Written by Jon Martindale
Starfield is the space-sim of your dreams. It’s a jaw-droppingly ambitious, expansive, and beautiful universe of over 1,000 planets to explore, fight, trade, and even love in. It will combine ship-to-ship combat, mining, conversational storytelling, first-person shooter action, and extensive crafting in Bethesda’s most expansive game to date, and the first new universe it’s developed in over 20 years.
While we won’t know how well it stands up to those lofty aims until it launches in September, we do know it’s going to be beautiful. That leaves some of our PCs quaking in their boots, as this is a game that is going to push even the most powerful systems. We know because along with gorgeous screenshots, trailers, and gameplay videos, we also have the system requirements, and they are steep.
Still, no PC gaming mountain is so high you can’t get there by throwing high-powered graphics cards at it, so let’s take a deeper dive into Starfield to see what it is you actually need to play it. If you find your PC just falls short of these lofty requirements, then we’ll have some upgrade and full system options for you so that you can be ready when this game launches.
Here’s what you need to run Starfield and various resolutions and detail levels, and what you might like to upgrade to in order to make it run its best.
• CPU: AMD Ryzen 2600X, Intel Core i7-6800K or better
• RAM: 16GB
• Graphics: AMD RX 5700, NVIDIA GTX 1070 Ti or better
• DirectX: DX12
• Storage: 125GB SSD
• Operating system: Windows 10 21H1 or newer
For a game with over 1,000 planets to explore and the promise of incredible detail wherever you look or fly, the minimum system requirements for Starfield are at least approachable, and indeed achievable by most mid-range gaming PCs released in the past few years. The Intel processor recommendation is close to seven years old, and the AMD option isn't far behind, with a 2018 debut.
The suggested graphics cards are a little higher-end, and outperform what a large portion of Steam gamers can manage, according to the latest hardware survey. Still, they too are from several years ago, and if you’re upgraded to anything from the last generation or two outside of the very entry-level models, your graphics card is probably more than enough to get Starfield up and running, at least.
Even with a CPU and GPU that match these system requirements, though, know that your experience will be on the low end. These specs are designed to get the game running at 1080p resolution with all settings on low, and if you see much more than 30 FPS in the busier areas of the game, I’d be surprised. That’s important for PC users, too, because while console Starfield players will be locked at 30 FPS with no options of adjusting it, PC gamers should enjoy an unlimited frame rate; One that’s unlocked from the physics engine thanks to an improvement in the Creation Engine 2’s design.
That does mean there’s scope for playing with settings for better frame rates, even with a modest gaming PC like the one suggested for the minimums, but there won’t be much. Those bringing more powerful PCs to the table may be able to unlock much smoother frame rates.
You also need to install this game on an SSD. It’s not using the DirectStorage API, so you needn’t have an NVMe SSD – any old SATA SSD will do. Don’t try installing this one on a hard drive, though. At best it will load very slowly and you’ll experience significant pop-in, and at worst, it won’t run at all.
If you’re playing on Windows 10, make sure you update to one of the more recent releases first if you’re behind the release cycle. If you’re gaming on Windows 11, you shouldn’t have any trouble booting up Starfield.
Does your PC not quite measure up the minimum system requirements to play Starfield? Never fear. You aren’t alone. It’s a demanding game and many older gaming PCs, even those that have been playing high-end games until now, may not be enough for Starfield’s expansive galaxy of exploration.
But what should you upgrade to? The suggested components for Starfield’s minimum system requirements aren’t available new anymore – they’re years out of date. You could buy those specific components second-hand, but do you really want to be picking up a five-year-old processor and a six-year-old graphics card?
You’ll not only miss out on new features and security updates – including official Windows 11 support for the older Intel CPU – but you’ll be paying more than you should for very old, poor-performing hardware. If they were used as part of a cryptocurrency mining operation, there’s no telling how long they’re going to last, and there’s no warranty with a thrifted GPU.
You’re much better off buying or building a modern PC to play Starfield, even at its most modest of settings.
The best affordable pre-built gaming PC for Starfield that Micro Center has on offer, is the PowerSpec G516 Gaming PC. It’s packed full of high-powered components that give it incredible gaming power for a range of modern titles, including Starfield. Check out our full review here!
• CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600X3D
• RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200MHz
• Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT
• Storage: 500GB SSD
• Operating system: Windows 11
The processor in this PC is a unicorn of modern gaming hardware. The Ryzen 5600X3D is uniquely available to Micro Center customers and offers amazing gaming performance that competes with some of the latest and greatest processors but at a much more affordable price tag. It’s jam-packed full of extra cache that helps it punch well above its weight.
The AMD RX 6650 XT is an excellent 1080p graphics card that will let you play just about any game at high settings. It’s optimized for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution, too, which Starfield will offer full support for, further boosting frame rates.
The 16GB of high-speed DDR4 memory gives this PC plenty of scope for modern games, and you can have 10s of browser tabs open at a time before seeing any kind of slowdown. That’s partnered with a 500GB SSD for snappy operation and fast boot times, too.
If you’d like to build a PC yourself or are more interested in upgrading what you have, then we’d recommend you start your PC with either an AMD Ryzen 5500 or Intel Core i5-12300 CPU. They have at least as many cores as the recommendations, and operate at much higher clock speeds, with newer architectures and newer processor nodes, making them vastly more powerful at a very affordable price.
For RAM, although we only need 16GB here, you might want to consider upgrading to 32GB since RAM is so cheap at the moment and we’re buying older, more affordable DDR4 at that. Any standard 3200MHz kit will do, whether you opt for 16GB or 32GB, though those with the higher capacity may see some performance benefit in Starfield and other demanding games and applications, particularly if you run a lot of background processes.
The lynchpin of this entire Starfield PC build is the graphics card, so we need to find the modern equivalent of a 5700 or 1070 Ti that’s still affordable. To that end, we’d suggest the NVIDIA RTX 3060, or AMD RX 6600 XT. Both offer performance comparable to, or in excess of those recommended for the minimum system requirements and bring substantial advantages to the table.
Both graphics cards feature faster and newer video RAM, which as new games start to crowd out the resources of older cards, is very important. The RTX 3060 has more, at 12GB, which might give it some additional longevity, but with no ray tracing or deep learning super sampling (DLSS) support planned for Starfield – at least in an official capacity – there’s no great advantage to be had with NVIDIA’s more-advanced RT and Tensor cores. Starfield is officially sponsored by AMD, though, so it will likely see more optimized performance on AMD hardware and will have full support for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), so will likely work well with AMD hardware there. That’s a feature that you can enjoy on NVIDIA and Intel graphics cards too, though, so don’t feel like you have to go AMD just for that support.
For storage, any SSD will do and with prices as low as they are, you can easily grab yourself an inexpensive 256GB SSD and install Windows and Starfield on. You won’t get much else on there, though, so consider going for a 512GB or even 1TB model if you can stretch your budget. Models with their own DRAM cache are better, but they aren’t strictly necessary, and beyond saving you a few seconds on load times, there isn’t a huge advantage to the fastest of modern NVMe SSDs. Save some money with SATA if you need to, though you may want to upgrade to a faster drive in the future as the Direct Storage API becomes more widely used in modern games.
For the motherboard, don’t worry too much about which model. Just make sure it supports the processor you’re buying, the memory speed that you’re buying, and has enough USB ports for what you want to plug into it. More advanced boards might give you better overclocking, but you’re not going to do that on these CPUs anyway, and there aren’t many motherboard features you can’t supplant with an add-in card later if you need.
For the power supply, you want one from a reputed brand with a minimum of 500W capacity for the sorts of processors and graphics cards we’re targeting. You might want to consider at least an 80+ Bronze level of efficiency to keep your power bills down, but that’s not strictly necessary. Gold and Platinum models offer better efficiency and typically quieter operation, but you probably won’t notice much difference day to day.
• CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, Intel Core it 10600K or better
• Graphics: AMD RX 6800 XT, NVIDIA RTX 2080 or better
The recommended system requirements for Starfield take a major leap in their demands in very specific ways. Although the memory, storage, and operating system requirements remain unchanged, the processor and graphics demands are far more strenuous and will far outstrip what many PC gamers have to bring to the table.
The processors are a couple of generations old, and mere mid-range options at that, but most gaming PCs that are five years old or more won’t be able to offer the same kind of performance. The graphics cards are even more high-end, with the AMD GPU in particular being one of the most high-end recommended graphics cards we’ve ever come across in a game’s requirements list.
If you have these kind of high-end graphics cards, though, you’ll have a Starfield experience that’s much more impressive. You can enjoy a steady 60 frames per second in almost all areas of the game, at 1080p resolution, and with most visual settings turned up to their fullest. With FSR enabled, you might even get close to 100 FPS in certain areas if you play with the settings a little.
If you want a 1080p high, 60FPS Starfield experience and your PC just isn’t up to the task, don’t feel bad – most Steam gamers don’t have the kind of hardware to make this game really look good. But if you don’t want to mess around with upgrades, second-hand hardware, or don’t know where to start building your own PC, then there are some amazing pre-built PCs for Starfield ready and raring to go.
Take the PowerSpec G444 Gaming PC. It’s the perfect system for playing Starfield at high settings, with its impressive collection of internal components, great build quality, and quiet cooling. The Intel Core i7-12700KF is a high-end gaming processor with 12 cores – eight performance, four efficient – giving it all the power you need to run Starfield and other games at high frame rates. Better yet, those additional E cores give it impressive multitasking capabilities, so if you want to edit together any clips of your Starfield shenanigans, it will transcode that video in no time.
The graphics card rendering the high FPS in this PC is the latest-generation NVIDIA RTX 4070. It’s built on the most advanced NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture, on a 5nm process node for impressive efficiency and performance. It not only offers great performance in games like Starfield, but it also sports the latest generation of NVIDIA’s RT cores, so can accelerate ray-traced games like few other GPUs. It also has full support for DLSS 3, including frame generation, so in compatible games you can massively boost your frame rates. There’s no support for that in Starfield, but you can still use FSR to give your frame rate a notable kick.
It also comes with 32GB of memory, making this a great PC for heavy web browsing or using more demanding applications – and it future-proofs it against more demanding games down the line. For storage, you get 1TB of NVMe space, which will help this PC boot up fast, and load games even faster.
It has advanced cooling in the form of an all-in-one (AIO) watercooler on the processor, for a CPU that runs cool and quiet, and you get support for some of the latest networking standards, too, including 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 6.
If your existing PC has a few parts you can upcycle into a new build, or you just want to build yourself a new Starfield gaming PC from scratch, we have some great suggestions for components which will take you above and beyond what the recommended system requirements will get you.
For the processor, we’d recommend the latest generation AMD Ryzen 7700X or the Intel Core i5-13600K. Both processors are on the cutting edge of what both AMD and Intel offer, with eight and 14 cores a piece, they have plenty of processing power to tackle Starfield and then some. They each operate at high clock speeds and lots of cache for modern gaming.
In theory, you could opt for an older CPU like the AMD 5600X, or the 5600X3D if it’s still in stock, but while these processors are excellent for gaming, they are based on an older platform and offer limited upgrade potential in the future.
You won’t need a fancy motherboard for any of these processors, so just make sure the one you pick supports your processor and has the number of USB ports and PCI-Express lanes you’ll need. All AMD motherboards outside of the A620 models support overclocking, but for Intel CPU overclocking you specifically need a Z690 or Z790 motherboard, as the others do not support overclocking.
With memory pricing as low as it is, you might as well add 32GB of DDR5 memory. You’re restricted to DDR5 with the AMD CPUs, and though there isn’t a giant performance increase over DDR4 on Intel platforms, it’ll future-proof you that bit more and make sure that you don’t need to upgrade your motherboard later just to add DDR5 support. You can save a little money and opt for 16GB if you need to, but you’ll get a PC with much more headroom for additional background tasks and better support for multitasking.
For graphics, you’ll want something pretty powerful to keep your frame rates high even as Starfield is further optimized post-launch. Since this is an AMD-optimized game, picking an AMD graphics card makes sense, and with the RX 6800 XT still widely available at a great price, it’s still a solid choice for playing Starfield. It has 16GB of GDDR6 memory, making sure that your gaming PC won’t be bottlenecked by limited VRAM in this game or any other in the near future, and it offers excellent gaming performance at just about any resolution.
You might want to lower the settings if you dabble with 1440p, but you should be able to run the game at 4K at low frame rates with a card like this if you wish.
If your budget stretches a little further, the RX 6950XT is only about $100 and offers a big bump in performance. If you’re keen to opt for an NVIDIA model, the RTX 4070 Ti is widely available and offers excellent performance in its own right, as well as support for DLSS 3 and advanced ray tracing capabilities in supporting games.
Whichever GPU you opt for, be sure to check its power supply requirements, as some of these modern cards can be incredibly power-hungry. Make sure whatever model you pick has enough wattage capacity and is efficient enough to keep your power bills low.
For storage, a 1TB SSD of any type is more than enough for this game and many more. Go for NVMe if you want a cable-free build, but it’s not strictly necessary.
Bethesda hasn’t released any official first-party system requirements to play Starfield at any resolution above 1080p, so we can’t say for sure what you’ll need to play Starfield at 1440p. However, AMD has released its own suggested specifications for these sorts of settings, and we can combine that with our own hardware knowledge, and the specs of other Bethesda games, to give us an idea of what you want to target for playing Starfield at a smooth 60 FPS at 1440p with most settings at their maximum.
AMD recommends at least an AMD Ryzen 7700X processor and RX 6800 for the graphics card. That’s an intriguing setup since the CPU is better than our 1080p configurations, but the graphics card is actually weaker. That would suggest that our “Recommended” settings PCs could handle Starfield at 1440p, but we don’t just want our suggested builds to have the game running at these settings. We want it to run well.
With that in mind, for a pre-built machine to play Starfield at 1440p, we’d recommend the impressive iBuyPower Trace gaming PC. It combines the AMD-recommended Ryzen 7700X processor with eight cores and high clock speeds, with the equally impressive NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti graphics card. Together they have the power to play any game at 1440p and will make Starfield look truly stellar, no matter what you set the settings too – and you’ll be able to set them to absolutely anything you want.
Thanks to that 40-series graphics card, too, this PC has full support for hardware accelerated ray tracing and NVIDIA’s cutting-edge DLSS 3 frame generation, in supporting games. That makes this a great all-round gaming PC for high-end play.
It also comes with a terabyte of SSD space and a secondary terabyte hard drive for all your photo and video storage needs. There’s also 32GB of RAM for heavy multitasking and managing all those background tasks while you’re gaming (or gaming and streaming, together), and it’s all fitted inside an attractive and functional gaming case.
If you would rather upgrade your current PC so that it’s up to spec for Starfield at 1440p, or just want to start from scratch with a BYO build, you can use many of the same components in our recommended prebuilt system.
There are plenty of alternatives you could opt for though. If you want to hit higher frame rates, you could opt for a more powerful gaming CPU. Bethesda games are notorious for utilizing a lot of processor performance to maintain their expansive worlds, so an AMD Ryzen 7800X3D, with its mountain of additional cache, could go a long way. Intel’s 13700K is a powerful option, and its extra E cores make it excellent for heavy multi-threaded workloads if you want to do some video transcoding or editing in your downtime; Just make sure you get a Z790 motherboard if you want to overclock it.
As for graphics, the 4070 Ti really is a stellar card for high-end 1440p gameplay, but if you’d rather have an AMD graphics card, the 6950XT is readily available at a great price and offers competitive performance in other AMD-optimized games, suggesting it would do very well with Starfield. It also enjoys optimized support for FSR, so can help boost frame rates beyond its native abilities.
Whatever graphics card and CPU you pick, though, make sure that the power supply you opt for can handle them, as these top-tier parts can pull a lot of power.
Playing Starfield at 4K is unlikely to be as demanding as the most strenuous of games, but it’s still not going to go easy on your CPU or graphics card. That’s why it’s no surprise that AMD recommends its Ryzen 7 7800X3D and Radeon RX 7900 XT on an AMD x670 motherboard when playing at “Legendary Experience,” settings, for “no-compromise 4K.”
Those are great components and should guarantee a solid 60 frames per second in just about every corner of every Starfield planet when running at 4K with the settings at their maximum. You may not get much over that without FSR enabled, though. If you want the ultimate 4K experience, you might need to go beyond what AMD recommends.
The MSI Aegis R is a powerful gaming PC for playing Starfield and most any other game at 4K, ultra settings. It combines the ultra-powerful Intel Core i7-13700F with an NVIDIA RTX 4080 for incredible in-game performance. These two components have enough cores and high enough clock speeds to ensure that your frame rates stay consistent, even in demanding areas, and there’s full support for FSR to boost FPS even more in Starfield.
In games that support DLSS, the RTX 4080 is equipped with the latest generation of tensor cores to really accelerate dynamic upscaling. It also has full support for DLSS 3 frame generation, so in compatible games it can insert additional frames in between existing renders to further smooth gameplay.
It also has 2TB of SSD space which is enough for Windows 11 and more than 10 games that are just as big as Starfield, and then some. It has 32GB of fast DDR4 memory, and full support for the latest networking standards, including 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 6E.
The thing is, though, with 4K gaming, there really is no upper limit on what you can benefit from if you’re willing to spend the money. At 4K resolution with all settings maxed out, the real heavy lifting is done by the graphics card, and while the RTX 4080 in the above build is amazing, it’s not the most powerful GPU available.
The Dell Alienware Aurora R15 is one of the most powerful gaming PCs ever made, combining Intel’s fastest ever processor, the Core i9-13900KF, with NVIDIA’s fastest graphics card: The RTX 4090. Together they represent top-tier gaming and will deliver frame rates and detail settings in any game that few other computers can match.
Rather do the hard work of building the PC yourself? You can buy all of the components recommended in the PC above separately and put them together yourself. You won’t have the same kind of parts and labor warranty as you will from a pre-built, but you’ll have the satisfaction of being the architect of your own gaming destiny.
Building a PC also opens you up to being able to swap out components, too. Instead of the Intel Core i9-13900KF, why not an AMD Ryzen 7950X3D for massive multitasking performance and incredible gaming power at low power demands? Since this is an AMD-sponsored game, too, it’s worth considering AMD’s most powerful graphics card: The RX 7900XTX. It has stupendous raw gaming power, and with 24GB of VRAM, it will continue to offer amazing gaming performance for years to come.
Want to really push your gaming PC’s performance to the limit? Check out some of the new high-speed DDR5 memory kits that have been dropping in recent months. They’re helping take the latest Ryzen and Core CPUs to new heights of gaming performance.
Starfield is a gorgeous-looking game and whatever settings you play it at, you’re sure to have an awesome time exploring the galaxy in its range of eye-catching ships. But if you feel like your PC isn’t quite ready for Starfield, there are a range of options you can take advantage of. From pre-built gaming PCs fitted with some of the best hardware money can buy, to BYO opportunities to craft the Starfield PC of your dreams, Micro Center has something to offer every potential Starfield player.
Just what kind of PC will you be flying around the galaxy on?
im so hyped for starfield
1440P is gonna be awesome
I personally recommend the Powerspec G516 to many of my entry level future enthusiast gamers.
I'm hoping my PowerSpec G442 will be good for Starfield 1440p gaming. It's basic specs are12th Gen i7-12700KF CPU, 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM, AMD RX 6950 XT GPU, with an added WD_Black 1TB NVMe SSD. My Display is a FreeSync 32" LG-32GP750-B at 165 Hz. The included PSU is 750W though. Micro Center (and PowerSpec) says it's enough for the GPU but others think it should have been 850W (as recommended per AMD) so we shall see how much power Starfield draws at 1440p with my system. I plan on making a decision on purchasing Starfield by the end of September after vacation and reading about the performance other players are getting with similar specs. Fortunately an 850W PSU is affordable as an upgrade if needed. That's my plan B anyway.
Thank you for this
These work well, not only for starfield but also, for almost any new AAA title coming out!
The game looks fun!
Thank you for sharing!
This game is awesome. Nice advice on what to get!
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