Is Fallout 4 CPU or GPU Intensive? + Requirements

Is Fallout 4 CPU or GPU Intensive

Fallout 4 is an amazing entry in the Fallout franchise, with the massive post-apocalyptic world and crafting system working together with a fantastic story to bring a unique gaming experience. But is Fallout 4 CPU or GPU intensive?

Fallout 4 is CPU-intensive and you should make sure that the CPU you have isn’t too close to the minimum requirements as the game’s performance will suffer. The GPU should also have a high enough clock speed and a minimum of 3GB video RAM.

Let’s look at the Fallout 4 performance and whether CPU or GPU is more important for getting the most out of the game. We’ll also consider some hardware choices for getting minimum performance and what the recommended hardware is, and how best to do it.

Is Fallout 4 CPU Intensive?

Fallout 4 is CPU-intensive. You’re going to get the best performance out of having a better CPU, and will notice that the game won’t run that much better if you upgrade the GPU, but a CPU upgrade will give you the most bang for your buck.

If your CPU is near the lower end of the minimum requirements, this has been reported by users to impact performance in a large way, much more than the GPU not quite being up to scratch.

System RAM has also been shown to not have a large impact on game performance once over the 8GB minimum, but if you have room in the budget you should always try and get 16GB.

RELATED: Is Call of Duty Warzone CPU or GPU Intensive?

Is Fallout 4 GPU Intensive?

Fallout 4 is not GPU-intensive although you will want to make sure you have a dedicated video card rather than relying on an integrated or onboard video card.

The game has some FPS locks and so constantly scaling up the GPU is not going to do a lot in terms of performance gains.

You’ll definitely want to make sure your video card choice exceeds the dedicated video RAM numbers as this has been shown as one of the most important factors for getting great performance.

Make sure you have the latest graphics drivers installed as there have been specific Fallout 4 versions released to help optimize the game’s performance.

Many users have reported disabling v-sync in your game settings and you can also try switching between windowed mode and full screen to see if that helps with performance.

It may also help to remove the FPS cap by navigating to Documents and then locate Fallout 4 in the My Games and then open the Fallout4Prefs.ini and set iPresetinterval to 0.

It is worthwhile copying this file into the same directory so that you have a backup. You can also right click on the file and then go to properties and set it to Read-Only.

Nvidia users should also go into their card settings via the Nvidia Control Panel and then set the Power Management Mode to Prefer Maximum Performance under 3D Settings.

Make sure you set CUDA-GPUs to All if it’s not already. Try toggling between triple buffering, threaded optimization and textured filtering to see if any of these make any difference.

Finally, you can right-click on the game executable file, go to Properties and under the Compatibility tab, set it to a different version of Windows to see if that makes any difference, especially if the game is crashing.

RELATED: Can You Play Fallout 4 Offline on PC, PlayStation and Xbox?

What Are Fallout 4 System Requirements?

Fallout 4 is criticized for being unoptimized and running on an outdated engine. This means that the usual fix of throwing hardware at the issue is not going to work, you’ll want to instead make sure your CPU is tracking above the minimum requirements.

Of course you can adjust the in-game graphics settings down to help squeeze more performance out of your existing hardware. In particular the large and detailed map of Fallout 4 can put some strain on lower-end computers.

You can always check what your computer hardware is by generating a DxDiag report via the utility.

Bring up the Run dialog box by typing ‘run’ in the Windows search bar and clicking on the utility. In the field, type ‘dxdiag’ and hit OK.

A list of your current hardware will be displayed, including your Windows operating system version, motherboard model and CPU details and RAM amount. You can also go through the tabs up the top to find out more information.

Down the bottom right you can hit the Save All Information button to generate a log file, which you should be able to save to Desktop.

It’s recommended you use a resource like PCPartPicker to build up a computer that will have compatible parts that work well together. This can help out a lot when you’re trying to make sure your motherboard, CPU, RAM and GPU are all working together well.

There are many other great resources like Reddit’s /r/buildapc and you can check out Polygon’s take on the system requirements here.

If you’re noticing poor performance, make sure all your drivers including CPU and GPU drivers are updated. This can be done via getting the software via your motherboard manufacturer and from the manufacturer of your video card.

It may be worth verifying your Fallout 4 cache via Steam by right clicking on the title and going to Manage. Hit on Local Files on the left hand side and then choose the third option to verify the game files.

Fallout 4 Minimum Requirements

As the game is definitely more reliant on the CPU, you will find that while the game will run even on lower-end CPUs, the frame rate will be pretty bad and will drop down into the 30 FPS range, making the game experience unenjoyable.

At a minimum you’ll want to go with the Intel Core i5-2300 that has a 2.8GHz clock speed. Alternatively, you can go for the AMD Phenom II X4 945, making sure it has 3.0GHz or higher.

For any modern PC builds running at least Windows 7 you’ll want to go for 8GB of RAM at a minimum, with the operating system needing to be Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11, with a 64-bit operating system required.

For the GPU or video card, go for either a Nvidia GTX 550 Ti with at least 2GB onboard memory, or the AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or equivalent.

Make sure the card supports pixel shader 5.0 or higher, vertex shader 5.0 and has a dedicated video ram of 2048MB or 2GB.

You’ll need a whopping 30GB free disk space for Fallout 4, and one of the best ways to improve hard drive performance is to make sure you have a solid state drive or an M.2 drive. 

You’ll want to make sure that your motherboard supports the latter, as not all can but having your windows installed on a M.2 drive and then your games library on a SSD will significantly improve performance.

Fallout 4 Recommended Requirements

To get closer to the optimal performance of Fallout 4, make sure your CPU is at least an Intel Core i7 4790 running at 3.6GHz or above, or an AMD FX-9590 with a clock speed of 4.7GHz or higher.

You’ll want at least 16GB of RAM, and generally, you’ll want to go for DDR3 or DDR4 and also make sure the timings and speed of the memory matches and is high enough.

For video cards, go with at least an Nvidia GTX 780 with 3GB video RAM, or alternatively an AMD Radeon R9 290X with 4GB. Make sure the cards support at least pixel shader 5.0 and vertex shader 5.0.

You’ll need around free disk space of around 30GB and follow the solid state drive and M.2 drive suggestions under the minimum requirements section as detailed above.

  • Ashley has fallen in love with computers and technology ever since playing a Super Nintendo at his friend's house. After building his own computer and learning how to fix it when it broke, he started doing a variety of tech-related jobs to get paid for his knowledge.