Star Wars Battlefront is one of the most anticipated games coming out this year. Developed by DICE, the same developer behind the Battlefield series, this re-boot of the long-running series promises large-scale multiplayer action in the Star Wars universe. DICE are known for their technical prowess, and Battlefront is no slouch in this regard. The game looks and sounds amazing, capturing the look and feel of classic Star Wars – and the PC is the place to play if you want the best the game can offer.
But how powerful a PC do you need for the best possible Battlefront experience? And is there a more affordable alternative for those on a budget? This guide will answer those questions.
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or later
Processor (Intel): Intel i3 6300T or equivalent
Memory: 8GB RAM
Hard Drive: At least 40 GB of free space
Graphics card (NVIDIA): nVidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB
Graphics card (ATI): ATI Radeon HD 7850 2GB
DirectX: 11.0 Compatible video card or equivalent
Online Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection
OS: 64-bit Windows 10 or later
Processor (Intel): Intel i5 6600 or equivalent
Memory: 16GB RAM
Hard Drive: At least 40GB of free space
Graphics card (NVIDIA): nVidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB
DirectX: 11.1 Compatible video card or equivalent
Online Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection
Battlefront’s requirements are fairly strenuous, befitting the game’s powerhouse visuals. If you want to run the game at max settings, you’ll need a powerful PC. Thankfully, the game still looks great at lower settings. Today’s budget PC will give you slightly-better-than-console performance for around $500. The recommended build is for those of you who want to run the game at Ultra settings at a rock-solid 60 frames per second.
The processor is the heart of your machine, and has a big impact on a PC’s overall performance. This is not a component you want to skimp on. Intel generally provides better performance than AMD, so we’re sticking with them for both budget and performance builds. The recommended build uses the CPU from the recommended requirements, while the budget build scales down to a respectable i3 alternative.
The CPU in the budget build comes with a CPU cooler, but the CPU in the recommended build doesn’t. A CPU cooler is a necessary component to keep your processor cool, and a well-performing affordable option is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo ($29).
Certain CPUs will only work with certain motherboards, so you always have to make sure to maintain compatibility. Our budget build’s i3-4160 will work with LGA 1150 motherboards, while the newer i5-6600K will only work with LGA 1151 motherboards. The motherboard in the budget build will not work with the CPU in the recommended build. Besides compatibility, features are the distinguishing characteristics between motherboards. Find out which features matter to you and choose accordingly.
Budget choice: ASUS Micro ATX LGA 1150 Motherboard B85M-G R2.0 ($66)
Recommended choice: Gigabyte LGA 1151 GA-Z170XP-SLI ($130)
8 gigabytes of memory is the standard nowadays for gaming PCs, so that’s what we’re going with for our budget build. The speed of memory doesn’t have a significant impact on game performance, so look for something that’s affordable and reliable. For our recommended build, we’re going with the recommended requirement’s 16 gigabytes of RAM. This will be more than enough for any recent game.
Budget choice: G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB ($50)
Recommended choice: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB Kit DDR4 2400 MT/s ($108)
The Graphics Card
As far as performance in modern games goes, the graphics card is undoubtedly the most important part of your build. Thankfully, Star Wars Battlefront will look pretty good on a variety of hardware. With our budget choice, you’ll be able to get a solid 60 frames per second on mostly high settings with a few graphical options turned down a notch. Our recommended choice will run the game at a solid 60 with everything turned up, and you can even up the resolution to 1440p without a huge hit. Battlefront prefers AMD cards overall, so both our picks our AMD cards.
Everyone needs a hard drive. For games, a solid state drive (or SSD) can substantially improve load times. Usually these drives are fairly small, though, so they’re best paired with a traditional hard drive. Our budget build leaves out the SSD, but load times for a game like Battlefront will most likely not be a problem.
As digital downloads have become the standard for PC games, there isn’t much need for an optical drive. When a game does have a boxed copy, that box is usually nothing more than a container for a code that you can then redeem for a digital download. If you need an optical drive for watching movies or burning discs, any drive from a reliable manufacturer like ASUS or LG will do.
The Power Supply
The power supply, or PSU, is what provides power to every other component in your machine. A bad PSU can fail within months, or even fry some of your other components. It’s important to use PSUs made with quality components that will keep you gaming for a long time. EVGA is known for the reliability of their PSUs, so we’ll go with their products for both builds. The recommended build has a bit more wattage to accommodate the faster components and provide headroom for future upgrades.
The case is very much a question of personal taste. One thing you do have to watch out for is size – will the case you want accommodate your motherboard and graphics card? The case for our budget build is an affordable case that is big enough for the R9 380 graphics card, which is fairly long. It could easily be used for the recommended build, but I thought I’d choose a different case that more accurately represented the extreme horsepower of that rig.
Here are some additional items that can improve your gaming experience.
If you’re a competitive gamer, a monitor like the BenQ XL2411Z might be just what you’re looking for. Its 144Hz refresh rate means that it can display framerates much higher than the standard monitor’s 60 fps. If you’re more interested in lush colors and great contrast, a panel like Nixeus’s Vue 27-inch AH-IPS LED will give you exactly that.
What good is a great image if you don’t have high-quality sound to go with it? Thankfully, there are many options in the world of computer audio. A solid choice is the Audioengine A2+ speakers, which provides great sound through its integrated digital-to-analog converter and can be upgraded with a subwoofer.
A headset if crucial if you want to communicate with your friends in a close game of Capture the Flag. The Sennheiser 350 SE headset is a headset that provides great sound as well, meaning you’ll be able to hear your opponents before you even see them.
The Corsair M45 is a great gaming mouse – it’s incredibly sensitive and allows you to customize everything from DPI to USB response time to the weight of the mouse itself.
If you’re playing a fast-paced shooter like Star Wars Battlefront competitively, a mouse is the only option. If you’re just playing for fun, using a game controller can be great. Sometimes you want lay back in a couch with an Xbox 360 controller in hand, not hunching over a mouse and keyboard.
Laptops are great for everyday use – it takes a special laptop to also handle current games. You’ll have to pay more for a laptop than a desktop with the same game performance – that’s the unfortunate reality. With the two options below, though, it’s money well spent.
Budget Gaming Laptop
Acer Aspire V Nitro ($910)
-Intel Core i7-5500U 2.40GHz
-8 GB DDR3L SDRAM
-GeForce GTX 960M 4 GB
-1024 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, 128 GB Solid-State Drive
This laptop will play Battlefront at roughly the same settings as our budget desktop build, with a few more options switched to “medium.” For a laptop under $1000, that’s quite impressive.
ASUS ROG G751JT ($1,600)
-Intel Core i7-4710HQ 2.5 GHz
-16 GB DDR3
-Nvidia GTX970M 3GB GDDR5
-1000 GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive, 256 GB Solid-State Drive
This machine is pricey, but for that price you get gaming performance that surpasses our budget desktop build. Is it as powerful as the recommended build? Not quite – but it’s pretty close, and Battlefront will run with no problems at all (if one or two options are set a notch below the highest setting).
Any of these builds will provide a great Star Wars experience. Whether you’re on a budget or you can’t spend money fast enough, you can build a PC that will do you well when you’re fighting Darth Vader on the snowy plains of Hoth. Now where’d my Tauntaun go?