DOTA 2 Hardware Performance Tested

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DOTA 2 is built on Valve’s Source engine, the same engine that powered the Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead series, modified and customized for top-down strategy gameplay. The looks are definitely a lot better than the original DOTA. There are also a lot of detail settings, mostly can be toggled on/off. Now we will perform different tests to see if DOTA 2 is as resource-friendly as the previous games developed using Source engine.

Test System & Requirements

 Test SystemMinimum Requirements
ProcessorIntel i5-3470 3.GHz Quad-core (3.4 – 3.6 GHz Boost)
Intel dual core or AMD at 2.8 GHz
Memory2GB, 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
Video Cards

AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB DDR5
nVidia GeForce 9600GT 512MB DDR3
nVidia Geforce 8400GS 512MB DDR2
Intel HD 2500, Intel HD Graphics
ATI/AMD Radeaon HD2600/3600
nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT
AMD Catalyst 14.3 Beta 1
nVidia Forceware 335.23 WHQL
Intel HD Graphics 15.28
Intel HD 2500 Graphics 15.33
Operating System / DirectX
Windows 7 SP1 64-bit,
Windows 8 64-bit
Windows 7, DirectX 9.0c

The minimum requirements are not as demanding as recently released titles like Thief or Battlefield 4. With these kinds of requirements, I believe that everyone can play this game. Our test system consists of midrange components Intel i5 and AMD HD 7750, but we will also test the i5 with core disabled and older cards like the 9600GT and 8400GS, and Intel graphics to see if a video card upgrade is necessary.

Benchmarking Procedure

Our default hardware for all of the test consists of Intel i5-3470, AMD HD7750, and 6GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM. The default quality settings are set to all low/off, Render Quality at 100%, and with Vsync off. Changes to hardware and quality settings will be stated for each test. We also set “fps_max 500” at the console to remove the 120fps limit even with Vsync off.

Our benchmark sequence is 90 seconds long from a replay using FRAPS to get the frames per second.

Individual Settings and Benchmark


Anti-aliasing - Off
Anti-aliasing - On
Anti-aliasing - Off
Anti-aliasing - On

Anti-Aliasing makes the edges of Riki’s tail and knives, leaves, and flag look smoother. Also rock edges are smoother, but when you look closely, images are blurred a little, developers probably used FXAA mode for this.

Specular and Specular Light Blooms

Bloom - Off
Bloom - On
Specular - Off
Specular - On

Specular adds lighting and bloom effects to light producing objects.

High Quality Water

High Quality Water - Off
High Quality Water - On

Water Quality improves the overall look of waters by producing refraction effects on the rocks underneath and reflection of the environment above.

Atmospheric Fog

Fog - Off
Fog - On

Fog adds cloud shadows and it also moves.

Animate Portrait

The animate portrait setting will only animate the portrait. Turning it off the portrait is steady like a picture.

Additive Light Pass

Additive Light Pass - Off
Additive Light Pass - On
Additive Light Pass - Off
Additive Light Pass - On

This setting adds gives creeps, heroes, and objects glow and makes them look shinier.

World Lighting

World Lighting - Off
World Lighting - On

Makes torches and candles give off colored lights. It also improves sun rays.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion - Off
Ambient Occlusion - On

Adds self-shadow effect on grasses, shrubs, and stairs, making its surrounding a little darker.

Ambient Creatures

Ambient Creatures - Off
Ambient Creatures - On

This doesn’t make any changes to the scene, but it should affect the ambient creatures like butterflies and squirrels to be present or not.

Render Quality

Render Quality - 40%
Render Quality - 70%
Render Quality - 100%

Lowering the rendering quality makes the objects and environment blurred. Some details are also removed.


Shadows - Low
Shadows - Medium
Shadows - High

High Shadow setting adds the necessary shadows of objects and environment. Shadows are remove on medium and low settings, but on medium setting, there are self-shadow left, visible on creeps and tower, while in low setting every shadows are removed.


Textures - Low
Textures - Medium
Textures - High
Textures - Low
Textures - Medium
Textures - High

Lowering the texture quality reduces the details on the ground and structures.

Settings Performance


We benchmarked each settings by turning it off or set each to its lowest value then turn it on or increase the quality. Turning shadows to High is the most taxing setting, diminishing 23 frames per second, and also has the most visible effect. Additive light pass is the next most taxing setting diminishing 18 frames per second, while Render Quality at 70% is the least demanding diminishing only 5 frames per second. Through these performance results and visual quality, we came up with our custom settings.

Specular and Light BloomsOffOnOff
High Quality WaterOffOnOn
Atmospheric FogOffOnOff
Animate PortraitOffOnOff
Additive Light PassOffOnOn
World LightingOffOnOn
Ambient OcclusionOffOnOn
Ambient CreaturesOffOnOff
Render Quality40%100%100%
Shadow QualityLowHighHigh
Texture QualityLowHighHigh
Settings - All Low / Off, Render 40%
Settings - All Low / Off, Render 100%
Settings - All High / On, Render 100%
Settings - Custom

Lowering all the details makes the game look like a pre-2000 game – no shadows, jagged edges, and fuzzy and blurry textures. Maxing out the quality still gives us a very playable result of 65 frames per second but our custom gives us 82 frames per second while maintaining the same image quality.

Video Card Performance


With all settings set to its maximum value, the GPU usage reached 100% but the video RAM only reached 546MB. This means that you don’t need 1GB of video RAM for this game at 1920×1080 resolution.


At 1920×1080 resolution, both the HD7750 and the 9600GT are playable in all settings with 9600GT dropped to 31 fps on All High/On setting. The two Intel integrated graphics was able to produce playable fps on All Low/Off settings, Intel HD (Celeron) graphics with 41fps and Intel HD2500 (i5) with 64fps. With Render Quality at 100%, only the Intel HD2500 was able to get above the 30fps mark with 32fps, while the Intel HD graphics is only 20 fps. The 8400GS is too slow for this game even with all the settings are off and set to low with only 24fps. Modern integrated graphics like Intel HD are faster than this old low-end card.


At 1280×720, results were better on HD7750 and 9600GT with All High settings. Intel HD and HD2500 graphics are now very playable with Render Quality at 100% but still fall short on All High settings. The 8400GS is now also playable with All Low settings but still slow with Render Quality at 100%.


Reducing the resolution further to 800×600 resulted in both Intel HD graphics being playable across all settings while the 8400GS is now playable on All Low setting and Render Quality at 100% but still we were not able to benchmark with All High because the card is too slow to play.

CPU Performance

CPU Usage - 4 Cores
CPU Usage - 3 Cores
CPU Usage - 2 Cores
CPU Usage - 1 Core

The CPU utilization is only 55% with 4 cores, 70% with 3 cores, 84% with 2 cores, and 100% with 1 core. This means that the full potential of a quad core processor will not be unleashed and can only stress 2 cores.


CPU Clock is almost not essential for this game dropping only 5- 8fps for every 200MHz and 400MHz until it dropped 20fps at 2.4GHz. This means that you need a processor with more than 2.4GHz clock speed. Setting the Boost feature to On instead of Auto gives a little 2fps increase in performance.


Meanwhile, turning the Boost off (dropping the clock speed down to 3.2GHz) diminishes couple of fps, ranging from 5 to 17fps depending on how many cores are active.  Disabling cores also reduces the performance, but the biggest dropped occur when running with only one core left, where it reduced to half of the performance of the dual core, which is 128fps, down to 64fps with boost off. But surprisingly, a single core yielded 64fps, a very playable result provided you have a very capable video card. Also a high clocked dual-core (3.2 and 3.6 GHz produces 128 and 137 fps respectively) is faster than a low clocked 2.4GHz quad-core with only 121fps.


Memory Performance

Memory Usage - Private Bytes
Memory Usage - Total Bytes

DOTA 2 used only 1.26 GB of memory and 2.5 GB were used with the operating system and other software installed. Increasing the memory proved to give improvements for this game, even if you are only adding 2GB. Contrary to the 4GB minimum requirement, playing with only 2GB of RAM posted no problem.


Windows 8 Performance


Windows 8 is a little better than Windows 7, both on average and minimum fps.


With respect to the minimum stem requirements, you can go a little lower in every component. If we were to build a minimum system based on our tests, the minimum requirements would be like this:

  • CPU – Intel Celeron dual-core at 2.6GHz
  • RAM – 2GB
  • Video Card – Intel HD Graphics, nVidia 9500GT

The old midrange 9600GT proved to be very much alive for this game, producing 31fps with all settings on high/on at 1920×1080. With our custom setting, you can increase the performance without sacrificing visual quality, but you can still play with Intel HD graphics only with reduced quality settings.

You also don’t need a super high-end processor like i7. A fairly clocked dual-core is enough, though a single core is enough paired with a decent video card. Overall, this game is designed to be played by everyone, but an upgrade will give you a better gaming experience.

  1. high can you update the test for dota 2 reborn?


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