In a recent Tweet, Star Atlas shared the minimum and ideal specs needed to experience Showroom R1:

To experience the Showroom in its full glory, you’ll need a computer that meets at least these technical specs (along with 20 GB of clear storage):

CPU: Quad-core intel or AMD, 2.5GHz or faster
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics Card: Nvidia 1080, AMD 5700RX or faster

To run it in high quality, we recommend the following:

CPU: 8 core Intel or AMD, 3.5GHz or faster
Memory: 32 GB RAM
Graphics Card: Nvidia 2070 or faster, AMD Radeon 5700 XT

Mac computers are currently not supported in the UE5 environment. You will need to use a PC or other compatible hardware.

Showroom R1 will be unveiled at 426LiveNYK on September 29, 2022. Based on an informal Twitter poll conducted by The Hologram there are still a fair amount of people (~40%) that either lack the hardware or won’t be able to enjoy the full showroom experience.

The Hologram reached out to one outspoken hardware enthusiast in the community to get his thoughts on gaming rig essentials. What follows is his “subjective guide.”

PC Gaming Essentials
by Prime Mover (a member of The Club)

Just a caveat, I consider myself a hobbyist or “fan” of the hardware side of PC gaming. There are probably members of the community who are actual experts and do this for a living. That’s not me.

This guide will not drill down into the differences between DDR5 and DDR4, or list all the differences and options of a Power Supply Unit (PSU) or motherboard. It is a general overview for people who never had an interest in a gaming PC until they fell in love with Star Atlas.

The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

Think of this component as a genie that can render the mind-boggling complexity of a AAA game.

The first consideration is whether you want a GPU that will work now, or something that will run Showroom and other AAA games decently. It will be years before we have a playable game and we don’t know if the game will demand performance. For example, will avatar v. avatar (PVP) battles and dogfighting be integral for success? Or, will it be more of a real time strategy (RTS) game?

Some may think that a Nvidia 3080, AMD 6800 XT or even a Nvidia 3090 is essential but, personally, a Nvidia 3060 Ti or AMD EX 6600 would probably be perfect for now and a few years. The truth is that someone with a basic gaming laptop or console would probably be astonished at the capabilities of a Nvidia 3060 on a 1440p monitor let alone a Nvidia 3090 on a 4K 144hz monitor.

Prices are in flux right now but if you are fine with 1440p gaming, a 3060 Ti build is a ton of bang for your buck. Due to the Ethereum Merge as well as the upcoming 4000 series from Nvidia and the Radeon RX 7000 series from AMD, prices may continue to drop. If you are on the fence about a new PC, check and see how your current PC stacks up to the minimum specs then dive in if we see a massive crash in price. You can compare your GPU as well as different cards here.

Note: AMD or Nvidia? Which one to choose? This is a hornet’s nest. Team Red or Team Blue is almost a religion for some PC Gamers. Generally speaking, AMD GPUs are cheaper and excellent for 1080/1440p gaming. Nvidia is geared towards 4k and “ray tracing” (a method of graphics rendering that simulates the physical behavior of light) and therefore more expensive.

Consider your budget. It may not matter in the end which one you choose. Plus, Intel has entered the scene. This may not change the market for a few years, but it is great for consumers to have another option. Once you settle on what GPU you want to buy take some time drilling down before you pull the trigger.

The CPU (Central Processing Unit)

The CPU is like the nerve center of your rig. Think of it like the central office where all the important decisions are made. When you end up downloading the Showroom, the file will be stored on your Hard Drive (SSD) and when you play, the files are sent to your RAM. But now those files (and the GPU) need to be told what to do. Think of the CPU also as some godlike being that can set “time (clockspeed) so all the components can perform the tasks at a certain speed.

The CPU also handles the games “physics” and the AI instructions along with all the input from you, the player. Your GPU is often a main focus, but the CPU is the writer and the director of the game. It describes where the game assets are and how to render them on your monitor.

The Intel i7 12700KF will handle Star Atlas with ease. It has 8 performance cores and 4 efficient cores and hits the core count suggested for high setting play. It runs at 3.6 GHz, but with overclocking (branded as Turbo Boost Max Technology) you will get to 5 GHz.

GHz is the clock speed of the CPU. Think of this as how many instructions the CPU can handle per second. This card is able to clock in at 3.6 billion cycles per second. And an Intel CPU with K in the model number has an unlocked “multiplier” for easy overclocking when paired with a motherboard chipset that supports overclocking.

Choosing a CPU is an important piece of the puzzle, but if you decide to choose a less expensive option you would still have 8 cores with an i7-10700k or an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.

CPU Cooler (as well as case airflow)

The CPU could overheat and degrade performance if not properly cooled. Prebuilts are often shipped with “All In Ones” (AIOs) to minimize damage during shipping. An 8 core CPU could also have an air cooler installed and not melt your rig, no need to worry if the one you select does not have a liquid cooler. At this level an air cooler will be fine. But I have to admit, liquid coolers look nice.

The case is glass covered with side vents. A mesh front is ideal. If you find another System Integrator (SI) with a mesh cover that would be perfect. The 3 fans in front pull in air and the one fan in the back is for exhaust. Make sure to have enough open space around the tower to allow for proper air flow.

HDD/SSD

When you first buy or build your rig you may think: “1 terabyte (TB) is more than enough.” Your HDD will be where you download everything–your long term storage. The reason many gaming PCs have an SSD (Solid State Drive) is that they can load games much faster than a Hard Disc Drive (HDD).

This will offer very fast load times and can be thought of as the “library” of your system. 1TB could be enough storage if you don’t play a ton of games but you will be able to add another SSD as well as an external HDD if you need more space.

RAM

RAM is like the rig’s short term memory. It is not stored on the hard drive and is reset when the computer is rebooted. The way I think about RAM is the more RAM the less bogged down your rig will be. With 32GB of RAM you could run UE5 or Blender smoothly and begin to create 3D models. And if there are dynamic portions of Star Atlas, like intense dog fighting or avatar v avatar battles, more RAM will offer that sweet buttery high frame rate that is usually the most noticeable upgrade from gaming consoles or entry level gaming PCs.

Motherboard

The motherboard connects all of your performance-related computer parts and provides the circuitry and structure for the GPU, RAM, SSD, and CPU to work.

When I focused on this section, I realized how confusing this step can be, especially with all the different manufacturers and different chipsets. It ends up being a review reading slog. In the end, many just choose a board that supports the components they want to purchase.

If this is new to you and you decide to build your first gaming PC, use this guide as a directional map.

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

PSUs are essential because different components have different power requirements. If one day you upgrade your GPU you may need to also upgrade your power supply. If you decide to buy your own parts and build, I would spend some time on this choice and try to figure out if you want to upgrade in the near future. If you build with a 3060 and plan on grabbing a 4090 in a year, really dig deep and keep an eye on what PSU works well with the new cards.

Honestly, this guide would wander far into the weeds if we started going over Power Supply Certification and total draw needed, etc. I think these two links (here and here) will be a better way for new people to PC gaming to bookmark when they decide they want to build their first rig.

Monitor

I am one of those people who loves a great monitor. However, this can get expensive. Gaming monitor manufacturers seem to target two camps.

  • The FPS gamer: This kind of gamer wants to play at the highest frame rate possible. In order to max out frames, they often turn settings to low. If you watch an FPS streamer you may notice that the rendering is “bad.” Rocks look flat, almost cartoonish. Due to the stream and your monitor you are not seeing the frame rate that they are enjoying. This type of enthusiast would rather have the highest HZ (i.e., how many times per second the display is able to draw a new image), as possible in order to maximize their chance at winning a fight. Will there be aspects of Star Atlas that this type of gaming is a factor? We simply do not know. But if there is a game loop that mimics the intensity of Apex Legends or the precision of Valorant then you may decide it is better to sacrifice fidelity for performance.
  • The Pretty Pixel 4k Gamer who wants every game to run at 4k: Do you want to feel you are IN the world of Star Atlas? Do you want to walk your Avatar over to your Sunpaa, zoom in and marvel at the opulent details? Are you looking forward to playing Star Atlas in VR? Is the idea of going 100% roleplay and even cosplaying at your battle station thrilling? Well, prepare your bank account (looking at you SAMSUNG Odyssey Ark S55BG970NN)!

If you want to focus on immersion, choose a 3-panel set up. Or, you can go the Ultrawide route. The size you choose depends on how close you will sit. Do you have a dedicated area now? Or, will you need to purchase a desk and define a new space for your rig. There are different panel types (QLed, LCD and LED). There are also monitors that try to offer 4k along with high refresh rates. If you are running a high end PC that can push those panels then you could have the best of both worlds. This is also a choice you will have to make. I think we have enough time until we are spending the majority of our gameplay in UE5. Time for new panel types to come out, just as prices come down. We also have to consider that we will have the option to play in VR.

For most, a nice 1440p Ultrawide monitor would hit the spot. Check out the LG 34GP83A-B 34 Inch 21:9 (34GP83A-B) or the BenQ MOBIUZ EX3410R 34. Both are nice options.

At the end of the day, picking a monitor is personal – something you will decide what looks and performs the best for your situation. Here’s a link that to get you started: Tom’s Hardware Guide

Control Input

For now, it seems there will be the standard options for user control. Mouse and Keyboard (MnK) and HOTAS/HOSAS. At this time, the Star Atlas team has not indicated if there will be controller support, but both MnK and controllers are probably something the community is familiar with.

When the Star Atlas Flight Module video dropped, it seemed clear that a HOTAS was something new to many out there. This is another rabbit hole and I will opt to share with you a few guides. In general, you can choose between Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) or Hands on Stick and Stick (HOSAS). You can go deeper and also have rudder pedals and even a mock cockpit. For most, being able to fly with a HOTAS or HOSAS will be more than enough and hit the immersion spot right on the head.

You can watch a few videos (just search HOTAS vs HOSAS) and once you delve deeper between the options, you can then decide which one will work best for you and perhaps soon you will be flitting around the Star Atlas flying module with your cool new gear. As my wife often hears: “Yes, it is a necessity, this is more than a game.”

Here are some gear options for those who are interested:

X56 HOTAS

FCS Flight Pack

Virpul Controls

Sample Rig

The following set up will allow you to enjoy the game at high settings, stream, video-edit and even explore Blender and other 3D modeling assets (although 32g of RAM would be the best choice for Blender).

Rig:

iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Computer Desktop SlateMono 237i
Current retail price: $1699.99

Components:

GPU: GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB
CPU: Intel i7-12700KF 3.6GHz
CPU COOLER: (Not Listed, but if product pics are accurate it is a 240mm All In One (AIO) liquid cooler. 3 x 120mm fans (Intake) and 1 x 120mm fan (exhaust). RGB, because RGB increases frames. 😉
Motherboard: Unknown
RAM:16GB DDR4 RGB
HDD: 1TB NVMe SSD (solid state drive)
Power Supply Unit: Not listed, but would need to be 750-1000 watt gold rated.

This is an example of a prebuilt SI (System Integrator) machine and not a product recommendation. This is just an example of what you would look for if you were building a rig, or searching for a prebuilt computer. But you have other options:

  • You could source everything yourself and save money; there are many guides on Youtube that will guide you through the build.
  • You could choose an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and also save money. Think of this as a plug and play. You will be limited by your ability to upgrade in the future, but for some this may be the best option.
  • Finally, you could choose from many different SIs out there like iBuypower, ABS, Cyberpower and Skytech. You will pay more with this option, but if time is limited and you would rather have the option to upgrade but not build from the ground up–this could be the choice that works best.

I am treading carefully. PC Gamers have very strong opinions. I once again want to make clear that there are always many or “better” options. But for someone new, there are just too many confusing choices.

A quick note for Mac Users

Although I do not use Mac, there should be multiple ways for Mac users to be able to enjoy Showroom. Here is a resource that may help.

Last remarks

I hope this guide will help a few in the community discover what options will be best for their circumstances. I apologize if I have gotten things wrong, or if I focused on information that did not seem to matter. I consider myself a fan of this side of gaming and have tried to point the community in the right direction.

I know there are people who are actual experts in this field and if they are prompted to share their knowledge, that would be awesome.

About The Hologram

Articles published by opinion columnists do not represent the views of The Hologram as an organization. The Hologram is committed to the ideals of community representation and free speech.

The Hologram is Star Atlas’ first and only independent news network. Our vision is to become the most trusted source of information about Star Atlas and a voice for the whole community. Readers can expect a high standard from our reporting and staff. Our promise to you: we will not publish anything that hasn’t been thoroughly researched and based on the best facts available.

The Hologram is not endorsed or paid by the Star Atlas team. Any information published by The Hologram nor its writers should be considered as informational in nature and does not constitute any financial advice.

Author