With constant advancements in graphics and computing power, PC games are becoming more and more demanding in terms of hardware requirements. Modern triple-A titles really push gaming PCs to their limits with complex physics, highly detailed textures, complex animations, realistic lighting effects and massive game worlds.
To enjoy these cutting-edge games at their maximum graphics settings and resolutions requires some seriously beefy PC hardware. For example, running a game in 4K resolution with all the graphical bells and whistles turned on will require a high-end graphics card like an RTX 3080 or 3090. Likewise, processor-intensive games benefit from having the latest multi-core CPUs like an AMD Ryzen 9 or Intel Core i9.
In short, the hardest games to run are usually the latest and greatest triple-A titles that really take advantage of the newest hardware and computing capabilities. They have steep recommended and minimum system requirements that demand powerful and expensive PC components to run smoothly.
Let’s look at 10 of the most hardware-demanding PC games on the market right now:
The 10 Hardest Games to Run on PC
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
The latest entry in Activision’s blockbuster Call of Duty series is a true powerhouse in terms of technical prowess and graphical fidelity. Modern Warfare 2 makes use of advanced technologies like ray tracing for ultra-realistic lighting and Nvidia DLSS for improved performance.
At 4K resolution and max settings, MW2 demands some potent hardware, recommending at least an RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card. It also requires a minimum of 16GB of RAM and a high-end Core i7 or Ryzen 7 CPU. Storage space is also substantial at 175GB.
Just meeting the minimum specs requires a GTX 960 or Radeon RX 470 GPU paired with an Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 CPU and at least 8GB of RAM. Modern triple-A games like MW2 require expensive PC builds to experience them properly.
2. F1 22
The official video game of the 2022 Formula One World Championship just barely misses out on being the most demanding racing game on PC. On Ultra settings at 4K resolution, F1 22 calls for at least a GeForce RTX 3070 or Radeon RX 6800 graphics card.
An Intel Core i7-10700K or AMD Ryzen 7 3800X CPU is recommended, in addition to 16GB of RAM and a whopping minimum 150GB of storage space. DLSS support helps boost frame rates for better performance.
At 1080p resolution, getting by with medium settings sees the minimum GPU drop down to a GTX 1050 Ti or RX 570. You’ll still need at least an i5/Ryzen 5 CPU and 8GB of RAM, though. Simulation racers aim for realism, so power-hungry PC builds are a must.
3. Halo Infinite
Microsoft’s iconic sci-fi shooter makes its triumphant return with Halo Infinite, exclusive for Xbox and PC. As a premier next-gen title, Infinite’s graphics and large open world environments put pressure on your hardware. An RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6800 XT GPU is recommended for 4K on Ultra.
At least a Ryzen 7 3700X or Core i7-9700K CPU is required, as well as 16GB of RAM and 100GB of drive space. To play on High settings at 1440p, the minimum spec drops down to a GTX 1070 or RX 5500 XT graphics card and a Ryzen 5 3600 or Core i5-4440 CPU.
Being optimized for Xbox Series X/S allows Halo Infinite to run well on a wide range of PC hardware. But you’ll still need a powerful setup to experience the Master Chief’s return in full 4K glory with ray tracing.
4. Horizon Zero Dawn
Though originally a PlayStation exclusive, Horizon Zero Dawn eventually came to PC with enhanced graphics. However, enjoying its stunningly detailed open world at maximum settings requires potent hardware, even at 1080p. An RTX 2070 Super or Radeon VII GPU is recommended, plus a Ryzen 7 3700X or Core i7-8700K CPU.
At least 16GB of RAM and 100GB of SSD storage are also required. To run Horizon on High settings at 1080p, the minimum GPU drops down to an RX 580 or GTX 1060, paired with a Ryzen 5 1500X or i5-2500K CPU. Ported console games like Horizon maintain their high requirements on PC.
5. Bright Memory: Infinite
As a shining example of a modern indie hit, Bright Memory: Infinite combines lightning-fast gameplay with cutting-edge graphics powered by Unreal Engine 4. At 4K resolution with all settings maxed out, Bright Memory demands at least an RTX 3070 or RX 6800 XT GPU to maintain a steady 60fps.
An Intel Core i7-10700K or AMD Ryzen 7 5800X CPU is recommended, as well as 16GB of RAM and 6GB of VRAM. To run at 1080p on Custom settings (not quite maxed), you can get by with a GTX 1060 6GB or RX 590 graphics card paired with either an i5-9600K or Ryzen 5 3600 CPU.
For an indie title, Bright Memory: Infinite’s graphics are astounding yet require some potent hardware to fully appreciate them.
6. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
One of PlayStation’s most acclaimed exclusives finally swung over to PC in 2022. But enjoying Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered with maxed graphics settings and ray tracing requires some serious PC hardware. For 4K resolution at 60fps, Marvel recommends at least an RTX 3080 or RX 6950 XT GPU.
At least 16GB of RAM is required, paired with either a Core i7-12700K or Ryzen 9 5900X CPU. To run at High settings and 1080p, the minimum GPU is a GTX 1060 6GB or RX 580, plus 16GB of RAM and either an i5-4670 or Ryzen 5 1600 CPU.
As a visually stunning Marvel blockbuster, Spider-Man Remastered demands powerful hardware to web sling across New York in full 4K glory with ray tracing enabled.
7. RIDE 4
Racing simulation games aim for realism, and that means needing some beefy PC hardware for maximum graphics settings. Milestone’s RIDE 4 bike racer is no exception, recommending at least an RTX 2070 Super or Radeon RX 5700 XT GPU for 4K at 60fps.
An Intel Core i7-9700K or AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU is the minimum, plus 16GB of RAM and 100GB of SSD space. For 1080p at Medium settings, RIDE 4 requires at least a GTX 960 or RX 470 graphics card paired with 8GB of RAM.
Simulating realistic physics and bike handling takes its toll, even on high-end PCs. A powerful CPU and GPU are essential to handle RIDE 4’s demanding graphics and physics.
8. The Ascent
This cyberpunk-themed RPG shooter boasts impressive ray-traced visuals powered by Unreal Engine that require potent PC hardware to enjoy fully. For 4K at max settings with 60fps, The Ascent demands at least an RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card.
A Core i7-10700K or Ryzen 7 3800X CPU is recommended, alongside 16GB of RAM and DirectX Raytracing capable hardware. For 1080p and High settings, the minimum GPU is a GTX 1060 or RX 580 paired with either an i5-6500 or Ryzen 5 1400 CPU.
The Ascent’s lighting effects and sci-fi environments are cutting-edge but require an equally high-end PC to enjoy all the ray tracing goodness.
9. Resident Evil Village
The latest entry in the revered horror series impresses with its stunning visuals and action-packed gameplay. But experiencing Resident Evil Village at 4K while maxed out demands some scary powerful PC hardware. Capcom recommends at least an RTX 2080 Super or Radeon VII graphics card.
At least a Core i7-8700K or Ryzen 5 3600 CPU is required, in addition to 16GB of RAM and DirectX 12 support. To hit 60fps on High settings at 1080p, Village needs at least a GTX 1060 or RX 580 GPU paired with 8GB of RAM.
With ray tracing and AMD FidelityFX, Resident Evil Village’s Gothic settings are brought to life but require mighty powerful (and expensive) PC builds to enjoy buttery smooth 4K gameplay.
Remedy Entertainment’s paranatural action game impresses with its destructible environments and physics effects. But enjoying Control’s graphics fully at 4K requires some otherworldly PC components. An RTX 2080 Ti or Radeon VII graphics card is recommended for 60fps gameplay.
At least 16GB of RAM and either an Intel Core i7-9700K or AMD Ryzen 3700X CPU is required. For 1080p at Low settings, Control needs at least a GTX 960 or RX 470 GPU paired with only 4GB of RAM.
With Nvidia RTX ray tracing enabled, Control can bring even the most powerful gaming PCs to their knees. If you want to experience its physics and environmental destruction in full 4K glory, be prepared to shell out for an expensive high-end build.
Pushing modern graphics technology to the bleeding edge demands some exceptionally powerful PC hardware. To enjoy today’s most stunning AAA gaming experiences requires having potent and costly components like Nvidia RTX 30 series GPUs, high-core count Ryzen or Intel CPUs, fast SSDs and plenty of RAM.
If you want to game comfortably at 4K resolution or utilize advanced graphics like ray tracing, a budget build simply won’t cut it anymore with such demanding modern games. However, being smart about your settings and resolution can help compensate for ageing or lower-tier PC components.
At the end of the day, games are meant to be enjoyed regardless of flashy graphics. But for those wanting to fully experience the incredible visuals and technology modern games offer, high-end and expensive PCs are a must. Going pre-built from reliable brands or choosing components carefully are key to being able to properly run the most intensive new releases well into the future.