Building the Best PC for Rainbow Six Siege
Last updated: August 2018
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. The game puts heavy emphasis on environmental destruction and cooperation between players. Players assume control of an attacker or a defender in different gameplay modes such as hostage rescuing and bomb defusing. The title has no campaign, but features a series of short missions that can be played solo. These missions have a loose narrative, focusing on recruits going through training to prepare them for future encounters with the White Masks, a terrorist group that threatens the safety of the world.
This guide takes a close look at R6 Siege’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 Ranbow Six Siege 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 in Rainbow Six Siege, check out the Graphical Settings Section.
Rainbow Six Siege Hardware Requirements and Performance
Before discussing how various PC components influence Rainbow Six Siege's performance, let’s take a look at the game’s minimum and recommended specifications, according to Ubisoft:
R6S Minimum System Requirements:
- Processor (Intel): Core i3-560 (3.3 GHz)
- Processor (AMD): Phenom II X4 945 (3.0 GHz)
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Graphics Card (NVIDIA): GTX 460
- Graphics Card (AMD): Radeon HD 5770
R6S Recommended System Requirements:
- Processor (Intel): Core i5-2500K (3.3 GHz)
- Processor (AMD): FX-8120 (2.6 GHz))
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics Card (NVIDIA): GTX 670
- Graphics Card (AMD): Radeon HD 7970 / R9 280X/li>
These official specifications are relatively low for a modern PC game. With the focus being a fast-paced online multiplayer game first and foremost, a significant amount of work was done on the engine for optimization, resulting in a game that can at least run at a low level on even the most basic of systems.
Although you do need a (relatively) decent dual-core CPU to handle the game, the engine optimizations really come into play if you're comfortable running things on low settings, as R6S only requires a GPU with 1 GB of VRAM to run.
That said, if you are looking to build a PC that roughly matches the minimum requirements detailed here, we would recommend the 'Minimum' or 'Entry' tier of our general build recommendation chart.. To match the recommended specs, we’d turn to at least the 'Good' tier of that same linked chart.
Recommended GPUs for Rainbow Six Siege
For how smoothly the game performs, we must give Ubisoft a nod for the impressive optimization on the game. Because of this, you can take advantage of some graphics settings to improve your experience without requiring huge amounts of power from your graphics card.
For Ultra settings at 1080p with 60 FPS, we recommend at least a GTX 1050 Ti.
Recommended CPUs for Rainbow Six Siege
The AnvilNext 2.0 engine is one of the best on the market when it comes to multi-threaded performance, and will take advantage of more than 4 cores. Those of you who have recently purchased new Ryzen processors will be particularly happy with the performance you will get for the price when playing R6S.
For Ultra settings at 1080p with 60 FPS, we would recommend at least a dual-core (hyperthreaded) or quad-core CPU, such as the R3 2200G. That said, you will get better performance with a higher-clocked or higher-core-count CPU, such as the i5-8400 or the R5 2600.
R6S Graphical settings and performance
Rainbow Six Siege's graphical settings influence the game’s appearance and, by extension, affect how the game performs on your system. R6S also includes a Render Scaling setting (in certain enabled settings) that adjusts the game’s rendering resolution, meaning that you can render the game at a higher or lower resolution than your native resolution.
In this section, we’ll examine how each graphical setting affects the Rainbow Six Siege’s visuals and performance.
Graphics Quality Presets
Along with a number of general modes, Rainbow Six Siege also comes with an auto-detect feature which so far seems to be pretty accurate to what people's PCs can handle. It is worth noting here that R6S for PC leans toward prioritizing frame rate output rather than visual quality.
The quality presets are ideal for those who don't want to touch individual settings, allowing you to change multiple settings at once.
In general, we’ve found that you’re better off adjusting the individual settings to cater your performance and visuals to your particular needs and tastes.
Performance Impact: Up to 70% between Low and Ultra (the Ultra preset includes a 50 render scaling)
By itself, this is one of the more obvious changes you can make to the game to make it run on lower end hardware.
On the Low setting at 1080p, Ubisoft advises that you only need 1GB of GPU memory, whereas the Very High textures require 4GB (with the optional Ultra DLC needing 6GB). Honestly, this is one of the settings you can afford to lose.
Performance Impact: Up to 10% between Low and Very High, depending on map location
This is designed to enhance the quality of surface textures, making them look sharper and more defined. By itself, it doesn't have a great impact on frame rate.
Performance Impact: ~3% between Linear and Anisotropic 16X
Level of Detail (LOD)
This has a direct impact on the visible details of distant objects, so it's more obvious outside—but it can impact details indoors in very large rooms.
Performance Impact: ~4% between Low and Ultra
Shading is a very subtle effect in the game as it cleans up textures to make them react more accurately to light, as well as other textures.
Performance Impact: Up to 20% between Low and High, depending on map location
This setting very simply impacts the realism of shadows, as well as the amount of objects casting shadows in the first place.
Performance Impact: ~4% between Low and Very High
Another subtle effect to see at first glance is reflections, which impacts... well, reflections. This is most obvious when looking at glass and water reflections and—depending on how much work is being done by the GPU—it can have a large impact.
Performance Impact: ~15% between Low and High
Look at how the water changes by the tires and barrels, as well as the reflection of the building itself on the top right of the shot above the gun.
This impacts how three-dimensional everything looks on-screen, generally making things that are meant to have depth and shape look a little more realistic, rather than being flat textures.
Performance Impact: ~8-10% between Off and HBAO+
Pay attention to the wall texture and how the lamp post interacts with it, changing the lighting between HBAO+ and OFF. Also look for smaller changes by the tree and fencing.
Unfortunately, as this is mostly visible when things are in motion, this was essentially impossible to replicate accurately for a set of comparison screenshots—but this setting impacts gun effects, explosions, and building destruction.
Performance Impact: ~1-8% between Off and On, depending on how many effects are being processed
Zoom-in Depth of Field
This has little to no impact as it purely impacts the weapon detailing when scoped. Change this according to your own preference.
Anti-aliasing is one of the more complex options in R6S's settings because it unlocks additional settings in the game. But in general, anti-aliasing by itself is there to give smoother edges to objects in the game.
There's a number of massively GPU-intensive modes here. The game will warn you not to enable T-AA 4x unless you're running a very high-end GPU; we would advise only running it if you have a GTX 1080 Ti and you are running Rainbow Six Siege at or below 1080p resolution.
Performance Impact: ~50% between Off and T-AA enabled, and ~60% between T-AA enabled and T-AA 4X
As with most AA settings, pay attention to the jagged lines when AA is off.
One of two settings which you are only able to adjust if T-AA is enabled, render scaling impacts the overall resolution Rainbow Six Siege is rendered at.
This can be a subtle change depending on the resolution you are playing at; at 1080p, scaling the game down can provide a huge improvement to frame rate for a minimal drop to quality. This is mainly because T-AA does a lot of very smart blurring of finer details to counteract the drop in render scaling.
Performance Impact: ~30% between 50% and 100%
Pay attention to the smaller details like the shadows and textures; the difference is very slight here.
This one governs your preference for T-AA, and as such you must have T-AA enabled to take advantage of it.
Essentially, it determines the level of sharpness applied by T-AA to textures. Some like the super-sharp textures, whereas some think it makes it too artificial. You could probably set this to 50% for a happy middleground!
Performance Impact: ~3% between 0% and 100%
Choosing the Best Settings for Rainbow Six Siege
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 Rainbow Six Siege to improve your frame rate without sacrificing too much in the way of visuals.
Unfortunately, lowering multiple settings will not have a straightforward cumulative effect on frame rate: if dropping one setting gives 10% improvement, and dropping another gives 10%, lowering both will not give 20%, but possibly between 10-15%.
Improve FPS considerably with little to no impact on visuals
- Set Anisotropic Filtering to 4X or Linear
- Set Reflections to Low
Improve FPS by larger amounts with moderate impact to visuals
- Set Shading to Medium or Low
- Set Shadows to Medium or Low
If doing all of the steps above still does not achieve your desired frame rate in R6S, try some of the following:
- Lower Anti-Aliasing (or turn it off)
- Set Texture Quality to Low
- Last resort: Set Resolution Scale as low as you can tolerate, perhaps to 40 or 30 (lowering the Resolution Scale will make the game look pixelated, but will also significantly improve performance)
- Very last resort: Use the lowest Graphics Quality 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.
Logical Increments Tiers and How They Fare
At Logical Increments, we maintain a free, regularly updated list of parts for optimal gaming PC builds. These PC builds cover a wide range of budgets that are sorted into tiers, starting with the Destitute going all the way up to Monstrous. Each of these tiers features parts that we have spent hundreds of hours researching, and have decided will provide the best combination of performance, reliability, stability, quietness, and aesthetics for the price. The builds are tailored for playing a variety of games, and also work exceptionally well for any other demanding PC task.
This table shows how builds with our recommended hardware will roughly perform in Rainbow Six Siege on the Ultra graphics preset:
|Good ($630)||Very Smooth||Smooth||Playable||Unplayable|
|Very Good ($750)||Very Smooth||Very Smooth||Playable||Unplayable|
|Great ($900)||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth||Smooth||Borderline|
|Superb ($1000)||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth||Smooth||Borderline|
|Excellent ($1300)||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth||Smooth||Playable|
|Outstanding ($1500)||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth||Smooth|
|Exceptional ($1700)||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth||Smooth|
|Enthusiast ($2500)||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth|
|Extremist ($3500)||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Very Smooth|
|Monstrous ($5000+)||Buttery Smooth||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth||Silky Smooth|
|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 90-144 FPS||Silky Smooth||Criminally smooth. For hardcore and professional players.|
|144+ FPS||Buttery Smooth||The smoothest of smooth. When you need a constant framerate on the fastest monitors available (144Hz).|
It is worth noting that these tests were done with the standard Very High quality textures that come with the game, which are designed for 1080/1440p resolutions. You can download the Ultra textures (designed for 4K resolutions) as its own DLC (for free) on Steam or Uplay. For more information on resolutions in general, check our article explaining different Screen Resolutions.
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 article explaining frame rate and comparing different FPS figures.
To determine how your PC will perform in Rainbow Six Siege, 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 this guide, we aim for a very smooth 60+ FPS with the graphical settings turned to Ultra. If you’re willing to lower any graphical settings, or you’re happy with frame rates 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 R6S at a range of progressively more demanding screen resolutions.
The "Good" tier, featuring the GTX 1060 3GB and the R5 2600, will get you very smooth performance in R6 Siege at 1600x900. Downgrade to the R5 2400G to save money while getting almost as much performance in R6S.
To play Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege to its full potential, you need a fairly powerful PC. Like other shooters before it, Ubisoft have made R6 Siege to look both visually impressive and have a wide variety of options for squeezing out super-high frame rates.
Players who are running multiple CPU cores and a decent graphics card will find themselves having the best time here. But even less powerful PCs can manage to play the game with lower graphical settings, which still results in a game that is visually appealing.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the necessary PC hardware for running Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris is a contributing writer for Logical Increments, and has worked in the gaming and technology industries as a community manager for many years, as well as a live streamer. He has been building PC's for over 11 years.
When Chris is not here creating builds and guides, he can be found at University, studying for a BSc in Video Production as he makes the transition over to the film industry from gaming. You can read more about his journey on his website.
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