Building the Best PC for Rocket League
Last updated: June 2019
Rocket League is a vehicle-based soccer game originally released back in 2015 by Psyonix. Since then, its various gameplay modes have gained it a large active gaming community of rocket-powered-car maniacs! Following the original release, the game also got versions for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux, and most recently Nintendo Switch. This might give you a little insight into the excellent engine optimization and customization that you can expect with Psyonix's game, but more of that later on. Setting aside its ports, this big guide article is all about the original experience: playing Rocket League on PC, and aiming for smooth frame rates to maximize enjoyment of the game.
Ever since it appeared, Rocket League has received very positive reviews from its players, thanks to Psyonix's continued support for the game. And its continually high concurrent user numbers on Steam (let alone its other platforms) really reflect those circumstances.
Whether you haven't had a chance to play the game before, you're looking to update an existing PC to get the most out of the in-game visuals, or you just want to know how much of an impact each of the game's graphical settings have on performance—this guide will lead you on the right path towards an excellent Rocket League experience.
In Section 1, we discuss the official minimum and recommended specifications for Rocket League, and what kind of performance each set of specs could provide.
Rocket League Official Hardware Requirements
The official system requirements for Rocket League, according to Psyonix, are as follows:
Minimum System Specifications:
- CPU: 2.4 GHz Dual-core
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 260 or AMD Radeon HD 4850
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage Space: 25GB
- DirectX: 9.0c
- OS: Windows 7+/li>
Recommended System Specifications:
- CPU: 2.5+ GHz Quad-core
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7950
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage Space: 25GB
- DirectX: 9.0c
- OS: Windows 7+
Now, when you're looking at the minimum specifications, you could be forgiven to thinking that Rocket League could run off a potato. However, as with any competitive game, you might be wanting to bump up your frame rates to help with your reactions! So keep in mind that those specifications are simply so you can just get into game in the first place, with no concerns for stable 60 FPS or higher resolutions.
There's a small note here about frame rates, though: although you could be running this game on a monster rig with the hopes of getting monster frame counts, the game engine itself tops out at 250 FPS. Now, I'm sure some of you RTX 2080 Ti fans will be disappointed to hear that, but hey... the eye can only see up to 60 FPS anyway, right? People? Am I right? Where are you going?
It is also worth noting that some of the graphical options below will only really impact you on certain arenas. If you're on an arena with a lot of weather and background detail, effects, etc.—then you will see a slightly larger impact for disabling these features versus leaving them on. Yet, as the engine is so well-optimized anyway, we're talking about single-digit differences here from arena to arena; but it's worth mentioning, because it is partly why we provide a small range of FPS percentage changes to expect.
Example Rocket League PC Builds
These builds are designed to provide sufficient computing power for playing Rocket League at 60+ FPS (or 100+ FPS, where noted) at 1080p, 1440p, or 4K resolution.
There is a difference between PvE and PvP performance, based on the speed and number of players which are often in your field of view at any time (hard to quantify, but can be around 10% difference in average output). Plus, some of the newer areas (from the Fortuna update) are graphically more intensive, usually to the tune of up to 30-40% less frames at 4K, with the intensity of the impact scaling down to around 10-15% at 1080p. This is why the example builds have been fundamentally designed with the Fortuna update in mind.
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] Rocket League Build ($385)
This build is designed to simply allow you to play the game. As such, we're playing around with the built-in graphics performance of the Ryzen 5 2400G to bypass the need for a graphics card in getting the game to run well at low settings.
This is the lowest-tier build that we feel can comfortably promise consistent 60+ FPS in Rocket League at 1080p while playing with most graphics settings turned down to their lowest notch (or off, where applicable).
1080p 60 FPS [High Settings] Rocket League Build ($500)
Providing a little more horsepower than the first build, this option has been designed so that you will comfortably be able to play with all settings set to their highest at 1080p with 60 FPS.
Now, I know what you're thinking. A Ryzen 3 1200?! Well, Rocket League is very generous with its CPU usage, generally not using much over 2 cores, making the overclockable Ryzen 3 1200 a perfect budget build option for 1080p 60 FPS gameplay on high settings. For more details, see the sources section at the bottom of this guide! We've paired this with a more modern B450 motherboard also, to allow you some more flexibility on any potential upgrades for the future.
As for graphics, we've gone with a GTX 1050, but if you'd rather keep things all team red, an RX 560 4GB can be bought for around the same price and performance at the time of writing this.
CPU: AMD R3 1200
Graphics Card: GTX 1050
Motherboard: MSI Pro B450M
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2400
Storage: 2TB Seagate HDD
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 520
CPU Cooler: Stock
Case: Corsair 200R
Operating System: Windows 10
1440p 60 FPS / 1080p 100 FPS [High Settings] Rocket League Build ($825)
AMD's CPU dominance for price-to-performance ratios is still showing here, as there's still no real need to push for the higher-clocked (and more expensive) Intel CPUs just yet; Rocket League will still not push the game super-hard on the cores, even at 1440p. This means that you can build a great 1440p 60 FPS or 1080p 100 FPS system for much less than you might expect when compared to other games.
Unlike above, this time we've gone all team red, pairing the 1600X with a RX 570 8GB (now that you can get those without breaking the bank, thanks to the cool-off in those old cryptomining issues).
We've also gone with more and faster RAM, and—unlike the build above—we would advise you to overclock the CPU if you are looking for absolute steady frame rates that are consistently well over 60 FPS at 1440p.
CPU: AMD R5 1600X
Graphics Card: RX 570
Motherboard: Asrock B450 Pro4
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666
Storage 1: 240GB ADATA SU650 SSD
Storage 2: 2TB Seagate HDD
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G+
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4
Case: Phanteks Eclipse P400
Operating System: Windows 10
4K 60 FPS / 1440p 100 FPS [High Settings] Rocket League Build ($1150)
The best part of this particular build is that—not only does it become a monster for 1440p, never dipping below 110 FPS—but it happily handles everything you throw at it in Rocket League at 4K, too. As an aside, if you're really wanting to see big FPS numbers: in viewing benchmarks for this guide, I don't think I saw the 1660 Ti drop below 190 FPS at 1080p, with the average getting into the 210 FPS region. So it suffices to say that, for Rocket League, you're getting a bit of a monster with this build.
To finish the system off with a little more single-core performance, we have now switched to Intel with their i5-9600K. Finally, to give the system some zip, we've gone for a 500GB M.2 SSD to complement the big 2TB SSD for storage.
CPU: Intel i5-9600K
Graphics Card: GTX 1660 Ti
Motherboard: MSI Z390-A PRO
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666
Storage 1: 500GB Crucial P1 NVMe M.2 SSD
Storage 2: 2TB Seagate HDD
Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 750 G3
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro
Operating System: Windows 10
Rocket League Graphics Settings and Performance Guide
This section takes a close look at the graphical options in Rocket League, 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.
Overall Quality Settings
Although you can (mostly) do this with the render quality setting, to completely enable all or disable/lower all available options requires you to manually change a number of them in the settings. Do note that, although your FPS will go through the roof dropping all of these options down, the quality has an equal and opposite experience.
Performance Impact: ~100% between High Performance or Off and High Quality
A common feature in most games these days, designed to smooth out jagged lines; yet it can be at risk of creating a slightly blurred image.
Performance Impact: ~5-10% between Off and MLAA
This simply adjusts the quality of the textures shown; yet it does affect everything on the screen, so it can give you back some FPS if you're struggling.
Performance Impact: ~5% between High Performance and High Quality
One of the most match-dependent options in the game, as this comes down to unique game modes (different goal types), boost trails, effects, pickups, explosions... it's a pretty exhaustive list. Because of this, you can see a really nice performance gain if you lower this in busy matches. But for the same reason, it can't really be seen in still comparison shots.
Performance Impact: ~2-8% between Performance and High Quality
As the developers have put a fair amount of effort into making the various arenas feel unique, the smaller details on show with these do add to your performance requirements. This setting simply adjusts the level of visible detail in the world.
Performance Impact: ~3% between Performance and High Quality
Light Shafts and Lens Flares
I've placed these two settings together because they go hand-in-hand the majority of the time. There is simply an on/off option for these, so leave them on if you want your very own J.J. Abrams gameplay.
Performance Impact: ~3% between Off and On
This does what it says on the tin. Determines if cars and the ball have shadows or not!
Performance Impact: ~1-3% between Off and On (depending on player count)
Motion Blur and Ambient Occlusion
I've placed these two toggles together as, like particle detail, they are hard to showcase in comparison stills and their impact on performance is quite match-dependent. Motion blur is a personal preference (it does look cool when you boost, but you can lose a little on-screen detail and crispness to the visuals) and ambient occlusion can make some smaller details on cars pop out of the screen more.
Performance Impact: ~5-10% between Off and On (depending on environment)
It wouldn't be a good game of football without a little rain! Note that, on arenas with active weather effects, this will result in things like rain being directly in your line of view on the field. However, if there's a background world effect for rain or fog, that will remain.
Performance Impact: ~5% between Off and On (depending on environment)
Choosing the Best Settings for Rocket League
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 Rocket League 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 Light Shafts and Lens Flares
- Turn smaller details like World Detail down
Improve FPS by larger amounts with moderate impact to visuals
- Turn off Weather Effects
- Turn off Dynamic Shadows
- Use the Performance preset
If doing all of the steps above still does not achieve your desired framerate, try some of the following:
- Turn off Motion Blur and Ambient Occlusion
- Drop down the Render Quality to High Performance
- Lower any remaining settings to at least Performance/turn off
- Very last resort: Use the High Performance preset
If you try all of the above and still can’t run Rocket League as smoothly as you would like, you may need to upgrade your hardware.
If you cannot tell by this point, we were hugely impressed by the overall quality of the optimization of Rocket League on PC, which is probably why it's one of the best fast-action, player-versus-player games out there that still runs well on the Nintendo Switch.
My personal build (i7-8700K with a GTX 1080 Ti) never once dropped below the 250 FPS engine cap at any point when playing at 1440p, so if you're someone with an even higher-specification rig than what we've put in our guide, then your PC is going to have an easy time playing this game!
There's a whole host of options for players to customize their settings to their specific needs. And the best part is there are still new players joining all the time, so now's the best time to jump on in and starting to learn how to play!
If you have any questions about building your PC, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below, or email us at email@example.com.
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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