Best Starfield graphics settings PC – high fps and performance

Best Starfield graphics settings PC – high fps and performance
Amaar Chowdhury Updated on by

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Bethesda’s latest game needs no introductions, so let’s get straight into the best graphics settings for Starfield. We’re going to be covering the options you’re going to want for high performance and FPS, while also giving options for a high-fidelity experience.

Unlike Fallout 4 and Skyrim, Starfield is running from the Creation Engine 2, the latest iteration of their game engine. Improvements to the graphical architecture, alongside developments to hardware have allowed Bethesda to squeeze the most out of the graphics of Starfield, and you’re going to want to have a look at the Starfield system requirements before rigging yourself up with the best graphics settings.

With an extensive wealth of planets in Starfield, exploration is going to be vast and immersive. You’re going to want to rig up your game to maximise the experience, which you’re going to be able to do with a few key tweaks to the game’s graphic options. Starfield performance is not something to be particularly worried about, so you’re going to have a smooth time with this game. It’s also worth noting there a number of mods coming out for the game already – keep up to date with all of them in our Starfield mods guide.

Best graphics settings for Starfield

We had a review copy of Starfield, meaning that we had a while to get to grips with the best graphics options for the game. As noted in our performance overview, Starfield burns bright, and so does its performance. We tested the game using an RTX 3070 FE and Ryzen 5 3600 with 16GB RAM.

You might be wondering what the Render Resolution Scale toggle does, which we’ll go into depth on. Starfield’s Render Resolution Scale is a feature that encourages players not to run the game at your monitor’s native resolution. Instead, you’re going to use the Render Resolution Scale, alongside FSR2 to max out the game’s resolution without taxing your hardware as much. While there isn’t native DLSS in the game, thankfully there’s a mod out there that will bring it to the game for you.

✓ Amaar’s advice

Watch out for the Render Resolution Scale

While bumping up the Render Resolution Scale might give you a higher fidelity image – you do run the risk of putting strain on your CPU. If this is the case, keep it lower than 75%.

There’s also a slew of options such as indirect lighting, volumetric lighting, GTAO and VRS, all of which might seem slightly alien technical jargon.

Another thing we’d recommend for all set-ups is to completely disable the Film Grain Intensity which, while it won’t impact performance heavily, will make your game look garbage if enabled.

Best graphics settings for Starfield for FPS and performance

To begin with, we tested out Starfield with the Render Resolution Scale set to roughly 75%. Frame rate was running smooth, so we decided to bump it up to 100%, after which we saw that image quality was noticeably smoother with little to no frame-rate drops.

However, as render resolution scaling is a GPU intensive process – we attributed this to the 3070 FE which was powering our gaming PC. If you’re seeking out FPS and performance, you might not have the same capabilities in your graphics card, and we’d recommend scaling down the render resolution.

If you’re struggling for performance in Starfield, you’re going to want to approach Shadow Quality, Volumetric Lighting, GTAO Quality, and Contact Shadows as your first point of call. While all of these are important in improving the visual fidelity of the game, disabling them drastically increased our performance across the board.

Similarly, we found that turning on motion blur helped to cover up any low FPS and stuttering we experienced.

We also found that toggling shadow quality also improved performance in some areas – especially on land.

  • Borderless Full Screen: On
  • Window Size: Choose depending on display hardware
  • Dynamic Resolution: On
  • Render Resolution Scale: 75%
  • Graphics Preset: Custom
  • Shadow Quality: Low
  • Indirect Lighting: Medium
  • Reflections: Medium
  • Particle Quality: Medium
  • Volumetric Lighting: Low
  • Crowd Density: Low
  • Motion Blur: Medium
  • GTAO Quality: Low
  • Grass Quality: Medium
  • Contact Shadows: Medium
  • VSync: Enable, unless you have a VRR or G-Sync monitor / display
  • Upscaling: FSR2 (if you have a compatible GPU)
  • Sharpening: Default
  • Enable VRS: On
  • Film Grain Intensity: Off

These settings should help you squeeze out the best graphics settings for performance and FPS in Starfield, though if you’re still struggling you might consider rigging yourself up with the best graphics card and best CPU for Starfield.

Best graphics settings for Starfield for high fidelity experience

If you’re looking to enjoy Starfield with the most visual fidelity, you’re going to need to make sure your gaming PC is up for the job. While we don’t think that Starfield is particularly graphically intensive – in fact we know it’s a game that relies much more on your CPU, it’s still going to be pretty taxing. However – if you’re ready to squeeze the most out of the game, you’re going to want to ensure that you have FSR2 enabled, while also maxing out many of the lighting and shadow settings. Alongside that, you’re going to be able to crank the Render Resolution Scale up to the max.

  • Borderless Full Screen: On
  • Window Size: Maximum
  • Dynamic Resolution: On
  • Render Resolution Scale: 75%
  • Graphics Preset: Custom
  • Shadow Quality: High
  • Indirect Lighting: High
  • Reflections: High
  • Particle Quality: High
  • Volumetric Lighting: High
  • Crowd Density: High
  • Motion Blur: Off
  • GTAO Quality: High
  • Grass Quality: High
  • Contact Shadows: High
  • VSync: Enable, unless you have a VRR or G-Sync monitor / display
  • Upscaling: FSR2 (if you have a compatible GPU)
  • Sharpening: Default
  • Enable VRS: On
  • Film Grain Intensity: Off

We’d recommend making sure you have motion blur disabled as this is only going to cover up the crisp visuals and smooth frame rate. Alongside that, you’re going to want to make sure you have updated your graphics drivers to the latest.

Tips for getting better performance in Starfield

Starfield doesn’t have access to DLSS, though there is already a mod that implements this. For now though, we’ve got a pretty good grasp on what the graphics options are going to give us with Bethesda’s latest title. If you’re experiencing issues with crashing, it’s possible that you’re trying to play Starfield on too ambitious graphics settings. In that case, have a go at setting yourself up on the performance settings instead.

There’s also a community patch out there, alongside performance optimisation mods so make sure you have a quick scan for what’s the best route for your hardware.

How well does Starfield run with these graphics settings?

We tested out Starfield on two different graphics cards – both of which varying in quality and price-range. First, we tested out our ‘performance graphics’ settings on an RTX 2060 / Ryzen 7 3700X, and then the with and RTX 3090 / Ryzen 7 3700X.

Starfield with an RTX 2060

The RTX 2060 performed as expected: not that well.

  • High – 29 Average FPS
  • Medium – 37 Average FPS
  • Our performance graphics settings – 40 Average FPS
  • Low – 45 Average FPS

These weren’t terrible benchmarks, and they certainly indicate that the game is playable. However, you’re probably going to want to play the game on a slightly better GPU if you can.

Starfield with an RTX 3090

The RTX 3090 performed a lot better, however there’s still some concerns here.

  • Ultra – 65 Average FPS
  • Our high fidelity graphics settings – 76 Average FPS
  • High – 73 Average FPS
  • Medium – 82 Average FPS
  • Low – 89 Average FPS

It’s most likely that the game’s performance was hampered by the Ryzen 7 3700X inside the gaming PC, especially as the game is so heavily dependant on CPU usage. With that in mind, we’d recommend taking these benchmarks with a pinch of salt. At the end of the day, the game seems perfectly playable on low-end hardware, though you’re really going to struggle to pull high frame rates out of the game in most instances. You’re going to struggle even more with the Steam Deck, though our best settings should have covered.

Is Nvidia or AMD better for Starfield?

With the exclusive partnership between AMD and Starfield, it’s no wonder that Team Green’s fans are left wondering if their new Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti will be able to cut its teeth on Bethesda’s latest. To get the best performance out of the game – it’s highly recommended that you use AMD’s FSR 2 to increase your frame-rate without hitting the performance too hard. However, as this is an AMD software, you’d be right in worrying about if it’s going to come at a cost to Nvidia users.

The good news is that there’s a DLSS mod out there for the game. As a side note – this mod seems to have kicked up a stir in the gaming community, especially at the news that the modder is earning over $40K+ per month. As long as you’re well above the minimum recommended specs, and own an RTX graphics card – you’re going to be able to run DLSS on the game. This will drastically improve your performance, even over those using AMD’s frame generation. At least Nvidia users have something to gloat over AMD Radeon RX users now. At the end of the day, however, FSR vs DLSS is all up to personal preference.

The longer that the game’s been out – it’s becoming more and more apparent that the performance is pretty reliant on having a beefy Intel Core processor, or AMD Ryzen CPU. As long as you’re playing from a decent CPU and GPU – you’re going to be alright. In the meantime, you can check out our Starfield beginners guide for the latest tips and tricks.

Can you play Starfield with 8GB of VRAM?

Unlike a slew of other games recently released, Starfield doesn’t seem to experience similar issues with VRAM. Realistically, 8GB VRAM should be more than enough for Starfield.