Like all PC software, Unreal Engine 4 also has a list of system requirements, and to run it properly, the hardware in your system must meet their minimum requirements.
But we must keep in mind that these system requirements are often about the very basics of the hardware to run the software. Especially the minimum requirements. Even recommended requirements are somehow low, even outdated, to give the best performance.
These lists might be quite inconsistent, and colleagues from Asc INC have taken some time and made for us an intensive stress test on desktop PCs and laptops to learn what’s the best hardware to run Unreal Engine smoothly and at its max. According to the testing results, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware for Unreal Engine 4.
Processor or CPU
One of the most crucial pieces of PC hardware for Unreal Engine 4 development is undoubtedly the processor or CPU. The core computational piece of hardware that calculates almost everything you do, every piece of code. Therefore it has the most impact on overall performance and speed.
According to mentioned extensive CPU testing in Unreal Editor, we enlisted the few best choices for robust and reliable Unreal Engine development workstation.
For most users, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is a great choice. This CPU features 12 cores and 24 threads, strong enough to provide quite a good performance for most developers. More cores definitely always help, and if your budget allows it, and the AMD Ryzen 5950X is the next to consider to be a decent upgrade.
Unreal Engine 4 is quite heavily threaded. The more cores and threats the CPU has, the better. And For those who need the best possible performance for the tasks like lighting and compiling the engine from the source, here are a few high-core count CPUs for these tasks.
The AMD Threadripper 3960X is around 25% faster than the AMD Ryzen 5950X for tasks like texture baking and compiling, and the AMD Threadripper 3970X and 3990X will be even faster. Of course, if your budget allows it. However, these CPUs may be a bit slower for some other tasks. We usually recommend one of these high-core count CPUs for users that specialize in lighting or compiling.
Graphics Card or GPU
In Unreal Engine 4, the video card is used only to display the graphics on the screen. Many other applications are using the GPU for other tasks as well, but this has not yet been incorporated in the Unreal Editor. Having a faster video card will sure give you a higher FPS in the viewport or in a stand-alone game but likely will not improve your productivity in other tasks. However, a future update will allow alight mass baking, which uses GPU as well.
We recommend three video cards for Unreal Engine for robust work, depending on the budget and also if you plan to develop VR content as well:
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 10GB – This GPU has a great price/performance ratio and has plenty of power to handle multiple high-resolution displays without any problem.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB – This graphics card with 24GB of Video RAM is one of the best GPUs to use either for game development, VR content creation, Architectural Visualization, and so on. Because of the high VRAM capacity, it can run power even four 4K screens. It’s great for running games that are not that much optimized due to the extra power it holds.
- NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 24GB – Nvidia’s Quadros are able to sync multiple systems together along with video walls and certain video cameras. This is also a must for specific workflows for Virtual Production.
System Memory or RAM
The amount of RAM your system needs depends on your specific project especially building lighting, which is a very RAM-intensive task. However, as a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended for your system to have:
- 32GB of RAM – enough for most basic users
- 64GB+ of RAM – if you build lighting that may take hours to complete
Note that these are only the recommendations to cover the amount of RAM needed only for Unreal Editor. However, you would want to run other programs simultaneously, depending on your workflow. And this often includes running multiple different programs, each for a specific step in a workflow. So the more RAM, the better.
Storage – Hard Drives
There are two different recommended SSD types of storage drives depending on your specific needs and requirements:
- Standard SATA SSD – Samsung 860 EVO/Pro: SSDs are a must in modern workstations, especially as your primary drive containing the operating system and program installations. Sure, they are more expensive than traditional platter HDDs, but also unquestionably faster, allowing you to launch Windows and programs significantly faster. For the SATA type of SSD, the Samsung 850 EVO and EVO Pro line is recommended. The good advantage it has is being a very write endurant. The EVO Pro is rated for an even much higher number of writes, making it the best choice if you will often be writing data to the drive.
- PCI-E x4 M.2 NVMe SSD – Samsung 970 EVO and EVO Pro: SATA SSD drives are already so fast that it is rarely a performance bottleneck, and in most cases, you would not see much of a performance difference. However, some projects you will be able to work with faster with an NVMe drive which can make them very useful as a project drive if your budget allows it. NVMe drives are around five times faster than a standard SATA SSD but about 30% more expensive.
Note that old Platter HDD Drives are much much slower than the SSDs, but they are much more affordable and available in much larger capacities. But we do not recommend AT ALL using them as a system drive. They can be used only for long-term storage purposes these days.
The recommended usage for Unreal Engine is as follows:
- System and UE installation: SATA SSD – Includes your operating system and the Unreal Engine installation.
- Project Files: SSD/M.2 NVMe – It’s recommended to separate your project files onto a secondary drive. For most users, an additional SATA SSD would work fine, but for the best performance using an M.2 NVMe drive would benefit a lot.
- Optional Storage Drive: HDD – Again, these drives may be only used for long-term storage where high read/write speeds are not required.