.
Overwatch is a fast-paced FPS game which is best played at super-smooth (and ideally super-high) frame rates, so if you have say a 144Hz monitor then you'll want to buy or build a PC that can achieve 144FPS (Frames Per Second) consistently to take full advantage of your display for the most smooth visuals (and lowest input latency).
See Also: Latest Recommended Gaming PC Builds
Overwatch is fine on a basic 60Hz/75Hz monitor if you get 60/75FPS at all times, but the game shines on a 144Hz or faster monitor, as fast-paced shooters are a genre that really does benefit from seeing more frames on screen every second. But to get such high frame rates for 144Hz/240Hz monitors (360Hz is also a thing now but we'll get to that), you'll need to basically completely ignore the official minimum/recommended requirements of the game (provided by Blizzard) and carefully choose the right PC parts that'll get you the above-average performance levels you seek to make the most of the game. Let's not muck around and get straight into what you need to know, so you can get back to fragging everyone in sight sooner rather than later.
Before we get into top performance levels for competitive play, let's quickly cover the official minimum requirements to just run the game as a casual player. Like CSGO, the other extremely popular competitive eSports FPS title, Overwatch isn’t demanding on PC hardware in general, and any fairly basic modern computer that has a graphics card (or good APU) will have no problem being able to run it just fine.
Minimum Overwatch Requirements (2020)
Recommended Overwatch Specs (2020)
60Hz monitors are fine if you're a casual gamer just wanting to have some fun, but if you're a pro or aspiring pro Overwatch player, or you're a more serious casual player (as in, you don't care about the pro scene but you still want to play at your absolute best with every edge possible), you ideally want a 144Hz monitor for Overwatch (1080p resolution, so specifically a 1080p 144Hz monitor).
Good news is, these days in 2020 they're not much more expensive than regular 1080p 60Hz screens, so competitive gamers will absolutely want to get a 144Hz screen for this particular title to maximize “smoothness” and lower input latency, which could lead to better in-game results too. On a tighter budget, a 60Hz screen will do and still offers a smooth ride if you stay above 60FPS, but for Overwatch a 144Hz screen is highly recommended. Serious players will also seriously want to consider 240Hz which will deliver the ultimate experience in terms of the fastest-updating visuals on-screen and the lowest input latency.
See Also: The Best Gaming Monitors (Our Top Picks)
Most professional Overwatch League players use the lightning-fast HP Omen X 25 240Hz Monitor
The Asus ROG Swift PG258Q 240Hz Monitor is also popular among pro Overwatch gamers.
Pro Overwatch League players almost exclusively use 240Hz displays, with the exception of just a few (AFAIK), though that could have changed by now and I wouldn't be surprised if every single Overwatch pro uses 240Hz. Or better; this year (2020) 360Hz screens are now a reality, which promises even faster displays and even lower latency, so you can be sure that pros will start migrating soon (if they haven't already).
Does that mean YOU need a 240Hz or 360Hz monitor too, just because the pros do? Of course not, and a 144Hz screen is still quite fast, but if you do take your gaming and eSports seriously, to play at your absolute best and to have every little edge as possible over the competition (or more so to avoid them having any edge over you), I would definitely consider investing in a good 240Hz gaming monitor.
That said, the jumps up from 144Hz to 240Hz or from 240Hz to 360Hz aren't as big as the step up from 60Hz to 144Hz though (which is quite noticeable for serious players with a good eye), so any higher than 144Hz does give somewhat diminishing returns and isn't necessary to "play at your best". But yeah, pro players all use 240Hz+, so use that information as you will.
If you're wondering which graphics card is best for Overwatch, unlike CS:GO which runs faster with AMD Radeon GPUs, NVidia cards have proven to give slightly better performance in Overwatch. Therefore, all our graphics card recommendations below will be for team green, as this Overwatch build guide is here to help you get the highest frame rate for your money after all. This site is 100% fanboy free, so we simply recommend whatever is objectively better for any particular game/situation, and so because the benchmark data we've come across online favors NVidia, that's what we suggest if you want the fastest PC for Overwatch.
Of course, feel free to get an AMD equivalent GPU if you’ll be playing other games too, you're a huge fan of AMD, or you're simply a more casual Overwatch player who doesn't care about squeezing out every extra frame you can. But if Overwatch is all you play, we recommend choosing a NVidia card to get 5-10% better frame-rates in this particular title.
Related: How to Choose a Gaming GPU
Alright, let's finally get into our component recommendations for an Overwatch PC build for various budgets. Our recommended parts below are what you'll require (based on studying multiple benchmarks) to comfortably achieve a certain performance level such as 60FPS or 144FPS - and to do it consistently so that your system performs above that level to give yourself some headroom during chaotic high-action moments of the game (so that your FPS won't dip under). In other words, if you want 144FPS, you ideally want your gaming PC to be capable of an average of 180-200FPS or even higher.
In these Overwatch PC build recommendations we won't mention the other parts required for a working PC (motherboard, power supply, case, storage, operating system) as we’ll only be talking about the components that directly affect gaming performance (CPU, GPU, RAM). For full PC build examples you can go ahead and setup, see our main always-updated gaming PC build guides in conjunction with this guide.
Also, we won’t be covering PC requirements for higher resolutions than 1080p (such as 1440p or 4K) as the vast majority of Overwatch players stick to 1080p (AKA Full HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels) to get the highest, most consistent frame rates - important for a competitive FPS (First-Person Shooter) title like this. That said, 1440p 144Hz screens would be great for casual Overwatch too, so if you use one of those screens then keep in mind you'll need a stronger parts-list (especially GPU) than what you require for 1080p 144Hz.
No Time to Build a PC? The Best Value Prebuilt PCs for Gamers
Cheapest Hardware for 60FPS in Overwatch (Low/Medium Settings)
Best Hardware for 60FPS in Overwatch (Ultra Settings)
Cheapest Hardware for 144FPS in Overwatch (Low Settings)
Best Hardware for 144FPS in Overwatch (Competitive Play Low Settings, or Ultra Settings for Casuals)
Cheapest Hardware for 240FPS in Overwatch (Low Settings)
Best Hardware for 240FPS in Overwatch (Competitive Play Low Settings, or Ultra Settings for Casuals)
Best Hardware for 360FPS in Overwatch (Low Settings, Pro Gamers Only)
Hope this guide came in handy for your research; if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments, and let us know if you have any feedback on making this guide better / more accurate for future readers. Happy fragging and GG.
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Indie game dev currently working on an atmospheric VR FPS adventure with Unreal Engine (to be announced soon here for anyone interested in VR FPS's). Also likes writing about gaming and hardware.
Favs of all time are OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, THPS3, WC3, HL1, HL2, and KOTOR, with the most recent addition to my list of immortals being the VR masterpiece Half Life Alyx. - Julz