Star Citizen: Tips & tricks on performance (Update 3.4)
Alpha 3.4 to Star Citizen is live. What about performance and stability and how do you get even more FPS? We have some tips for you.
We will answer the following questions in this article:
- What are the system requirements for Star Citizen?
- What about performance and stability in the current Alpha 3.4?
- Which hardware can help to increase the performance of Star Citizen?
- Which settings & software tricks can help to increase FPS?
Latest update: December 2018
After the release of Update 3.0, Star Citizen CEO Chris Roberts personally commented on the performance issues and explained why the update was not released in a better state. Players had very mixed and despite the same computer configuration partly completely different frame rates. Meanwhile Update 3.4 has been released. What has changed?
Our test system
All performance statements in this article refer to the following system:
- CPU: i7-4770K @3.50GHz
- Graphics card: GTX 1080 Ti
- Hard disk: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250 GB
The game is played with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 (4K). Settings in game are all at maximum.
Update 3.4: Performance partly better
Update 3.3 had introduced Object Container Streaming. To simplify things, it’s essentially invisible loading screens: Objects (such as spaceships, moons, planets, etc.) are only loaded into the RAM of our PC when we approach them. The work on the new technology caused a small delay of the eagerly awaited first planet, Hurston.
The planet and its moons came soon after with Update 3.3.5 – and the performance on Hurston as well as in the landing zone Lorville was comparable to the beginnings of planetary technology at first: Sometimes the FPS dropped below 20. In December 2018 the developer Cloud Imperium Games released Update 3.4 on time.
After several hours of extensive testing, we can say that the performance and stability are very good – if the server runs fine. Around Port Olisar we have sometimes more than 40 FPS, on the Crusader moons even about 60 FPS. On the planet Hurston it goes down to 30 FPS, but they are almost always stable. Only very rarely smaller stuttering occurs. Also trips with the Metro hardly change this.
However, during flight over the planet we still see considerable need for improvement with textures and objects loading too late. This applies to the scrap biom as well as to areas with trees. Especially when flying very low above the savannah, the stuttering increases noticeably and the FPS drop below 20 every now and then. Water is obviously only a rather blurry placeholder with no effect on performance.
The stability is pleasing too: Although we had two complete crashes including a complete reboot of our PC (which is not necessarily due to Star Citizen, we couldn’t find the reason yet), we had several game sessions over three to four hours without any crash ( despite frequent Alt-Tab usage in between). Also the servers were mostly stable, we had two disconnects so far.
However, if we have a bad server, the FPS go crazy and sometimes go down into the basement. At some point – most likely when we are exploiting a really high-yield rock via mining – the game crashes. So we haven’t reached the sunny side of performance yet, but Star Citizen is now mostly playable.
With a few small adjustments you may be able to adjust your frame rate some more. Please note that this information is no sorcery and can have different (or even no) effects depending on the computer.
Star Citizen Alpha 3.4: System requirements
There are no official requirements, but the following recommendations:
- CPU with at least 4 cores (quadcore)
In general: The more cores and the more up-to-date, the better. Star Citizen is very CPU-intensive. Many reports speak of an improvement in Star Citizen performance when the CPU becomes more up-to-date. Meanwhile, the core usage has been improved significantly by CIG, which also benefits older CPUs.
- At least 16 GB of memory
Many performance issues result from lack of memory. 16 GB RAM is highly recommended – also for the Squadron 42 single player campaign; tips for smaller RAM configurations will follow below.
- A high-end graphics card now provides significant improvements
The graphics card is now being used to full capacity. In many situations of update 3.4 we experience a load on our GTX 1080 Ti of well over 80%. Of course there is still room for optimization by CIG, but the better the graphics card, the higher resolutions and better graphics settings you can use.
Tips & tricks to improve performance
There are some basic tips you can follow to improve the frame rate and stability of Star Citizen Alpha 3.4.
- Use SSD hard drive
Be sure to use a fast SSD hard drive for Star Citizen ((or any other fast and graphics-intensive game).
- Assigning Virtual Memory Manually
More physical memory is always better than editing virtual memory, but here’s how you can increase it or move it to a faster hard disk:
In the Windows 10 search field (to the right of the Windows icon in the task bar), type “Control Panel” and click on the result. Search for “System” and open the link. Navigate on the right to the submenu “Advanced system settings”. Select the tab “Advanced” and click on the button “Settings” under “Performance”. Select the tab “Advanced” again and click the button “Change” under “Virtual Memory”. Choose a SSD hard disk on which Star Citizen is not installed. Then set your values under ” Custom Size”. For example, we have an initial size of 8000 MB and a maximum size of 16000 MB. Of course you can also set the initial size directly to 16000.
- Disable full-screen optimization
Searches the Star Citizen.exe file in the Star Citizen folder (located in Star Citizen – Live – Bin64). Right click on it and select “Properties”. Navigate to “Compatibility” and set a check mark under “Disable full screen optimizations”.
- Prioritize Star Citizen (Windows 10)
Launch Star Citizen. Open the task manager. Navigate to the “Details” tab. Find the StarCitizen.exe and right click on the entry. Under “Set priority”, select “High”. By the way, you have to do that every time you launch Star Citizen.
- Choose another server
Sometimes you get a server that just doesn’t run smoothly – for whatever reason. Then change the server. Do not necessarily select “Best” from the server drop down menu, but select Australian (OFF) or European (EU) servers depending on the time of day. Especially when the nights are deep in Australia and America, the need for sleep among players in those countries can have a positive impact on your gaming experience.
Learn more about Star Citizen
Do you have any other useful tips that could improve the experience with Star Citizen Alpha 3.4? Please post your information and experiences in the comments.
Otherwise we recommend our analysis of the roadmap for Star Citizen. A detailed guide to mining in Star Citizen can be found in the linked article and we have a report about CIGs financial situation for you.