The Most Graphically Demanding PC Games

The Most Graphically Demanding PC Games

If you’ve got a beastly gaming PC, chances are you know how awesome it feels to crank up all the graphics settings in your games to the max. It’s also fun to show off your rig’s graphical prowess to your console-only gaming friends. But what games do you show them? What titles will really put your monstrous PC to work?

We’ve rounded up some of the most graphically-demanding games that we could find and ranked them in order of how much it made our computer struggle. What game will potentially give your PC the hardest time? The answer will most likely surprise you!


We ranked each game based on frame rates; the lower the frame rate, the higher the ranking. We did this using FRAPS’ average frame rate capturing feature to record several minutes of gameplay from each title on our list. As we wanted this to be as authentic as possible, we avoided pre-built benchmarks. Furthermore, all games were played in their respective single-player modes as to not let Internet connectivity be a potential hindrance on performance. While random levels within different games may be more taxing than others, our data should provide you a good snapshot of each game’s relative performance (your mileage with your own personal setup may vary).

All games were set to the maximum settings at 4K resolution (3840×2160) on our 4K monitor. No third party graphics mods of any sort were used. We also made sure to disable VSync as to not limit our frame rates to our monitor’s 60Hz refresh rate. All of our testing was done on an Alienware Area 51 gaming PC, which is equipped with an Intel Core i7 5960X CPU clocked at 3.5GHz, 16GB of RAM, and three stock GeForce GTX 980 GPUs using Nvidia’s 364.72 drivers.

While that sounds like an ungodly gaming rig, you’ll quickly realize that it’s no match for many of these games running maxed out at 4K.

It is worth noting that there are numerous variables to our tests. Because we’re running these games at 4K, the super high resolution is really going to tax our GPU’s VRAM. While a 980 is a really good card (with three of them being even better), VRAM doesn’t stack. So instead of getting access to 12GB of VRAM (4GB from each card), we only have access to one card’s 4GB allotment.

The second thing to consider is port quality. How well is the game optimized for PC? How well is it optimized for PCs at 4K with max settings on our setup?

The third main thing to look at is SLI scaling. Does the game effectively take advantage of three GPUs in SLI?

The answer to these questions is going to vary on an individual basis, but if you had any preconceived notions that PC games wouldn’t be able to push the most powerful systems to their limits, you’d be greatly mistaken.

Note: If you see an *asterisk by a game’s title, that means we encountered a technical issue during our testing.