Build a PC – Assassin’s Creed Unity

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So November continues to be a busy month, for that matter the last quarter has been a busy time for PC gamers with a slew of titles being released that are pushing pushing the PC platform and showing off what it is capable of. ACU or Assassin’s Creed Unity has been a title many have been waiting for. Following up on Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, ACU has some big shoes to fill when it comes to gameplay, graphics and more. I have spent 8+ hours playing the game and getting a sense of its performance across different hardware along with getting a sense of the game play, environments, story and all the aspects that make up the game. After spending some quality time I can tell you the developers have communicated ACU was a complete redesign from top to bottom and they had a strong desire to deliver an uncompromising “next gen” Assassins’s Creed; I see no issues with this statement and vision. The scope, detail and overall gameplay experience is impressive to say the least. PC gamers should be excited as Ubisoft and its development team have put out a title that is definitely demanding and pushes the the requirements of a PC system but does so to ensure a uncompromising experience. ACU is not only one of the most immersive and detailed game environments I have seen it also one of the best graphics engines I have seen. This goes from general textures to character and level design to the level of detail and “feel” created in game as your parkour your way through Paris. With that in mind this will definitely be a big factor in how I have defined the specifications for our Build a PC recommendations. Gamers be warned you are going to need a high performance system to realize all the effort that has been put into the environments, game play and characters. So let’s find out what kind of system and specifications you should have if you are building a PC with Assassin’s Creed Unity in mind.

WARNING:

Before we jump into the recommendations it is important to cover some points regarding ACU and its hardware requirements. Prior to the launch Ubisoft released the minimum and recommended system specifications. For many they were surprised at the demanding requirements not only in regards to the GPU but also to the CPU. After playing the game these recommendations are definitely merited. Part of this is the experience the game developers want the player to experience, the vast dynamic and detailed environments and characters require equally high performance PC hardware.

We are now two days post the launch of the game and their are reports and confirmation from Ubisoft from users who have communicated issues or concerns with the game. On my end I have had little to no issues. The only exceptions have been minimal and include a few instances of  glitched characters or “pop in characters”  as well as FPS reduction in cut scenes. Otherwise things have been pretty smooth. Outside of those two minor items the largest issue I have had is with online connectivity for some portions of the game. Ubisoft has already communicated they are hard at work preparing a patch to improve and resolve the issues noted as well as others being reported. * Update as of today the 14th of Nov. They have released a patch to help resolve many of the most immediate items reported.

With that noted I do feel it is important to communicate the game is currently very playable but is demanding. I am making this statement as there will be commentary I am sure that the game is not very “optimized” or is a poor port. I find this statement has little merit. Compared to Black Flag every aspect of the game has been significantly pushed. The fact that it offers similar levels of performance on current and new hardware that Black Flag did while doing much more is an indication of what is going on under the hood. The reason why this is important to understand is this game requires a update to date high performance PC  to ensure you have a playable and enjoyable gaming experience. While some titles are no where as demanding and offer scaling across a wide range of hardware including much more basic GPUs and CPUs you can see the developers want to maintain a very high level of detail and immersion within the game. This pushes up the requirements considerably.

Below is a quick recap of Ubisoft’s official system requirements.

Minimum System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8/8.1 (64-bit versions only)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.3 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or AMD Phenom II x4 940 @ 3.0 GHz
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 with 2GB VRAM
  • DirectX: 11
  • Hard Drive Space: 50GB

Recommended System Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or better
  • Memory: 8GB or more
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 with 3GB VRAM

Per our normal recommendations we have a few important items to detail first

  • We have used a single etailer / merchant in creating our pricing. While sites like PCPARTPICKER make it extremely easy to check for the lowest price across a multitude of etailers this may not always be the best deal. Many times varying levels of taxes, shipping and other factors can influence pricing. As such to make things streamlined and consistent we have defaulted to Newegg. Selecting Newegg generally ensures us a quality selection of components with competitive pricing. Newegg is a leader in PC components and has a strong logistics system to help ensure prompt processing time and shipment of product. Additionally going with a single etailer makes potential returns much simpler and less complicated. There is also the benefit of combo pricing which occurs when popular components are paired. Newegg also offers a wide range of continual mark downs, rebates etc and as such can offer up some really great savings on components.
  • We have not selected bottom of the barrel components. Here at PCDIY we strive to find a balance in quality, features, functionality and performance. While there are recommendations out their that may be at lower price points by using lower quality motherboards, cheaper chassis and entry quality PSUs our focus is in recommending components you can feel confident in overtime. More importantly that the system you build and its components offer a good experience whether it be in the assembly process or in the performance the system offers. Reliability & stability are important in any system and especially in a gaming system which is put under extended periods of load. Additionally quality components offer better validation, interoprability / compatibility as well as headroom and even future support ( via firmware for components like a motherboard ). Some examples of picking a very entry motherboard may be limited expansion, limited or reduced warranty coverage, limited port connectivity. Even more importantly firmware support may be more variable which can affect interoprability and compatibility of components. Beyond that the selection of better components like a motherboard can ensure superior functionality such as improved fan controls or superior integrated audio for improved music, movies or games. Further more higher quality components offer that “less cut corners” when it comes design this can affect factors like ESD and surge protection as well as many other factors.
  • All systems include an optical drive and a copy of Windows on disc. If you already have these items or plan to install your OS via USB flash drive then this cost can be eliminated. The same goes for the operating system. Should you already have a copy of Windows then you can eliminate the cost of the OS.
  • Last but not least the systems specifications selected are not locked. You can upgrade the CPU change the SSD or upgrade to a higher performing PSU. Our goal with the recommendations is to define a platform you can be confident in for enthusiast needs. Secondary or optional recommendations are listed along with the system builds.

Lastly prior to moving into the recommendations I would like to note I have not included AMD graphics cards due to issues that are presently being worked on between AMD and Ubisoft. The recommend NVIDIA solutions are currently favorable due to better performance and support for many unique game engine implementations that were developed through NVIDIA GameWorks initiative with Ubisoft.

 

Entry build

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/mtkmQ7

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus H97M-E Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($97.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 970 4GB STRIX Video Card ($356.13 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Versa H25 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.57 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)

Total: $977.61

Good

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jdJGVn

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Versa H25 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.57 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)
Other: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 ($569.00)

Total: $1232.49

Good with SSD

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xfRyQ7

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($110.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Versa H25 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.57 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)
Other: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 ($569.00)
Total: $1343.47

Good with SSD and upgraded PSU & Chassis

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DKxP99

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($110.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec TruePower Classic 750W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($64.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)
Other: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 ($569.00)

Total: $1377.90

Better

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/QjsxWZ

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($239.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC12DX 68.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($110.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 750W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($85.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)
Other: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 ($569.00)

Total: $1563.88

Best

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/83BWyc

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE_RD 78.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VII HERO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($204.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston Fury Black Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($158.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Green 2TB 3.5″ 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($82.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic Platinum 1000W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)
Other: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 ($569.00)
Other: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 ($569.00)

Total: $2602.88

Ultimate

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/zLhkzy

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE_RD 78.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VII HERO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($204.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston Fury Black Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung XP941 Series 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($249.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX Titan Black 6GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($1106.13 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX Titan Black 6GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($1106.13 @ Newegg)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic Platinum 1000W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)

Total: $3820.15

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