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Build the Best PC for StarCraft 2 (2021 Update)

Optimal Bang for Buck Hardware to Get 60FPS or 144FPS (1080p, 1440p, 4K)


The All-Time Classic RTS is Still Relatively Popular to This Day


Last Updated: September 23, 2021

Planning the best PC build for StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty? In this guide I break down what to know about choosing optimal parts for top performance in this classic RTS (Real Time Strategy). At one point in time, StarCraft 2 was actually the biggest eSport on the planet, with competitive tournaments paying out millions of dollars in prize money. While not as astronomically popular as it once was, it's still often played to this very day, and given its age still a relatively well-streamed title with Twitch viewcounts often in the many thousands at any given moment in time.

See Also: Building the Best Computer for Dota 2

If you're buying or building a PC and wanting to ensure that your parts will get good performance in StarCraft 2, in this short and sweet guide updated for the modern age I'll point out which specs will get the job done for the least amount of money. As you can probably imagine, since StarCraft 2 is starting to really show its age (at least on paper; it still looks great IMO) the hardware requirements aren't going to be that high. Even if you want to run it at a consistently flawless 60FPS or 144FPS (depending on your monitor). At higher resolutions like 1440p and 4K, you will need to pay at least a little attention to your specs though if you want god-mod performance (but still, it won't be that demanding).



Recommended StarCraft 2 PC Builds for 1080p 60Hz

If you're gaming on a 1080p 60Hz display, your target should be a consistent 60FPS if you want the smoothest, hiccup-free experience to enjoy the game to its max (and to play at your best). To achieve this on medium settings (or thereabouts), the cheapest modern-day parts that'll get the job done is the relatively affordable AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, which a CPU that comes with built-in integrated graphics. That means no graphics card purchase is required. Plop in some cheap 8GB of RAM and you're good to go, though keep in mind that while you can get away with 8GB it's better these days to opt for 16GB if you can afford it. Your system will run smoother and last longer without needing to upgrade.

Cheapest Specs for 1080p 60FPS (Medium Settings)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G / 3400G

GPU: Integrated Graphics (Comes With CPU)

RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2x4GB, 2666MHz or faster)



If you want to crank up the visual settings to the max (called "ultra" settings), you'll need to get a graphics card. A RX 550 or GTX 1050 will get the job done. You could still use a 3200G CPU with one of these cards (and just disable the integrated graphics), but a better CPU like a Ryzen 3 3100 or Core i3 10100 would be even better and will smash past that 60FPS at all times with ease. Again, you don't need 16GB of RAM to get 60FPS, but it's ideal when building a new gaming PC these days for general system performance and longevity. But if on a budget, 8GB is fine for StarCraft 2 specifically.

Best Value Specs for 1080p 60FPS (High/Ultra Settings)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100 / 3300X or Intel Core i3 10100

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 / 1050 Ti / 1650 4GB

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3000MHz or faster)




Recommended StarCraft 2 PC Builds for 1080p 144Hz

Moving onto 144Hz monitors, and if you want 144FPS in StarCraft 2 you will need a decent CPU, especially if you want to stay above that level of performance consistently at all times throughout the game. As is typical of many RTS games, StarCraft 2 can be quite demanding on the CPU when you're aiming for such high frame rates. If you don't mind medium settings, you won't need too much in the graphics department, but for your processor your best value bet in a modern processor would be an Intel Core i5 11400 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600.

Best Value Specs for 1080p 144FPS (Low/Medium Settings)

CPU: Intel Core i5 10400 / 11400 / 9600K or AMD Ryzen 5 3600

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB / 1660 6GB

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3000MHz or faster)

For maxed settings (ultra), you'll need a better graphics card as listed below, but you could keep the same CPU as above and be just fine. However, if you wanted to technically build the best rig for 144Hz, a stronger CPU such as the mighty Ryzen 5 5600X or Intel Core i7 10700K would be the go-to in a perfect world (no matter which settings). 

Related: Building a PC for League of Legends

Lastly on 144Hz, just remember a high refresh rate monitor like this is far from crucial for a generally slower-paced (compared to FPS/shooters) game like SC2. StarCraft 2 at 60Hz (or 75Hz which are quite common nowadays) really isn't much of a difference compared to 144Hz; this isn't CSGO or Warzone where every little extra frame can help. That said, 144Hz is still objectively better overall, even for the slower genre that is RTS, and there will be some people that can notice the extra smoothness compared to 60Hz.

Ultimate Specs for 1080p 144FPS+ (High/Ultra or Competitive Settings)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X or Intel Core i7 10700K / i5 11600K

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 580 / 5500 XT 8GB or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super / RTX 2060 6GB

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz or faster)




Recommended StarCraft 2 PC Builds for 1440p and 4K

To avoid repeating myself too much and to save you time, after having dug into the details of choosing parts for 1080p 60Hz and 144Hz let's quickly go over which parts I suggest for great performance at 1440p and 4K. The logic behind picking parts for these higher resolutions is simple; the higher the resolution, the better your graphics card will need to be, and the higher the refresh rate (ie 144Hz) the better your CPU will need to be to reach such high frame rates (ie 144FPS).

Best Value Specs for 1440p (60FPS High/Ultra)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100 / 3300X or Intel Core i3 10100

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB / 5500 XT 8GB or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super / RTX 2060 6GB

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz or faster)

Ultimate Specs for 1440p (144FPS+ High/Ultra)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X or Intel Core i7 10700K / i5 11600K

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB / 5700 XT 8GB or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super / 2070 8GB

RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2x16GB, 3200MHz or faster)



Best Value Specs for 4K (60FPS High/Ultra)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100 / 3300X or Intel Core i3 10100

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super / 2070 / 2070 Super 8GB

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz or faster)

Ultimate Specs for 4K (144FPS High/Ultra)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X or Intel Core i7 10700K / i5 11600K

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT 12GB or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 / 3060 Ti / 2070 Super / 2080

RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2x16GB or 4x8GB, 3600MHz or faster)

StarCraft 2 is a fairly CPU intensive game. However, if you're just aiming for 60FPS, you don't need a very strong CPU, and even budget CPUs like a modern Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3 will do just fine. But for 144Hz (144FPS), you'll want to step things up in the CPU department and balance your choice of CPU GPU combo with a skew towards your CPU. At high refresh rates and frame rates, StarCraft 2 is quite CPU bound, meaning that your CPU actually becomes more important than your GPU, and faster GPUs will give you diminishing returns.








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Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important issue in the digital age, and installing a VPN is one easy way to improve the security and privacy of your PC. VPNs can also help for gaming. NordVPN is the one I use and can recommend. For more on VPNs see my gaming PC software guide.


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About Me

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