What Graphic Settings are CPU Intensive? | QR #43

Nowadays, setting up your game settings can be difficult with so many different options to choose from. You’ll rarely see a PC setup with an equally strong CPU and GPU and as a result, what we have to do is figure out which setting impacts our worst component of the two and lower just that to keep as much of the image quality as possible. In today’s article, you’ll find out which setting affects your CPU. Let’s do this!

What Graphics Settings are CPU Intensive?

Anything that adds lots of stuff on your screen tends to be CPU intensive. Such settings are:

  • Shadows
  • Some types of Anti Aliasing (e.g. MLAA)
  • Volumetric Clouds
  • Level of Detail
  • View Distance (Depending on the game)
  • Water Reflections
  • Dynamic Lighting
  • Particle Quality (e.g. Fog)
  • Post-Processing
  • Nvidia PhysX (Optional)

Important Notes:

  1. Depending on the game and how it handles the Level of Detail (LoD), view distance can be processed either on the CPU or GPU. In most games, it mostly uses GPU and a little bit of CPU power. For more details on the impact of View Distance, you can check here!
  2. Nvidia PhysX can also be rendered either on the CPU or the GPU. When running the software on the GPU, you will experience higher FPS as it has more cores available to handle the process. For more details on how PhysX works, you can click here!
  3. Some of the settings above can be more intense than others but this will highly depend on the game itself.


Having a strong processor is just as important as a strong graphics card since half of the game settings are processed there. To get the best experience, you need to have both or you might just end up with a “bottleneck”. In my next article, I’ll talk about the graphic settings that are GPU intensive instead. If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments. Until next time, take care!

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