Running DOOM Eternal on lower-end hardware

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DOOM Eternal is out tomorrow (or, more specifically, tonight), and while the original system requirements were high – if you wanted to put its graphics up to “Ultra Nightmare” settings – we explored the game and definitely found ways of getting lower end PC’s to play DOOM Eternal. So below we will go over some things we discovered regarding these weaker end graphics cards and what it is like to play DOOM Eternal on less performing GPUs, which are closer to the minimum game specs in terms of performance.

First off, you can check out our other articles, they go over lots of related information about game performance and graphics settings that also explore lower end hardware capability when running DOOM Eternal.

DOOM Eternal PC graphics and difficulty settings revealed

DOOM Eternal most important graphics options

DOOM Eternal PC performance report – Graphics card benchmarks

DOOM Eternal PC Low vs Ultra Nightmare Graphics Comparison

Our official DOOM Eternal review

If you have checked these out, then you would have seen that DOOM Eternal is still quite demanding, but the graphics settings we can adjust can lower these performance drains while not hugely affecting the visuals of this fast paced game. The trick we will be exploring is to maintain an optimum frame rate so the gameplay remains smooth enough to enjoy this fast paced action. Because should you dip below 35FPS then your game becomes too sluggish and your shooting accuracy is put out. If you go below 30 FPS then we suggest not bothering to really play it. 

You would have also noticed, in those articles, DOOM Eternal’s interesting feature: where it would not allow you to apply changes to your graphics settings if you exceeded the maximum VRAM capability of your GPU. That said, after running some new tests we found that it was not necessarily the case…

For instance, I have a GTX 980 Ti at home, which only has 6GB of VRAM. So when I select presets I can only go as high as Nightmare:

 If I decide to go above Nightmare to the MAX settings (Ultra Nightmare) I end up with this warning:

Turns out that only the first two graphics options, Texture Pool Size and Shadow Quality, actually increased the VRAM usage. That means that as long as you don’t exceed the maximum VRAM with those two options, you can turn up all the other graphics options up to Ultra Nightmare settings with no issue and apply the changes (though I do have to state that it will still have an impact on your performance).

(Notice how the VRAM hasn’t exceeded the maximum and isn’t glowing red, therefore I’m allowed to apply the changes).

In our PC Performance Benchmarks article, you will have also noticed that because of this VRAM issue some graphics cards weren’t allowed to go higher than High settings (or even Low in some cases). Now though, it means that even if your GPU can only reach Low, Medium, High or more in order to not exceed that VRAM maximum, you will still be able to tweak all the other options apart from those two that I mentioned earlier.

That also means that for those of you rocking, say, a GTX 970 and were worried about only being able to go up to High settings, you can definitely tweak those other options higher than that to get your desired look and still keep the game running at 60fps.

So obviously DOOM Eternal greatly benefits from higher VRAM capable cards. But if you’ve got a powerful enough GPU that has low VRAM, you can definitely turn those other settings up and get the game looking a little bit better at least.

Okay, so now what does this have to do with lower-end hardware? I’ve talked about using the GTX 980 Ti and GTX 970 which are not considered low-end graphics cards. But can older GPU’s actually even run DOOM Eternal? Well, the short answer is yes.

Not everyone will be able to play 60fps at 4K, or 1440p. Few might even struggle to get 60fps on 1080p, but with some tests that we conducted we found that almost everyone will be able to experience DOOM Eternal in at least a playable state.

Take the Radeon R7 370 for example, the version we have only has 1GB of VRAM. This 5 year old card is not very powerful, but running DOOM Eternal at 1080p on Low settings gave us a steady framerate of 39.7fps in it’s most hectic outdoor environments, and in some cases 43.8fps during the quieter indoor areas.

So after playing these sections for a little while, we can safely say that DOOM Eternal is perfectly playable at anything above 30fps. Whilst 60fps is desirable (and even more desirable, 144fps) you can easily still have fun playing DOOM Eternal with minimal impact on your skill or enjoyment. Anything below 30fps and we found that our accuracy was starting to decrease, and it made the game unplayable in our opinion. But as long as you keep that fps above 30, you’re good to go.

You may need to adjust the resolution to get your FPS back up (or use the new dynamic resolution feature) and while it won’t look as good – should you drop down from your monitor’s native resolution – we cant help but think its still worth doing it, to get to play this really great shooter. And lets face it, the original DOOM traditionally looked like a bag of pixelated hellblobs, but was still incredibly fun.

So that means that old cards, with not much VRAM, will be able to run DOOM Eternal at the Lowest settings with minimal impact on your enjoyment. Essentially meaning that almost anyone will be able to play DOOM Eternal and still have a good time.

Hopefully that will give you some insight as to whether or not your PC can run DOOM Eternal, if you were worried about your old graphics card not being able to handle it. Rest assured that when the game officially releases on Friday, you will be able to run it, one way or another.

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