Baldur’s Gate 3 Minimum PC Specs And Building The Perfect Baldur Gaming PC
Baldur's Gate is a name that will make a bunch of old CRPG nerds get all wistful and misty-eyed. That game came out in 1998 on five CD-ROMs—with a sixth for the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion. It's based on the AD&D 2nd Edition rules, a set of regulations so archaic and arcane that your armor class gets better when it goes negative and there's no way to calculate your chance to hit without referencing a THAC0 chart.
Baldur's Gate II came along promptly in 2000 (along with a bunch of other games on the same engine, including Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment), but 23 years later, the third game is only now on the cusp of releasing after nearly three years in Early Access. A wholly-modern fully-3D RPG based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition ruleset, Baldur's Gate 3 actually looks pretty darn nice. Unsurprisingly, it wants a reasonably beefy machine to run well.
Sure, looking at the minimum requirements, you might not be too impressed. The "Intel i5 4690" refers to the Core i5-4690, a quad-core Haswell CPU that released in 2014. Meanwhile, the AMD FX-8350 came out in 2012, and performs more like a 2010 CPU. 8GB of RAM is midrange-smartphone-tier these days, and GPUs have been coming with 4GB of video RAM as standard since AMD's R9 290X in 2013.
Stepping up to the recommended system we see a gigantic jump in hardware capabilities, meaning that developer Larian Studios is probably going off the literal meaning of "minimum" with the requirements above. To have a good experience, you'll apparently want a six-core processor from a more recent vintage, double the RAM, and a remarkably beefy GPU with "8GB+" of onboard memory. The example GPUs given are the Radeon RX 5700 XT and the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER, both quite capable graphics processors for 1080p or 1440p gaming.
The real sticking point for most systems, whether or not you meet up to the "Recommended" specifications, is going to be the double-whammy requirement of 150GB of storage space, on an SSD. A hundred-and-fifty gigabytes is a lot of space regardless, but the absolute requirement of solid-state storage is going to be rough on folks who are still sticking with spinning rust storage for their Steam game libraries.
If you've already got a capable computer and simply need a solid-state storage upgrade, there's no shortage of quality options for reasonable prices right now. It might be tempting to just run out and grab whatever cheap SSD catches your eye, but you don't have to pay a lot more than the bottom of the barrel to get something considerably better.
- Acer Predator GM7000: 2TB for $109.99, 1TB for $59.99
- ADATA Premium: 2TB for $94.99, 1TB for $59.99
- ADATA XPG Gammix S70 Blade: 2TB for $99.99, 1TB for $54.99
- Corsair MP600 PRO LPX: 2TB for $109.99, 1TB for $67.99
- Mushkin Vortex Redline: 2TB for $110.99, 1TB for $64.99
- PNY XLR8 CS3040: 2TB for $99.99
- PNY XLR8 CS3140: 2TB for $110.49, 1TB for $59.99
- Silicon Power XS70: 2TB for $97.97, 1TB for $59.97
- Teamgroup Cardea A400 Pro: 2TB for $101.99, 1TB for $62.99
Basically all PCIe SSDs come with an M.2 connector these days, but if your system doesn't have a spare M.2 socket, you can always snag a card like this one or that one for lunch money to slot an M.2 SSD into an open PCIe slot. This shouldn't have any impact on performance or reliability—in fact, it's likely that your SSD will cool better in a PCIe rise than otherwise.
- Addlink S20: 2TB for $74.99, 1TB for $41.66, 512G for $24.22
- Crucial MX500: 2TB for $101.99, 1TB for $47.99
- Samsung 870 EVO: 2TB for $99.99, 1TB for $59.99
If your PC doesn't have an available M.2 socket or PCIe slot, a SATA SSD will still serve just fine for this and most other games. All of the drives up there are high-quality SATA SSDs with fast controllers and DRAM caches. The Crucial and Samsung drives are a little faster than the older Addlink model, but the difference isn't likely to matter considering we're still talking about SATA SSDs.
As for folks whose systems aren't really up to snuff and who are keen to upgrade, we can throw down an example reasonably-priced system build for your Baldur's Gate 3 gaming pleasure. You could spend a lot more than this, but how much it will improve your experience is debatable. Here's our picks for the best Baldur's Gate 3 system build on a budget:
- Intel Core i5-12600K 6P+4e-core 4.9 GHz CPU: $179.00 at Amazon
- Thermalright Assassin X120 CPU Cooler: $18.90 at Amazon
- Gigabyte B760M C LGA1700 Micro ATX Motherboard: $134.99 at Amazon
- G.SKILL Ripjaws S5 2x 16GB DDR5-6000 CL30 RAM: $99.99 at Amazon
- XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade 2TB PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD: $99.99 at Amazon
All told, with these parts, you're looking at a budget just over $1000 for what is frankly a pretty bad-ass gaming PC that will demolish Baldur's Gate 3 and just about anything else you're likely to throw at it. You've got nice expansion with three open M.2 sockets on the motherboard, as well as room to grow with a powerful PSU and forthcoming support for Intel's 14th-generation CPUs. Just install your operating system of choice and dive into the Forgotten Realms when Baldur's Gate 3 releases on August 3rd.