After playing Civilization games for nearly 20 years I was doubtful there was anything Firaxis games could throw at me that would impress. I was wrong. Civilization VI has turned out to be the masterpiece of the year. If you’re looking to play it, and you should be, it’ll require a bit more firepower than Civ V.
Wondering what it’ll take? Here’s a look at the advancement in system requirements over the previous generation.
|Game||Civilization VI Minimum||Civilization VI Recommended||Civilization V Minimum||Civilization V Recommended|
|CPU||Core i3 2.5GHz or AMD Phenom II 2.6GHz||4th generation Intel Core i5 2.5GHz or AMD FX 8350 4.0GHz+||Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0 GHz||1.8 GHz Quad Core CPU|
|RAM||4 GB||8 GB||2 GB||4 GB|
|OS||Windows 7 64 Bit / 8/1 64 Bit / 10 64 Bit||Windows 7 64 Bit / 8.1 64 Bit / 10 64 Bit||Windows® XP SP3/ Windows® Vista SP2/ Windows® 7||Windows® Vista SP2/ Windows® 7|
|Video Card||AMD 5570 or NVIDA 450||AMD 7970+ or NVIDIA 770+||256 MB ATI HD2600 XT or better, 256 MB nVidia 7900 GS or better||512 MB ATI 4800 series or better, 512 MB NVIDIA 9800 series+|
|Space||12 GB||12 GB||8GB||8GB|
As you can see the game itself is not all that demanding on its minimum settings. I’ve even seen people run it with integrated settings on an i3. That being said when I play civilization I prefer to do so with higher settings and textures. A washed out game just doesn’t have that same fun factor. So, here’s a $550 to $600 build that does a fantastic job of running this game as well as others.
Processors Under $500
Overclocking your CPU here when you won’t have a bottleneck with the GPU simply costs more money. A $30 to $50 CPU cooler along with a CPU that costs $60 to $70 more than the one we’re recommending just doesn’t seem worth it. All of that money could be allocated towards your GPU.
Instead, we’re going with the Intel i5-6400. It’s probably the best bang for your back gaming CPU out there right now at around $175. It gives you 4 core performance with turbo speeds of up to 3.3GHz. For TDP, it has a super low 65W. Ultimately it’s a more than capable gaming PC that won’t bottleneck our GPU or be a power hog.
Motherboard Budgets of Around $50
If you’re into eye candy it’s easy to get carried away by purchasing way more motherboard than you need. If you have a smaller budget, that mistake could have a serious impact on your overall gaming performance. Rather than go with features we don’t need, we’re going with the Gigabyte GA-H110M-A. It’s a good Skylake or Kabby Lake compatible motherboard that costs around $50. I’ve used it in the past without a problem.
The Gigabyte GA-H110M-A supports up to 32GB of ram at 2133MHz and has the right slots for any graphics card you want to put in in it. In addition, it has plenty of storage options with 4x SATA 6GB/s connectors. Rear ports include a PS/2, HDMI, RJ45, 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, and 3 audio jack ports.
Graphics Cards Under $200
We’re setting aside around $200 for our overall GPU budget. If you can get an RX 480 4GB or GTX 1060 3GB at that price point, you’ll be good to go in 1080p. Both of these graphics cards struggle a bit in 1440p, so if that’s your goal, I’d recommend a GTX 1070.
For the NVIDIA cards here is a post comparing the performance you’ll get on the 1060, 1070, and 1080.
I also really like the GTX 470 if it comes down to the $165 price point that AMD has promised since the release of the 1050ti. Any of these cards will certainly allow for good settings in Civilization VI with arguments on both sides of which is the better performer. If you’re looking for more information, see our post on the best $200 graphics cards for gaming.
Pictured: In a previous build, we tested the RX 480 and the GTX 970.
Solid State Drive
It’s time that PC builders move on from the standard hard drive. It’s ok to use them for capacity, but for your most important programs, a solid state drive is a huge upgrade. For this build, I’m recommending the A-Data Premier 240GB solid state drive. This drive is enough to hold your OS, favorite games, and programs.
Micro ATX Case
This is a budget micro ATX build. As such, we don’t have a ton to spend on the case. Still, I really like some of the desktop cases you can get in about the $30 price range. The steel Fractal Design Core 1000 Mini-tower is a sturdy case that comes with a removable dust filter, has a front USB 3.0 port, and even a 120mm fan. Since the system we’re building shouldn’t use over 300W at its peak capacity, it should be ok without additional cooling.
Bronze Certified Power Supply
We’re going with the inexpensive EVGA 430w power supply here. It’s regularly on sale for around $30 and has solid bronze certified efficiency. It’s certainly not the quietest power supply on the market but if you put it on the floor, you shouldn’t hear it.
2x4GB Configuration of DDR4 Memory / RAM
Our motherboard doesn’t support DDR4 memory over 2133MHz. For that reason, you should just go with the cheapest decent quality RAM that you can find. Anything more than this would just be a waste. Kingston’s HyperX Fury series is regularly on sale for around $40 for a 4x2GB configuration and is my recommendation for those who decide to go with this build.
I feel like this build accomplishes a lot for not very much money. You get an i5, a solid mid-range graphics card, and a lot of options all for less than $600. Would you change anything? Let me know in the comment section below.