Escape From Tarkov can be intimidating. Not only because of the high-stakes gameplay, but also the way it’s all set up. There’s no real tutorial, so you’re never taught how to interact with the game’s systems, how to be successful in raids, or even how to execute basic controls.
Luckily (although it’s hardly an excuse for the developers), the community has stepped in to provide all sorts of tutorials, tips, and tricks for newcomers. But before you start worrying about hotkeys, or how to prioritize loot, or how to familiarize yourself with Tarkov’s various maps, it’s worth it to pop the hood and make sure you have the optimal settings for competitive play.
Optimized for Gameplay
Before we jump in, note that this article is geared toward improving performance and giving you an edge over your opponents. Making Tarkov as pretty as can be maybe a worthwhile goal, but that’s something you’ll have to investigate on your own time. That doesn’t mean you should turn all your graphics settings to the lowest they can go, necessarily. The goal here is to optimize performance and gameplay first and foremost, then to allow considerations for aesthetics.
Sound like a plan? Without further ado, let’s take a look at some graphics settings.
Turn this on in-game, and if you have an NVidia graphics card, turn off VSync on the Control Panel, allowing you to uncap your framerate for a much smoother experience.
Texture Quality: High
Keep this high, provided your computer isn’t ancient. It has a negligible impact on performance and will give a good deal of visual clarity.
Shadow Quality: High
This can drop FPS on specific maps and areas. Most of the time, high quality isn’t a problem, but it’s worth noting that there are exceptions. If these exceptions are a concern for you, drop Shadow Quality to Low.
Object LOD: 2.5
Huge for performance issues. Balance it with the quality in terms of spotting enemies, but if you’ve got significant framerate issues, this is likely the culprit. Setting it to 2.5 marks a good balance between spotting capability and framerate, while 2 is best for framerate.
Overall Visibility: 2,000
Despite its name, overall visibility tends to affect unimportant aspect of the environment, and isn’t very helpful for spotting enemies in most cases, which would be the major gameplay implication. However, certain maps will benefit from turning this up to 2,000. Weigh the importance of these factors, and either go for 2,000, or turn it down as much as possible.
Shadow Visibility: Low
Turning this up will darken certain areas considerably, making it harder to spot enemies. Turn it to the lowest possible setting.
Unlike many other games, antialiasing doesn’t affect framerate much, and it improves the visuals significantly without a major penalty. FXAA and TAA both come recommended by guides, so tailor it to your rig.
Resampling: 1x Off
it’s much prettier playing with this, but it also makes everything darker, harder to spot enemies. Not suitable for competitive play.
It doesn’t improve visuals hugely and is a big hit to framerate. Destroy it!
Anisotropic Filtering: Off
It’s a subtle effect, difficult to notice, not worth keeping on.
Adjust this to your tastes, but note that 1.1 and 2.2 both come recommended.
Lobby and Game FPS limit: Maximum
Set these to maximum (if you’re using the NVidia Control Panel trick, these will be removed anyway).
Other Settings: Custom
Z-Blur, Chromatic Aberrations, Noise, and Grass Shadows are all visual effects, none of which impact gameplay significantly. Turn them on if they fit your preferred aesthetic; otherwise, keep them off.
Those are the most important settings to consider, as they have the most significant impact on your performance in-game. However, there are a few odds and ends you might consider. For one, it may be worth it to set your screen mode to Borderless, if you expect to be Alt-Tabbing between the game and, say, a map of the area you’re raiding. This is also an issue that a second monitor or a nearby tablet could solve.
And if you’re having trouble hearing footsteps, one trick is to turn your interface volume as low as possible. The sound of magazines clicking into place, of packs rustling, of items being used, will all be reduced significantly, freeing you from distractions and allowing you to stay attuned to your surroundings.
Of course, each of these settings can be tweaked and messed with, depending on the power of your machine. Experiment in-game, determine your visual preferences, and find the combination of settings best suited to your PC build and personal preferences. And remember, whether you’re chugging through Tarkov on a cobbled-together, sparking scrap job, or you’re basking in the harsh beauty of Russia on a technological powerhouse, you’re probably still going to get your head blown off by some random Scav. Have fun out there!
Best Peripherals for EFT
As Escape From Tarkov is still in its testing phases, it’s important to note that what works for some PC builds, might not work for all PC builds. Currently, what the minimum specs are listed as are just an approximation, and even if your PC falls below them it’s entirely possible that you could still run the game without any issue. Really, the game is a work in progress, so take every recommendation into consideration, but ultimately see what works best for your rig.
That being said, here are some peripherals that could more-likely-than-not improve your FPS and retroactively, your gameplay.
Best CPU for EFT
Our picks of the top CPUs for EFT…
1. Intel Core i9-9900K
The best CPU for EFT
Manufacturer: Intel | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | GHz: 5.0
If the price isn’t an issue, and you’ve got the motherboard and cooling to support such a beast, the Intel Core i9-9900K is the obvious go-to. With the 8 Cores and a whopping potential 5 GHz of processing speed, you’ll be wondering how you managed before incorporating the i9 into your life. The i9-9900K also happens to be the favorite among streamers for its ability to run multiple programs simultaneously without much of a drag to performance. However, if you’re without an Intel 300 series Motherboard, and the RAM you have available is DDR3, you’d be better looking elsewhere unless you’re looking to undergo and complete rehaul of your machine.
2. Intel Core i3-8350K
The easiest on the wallet CPU for EFT
Manufacturer: Intel | Cores/Threads: 4/4 | GHz: 4.0
Though seemingly with much lower stats as the i9, the Intel Core i3-8350K is still a CPU that one should consider as a momentary upgrade for at least a few years. With a price tag under $200, it’s hard to overlook the capabilities of the 8350K. Since it is an 8th gen CPU, make sure that you have a 300 series chipset on your Motherboard. Like with all peripheral purchases, make sure that your current CPU doesn’t already out-perform the i3. If you find that it does and you’re still not getting the FPS you want, it might have to do with your RAM.
Best RAM for EFT
Our picks for best RAM for EFT…
1. Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR4 RAM
The best RAM to bring into Tarkov
Manufacturer: Corsair | Data-rate: DDR4 3200 | Capacity: 32GB (2x16GB) | RGB: Yes
When it comes to EFT, having more RAM is better than less, which is why we’ve recommended the Vengeance 16GB dual-pack. Odds are adding this much RAM to your PC will definitely bring some improvements to your gaming. Also, there is the added benefit of bringing some RGB action into your machine. Much like the i9-9900K, the Vengeance 32GB Pro RAM will be a bit of an investment, but if you’re after the best of the best, there’s not much better out there.
2. HyperX Kingston FURY 16GB DDR3 RAM
The most for your buck RAM for EFT
Manufacturer: HyperX | Data-rate: DDR3 1866 | Capacity: 16GB (2x8GB) | RGB: No
For a little less than half the cost, you could snag yourself 16GB of RAM from HyperX that will provide you with more than enough to start out with. This also means that you could even go for the full 32GB if you have space for it! The only drawback from the Kingston FURY is that it is DDR3, and will thus have a much lower data-rate at about 1866MHz. However, all things considered, this is a pretty acceptable trade-off for the price, and will ultimately serve you in the long term with getting that ideal FPS boost you’re after.
Best GPU for EFT
Our picks of the best GPUs for EFT…
1. EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
The best GPU around
Manufacturer: Nvidia| Memory Detail: 11GB GDDR6 | Bandwidth: 616 GB/s | 4K Compatible: Yes
The RTX 2080 Ti. A beast in the world of GPUs and a fan-favorite for performance. The price point is something to take note of though at close to $1.5k. Capable of performing 4k gaming with little to no issues, and with a VRAM of 11GB, what else could you possibly look for in a GPU?! When it comes to EFT, the extra power in graphical integrity would be nice, but often not necessary for us to get our ideal FPS. However, if you’re after 4k resolution and quick speed and happen to have some deep pocket change, you’ll find your solution within the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU.
2. Asus ROG Strix Radeon Rx 570 O4G
The best 4gb GPU around
Manufacturer: ASUS | Memory Detail: 4GB GDDR5 | Bandwidth: 224 GB/s | 4K Compatible: No
If you’re looking for a quick update to your GPU and don’t have deep enough pockets to shell out for the RTX 2080 Ti, you could always look towards the Radeon Rx 570. With multiple adjustable methods of cooling, and a slick design, what’s not to like about the Radon Rx 570. That’s not to mention the pure computational power of the card combined with a smaller price tag than most would expect! When it comes to EFT, the additional 4GB of VRAM will easily fit your needs and will get you the FPS you’re after.
Top 5 EFT Streamers and their settings:
Discover what settings that Escape from Tarkov pros are using.
Streaming from 2012 onwards, Jaryd “Summit1G” Lazar has garnered the reputation as a humorous and down-to-earth streamer. Humbly originating in the world of CS:GO, Summit1G has since expanded beyond his wildest dreams, and right into the spot as the #1 most watch Escape From Tarkov channel on Twitch.
Summit1G’s setup is something else, what with his two GTX 1080 Ti cards, 64 GB of RAM, and his i9-9990XE CPU. This has allowed for the streamer to play long term his texture quality set to high + texture streaming, and still pulling some resourses for anisotropic filtering on a per texture basis. Though he could rather easily keep pushing the settings, he’s elected to stick within the settings we’ve described, which has made it easy for him to perform at the top of his abilities.
Starting out making videos purely for the sake of it, Chris “Sacriel” Ball has since grown from nothing to now streaming 6 days a week in front of thousands of regular viewers. Growing and developing the community he calls “The 42nd”, Sacriel has traversed the realms of WoW, PUBG, DayZ, and has now landed himself in Escape From Tarkov.
Though not without the means of Summit1G, Sacriel has elected to stay more along the recommended lines and has only made some slight changes to deviate. With his GeForce 2080 Ti FE and 16 GB of RAM, it’s likely that Sacriel could push his settings a bit more, but realistically his only requirement of the game is to run it without any lag or delay. This means playing it safe, maybe with the exception of pushing his visibility a little higher than Summit1G had. However, one should keep in mind that Sacriel uses only one PC to both stream and game with.
Often considered a part of your friend group before being a paid entertainer, DrLupo is someone that many Twitch-goers tune into for the conversations more than the gameplay. Though it would be a misjudgment of character to say that DrLupo is without the skills necessary to dominate. How else would the Omaha streamer both befriend Ninja, and rise in the streaming world?
With his setup, DrLupo can afford to push the graphical qualities up quite a bit while also keeping his visibility higher as well. Though for his purposes, he’s elected to keep his Antialiasing at TAA, which helps him identify targets a bit easier. The only extreme oddity is DrLupo pushing his shadow visibility to the max. One could argue that this would allow for DrLupo to identify movement much easier, and recognize some differentiation between shadows, but it’s not a necessity, or even recommended, for success with EFT. DrLupo also utilizes a second computer that solely handles his streaming needs.
Herschel “Guy” Beahm IV, otherwise known as Dr Disrespect, is a stark counter culture character known for pushing hte boundaries of acceptance when streaming. Most know him for his character, and follows becasue of his gameplay. Showcasing a capability on many platforms, Dr Disrespect has gone from the days of H1Z1, to Fortnite, to now EFT.
Much like Summit1G, Dr Disrespect has the promise that utilizing two GeForce GTX 1080 cards can bring. Pushing his graphical qualities up to high for both texture and shadows ensures that his journey to Tarkov is nothing short of beautiful. Keeping at the lower antialiasing option of FXAA means that he’ll see more edges than the previous three but he’s traded edges for more realistic shadows coming from having his HBAO set to high.
Only fully committing to streaming in 2018, Paul “Pestily” has been through everything that Escape From Tarkov has had to offer over the years. Being the most consistently with EFT, Pestily has essentially single-handedly created the loving and impassioned community that exists today. Pestily is also well known for his educating videos for getting starting in EFT.
If there’s anyone who knows the most of the computational workings of EFT, it’s Pestily. Being with the game since almost the beginning, Pestily has determined that for his rig of 64 GB of RAM, a i9-9900K CPU, and a z390 Xtreme, he needs some high quality textures. Though not using a secondary PC for his streams, Pestily has opted for higher quality shadows and shadow visibility over intensive Ambient Occlusion and Antialiasing.
Other EFT streamers to look out for when it comes to well-informed settings.
Video: Escape From Tarkov Settings
More of a visual learner? Check out this excellent video detailing the best Tarkov settings: