Building the Best PC for World of Tanks

Last updated: August 2016

This guide recommends specific PC builds so that you can build a PC to run World of Tanks at silky smooth framerates in maximum graphical glory. Different computer components have different impacts on the game's performance, and we explain those impacts in detail. We also go through the graphical settings in detail, so that you can optimize the game's look and performance. In World of Tanks, high framerates are important to reduce missed clicks and allow for smooth aiming, accurate fire and precise maneuvering. A fast PC won't improve your map awareness or decision making abilities, but a fast PC sure makes it easier to hit stuff.

PC Build Performance in World of Tanks

At logicalincrements.com, we research and recommend parts for PC builds to help you get the best performance, reliability, and acoustics. These PC builds cover a wide range of budgets. As you spend more, you will get more performance. This is how the Logical Increments recommended builds will run World of Tanks:

Tier 1600x900 1920x1080 2560x1440 3840x2160*
Destitute ($190) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Poor ($240) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Minimum ($340) Borderline Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Entry ($390) Playable Borderline Unplayable Unplayable
Modest ($410) Smooth Playable Unplayable Unplayable
Fair ($450) Smooth Smooth Borderline Unplayable
Good ($490) Very Smooth Smooth Playable Borderline
Very Good ($530) Very Smooth Smooth Smooth Borderline
Great ($630) Very Smooth Very Smooth Smooth Playable
Superb ($750) Very Smooth Very Smooth Smooth Playable
Excellent ($1000) Silky Smooth Very Smooth Very Smooth Playable
Outstanding ($1100) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Smooth
Exceptional ($1400) Silky Smooth Very Smooth Very Smooth Playable
Enthusiast ($1600) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Smooth
Extremist ($2500) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Very Smooth
Monstrous ($3,500+) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Very Smooth
Framerate
Below 20 FPS Unplayable Jerky animation, "lag" and "stutter".
20-30 FPS Borderline Ok for some, too "laggy" for others.
30-45 FPS Playable Acceptable to most people, but still not smooth.
45-60 FPS Smooth Fluid animation, very little "lag".
60-90 FPS Very Smooth Very smooth is very smooth to almost everyone. Recommended.
Above 90 FPS Silky Smooth Criminally smooth. For hardcore and professional players.

Click on any of the build names to view the parts for each build.

These performance benchmarks are for World of Tanks on maximum graphical settings. You can achieve similar performance a tier or two lower by lowering the game's graphical settings.

The most powerful builds don't perform the best at all resolutions. This is unusual, but it's because the game is severely bottlenecked by single-threaded CPU performance. For a high-end build that overcomes this limitation, start with the Exceptional build, but upgrade the graphics cards and power supply with options from the Extremist build. This will give you the best performance possible in World of Tanks.


A very accurate illustration of WoT CPU performance by Philmecrakin.

PC Builds for World of Tanks

These builds are optimized for a specific screen resolution. You can get a build meant for 4K (a higher resolution) and game at 1080p (a lower resolution) with no problem, but you can't get a build meant for 1080p and game at 4K and expect smooth framerates. Matching your build with your screen resolution will give you the best performance for your money.

WoT PC Hardware for 720p (1280 x 720)

The lowly Poor build, with a low-end AMD APU and no dedicated graphics card, should get you 60 FPS with Low to Medium settings at 720p. If you want to play with the settings turned up at 720p, you will need the Good tier or better to get 60 FPS.

WoT PC Hardware for 1080p (1920 x 1080)

If you’re willing to settle for ugly Low graphics settings, you can actually get close to a smooth 60 FPS -- even at 1080p -- with the Poor build. If you want to play at Medium settings, you’ll need to go up a couple tiers to the Modest build. And if you want the game to look its best on maximum settings, you’ll want to go up to at least the Excellent build to get a smooth 60 FPS.

WoT PC Hardware for 1440p (2560 x 1440)

If you’re playing at 1440p, you want to see World of Tanks in all its explodey glory. To get 60 FPS with max settings, go with the Exceptional build. If you have a 144 Hz screen and want more than 60 FPS, see the 4K builds.

WoT PC Hardware for 4K

The Extremist build will just get you to 60 FPS at 4K, and be a powerhouse for any other games or professional applications. As an alternative, you can save money and actually improve performance in WoT (because of WoT’s poor multi-threading) by building the Exceptional tier, but replacing the graphics card and power supply with one of the options from Extremist. This custom build would give you the best performance possible in World of Tanks.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.

Choosing Gaming PC Parts for World of Tanks

The performance characteristics of World of Tanks are unusual. The game simultaneously boasts gorgeous tank models, while also being limited by the Bigworld game engine. Here are the official system requirements for World of Tanks, straight from the developer, Wargaming:

Minimum Recommended
Operating system: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
Processor: 2.2 GHz supporting SSE2
RAM: 1.5 GB for Windows XP, 2 GB for Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
Video Card: GeForce 6800 / ATI HD X2400 XT with 256 MB RAM
Sound: Compatible with DirectX9.0c
Hard drive space: 16 GB 
Internet Speed: 256 Kbps
Operating system: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10 (64-bit)
Processor: Intel Core i5-3330
RAM: 4 GB 
Video card: GeForce GTX660 (2GB) / Radeon HD 7850 2GB
Sound: Compatible with DirectX9.0c
Hard drive space: 30 GB 
Internet Speed: 1024 Kbps or higher (for voice chat)

Which CPUs Perform Best in World of Tanks?

Surprisingly, an inexpensive i3 (such as the i3-6100) will actually provide better performance in WoT than the highest end $1000 Extreme CPUs. This is because the game client software is very poorly threaded, struggling to make good use of even two cores. The best performance is achieved by CPUs with the highest single threaded performance, such as the i7-4790K or i7-6700K. AMD CPUs, which have good multi-threaded performance but poor single-threaded performance, do not perform well in WoT.

Which GPUs Perform Best in World of Tanks?

NVIDIA GPUs have a clear advantage in WoT. For example, the GTX 1060 performs similarly to a much more expensive R9 390X, while consuming far less power. To get 60 FPS at 1080p with settings maxed out, we recommend a GTX 1060. For 1440p, a GTX 1070 is ideal. See a wide variety of cards tested at GameGPU:

How Much RAM Does the Graphics Card Need for World of Tanks?

VRAM is the amount of RAM on your graphics card.

VRAM requirements in WoT are light. Even 4K only needs 2GB of VRAM. Any reasonably powerful card will have at least 2GB of VRAM. If you have to choose between a card with a more powerful GPU or a card with more VRAM, choose the card with the powerful GPU.

How Much RAM Does World of Tanks Need?

WoT is nice and light on system RAM usage. Even if you have 32GB of RAM, it will only use about 3.5GB. 2GB is the bare minimum, and 4GB is plenty. If you're building a new PC, you might as well get 8GB if you plan on playing more demanding games or having a bunch of stuff open in the background.

Do I Need an SSD for World of Tanks?

Having a decent SSD will making the game load faster, and load into matches faster (so that you can sit and watch the timer tick down). An SSD is a great investment for general PC use, but doesn’t make much difference for WoT.

How Many Frames Per Second (FPS) is Enough?

Frames per second (FPS) is a measurement of 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 disturbing.


A comparison of 50, 25, and 12.5 FPS.

We recommend computers that will achieve 60 FPS. Some gamers are satisfied with frame rates as low as 30, but that depends largely on the gamer and the game. Slower paced games can be enjoyable at lower framerates. Because of the fast pace of World of Tanks, it is most comfortable at 60+ FPS.

For examples of different frame rates, please see 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 only downside is that for gaming, higher resolution takes a correspondingly more powerful computer. The image below shows the difference in real estate between common resolutions.

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

World of Tanks Graphical Settings

Optimizing your graphical settings will give you the best combination of attractive visuals and smooth performance. World of Tanks scales well from Low to High settings. At Low settings, the game gets quite ugly, but can be playable on very inexpensive or old hardware. At High settings, the game looks very nice, but requires powerful hardware to run smoothly.

Choosing the Best Graphics Settings for World of Tanks

If your computer can't handle the game with settings on Maximum, try the following steps, ordered by how they affect the game's visuals:

Improve FPS (slightly) with little to no impact on visuals:

  • Disable Motion Blur Effect
  • Disable Track Traces
  • Disable Vertical Synchronization

Improve FPS (by a large amount) with a moderate impact on visuals:

In addition to the above steps:

  • Lower Antialiasing to FXAA
  • Set Shadow Quality to Low
  • Try lowering the Render Resolution and see if you mind the blurriness

If that wasn't enough, try the "Recommended" button, or start lowering:

  • Water Quality
  • Decals Quality
  • Lighting Quality
  • Extra Effects to Low

If you’re stuck on a really slow system, there are a couple more ways you can eek out more performance:

  1. Use the SD client, rather than the HD client. This is an option in the WoT Launcher settings.
  2. Change Graphics from Improved to Standard. This will use older, simpler rendering that doesn't look as good but performs better.

Detailed Graphical Settings

We have gone through the settings and tested their performance impact, and given a subjective opinion on how much visual impact we think they have. You can optimize your settings by turning up the settings with high visual impact and lower performance impact, and turning down the settings with low visual impace and high performance impact. Note that the performance numbers will change a bit with different hardware, and visual impact is subjective. So it's worth doing your own experimenting. A good place to start is to use the "Recommended" button, which will do a good job choosing settings for common hardware configurations.

Settings are ordered according to performance impact:

1. Graphics Quality

Visual Impact: Very High

Performance Impact: Very High, up to 60%

These are the graphical "presets." Maximum has everything turned all the way up, and looks very pretty. Minimum runs more than twice as fast and can help WoT run on a low-end system, but it looks ugly. If you don't want to mess with all the advanced settings, the medium and high settings do a decent job of balancing performance and appearance.

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Drag to compare the Minimum preset to the Low Preset.

Low has more foliage, and the terrain is less flat.

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Drag to compare the Medium preset to the High Preset.

Lighting improves moving up to Medium, and smoke no longer clips into the terrain. Moving up to High, lighting once again improves noticeably.

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Drag to compare the High preset to the Maximum Preset.

Moving up to Maximum, lighting improves again, and foliage is denser.

2. 3D Render Resolution

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Drag to compare 3D Render Resolution 60% to 100%.

Visual Impact: High

Performance Impact: High, up to 35%

This allows you to change the resolution of the 3D parts of the game. Lowering this setting can greatly improve your performance, but it will also make the game look blurry. It is similar to lowering your screen resolution or window size, except that changing 3D Render Resolution will not affect the 2D game interface (ammo count, minimap, aiming cursor, etc). This allows you to scale the interface separately. If you don’t mind the blurriness and want more performance, this can be a reasonable way to get it. The Dynamic adjustment will automatically adjust this setting as-needed, and is a good option. If you have a reasonably powerful system, leave it at 100%.

3. Screen Resolution / Window Size

Visual Impact: High

Performance Impact: High, up to about 35%

Rendering at a lower resolution means fewer pixels have to be calculated, greatly reducing the load on your graphics card. However, you also lose a lot of visual detail. And if your monitor has trouble scaling, or if you pick the wrong aspect ratio, the image can get stretched. It’s better to use the very similar 3D Render Resolution setting, so keep this at the native resolution of your screen unless you desperately need better performance.

4. Vertical Synchronization (Vsync)

Visual Impact: Moderate

Performance Impact: Depends, Low to very high (50%)

This setting synchronizes your framerate with your monitor's refresh rate to eliminate “screen tearing.” Your monitor can’t display more frames than its refresh rate, so if your FPS is consistently higher than your Display Refresh Rate, you can turn this setting on. Otherwise, turn it off, because it can cut your FPS in half.

4a. Triple buffering

Triple buffering uses a bit of extra RAM to greatly reduce the penalty for your FPS dipping below your monitor’s refresh rate. If you have Vsync enabled, turn on triple buffering.

5. Shadow Quality

Visual Impact: High

Performance Impact: High, up to 25%

This setting determines the quality of shadows in the game. Turning off the shadows looks really bad, but even the low setting looks pretty good, and reduces the performance impact to about 7%. Turning shadows to Low is one of the first things I would do to improve performance.

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Drag to compare shadows Off to Low.

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Drag to compare shadow quality Low to Maximum.

Not a very noticeable difference going from Low to Maximum, but this costs about 18% of your performance.

6. Antialiasing

Visual Impact: High

Performance Impact: Moderate, up to 15%

Antialiasing removes the annoying jagged edges of lines (jaggies). Some people can’t stand jaggies, while others don’t mind them, so whether AA is worth the performance impact is up to you.

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Drag to compare AA Off to FXAA.

The FXAA implementation in World of Tanks is better than nothing, and is very light on performance.

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Drag to compare FXAA to TSSAA-HQ.

TSSAA-HQ is much nicer, but also has a bigger drain on performance, giving a performance hit of roughly 15%.

7. Lighting Quality

Visual Impact: Moderate

Performance Impact: Moderate, up to 11%

Makes the lighting more or less realistic in subtle ways. It doesn’t look like a whole lot in the screenshots, but having lighting turned on higher makes the world feel more real and less flat. Low seems to be the same as Off, but the rest of the settings all the way up to Maximum make the lighting noticeably better. I like to keep it at maximum. This does not affect fires, explosions, or muzzle blasts.

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Drag to compare Lighting Quality Off to Medium.

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Drag to compare Lighting Quality Medium to Maximum.

8. Flora Density

Visual Impact: Moderate

Performance Impact: Low, up to 7%

This determines the density of grass and small bushes. Having this on higher settings makes the world look much less flat. This setting does not affect the bushes and trees that tanks can hide behind.

8a. Grass in Sniper Mode

This allows you to disable the grass and other flora in Sniper mode only -- useful if you have bad performance in Sniper mode.

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Drag to compare Flora Density Off to Maximum.

9. Extra Effects

Visual Impact: High

Performance Impact: Low, up to 6%

If you like your fiery explosions, muzzle blasts, and fires, this is the setting for you. Even low looks very nice and has less than a 3% performance impact, but I like to turn this all the way up.

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Drag to compare Extra Effects Off to Low.

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Drag to compare Extra Effects Low to Maximum.

10. Decals Quality

Visual Impact: Low

Performance Impact: Low, up to 5%

This influences lots of little extra details around the map. Having this turned up will make everything a little more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference.

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Drag to compare Decals Minimum to Maximum.

11. Motion Blur Effect

Visual Impact: Low

Performance Impact: Low, up to 5%

Motion blur appears when driving or moving the camera quickly. Personally, we turn it off.

12. Track Traces

Visual Impact: Low

Performance Impact: Low, up to 5%

These are the marks in the ground left by your tracks. We like the idea of the track traces, but don’t think they are implemented particularly well. They have weird lighting, and they are often disappearing right in front of you, which breaks immersion. We turn them off.

13. Water Quality

Visual Impact: Moderate

Performance Impact: Low, up to 5%

Water looks nicer on higher settings. This only affects water, so the impact it has will depend on how much water is on screen.

14. Texture Quality

Visual Impact: High

Performance Impact: Minimal, up to 3%

This affects the detail of textures. Since pretty much everything you look at in the game has textures, this will have a big impact on how crisp things look. The performance impact is very low, as long as your graphics card has enough VRAM: 1GB for 1080p, 1.5GB for 1440p, and 2GB for 4K. If your card has enough VRAM, turn this setting up.

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Drag to compare Texture Quality Low to Maximum.

15. Terrain Quality

Visual Impact: Moderate

Performance Impact: Minimal, up to 3%

This affects subtle enhancements to the terrain. The ground has a bit more depth and looks less flat when turned up. It seems like most areas only have two settings, High or Low.

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Drag to compare Terrain Detail Low to High.

16. Draw Distance

Visual Impact: Low

Performance Impact: Minimal, up to 3%

This adjusts the distance that objects “pop in” and go from being invisible to visible. It does not affect the distance at which you see tanks. Not much seems to be affected by this setting.

17. Post Processing

Visual Impact: Minimal

Performance Impact: Minimal, up to 2%

This affects the optical distortion shock waves from explosions and muzzle blasts, and other subtle effects. These effects are cool, but not very noticeable.

18. Foliage Quality

Visual Impact: Low

Performance Impact: Minimal, up to 2%

This affects the appearance of trees and bushes. Changing the setting changes the appearance, but it’s not a large difference in visual quality.

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Drag to compare Foliage Quality Low to Maximum.

19. Dynamic Change of Effects Quality

Visual Impact: Varies

Performance Impact: Varies, 0-50%

If you enable this setting, the game will attempt to auto-adjust the settings to get you a good balance of smooth framerate and performance. Does a decent job, but you can do better manually.

20. Enable Track Effects

Visual Impact: Low

Performance Impact: Minimal, 1%

This will kick up water, dust, or snow from your tracks.

21. Foliage Transparency

Visual Impact: Minimal

Performance Impact: Minimal, 1%

When the camera is looking through trees or bushes, having this setting on shows a few more transparent leaves.

22. Field of View (FoV)

Visual Impact: Moderate

Performance Impact: Minimal, 2%

This affects how wide a view is shown on the screen at once. A lower Field of View is similar to zooming in, and a higher FoV is similar to zooming out. I like the default setting of 95.

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Drag to compare FoV 70° to 120° .

Conclusion

World of Tanks requires a CPU with good single-threaded performance, and also requires a moderately powerful GPU to look best.

If you want to build a PC specifically for World of Tanks:

If you want to see how the standard Logical Increments builds handle World of Tanks: WoT Performance of LI Builds

You can find the specific hardware recommendations for these builds on our main page, where it is kept up to date weekly: logicalincrements.com.

If anything is out of date or wrong, or you have any other comments or suggestions, please let us know in the comments below or email Orion at orion@logicalincrements.com. Hopefully this has been helpful! May RNG smile upon you.

About Us

Orion has been building computers for 24 years. He has been playing WoT since the KV-1 was so Russian Biased that it was the KV-2. He enjoys playing arty, rushing field on Malinovka, and camping base in top tier heavies. He stopped failing at light tanks just in time for corridor meta.

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

Sources

  1. GameGPU: World of Tanks 9.9 GPU Test
  2. GameGPU: World of Tanks 9.13 APU Benchmarks