Command & Conquer 3 Hardware Performance Guide

Find out what components you need to play Command & Conquer 3 at its very best.

Kane's back, and his bald head's never looked better. Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars graphically shames its predecessors in a variety of ways. EA Los Angeles made tremendous use of shaders that make the atmosphere pulse with life and give the world an organic feel. Fields of Tiberium irradiate the ground with a sickly green glow, and the sky takes on strange hues that ebb with the constant flashes of battle. What makes it even better? Exceedingly modest system requirements. Command & Conquer 3 looks fantastic on a sub-$1000 rig.

We tested Command & Conquer 3 on an eight-player skirmish map called the Rocktagon. Using a 30-second FRAPs run, we replayed the invasion and destruction of an enemy base using an array of Nod forces. Our final results are the average of three runs.

Don't be surprised if you see some very low results, as Command & Conquer 3 has a frame rate cap of 30 frames per second. From what we can tell, the game seems to base the simulation speed off of how many frames are rendered. Ideally, you'd want to maintain a constant frame rate of 30, but we found that the game is more than playable at a decent pace in the low 20s. Once you dip into the low teens, though, the game becomes unbearably slow, and effectively turns into an RTS without the real-time aspect.

Game Settings
You don’t need much of a computer to run Command & Conquer 3 well, but you’re still going to have dial down a few settings if your computer isn’t on the bleeding edge.

Graphics
Command & Conquer 3 looks great and doesn’t require the latest and greatest in terms of GPU power. We tested out 16 cards to help you narrow down your search.

CPU
Command & Conquer 3 doesn't ask for much in terms of processing power if you've got an Intel Core 2. But if you're putting along on a low clock speed Athlon 64 or Pentium 4 you might want to move up to something a little quicker.

Memory
The game requires 512MB of RAM, but we recommend you get a bit more. To find the sweet spot, we tested the game out with 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, and even 4GB of system memory.

Game Settings

To work within the 30 frame per second frame rate cap, we resorted to some creative benchmarking to figure out what settings affected performance the most. For comparison purposes, we tested Command & Conquer 3 with an intermediate graphical setting; and then varied one setting at a time to determine the relative performance hit.

A few key settings drain frame rates, chief among them shader detail. Shader detail changes the way the game looks on a full-screen basis. If you go too low, the game loses much of its life. Shadows, as usual, tax video cards heavily; expect the hit for the setting to rise with the number of units on the screen. Terrain detail gives the ground its gritty look--set it too low and everything turns to mud; set it too high and the game slows to a crawl.

System Setup: System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Cards: GeForce 6800 GS, Forceware 93.71.

Image Comparison

Very High Quality vs. High Quality

High Quality vs. Medium Quality

Medium Quality vs. Low Quality

Low Quality vs. Very Low Quality

Image Comparison (cont'd)

Very High Quality Shadows vs. High Quality Shadows

High Quality Shadows vs. Medium Quality Shadows

Medium Quality Shadows vs. Low Quality Shadows

Low Quality Shadows vs. Shadows Disabled

High Quality Textures vs. Medium Quality Textures

Medium Quality Textures vs. Low Quality Textures

Even More Image Comparisons

Very High Shader Detail vs. High Shader Detail

High Shader Detail vs. Medium Shader Detail

Medium Shader Detail vs. Low Shader Detail

Very High Terrain Detail vs. High Terrain Detail

High Terrain Detail vs. Medium Terrain Detail

Medium Terrain Detail vs. Low Terrain Detail

Graphics

For once, you can definitely spend too much on a video card. Upgrading to the top of the GPU food chain seems pointless because Command & Conquer 3 has an exceedingly low frame rate cap, and most GPUs render the game with ease. The game is still playable with bottom feeder cards like the Radeon X300 SE or the GeForce 6200 TC, but you’ll lose all the graphical wonder in the process.

We couldn’t get the GeForce 8800 series cards to fall from the 30 frame per second cap even with all the settings at their very maximum. Most other GPUs slipped only when we tested them at extreme resolutions with all the settings maxed out, which makes them very playable if you’re willing to drop the resolution or tone down the antialiasing.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Cards: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB, GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB, GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB, GeForce 7900 GT 256MB, GeForce 7600 GT 256MB, GeForce 6800 GS 128MB, GeForce 6600GT 128MB, GeForce 6200 TC 128MB, Radeon X1950 XTX 512MB, Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB, Radeon X1900 XT 256MB, Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB, Radeon X1650 XT 256MB, Radeon X1300 XT 256MB, Radeon X800 256MB, Radeon X300 SE 128MB. Graphics Drivers: Nvidia ForceWare 97.92, Nvidia ForceWare 93.71, ATI Catalyst 7.2.

CPU

All of our Intel Core 2 CPUs handle Command & Conquer 3 with ease. When we jump down to the slower dual- and single-core Athlon 64s, performance takes a slight hit, while the Pentium 4 3.2GHz trails the pack significantly. Overall, the game seems relatively insensitive to processors, as we could play very easily on all of our machines. Feel free to make the CPU the last place you look to for an upgrade.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel Core 2 Duo 6300, Intel 975XBX2, Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz, Intel 955XE, AMD Athlon 64 FX-60, AMD Athlon 64 FX-57, ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe, Athlon 64 X2 5000+, Asus M2n32 SLI Deluxe, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 8800 GTX, Nvidia ForceWare 97.72.

Memory

With 512MB of system RAM, our tip-top system became utterly unplayable until we reduced the graphical load. You'll have to turn down quite a few settings to get the game to run well. Jumping up to 1GB of RAM solves all the problems, anything more is wasted due to the frame rate cap.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, 4GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 4), 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), Corsair XMS Memory 1GB, Corsair XMS Memory 512MB, 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB, Nvidia ForceWare 97.92.

Memory

With 512MB of RAM, you’ll have to turn down quite a few settings to get the game to run well. Jumping up to 1GB of RAM solves all the problems though, anything more results in overkill.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, 4GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 4), 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), Corsair XMS Memory 1GB, Corsair XMS Memory 512MB, 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB, Nvidia ForceWare 97.92.

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Discussion

565 comments
narutofan963
narutofan963

can that game work on laptop with: * Procesor Intel ULV SU7300 * Operační systém Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium * Chipset Mobile Intel® GS45 Express Chipset * Paměť RAM ( 2GB DDR2 800MHz SDRAM ) x 2 * Display 15.6" * Rozlišení HD (1366 x 768 ) * Grafická karta Embedded Intel® GMA 4500MHD GFX * Pevný disk SATA 500GB, 5400RPM * Optická mechanika 9.5"mm, 8X Super Multi s DL - Built-in Bluetooth™ V2.1+EDR - Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 1000

narutofan963
narutofan963

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Arif_Sohaib
Arif_Sohaib

@aedes993 You can probably play it on the highest settings. A new mod MidEast Crisis 2 is out now for this game,I would highly recommend downloading that to expand your Command and Conquer 3 experience. get it on http://www.isotx.com

aedes993
aedes993

i have a nvidia 9200 m 512mb gfx card in my hp laptop with 2.5ghz core 2 duo, am i be able to play this game decently on my laptop ?? please reply asap!!!!!!

Arif_Sohaib
Arif_Sohaib

@brutal47, Is your graphics driver installed? That might be the problem. @ paintballer2012, Yes

paintballer2012
paintballer2012

my specs are 4 gig ddr3 ram windows vista 64 bit 320GB SATA hard drive (7200 rpm) NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTS graphics 1GB of GDDR3 3MB L2 cache and 2.26GHz processor speed. Will this run it on very high best graphics and everything?

brutal47
brutal47

MY SPECS ARE 1GB OF RAM, WIN XP, GEFORCE 8500GT 512MB, INTEL CORE 2 DUO E4500 2.2GHz I CANT EVEN RUN THE FREAKING GAME!!! IT PISSING ME OFF.. IT SAYS PLEASE MAKE SURE DIRECTX 9.0 OR NEWER VERSION INSTALLED. BUT I ALREADY HAVE 9.0C AND I INSTALLED IT MORE THAN 10 TIMES!! WHAT A ****

Arif_Sohaib
Arif_Sohaib

If anyone has an Nvidia 6200 and an old processor like a P4 and 1Gb ram or similar here is what you need to do: Go to options and set the preset to Ultra then put shaders,shadows and antialising to the lowest you will now get playable framerates and good graphics.

escape98sk8
escape98sk8

To Hash94: Hell yeah, you have more than enough to play this game fine

hash94
hash94

hi,will this game run fine on my computer intel core 2 duo e4400 2.0 Ghz nvidia geforce 8500GT 512Mb 1 Gb ram and windows vista ultimate ????????

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

no it couldnt, your CPU is just fine and your memory is aokay but youd need a new gaphics card as that is legacy-ware (this means its getting no new patches, and has no horsepower under it to run modern games). id suggest at min. a geforce 8400 or an ati hd 3850

_The_Best_Dude_
_The_Best_Dude_

Hi, need some advice: amd athlon 64 prozessor (running on 32) 400 + 2400 mhz 1,5 gb ram nvidia gforce fx 5200 is this gonna work on some improved settings? Best thing would be if you could send me a short PM about it or something!! thanks!

Da_Lench_Mob_1
Da_Lench_Mob_1

intel quad core 4 gigs x2 nvdia 8800GT's Vista I have 0 problems

Dreamer1476
Dreamer1476

I have a 32-bit Operating System, Dual core 1 gig of ram, AMD Turion 64 X 2 Tech 1.9 Ghz running Windows Vista Home and after playing the game for about 20 min it slows down ALOT. What can I do to fix this problem.

selfdestruct-10
selfdestruct-10

Please check if my system can handle the game: Pentium 4 3.0ghz 4*512mb DDR2 kingmax RAM Asus geforce 7300gs 256mb I appreciate every comment.

vortex_gw
vortex_gw

I have Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz/6Mb cache L2; Nvidia 8800GT 512MB 256bit; 2 GB RAM DDR2 and OS Windows XP SP2 32bit. The game runs pretty smoothly up to 4 players(Oh at Ultra High Settings 4xAA). But when there are more than 4 players and ton of units on the map => Slow Motion baby X_X P.S.- alfi290292, my brother has AMD x2 4400+ 2.1GHz/1Mb cache L2; Nvidia 8500GT 256MB; 2GB RAM and he runs the game at HIGH SETTINGS with Shadows at Ultra High otherwise they SUCK. But I think even with 3 players or more and ton of units => Slow MOTION. He doesn't care though ^_^

escape98sk8
escape98sk8

I have a Nvidia GeForce 6200 256 MB and a Intel Pentium 4 procesor, and 512 of Ram. I can play this game on medium quality with around 20-25 fps. After reading this feature, the only thing i need is upgrade to 1GB of Ram and I can reach the 30 fps. I hope thats correct, this game is awesome

alfi290292
alfi290292

need help, can i run this game in high quality with these specs: Intel Dual Core 2.2 ghz 2 gb DDR2 ram nVidia 8600GT 256mb i really hope i can play this game in high quality with 8600GT, someone please answer.

mfenix130
mfenix130

command and conquer 3 kane's edition crashes after sometime to desktop and gives an error message that cnc3.dat has caused an error and it will now close.2 options given below are send error report, don't send. i play it on medium settings at 1024*768 resolution and it works great for the time it runs, no lags at all. the specs are core 2 duo 2.2 ghz intel 945 motherboard 2gb ddr2 ram nvidia geforce 7300 gs 256mb graphics card 160 gb hard drive. even after i send error report nothing happens.i'm using version 1 of the game.

rtssam
rtssam

darn im runnin on a 128mb geforce 7300 le and it laggs badly on defualts so i have to put shadows and such off

mochaloca
mochaloca

Nope you arnt the only one never-named. Im runin it with 1 gig of DDR and a radeon 9250

freeshep
freeshep

mmm wonder if it'll work on my x3100 graphic powered laptop - i love c&c games and dawn of war runs at high quality

jared3164
jared3164

This game can run on very modest systems. I run it at 800x600 res all settings on low. And i get an average of 26 Fps. If you have anything more than this you can run this game. Pentium 4 2.6 Ghz HT. 1.5 GB DDR400 RAM Geforce fx5200 (crap card)

Moussi11
Moussi11

@snake356 It probably would work, but on all low 800 x600. If I were you, I'd get a 7600 GT (pretty cheap, seem go for 60 $) or if you wanna go mid-high end then get a Radeon 3850 (150-180 $). 6200 is pretty much useless these days.

snake356
snake356

im geting geforce 6200 could someone tell me if it will work it helful to me

raza_rizvi_002
raza_rizvi_002

man wen i had a fx5500 i ran this game on low at about 20 fps man, with 7300 gt im pretty sure u can.. how can i play online ??? how do i get an ONLINE ID???

raza_rizvi_002
raza_rizvi_002

wow i run it on full everything even AA, and i get no less than 30 fps, btw how can i get resolution to 2048x1536. i hav 8800 gts 320 mb q6600 2x2 gb 667mhz kingston asus p5k-e windows xp 32-bit

bigjoeh
bigjoeh

JamezMan - I am playing the game on a system 99% identical to yours - same CPU & GPU, with 3 GB RAM, and I run the game with EVERY setting completely maxed (including AA) at 1680x1050 without so much as a hiccup. All I can suggest is make sure all of your hardware drivers are up-to-date, and make sure you've installed the 1.9 patch. Also, make sure your system is properly maintained. Software like Diskeeper, RegCleaner and Driver Cleaner Pro can make a big difference. FYI, I've found TweakGuides.com to be a great resource for getting the most out of your PC in general - Vista or XP - with guides for a few specific games.

JamezMan
JamezMan

Hey lads, I'm experiencing some lagging issues with this game when I put all the settings to high, one or two to ultra and the resolution 1280 X 1024. I have a Core 2 Quad Processor 2.4Ghz E 6600, 2 GB dual channel RAM and a GeForce 8800 GT 512 mb and I want to be able to push the settings to as far as they would go. Do you know what could be wrong? Cheers. Luke.

viper101222
viper101222

i have a celeron d and 512 ram and it wont even install it keeps saying error reading the cd rom mp cab corrupt anyone know what i should do?

Nunamaker
Nunamaker

Well, i got a x2 5600+, 2 GB ram, 8600GTS, and i can run it smoothly 1280x1024 with all things on high and antialiasing on a lil bit.

PuffstaJones
PuffstaJones

I run it with 2GB RAM, dual core 2.8 GHz and my disgusting GeForce 7300 LE. It slows on medium so I play on low settings and now my keyboard has vomit on it.

Schools_out
Schools_out

I play this game on my pentium 4, 3.4GHz, 2Gb of RAM and my GeForce 8800 GTS 640Mb, and I still can't max it out. I need a dual core processor for it to work smoothly. I tried it at my cousins, he has 2.2GHz dual core and I can max it out.

xdeer
xdeer

i run with -pentium 4 (2.60ghz) -1 gb ram -ati radeon 9550 (256mb) and still suck,when i try to maxed it,the game become to damn slow so i lower the game settings to play it....(sigh)

xdeer
xdeer

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

xdeer
xdeer

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Phoenix-wiki
Phoenix-wiki

I run it with 512 RAM, pentium 4 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 graphics card (128mb) and it works really great

_Alpha_Omega_
_Alpha_Omega_

Is it will run in my computer? I'm using AMD Athlon 2100+, 1 GB of RAM, ATi Radeon 9800Pro, Windows XP Pro (SP1), DX 9.0. Coz I'm planning to buy this game...

yogi252
yogi252

Mmmm...this game runs good on medium settings. Graphics are good. I can do it with my ATI Xpress 1200 at 320 mb. If I choose the ultra high standarts, well, I can appreciate the graphics, but the game is very slow, of course. More RAM or a new CPU.

garbe
garbe

it doesn't even work on my computer... =(

DeadPhoenix86
DeadPhoenix86

this game runs perfect here on mids settings and shadow on and 1024x768 resolution xD

micknator
micknator

I have a 8600GT and it does the job to have mooth play combined with high settings.

jerfaceisugli
jerfaceisugli

Wow, u cant even see the rocks on very low quality. feel bad for any sucker who got to play it on that

jerfaceisugli
jerfaceisugli

I used to be running this on 128 mb graphics card, pentium core (not dual core), on a dell laptop and it ran maxed out.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

grootlaar, you should be able to run it at it's highest settings, but how much RAM do you have, I couldn't understand what you were saying. Also you should look into getting a new processor, Pentium 4s aren't very good for gaming and even the cheapest of Core 2 Duos (about $130) will be many times faster than your P4. Currently, your system will bottleneck at your processor in many games.

grootelaar
grootelaar

why those gamespot dosn't take a very low pic and when you place the courser over it a very high pic

grootelaar
grootelaar

how will a geforce 8800 GT with pentium 4 2.0 Ghz 515,5 MR RAM