Building the Best PC for Battleborn


Last updated: August 2016

Battleborn is a multiplayer, MOBA-style first-person-shooter developed by Gearbox, creators of the highly acclaimed Borderlands series. Players choose from a roster of heroes and join a team to compete against other players in a variety of game matches. Similar to MOBA-style games (such as League of Legends and Dota 2), heroes level up over the course of the match and gain new abilities as the match progresses.

This guide takes a close look at Battleborn's graphical settings and the impact they have on the game. We'll also give you a good idea of the kind of PC hardware you'll need to run Battleborn to your own personal satisfaction. If you just want to know what to buy without all the in-depth analysis, you can skip to the Recommendations Section.

If you already have a PC but want to know what settings to use for best performance, check out the Graphical Settings section.

Similar to Overwatch, Battleborn is relatively easy on PC hardware by modern game standards. Built on the Unreal Engine 3, Battleborn uses a cartoonish graphical style reminiscent of Borderlands. Reviewers of the game’s beta sessions have reported that Battleborn’s visuals appear even less detailed than Borderland 2’s in some cases, likely in an attempt to reach PC gamers with weaker systems. Still, if you’re a fan of the art style, Battleborn is not a bad looking game.

To get started, let's take a look at what Logical Increments tiers are best for playing Battleborn.


What to Buy

At Logical Increments, we recommend PC builds in "tiers," with each tier containing the most powerful, most reliable, and least expensive combination of parts for that price. We don't list the individual parts in this guide because they change frequently based on local prices and new releases. You can see the latest individual part choices for each tier at the main guide page, which is updated regularly. Open it in a new tab to compare: Logical Increments PC Parts Guide.

Note: These benchmarks are for Ultra game settings, the maximum graphical settings possible for Battleborn. Lowering your graphical settings will improve the game’s performance.

Tier 1600x900 1920x1080 2560x1440 3840x2160
Destitute ($190) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Poor ($240) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Minimum ($340) Borderline Borderline Unplayable Unplayable
Entry ($390) Playable Borderline Unplayable Unplayable
Modest ($410) Smooth Playable Borderline Unplayable
Fair ($450) Smooth Playable Borderline Unplayable
Good ($490) Very Smooth Smooth Playable Borderline
Very Good ($530) Very Smooth Very Smooth Smooth Borderline
Great ($630) Silky Smooth Very Smooth Smooth Playable
Superb ($750) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Playable
Excellent ($1000) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Smooth
Outstanding ($1100) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Smooth
Exceptional ($1400) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth
Enthusiast ($1600) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth
Extremist ($2500) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth
Monstrous ($3,500+) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth
Explanation
Below 20 FPS Unplayable Jerky animation, "lag" and "stutter".
20-30 FPS Borderline Ok for some, too "laggy" for others. AKA "Cinematic".
30-45 FPS Playable Acceptable to most people. Not very good though!
45-60 FPS Smooth Fluid animation, no "lag".
60-90 FPS Very Smooth Very smooth is very smooth to almost everyone.
Above 90 FPS Silky Smooth Criminally smooth. For hardcore and professional players.

Note: Some of these benchmarks are extrapolated from data gathered by users during Battleborn’s beta. Results may vary slightly in the game’s final release. If necessary, we will update these after the game’s official launch.

Extra Note: As of May 2016, many users with AMD cards are reporting major performance issues with Battleborn, believed to be caused by the game's support for PhysX, an NVIDIA-exclusive. Many other AMD users, primarily those with the current 300-series of AMD cards, report running the game without issue. To be safe, we are not recommending AMD GPUs for PC gamers looking to build a computer for Battleborn. If you are having trouble running Battleborn with an AMD card, you can disable PhysX in the game's PoplarEngine.ini file. Instructions for that can be found in this Gameranx article.

A Note About Frame Rate (FPS)

Frames per second (FPS) measures the number of images your computer can produce every second. Higher frame rates mean that your screen will show more images per second, which means that you will see a smoother animation. Lower frame rates cause a game to appear to stutter, which is generally not enjoyable for the player.

A comparison of 50, 25, and 12.5 FPS.

For the purposes of our PC build guides, we recommend computers that will achieve 60 FPS in your game of choice. Some gamers are satisfied with frame rates as low as 30, but that depends largely on the gamer and the game.

For more information and animations explaining frame rate, please check out our Frame Rate page.

Higher Resolution for Better Gaming

A comparison of several common resolutions.

Resolution refers to the number of pixels on a screen. High resolution means more pixels and generally more space and detail, while low resolution means fewer pixels, and often less space. If you are using a typical (not high-end) laptop or an old screen, you likely have a low resolution. When comparing screens with a similar aspect ratio, it is always better to get a higher resolution screen. Higher resolution will always looks better, as you have more real estate and a sharper picture. The image below shows the difference in real estate between common resolutions.

For more information on resolutions, check our Screen Resolution page.

Battleborn Hardware Requirements and Performance

Note (repeated from above): As of May 2016, many users with AMD cards are reporting major performance issues with Battleborn, believed to be caused by the game's support for PhysX, an NVIDIA-exclusive. Many other AMD users, primarily those with the current 300-series of AMD cards, report running the game without issue. To be safe, we are not recommending AMD GPUs for PC gamers looking to build a computer for Battleborn. If you are having trouble running Battleborn with an AMD card, you can disable PhysX in the game's PoplarEngine.ini file. Instructions for that can be found in this Gameranx article.

Before we discuss how various PC components influence Battleborn’s performance, let’s take a look at the game’s Minimum and Recommended specifications, according to Gearbox:

Minimum System Requirements:

  • GPU: AMD HD 6870 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
  • CPU: AMD Phenom IIx4 945 or Intel i5-750
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM

Recommended System Specifications:

  • GPU: AMD HD 7850 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
  • CPU: AMD Phenom IIx4 945 or Intel i5-750
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM

Right away, we can see that Battleborn is light on both GPU and CPU requirements. The recommended GPUs are mid-tier graphics cards from 2012, while the recommended CPUs are mid-range processors from 2009.

The recommended specifications are roughly on par with a PC from our Fair ($420) or Good ($450) tiers. A PC in this range will probably achieve 30-40 FPS on Medium settings at 1080p resolution.

To ensure a smooth 60+ FPS with Ultra settings at 1080p, we will need to upgrade to something closer to the Superb tier ($750).

Recommended GPUs for Battleborn

As we stated in the bolded note in the above section, we are currently not recommending AMD GPUs for Battleborn until the many reports of unacceptable performance are resolved. As a result, all of our GPU recommendations are for NVIDIA cards for the time being.

The lowest-end GPU we recommend for Battleborn is the RX 460. That card should get you a playable 30 FPS on Low settings at 1080p.

For Medium or High settings at 1080p, we recommend at least the GTX 1050. For a little extra money, the GTX 1050 TI would be even better choices in this range.

Ensuring a constant 60+ FPS on Ultra settings at 1080p, we’ll upgrade to the RX 480. At 1440p, we recommend the GTX 1070.

At 4K on Ultra settings, the GTX 1080 should get a good 40+ FPS in most scenarios. This is a nice framerate for a single GPU at 4K resolution.

Recommended CPUs for Battleborn

The CPU is an important component for Battleborn, but the game does not have particularly high demands.

For Medium to High settings at 1080p resolution, we recommend at least an AMD X4 860K. If you want to run at 1080p on Ultra settings, we recommend something more along the lines of an G4560 or i3-7100.

For gaming in Battleborn above 1440p, we recommend at least a mid-range i5, such as the i5-7500.

Battleborn Graphical Settings

Battleborn features 20 graphical settings that you can tweak to achieve optimal performance for your PC. Some of those settings have a greater impact on performance than others.

Overall, available benchmarks have shown that raising Battleborn's graphical settings from Low to Ultra will cause a performance impact of roughly 33%, which is not as big of a performance difference as we see in most PC games.

We plan to update this guide once the game is released we can independently benchmark various graphical settings in Battleborn. Until then, let's discuss two graphical settings that typically have a high impact on performance in games:

Texture Quality: This setting ranges from Low to Ultra High, and affects the detail of the game’s textures, which cover the character models and environment. Higher-resolution textures demand more VRAM from your graphics card. If your card cannot provide sufficient RAM, the game’s performance will take a severe hit.

Ambient Occlusion: This setting adds more detailed shading to the game’s environment. It can make the game look more detailed and full, but it can also cause a big hit to performance -- especially in forested areas. If you’re looking to lower settings, experiment with disabling Ambient Occlusion and see if you can still enjoy the game’s visuals.

If Battleborn is not performing to your level of satisfaction on your system, adjusting these two settings will likely make an impact on the game's performance.


Logical Increments Tiers and How They Fare

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

  1. The resolution you want to play at (usually your screen’s native resolution)
  2. How much graphical detail you want
  3. How smoothly you want the gameplay to run

For our purposes, we aim for a very smooth 60+ FPS with the graphical settings turned all the way up. 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.

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

1600x900

The Fair tier, featuring a GTX 1050 and G4600, will get you very smooth performance in BattleBorn at 1600x900 for around $525.

1920x1080 (1080p)

The Vert good tier, featuring the RX 480 and i3-7100, will get very smooth performance at 1080p for around $750.

2560x1440 (1440p)

The Excellent tier, featuring the GTX 1070 and i5-7500, will get very smooth performance at 1440p for around $1,100.

3840x2160 (4K)

You’ll likely need our Exceptional tier PC, with a GTX 1080 and an i5-7600K, to safely maintain very smooth framerates at 4K. That PC will cost you roughly $1,700.

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.


Conclusion

Battleborn does not require much PC horsepower to play at reasonable settings. But if you want to get the most out of the game, your hardware will still need to pack a punch. The game rewards those with a balanced machine, so make sure you don’t skimp on your CPU.

We hope this guide has helped you understand the necessary PC hardware for running Battleborn to your satisfaction. If you want to do further research on PC hardware, please visit our main PC parts list on our homepage.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below, or email us at contact@logicalincrements.com.

About Us

James is the content manager for Logical Increments. He loves Gearbox’s Borderlands games, and has been building PCs for more than 15 years.

Logical Increments helps more than a million PC builders each year with hardware recommendations for any budget.

Sources

  1. Source used for making the table of contents
  2. Source used for making the image comparison slider
  3. Battleborn Wiki: System Requirements
  4. Candyland: Battleborn Minimum vs. Maximum Settings Comparison
  5. Gameplay: GTX 970 and i7-4790K
  6. Gameplay: R9 290X and i5-4690K
  7. Gameplay: GTX 960 and FX-8320
  8. Gameplay: GTX 980 Ti and i7-4790K
  9. Gameplay: GTX 970 and i5-6600K
  10. Gameplay: GTX 960 and FX-8350
  11. Gameplay: GTX 970 and i7-4790K
  12. Gameplay: GTX 970 and i7-6700K
  13. Gameplay: GTX 970 and i7-6700K
  14. Gameplay: GTX 960 and FX-4300
  15. Gameplay: R9 380 and i5-4460
  16. Gameplay: R9 280 and FX-6300
  17. Gameplay: R9 390 and i5-6600K