Building the Best PC for Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter World Official Art

Last updated: November 2018

Monster Hunter World is a critically acclaimed experience, but a difficult game for a PC to run. Like its predecessors, MHW is a game about hunting and killing gigantic monsters in an expansive fantasy world. It’s the first main-series/non-spinoff Monster Hunter game to be ported to PC, and it has quickly joined the ranks of PC ports of great games that are poorly optimized for PC.

As it stands, this immensely popular and critically celebrated game has ‘Mixed’ reviews on its Steam Store page; the majority of the positive reviews talk about the content of the game itself, and the majority of the negative reviews talk about its poor performance.

But Monster Hunter World’s poor optimization doesn’t change the fact that that the gameplay is fun; nor that the world design is incredible; nor that folks want to play it!

So just what does it take to run Monster Hunter World with high FPS? What’s the lowest-tier modern PC that can run MHW consistently above 60 FPS at 1080p with low settings? What sort of PC would be needed to run MHW with 60 FPS at 4K on the highest settings? Which in-game graphics settings have the biggest impact on the game’s performance?

You’ll find the answers to all of these questions and many more in the article below!

In Section 1, we discuss the official minimum and recommended specifications for Monster Hunter World, and what kind of performance each set of specs could provide.

In Section 2, we provide four balanced example builds geared toward providing enough power to run Monster Hunter World at 60 FPS with different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4K).

Finally, in Section 3, we have put together a Monster Hunter World graphics settings guide that will tell you what each graphics option does, and how much each of them impacts the FPS of the game.

Monster Hunter World Screenshot 1

Monster Hunter World Official Hardware Requirements

The official system requirements for Monster Hunter World, according to Capcom, are as follows:

Minimum System Specifications:

  • CPU: i5-4460 or FX-6300 (Modern equivalent: R3 2200G)
  • Graphics Card: GTX 760 or R7 260X (Modern equivalent: GTX 1050 or RX 560)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage Space: 20GB

Recommended System Specifications:

  • CPU: i7-3770 or i3-8350 or R5 1500X
  • Graphics Card: GTX 1060 3GB or RX 570
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage Space: 20GB

With a PC build that exactly meets the official minimum specifications above (featuring, for instance, the R3 2200G and the GTX 1050), we would expect a person playing Monster Hunter World at Low settings on a 1080p monitor to be able to stay consistently above 30 FPS. Playing MHW at Low settings on a lower-resolution monitor, such as 720p or 900p, should allow a minimum-specifications build to stay above 60 FPS consistently.

With a PC build that exactly matches the official recommended specifications above (featuring, for instance, the R5 2400G and the GTX 1060 3GB), we would expect a person playing Monster Hunter World at Medium settings on a 1080p monitor to be able to stay consistently above 60 FPS. Playing MHW on a lower-resolution monitor should make it possible to stay consistently above 60 FPS at High settings (not Highest) with a recommended-specifications build.

As you can tell from the two preceding paragraphs, the official minimum and recommended specs for this game are . . . a bit optimistic, relative to the actual difficulty of running this game well. For running the game smoothly, we would recommend slightly more power for most users. In the next section, we provide precise recommendations for builds that can provide 60 FPS at various resolutions.

Monster Hunter World Screenshot 2

Example Monster Hunter World PC Builds

These builds are designed to provide sufficient computing power for playing Monster Hunter World at 60+ FPS (or 100+ FPS, where noted) at 1080p, 1440p, or 4K resolution.

If you're not sure what resolution you want to play at (or how the different resolutions compare to each other), then take a look at our monitor resolution explanation page.

If you're not sure what frame rate you want to play at (or what frame rate is), then take a look at our FPS explanation page.

NOTE: Frame rates above your monitor's refresh rate will only by possible by disabling all forms of Vsync and turning off the game's FPS cap in its settings.

1080p 60 FPS [Low Settings] Monster Hunter World Build ($600)

For those of you on a tight budget that still want to play MHW on a PC at a smooth frame rate, this is the build for you. This is the lowest-tier build that we feel can comfortably promise 60+ FPS in Monster Hunter World at 1080p while playing with all graphics settings down to their lowest settings (or off, where applicable).

If you’re looking to play with Medium or High settings in MHW at 720p or 900p, this is also the build for you.

CPU: AMD R5 1500X
Graphics Card: GTX 1050 Ti
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666
Storage: 1TB Seagate HDD
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 520
CPU Cooler: Stock
Case: Fractal Design Focus G
Operating System: Windows 10

1080p 60 FPS [Highest Settings] Monster Hunter World Build ($1200)

For many users, this will be the best balanced option. This build provides excellent performance in Monster Hunter World on the most common monitor resolution (and monitor refresh rate) on the market.

Any users who just want to crank all of the settings to the max while maintaining smooth gameplay should consider this build. Players willing to play on ‘High’ settings instead of ‘Highest’ can substitute the GTX 1060 6GB for the 1070, to save a bit on the total cost.

CPU: Intel i5-9600K
Graphics Card: GTX 1070
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666
Storage 1: 250GB Crucial MX500 SSD
Storage 2: 1TB Seagate HDD
Power Supply: SeaSonic G 650
CPU Cooler: CryoRig H7
Case: Corsair 275R
Operating System: Windows 10

1440p 60 FPS / 1080p 100 FPS [Highest Settings] Monster Hunter World Build ($1900)

This is where we start getting into high-end performance. Do note: you must have a monitor with a refresh rate above 60 to take full advantage of getting 100+ FPS in Monster Hunter World.

With some (safe, conservative) overclocking, this set-up may be capable of over 120 FPS in Monster Hunter World at 1080p with all settings turned up to their maximum.

CPU: Intel i7-9700K
Graphics Card: RTX 2080
Motherboard: MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
RAM: 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR4 3200
Storage 1: 1TB Crucial MX500 SSD
Storage 2: 2TB Western Digital HDD
Power Supply: SeaSonic Focus Plus 850
CPU Cooler: CryoRig H5 Ultimate
Case: NZXT H700
Operating System: Windows 10

4K 60 FPS / 1440p 100 FPS [Highest Settings] Monster Hunter World Build ($2600)

4K is a tall task under the best of circumstances, so in a difficult-to-run game like Monster Hunter World, getting 60+ FPS at 4K resolution is going to require some of the most powerful hardware that it is currently possible to acquire.

A single RTX 2080 Ti can only manage about 45 FPS in Monster Hunter World at 4K with the highest settings; so just getting to 60 FPS consistently at 4K with max settings requires a very-high-end dual-GPU set-up.

Users planning to use this particular build exclusively (or almost exclusively) for MHW may choose to subtitute the RAM choice from the build above, in order to save about $140 without losing any in-game performance.

CPU: Intel i9-9900K
Graphics Card: 2x RTX 2080 (or 2x RTX 2080 Ti for about 30% more power and $600 more)
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro
RAM: 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR4 3200
Storage 1: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD
Storage 2: 2TB Western Digital HDD
Power Supply: Corsair HX1000i
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4
Case: Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
Operating System: Windows 10

Monster Hunter World Screenshot 3

Monster Hunter World Graphics Settings and Performance Guide

This section takes a close look at the graphical options in Monster Hunter World, and their effects on the game’s performance.

The ‘performance impact’ in each subsection below is the measured difference in average FPS between playing the game with all settings at their highest and turning only the setting in question down to the lowest (or off) while leaving all others untouched.

It is also worth pointing out that the performance impact is not necessarily perfectly additive. So if disabling one setting increases FPS by 10% and disabling another increases FPS by 10%, disabling both would not be expect to increase performance by 20%. Instead, the increase would likely be somewhere from 12-18% total.

NOTE: Certain settings (especially texture quality and water reflections) currently seem to be broken. Turning them up barely improves (or doesn’t improve) the game’s visuals, and—as a result—turning them down has no effect on performance.

Quality

Quality is a combination of presets of the other settings. Changing this setting will automatically adjust the other settings. If you don't want to mess with the detailed settings, simply use this to find a good balance of visual quality and performance.

Performance Impact: ~100-110% between Low and Highest

handle
Monster Hunter World Low Quality
Monster Hunter World Highest Quality
Drag the bar to compare Quality on Low and Highest.

Image Quality

This setting changes the rendering resolution quality. As with many of the settings, it seems to have a secondary effect of altering lighting in some situations.

Performance Impact: ~30-40% between Low and High

handle
Monster Hunter World Image Quality Low
Monster Hunter World Image Quality High
Drag the bar to compare Image Quality on Low and High.

Texture Quality

This setting changes the maximum texture load size. As noted above, this is one of the broken settings. While there is a noticeable difference between the very lowest and very highest setting (visually, though not in terms of performance), some of the textures—especially on certain armor pieces—render at low resolutions even when texture quality is set to max.

Performance Impact: No noticeable FPS change between 256 and Full

handle
Monster Hunter World Texture Quality 256
Monster Hunter World Texture Quality Full
Drag the bar to compare Texture Quality on 256 and Full.

Ambient Occlusion

This setting changes the resolution quality of screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) textures, which are used to approximate calculations for some ambient lighting effects.

Performance Impact: ~5% between Off and High

handle
Monster Hunter World Ambient Occlusion Off
Monster Hunter World Ambient Occlusion High
Drag the bar to compare Ambient Occlusion Off and High.

Volume Rendering Quality

This setting controls the rendering quality of Monster Hunter World's volumetric fog effect. This is a fairly divisive effect among the game's players, with some people enjoying the atmosphere and lighting changes provided by the fog—and others preferring the crisp look of the game with the fog turned completely off.

Performance Impact: ~15% between Off and Highest

handle
Monster Hunter World Volume Rendering Quality Off
Monster Hunter World Volume Rendering Quality Highest
Drag the bar to compare Volume Rendering Quality Off and Highest.

Shadow Quality

This setting affects the rendering resolution of shadows cast by in-game objects and characters.

Performance Impact: ~5% between Low and High

handle
Monster Hunter World Shadow Quality Low
Monster Hunter World Shadow Quality High
Drag the bar to compare Shadow Quality on Low and High.

Anti-Aliasing

Anti-aliasing is a method of smoothing out perceived jaggedness on the edges and lines of objects made up of pixels. In the screenshots below, the difference is most visible on the edge of the cliff and the outline of the player-character's weapon.

Performance Impact: ~10% between Off and TAA

handle
Monster Hunter World Anti-Aliasing Off
Monster Hunter World Anti-Aliasing TAA
Drag the bar to compare Anti-Aliasing Off and TAA.

LOD Bias

This setting changes the distance from the player that level-of-detail (LOD) models switch from their low-quality or low-polygon or nonexistent versions to their high-quality versions. In the screenshots below, pay attention to the floorboards at the other end of the deck from the player, and the objects on the counter in the center.

Performance Impact: ~10% between Low and High

handle
Monster Hunter World LOD Bias Low
Monster Hunter World LOD Bias High
Drag the bar to compare LOD Bias on Low and High.

Max LOD Level

This setting alters the maximum tier of level-of-detail models that can be displayed. When it is set to -1, the highest-level models will not display under any circumstances.

Performance Impact: ~5% between -1 and No Limit

handle
Monster Hunter World Max LOD Level -1
Monster Hunter World Max LOD Level No Limit
Drag the bar to compare Max LOD Level on -1 and No Limit.

Foliage Sway

This setting determines whether or not the game's plant life sways to and fro. As that is its only effect, it can not be demonstrated in a still screenshot. But considering the seemingly minor nature of the setting, it has a seemingly disproportionate effect on performance.

Performance Impact: ~15% between Off and On

Subsurface Scattering

The description of this setting in the menu says that it affects the rendering quality of skin, but in testing it seemed to affect the rendering/lighting of many surfaces in the game.

Performance Impact: No noticeable FPS change between Off and On

handle
Monster Hunter World Subsurface Scattering Off
Monster Hunter World Subsurface Scattering On
Drag the bar to compare Subsurface Scattering Off and On.

Screen Space Reflection

This setting changes the quality of dynamic background reflections. Turning off this settings provides a noticeable performance boost, but comes at the cost of clearly worse visuals.

Performance Impact: ~15% between Off and On

handle
Monster Hunter World Screen Space Reflection Off
Monster Hunter World Screen Space Reflection On
Drag the bar to compare Screen Space Reflection Off and On.

Anisotropic Filtering

This setting controls the level of implementation for a method of image quality enhancement known as 'anisotropic filtering' whereby filtering is done to textures that are being viewed at an oblique angle relative to the camera.

Performance Impact: No noticeable FPS change between Low and High

handle
Monster Hunter World Anisotropic Filtering Low
Monster Hunter World Anisotropic Filtering High
Drag the bar to compare Anisotropic Filtering on Low and High.

Water Reflection

This setting seems to be the most broken of any in the game. Its description says that it disables or enables "dynamic creation of cube maps for water reflection", but the reflections (and performance) are entirely unchanged by switching it on or off.

Performance Impact: No noticeable FPS change between Off and On

handle
Monster Hunter World Water Reflection Off
Monster Hunter World Water Reflection On
Drag the bar to compare Water Reflection Off and On.

SH Diffuse Quality

SH stands for Spherical Harmonics, which is a method of lighting that is supposed to produce better physical accuracy than other methods. And changing it does indeed produce a noticeable difference in lighting.

Performance Impact: ~10% between Low and High

handle
Monster Hunter World SH Diffuse Quality Low
Monster Hunter World SH Diffuse Quality High
Drag the bar to compare SH Diffuse Quality on Low and High.

Dynamic Range

In theory, this setting governs the range of colors used by the game; so you should try to figure out which setting better matches what your monitor and graphics card are capable of. But in its description, it states its function as "adjusts luminance range" and it does seem to have a minor performance impact despite having no noticeable visual impact. So maybe there is a lighting change involved with this one as well, although we could not detect any in our testing.

Performance Impact: ~5% between 32-bit and 64-bit

Motion Blur

Just as the name implies, this setting allows you to turn on or off the blurring of graphics that are in motion relative to the camera.

Performance Impact: No noticeable FPS change between On and Off

Z-Prepass

Since it has one of the only somewhat thorough descriptions in the in-game menu, I'll let them tell it: "Enable/Disable pre-calculation of depth information. This is enabled by default, but may speed up processing for lower-spec PCs if disabled."

Performance Impact: ~5% between Off and On

handle
Monster Hunter World Z-Prepass Off
Monster Hunter World Z-Prepass On
Drag the bar to compare Z-Prepass Off and On.

Choosing the Best Settings for Monster Hunter World

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 in Monster Hunter World to improve your framerate without sacrificing too much in the way of visuals.

Unfortunately, as we said above the image sliders, lowering multiple settings will not have a straightforward cumulative effect on framerate: if dropping one setting gives 10% improvement, and dropping another gives 10%, lowering both will not give 20%, but possibly between 12-18%.

Improve FPS considerably with little to no impact on visuals

  • Turn off "Foliage Sway."
  • Use the "High" preset instead of "Highest." This can increase FPS by 30% and still look very good.

Improve FPS by larger amounts with moderate impact to visuals

  • Turn off "Volume Rendering Quality" and "Anti-Aliasing."
  • Set "Shadow Quality" to Low.
  • Use the "Mid" preset.

Last Resorts

If doing all of the steps above still does not achieve your desired framerate, try some of the following:

  • Turn down "Image Quality" and "Texture Quality."
  • Turn off "Screen Space Reflection."
  • Lower any remaining settings to at least Medium.
  • Very last resort: Use the "Low" preset.

If you try all of the above and still can’t run the game as smoothly as you would like, you may need to upgrade your hardware.

Monster Hunter World Screenshot 4

Conclusion

The relatively poor optimization of Monster Hunter World does not need to dissuade you from playing it. Unlike some other examples of poor-performance console ports (we're looking at you, NieR: Automata), the developers of Monster Hunter World have been steadily patching and improving the bugs and issues in the game since its PC release.

And regardless of whether future improvements substantially improve the optimization or not (we're not holding our breath for big improvements), we hope that this guide can help interested users to understand what kind of hardware is needed to run Monster Hunter World at a high frame rate—or else, which graphics settings should be altered to maximize frame rate on an existing build.

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

About Us

Daniel is the Content Editor for Logical Increments.

He also does all of the writing, graphic design, and web development for The Gemsbok blog website and The Gemsbok YouTube channel, where you can find articles and videos on books, games, movies, and philosophy.

Logical Increments helps more than 2 million PC builders each year with hardware recommendations for any budget.

If you want to see our build recommendations for general purpose gaming PCs, check them out!

Monster Hunter World Screenshot 5