Everything you need to know about building a PC for Rust 2020-2021

Content of the article: "Everything you need to know about building a PC for Rust 2020-2021"

To clarify the title of this post, this is simply a list of observations to help you decide what parts to get for your next PC build that are ideal for high-end Rust gameplay. I’ve talked with many players in the community ranging from admins, content creators, and veteran clan leaders, and have compiled a 'guide' to help you, the community, build your next PC.

Why am I posting this? I originally commented on a post back in February, where a fellow r/playrust Redditor asked for PC specs for optimal gameplay in Rust. Having recently built my own computer for Rust and video-editing, I left a comment with my discord tag and shared my knowledge with this user. Since then, I have received numerous discord messages from r/playrust users asking the same question, and have decided to share my updated findings in this post for the community. I will be happy to answer any questions in the comments.

Information was gathered from a variety of interactions with players throughout the Rust community, including admins, as well as 6500+ hours of in-game experience.

I’ve summarized my findings in this list:

Don’t measure the performance of your computer solely based on Rust.

If you’re looking to get a new PC simply because you’re getting 50fps at bandit camp when you’re averaging 90+ fps everywhere else, don’t. Rust is still in development and many optimizations are needed before the game is finalized and can run smoothly. What a lot of people don’t understand is that performance is unique to every server. Obviously, playing on a 10x no-decay server three weeks into wipe certainly won’t yield you the same performance that you might get on a freshly wiped monthly server. That’s just how it is. Even content creators with high-end PC’s suffer from the game’s poor optimization. Judging your hardware based on the FPS values that you get in any unoptimized game is not an accurate way to measure your computer’s capability. If you’re unsure whether you’re in need of an upgrade, try running a benchmark test with programs like 3DMark (free on steam) where you can compare your score with other computers, and determine your computer’s ability to handle current Triple-A titles.

You don’t need high-end parts to handle Rust.

A common misconception that I often see in threads related to building PCs ‘for Rust’ is that you need NVIDIA’s latest ZTX 6060 powered by Intel’s 16th generation quantum-processor with a custom liquid nitrogen cooling system made by NASA. Only then would you average 80 fps at bandit camp, if you’re lucky. Truth be told, you don’t really need the latest and greatest to get optimal 1080p or 1440p gameplay in Rust. I think it’s the culmination of FPS-drops and constant stutters that gives players the impression that their hardware is due for an upgrade–when in reality, it’s the fault of the game. This is why you might see a lot of content creators on Twitter disappointed when their $3000 setups don’t yield the 200 fps that they expected. I won’t be going into much detail about whether to get the 2000 or 3000 series cards, as I think that’s more of a personal decision. What I will say though is, if you’re on a budget and only plan on playing Rust and other Triple-A titles in 1080p, the 2000 series is for you. NVIDIA’s higher-end 2000 series cards will serve you just fine for most Triple-A expected in 2021 and its lower-tier models are more than enough GPU power for Rust specifically. However, if you plan on future-proofing your PC and want to game CyberPunk 2077 in 4k, the 3000 series might be an option to consider. In brief, I found out that players with RTX 2080ti’s and 9900K processors didn’t show much of a difference in performance compared to players with lower specs like RTX 2060’s with cheaper 8th/9th generation processors (i5-9600k/i7-9700k). Which brings me to my next observation.

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Rust is a very CPU-intensive game.

If you’re deciding on which piece of hardware to go ‘all-out on’ for your Rust PC, make it the CPU. Rust is a heavily CPU-intensive game and does not rely on your GPU as much as your processor. Rust use to be both a CPU and GPU-intensive game back in 2018 and years prior, but the devs have since oriented the game to rely more on your CPU in an effort to reduce bugs and other issues caused by utilizing the GPU. This makes it efficient for gamers on a budget that might not have enough to upgrade their entire system but can shed a few bucks on a new CPU. Obviously, I don’t think I need to say this if you’ve understood everything I’ve said so far, but for all the lay people, you want to make sure you don’t bottleneck your computer. If you plan on running the game in a higher resolution than 1440p, you want to make sure your graphics card can keep up with your processor. If you’re trying to play Rust in 4K with your brand new Intel i9-9900k or Ryzen 3900X, you’re most certainly going to need to upgrade that 3-year old graphics card. If you have no idea what I’m saying, please do some research on computer bottlenecks.


Yes, RAM Speed Matters. As far as RAM size goes though, you should be fine with 16GB. If you do lots of video editing or plan on having multiple applications open while playing Rust (or just in general), I highly recommend 32GB just to have that extra wiggle room and avoid any laggy windows or potential stutters. Moving forward. One of the conclusions that became apparent to me in my research was that RAM Speed has a noticeable impact on your performance in Rust. My findings showed that DDR4 RAM with a 3600Mhz clock speed had an average idle FPS of 188.5, while 3200MHz had a noticeably lower average idle FPS of 163.5. However, under heavy load, the difference in performance was not as noticeable as the former.

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The following table was generated on a freshly wiped private server. Values were taken at 15-second intervals for each trial. Idle Scenario consisted of staring into a forest while standing still. Heavy Load scenario consisted of standing in ~30 spawned in player ragdolls that were piled on top of each other to partially simulate the effects of a large fight.

DDR4 Clock Speed Idle FPS Heavy Load FPS
3600MHZ 187/188/190 63/54/69
3400MHZ 173/172/174 62/59/54
3200MHZ 163/165/162 53/51/52
2600MHZ 122/123/125 34/29/34

A personal anecdote. I originally owned 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM but more recently found out about the benefits of a higher clock speed. When I upgraded to 3600Mhz, I noticed a significant performance boost in large group fights and big raids, where entities were constantly being generated (high-external walls, heavy player activity, explosions, gibs, weapon projectiles, player ragdolls, body bags, etc.).

M.2 SSD vs SSD vs HDD

As far as drives go for Rust, the only noticeable difference is the significantly slower load times for hard-disk drives (HDD) when compared to solid-state drives (SSD) and M.2 NVME’s. This observation is pretty self-explanatory. Given that Rust uses procedurally generated maps as opposed to static ones, clients are forced to load all the assets and map data prior to joining a server. Nonetheless, your drive has no impact on the actual performance of the game once you load into a server. If you’re using an HDD, it’s in your best interest to buy an SSD for the speed alone, it’ll save you time in the long run. As far as M.2 drives go, there’s was no dramatic difference in loading times for Rust when I made the switch from a solid-state drive. If you play other games where you constantly find yourself staring at a loading screen, M.2 drives might be of interest to you, but no significant benefits for Rust.


Just to emphasize, this guide is not meant to be a solution to every Rust PC problem. I'm just sharing the observations that I noticed from the extensive research I did to build a PC that would be most efficient for Rust. If you have any questions please reply on this thread.

Here is the current build I use to play Rust and handle other demanding tasks.


NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 Super 8GB VRAM

I chose the 2070 super because it’s the perfect middle ground in the 2000 series, and offers quite a reasonable compromise with the 3000 series. In regards to Rust, the 2070 gives me more than enough GPU power to smoothly game while rendering a short video in 1080p60fps. I also play titles like GTAV and Valorant, where I average well over 150+ fps in 1080p, on a dual monitor setup.


i7-9700K (overclocked to 5.0Ghz)

I chose the i7-9700K because I figured the additional $150 I would be spending for the i9-9900K wasn’t justified by my needs, which consisted of games, school, and video editing–all of which can be accomplished by the 9700k. This processor did not let me down in Rust and always gave me the advantage in any server I played in. Rarely did I ever drop below 60 or 70 fps in heavy load scenarios, and often ran around the map with an average of ~110 fps give or take. Obviously, that number would change depending on server and population, but I would always be on the high side of the servers’ average fps compared to other players.


G.Skillz TridentZ RGB 2x16GB DDR4-3600

I chose 32GB over 16GB for personal reasons (server hosting, rendering, etc.). However, my Rust never uses more than 11GB of RAM, so I’m left with plenty of memory to work with on the side. I chose 3600MHz clock speed to maximize the performance of my computer and get the most frames under heavy load as I possible.


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If your questioning buying a new PC because your frames in Rust are bad, run a benchmark test to get an accurate evaluation. Don't judge your hardware's capabilities off Rust alone. Rust is a heavily CPU-intensive game and does not rely on your GPU as much. If you're on a budget and only game Rust and other small titles, you don't need a 3000 series card. Having a higher RAM speed noticeably increases performance. M.2 NVME Drives yield no significant increase in load times compared to SSD's. Don't use an HDD for Rust.


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