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Best Graphics Cards and CPU's for ARK: Budget and Tips!

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Best Graphics Cards and CPU's for ARK: Budget and Tips!

Post by SilentFan85 on Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:51 pm

I've been approached by a few people about what's the best card for running a game like ARK? Well, to be put bluntly... There isn't one. At the moment, ARK is still relatively unstable when it comes to graphics, and any card is going to have trouble along the road to the final build. That's the problem with Early Access games; it's very hard to pin down a card that will run the game smoothly. Especially, for games like ARK that are setting the industry standard for graphically demanding games.

Here's some tips that may help your current card and/or on-board video run ARK in a smoother manner! If the tips don't help, thereafter is a list of cards and CPUs, both for the rich and budget-friendly!


If your computer can achieve a steady 60 FPS with all the settings turned up at your desired resolution, then we recommend keeping things as they are.

However, if you’re not reaching 60 FPS, or if you have a specialized monitor with a higher refresh rate and want to get even better performance, there are certain settings you can lower to improve your framerate without sacrificing too much in the way of visuals. Unfortunately, lowering multiple settings will not have a cumulative effect on framerate: If a setting give 10% improvement, and another gives 10%, lowering both will not give 20%, but possibly between 10-15%.

Improve FPS considerably with little to no impact on visuals
Lower “Ground Clutter Distance” and “Density”
Use the “High” preset instead of “Epic”. This can double FPS and still looks good.
Improve FPS by larger amounts with moderate impact to visuals
Lower “Sky Quality”
Lower “Terrain Shadows” to at least Medium.
Lower “General Shadows” to at least Medium.
Lower "Anti-Aliasing".
Use the "Medium" preset.
Last Resorts
If doing all of the steps above still does not achieve your desired framerate, try some of the following:

Lower "General Shadows" to Low.
Very last resort: Use the "Low" preset.

To determine how your PC will perform ARK, you’ll need to consider three things:

The resolution you want to play at (usually your screen’s native resolution)
How much graphical detail you want
How smoothly you want the gameplay to run
For our purposes, we aim for a very smooth 60+ FPS with the graphical settings turned to High (not Epic, which requires even greater hardware power). If you’re willing to lower any graphical settings, or you’re happy with framerates lower than 60 FPS, you can get by with an even lower-tier PC. However, due to the demanding nature of the game, we will instead be looking for systems that reach that 30 FPS benchmark on “Epic”, which should be able to achieve 60 FPS on “High”.

Below, we list the the tiers on our parts list that would achieve that 60 FPS baseline on High graphical settings at a range of progressively more demanding screen resolutions.


The Superb tier, featuring a GTX 1060 3GB and i3-7100 or i3-7300, will get you very smooth performance in ARK at 1600x900 for around $840.

1920x1080 (1080p)

The Outstanding tier, featuring the GTX 1070 and i5-7500, will get smooth performance at 1080p for around $1240.

2560x1440 (1440p)

The Extremist tier, featuring 2x GTX 1070s and an i7-6900K, will get smooth performance at 1440p for around $3,600.

3840x2160 (4K)

To get close to 60 FPS at 4K with ARK on High settings, you'll likely need a PC on the level of our Monstrous PC, with 2x GTX 1080s and i7-6900K.

Note: As we mentioned in the CPU section of this article, you can reasonably build a PC with these higher-end GPUs and a weaker CPU. However, for each tier, we recommend a strong CPU that maintains a good overall balance with the strong GPU.

Now for budget cards, in my personal opinion:

Check out either a EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 or Asus STRIX AMD Radeon RX 460. These would be your best investments for a budget category cards that will run ARK the smoothest on, at least, Medium settings. Both of these can be picked up on for under 175 bucks!

Stay awesome! Cool

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