Is Apex Legends CPU or GPU Intensive? Find it now - Reedablez

Apex Legends, a famous battle royale game, offers a visually stunning and fast-paced gaming experience. Understanding whether it's more CPU or GPU-intensive can help players optimize their hardware and settings for the best gameplay. 

Apex Legends leans toward being more CPU intensive. While a capable GPU is important for graphics, the game heavily relies on the CPU for tasks like physics calculations, AI, and overall game logic.

This article aims to delve into the intricate relationship between Apex Legends, central processing units (CPUs), and graphics processing units (GPUs) to provide a comprehensive understanding of the hardware demands this battle royale titan places upon gaming systems.

The Dynamics of Apex Legends

Apex Legends, renowned for its fast-paced gameplay and visually impressive environments, incorporate elements that challenge the CPU and GPU. From rendering lifelike landscapes and intricate character models to calculating physics and handling complex networking tasks, the game demands a harmonious synchronisation between the CPU and GPU.

The CPU's Role in Apex Legends

Central processing units serve as the "brain" of a computer system, executing instructions and managing tasks. In Apex Legends, the CPU plays a significant role in handling various game-related processes:

Game Logic

The CPU is responsible for processing in-game logic, including character movement, weapon mechanics, and interactions with the environment. It calculates hit detection, collision responses, and other critical gameplay aspects.


Online multiplayer games like Apex Legends necessitate real-time communication with servers and other players. The CPU manages networking tasks, ensuring a smooth and lag-free experience.

AI and NPCs

Apex Legends employs non-player characters (NPCs) and advanced AI behaviors. The CPU processes AI decisions, adding complexity and unpredictability to the gameplay.

Audio Processing

Immersive audio experiences, including positional audio cues, require real-time processing by the CPU to create a sense of direction and depth.

However, while the CPU handles these essential tasks, Apex Legends does not load overwhelmingly on modern processors. High-end CPUs from the latest generations are generally capable of managing the game's requirements efficiently, leaving room for other demanding applications to run concurrently.

The GPU's Role in Apex Legends

Graphics processing units are responsible for rendering images and visuals on a screen. Apex Legends' stunning landscapes, intricate character models, and dynamic lighting effects strongly demand the GPU. Key areas where the GPU shines in Apex Legends include:

Visual Rendering

The GPU generates and renders detailed environments, characters, and special effects, ensuring the game's visual fidelity.

Textures and Shaders

Complex textures and intricate shading contribute to the game's realism. The GPU manages these elements, determining how light interacts with surfaces.

Particle Effects

Explosions, fire, smoke, and other particle effects are computationally intensive. The GPU handles these effects, maintaining smooth gameplay even during intense action sequences.

Resolution and Frame Rate

Gamers often strive for high resolutions and smooth frame rates. The GPU's processing power directly influences the game's ability to achieve these benchmarks.

Achieving the Balance: CPU vs. GPU

Understanding whether Apex Legends is more CPU or GPU-intensive requires a nuanced approach. The game is meticulously designed to strike a balance between the two, ensuring that neither component becomes a bottleneck that hampers gameplay quality.

In situations where a CPU bottleneck occurs, players might experience frame drops during moments of intense action. This is particularly evident in scenarios where the CPU struggles to process the game's logic, AI, and networking simultaneously. On the other hand, a GPU bottleneck can lead to lower frame rates, diminished visual quality, or both. This occurs when the GPU cannot keep up with rendering demands, causing delays in delivering frames to the monitor.

The balance can shift based on individual hardware configurations, in-game settings, and external factors like screen resolution and refresh rates. Gamers aiming for higher solutions, such as 1440p or 4K, are likelier to experience a GPU bottleneck, as the GPU needs to work harder to render more pixels. Conversely, those focusing on competitive gameplay with lower settings and high frame rates may encounter CPU bottlenecks.

Optimizing Hardware for Apex Legends

To optimize hardware for the best Apex Legends experience, consider the following tips:

  • Balanced Components: Strive for a balanced system that pairs a capable CPU with a strong GPU. This synergy ensures that neither component becomes a limiting factor.
  • CPU Selection: While Apex Legends is not overly CPU intensive, opt for a modern processor with multiple cores and threads for seamless multitasking.
  • GPU Power: Invest in a high-performance graphics card to enjoy the game at higher resolutions and frame rates without sacrificing visual quality.
  • Cooling and Thermals: Efficient cooling solutions for both CPU and GPU prevent thermal throttling, maintaining consistent performance during extended gameplay sessions.
  • Driver Updates: Regularly update graphics drivers for optimal performance and compatibility with the latest game updates.

Factors Affecting CPU and GPU Usage in Apex Legends

1. Graphics Settings

The chosen graphics settings are one of the primary factors influencing CPU and GPU usage in Apex Legends. Higher graphics settings, such as increased texture quality, shadows, and anti-aliasing, place a heavier workload on the GPU. This is because the GPU is responsible for rendering the intricate details and visual effects that contribute to the game's realism and aesthetics. On the other hand, lower graphics settings reduce the GPU's burden but might shift some tasks, such as physics calculations, to the CPU to compensate for the reduced visual complexity.

2. Resolution and Frame Rate

The resolution at which the game is played and the desired frame rate also impacts CPU and GPU usage. Playing at higher resolutions, such as 1440p or 4K, demands more GPU power to accurately render the increased pixel count. Similarly, targeting higher frame rates, such as 144 FPS, requires a powerful GPU to process and render frames quickly. While the GPU bears the brunt of these demands, the CPU is still responsible for coordinating and managing the gameplay, AI, and networking tasks.

3. Physics and AI Calculations

Apex Legends incorporates a physics engine that simulates interactions between objects, bullet trajectories, and character movements. These calculations fall under the CPU's domain, requiring computational power to ensure accurate and realistic in-game physics. Additionally, the game's artificial intelligence (AI) routines for both legends and NPCs are also processed by the CPU. Each legend's unique abilities and behaviors and NPC behaviors contribute to the overall AI workload.

4. Networking

Maintaining a seamless online gaming experience involves significant CPU usage for networking tasks. The CPU manages data transmission to and from the game servers, ensuring that player actions are synchronized across the game world. Network-related tasks include handling player inputs, updating the game state, and managing real-time interactions with other players.

5. Particle Effects and Visual Effects

Apex Legends features a variety of particle effects and visual effects, such as explosions, smoke, fire, and environmental changes. These effects contribute to the game's immersive atmosphere and dynamic gameplay. Processing and rendering these effects primarily fall within the GPU's realm, as they involve complex calculations related to lighting, shading, and rendering techniques.

6. CPU and GPU Bottlenecks

It's important to note that a balanced system is crucial to achieving optimal performance in Apex Legends. A bottleneck occurs when one hardware component significantly outperforms the other, leading to suboptimal performance. For instance, a powerful GPU paired with an outdated CPU might lead to CPU bottlenecks, where the CPU cannot keep up with the GPU's rendering demands. Similarly, an advanced CPU with a weaker GPU could result in GPU bottlenecks, as the GPU needs help to render the visuals that the CPU can produce.

Recommended System Requirements for Apex Legends

Apex Legends, the popular battle royale game developed by Respawn Entertainment, offers an immersive and fast-paced gaming experience. To fully enjoy the game's dynamic environment, impressive visuals, and smooth gameplay, it's essential to have a computer system that meets or exceeds the recommended system requirements.

1. Operating System:

Windows: Windows 10 64-bit

2. Processor (CPU):

Recommended: Intel i5 3570K or equivalent

Alternative: AMD Ryzen 5 CPU

3. Memory (RAM):

Recommended: 8GB RAM

4. Graphics Card (GPU):

Recommended: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290

Alternative: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480

5. DirectX:

Version: DirectX 11

6. Storage:

Minimum: 22GB of free space

Solid-State Drive (SSD) Recommended: While not a strict requirement, installing the game on an SSD can significantly reduce loading times and improve overall performance.

7. Internet Connection:

Required: An Internet connection is essential for online multiplayer gameplay.

8. Input:

Keyboard and Mouse: Standard input devices for PC gaming.

Additional Considerations

  • Monitor: A monitor with a refresh rate of 60Hz or higher will help you fully appreciate the smooth gameplay experience Apex Legends offers.
  • Graphics Settings: Adjusting the graphics settings in the game can help you optimize performance according to your system's capabilities.

Why These Specifications Matter

The recommended system requirements for Apex Legends are designed to provide players with a smooth and visually appealing gaming experience. Meeting these requirements ensures that your hardware can handle the game's graphics rendering, physics calculations, and networking demands without causing performance issues.

The CPU recommendation ensures that your system can seamlessly handle physics calculations, artificial intelligence routines, and networking tasks. The recommended GPU options allow you to enjoy the game's graphics satisfyingly, delivering sharp textures, detailed environments, and fluid animations.

Having at least 8GB of RAM is crucial for smooth multitasking while playing Apex Legends. Additionally, an SSD can significantly enhance load times and reduce texture pop-ins during gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which tasks are CPU intensive in Apex Legends?

Tasks such as physics calculations, AI routines for legends and NPCs, and networking are handled by the CPU in Apex Legends. The CPU manages interactions between objects, bullet trajectories, and character movements and sends and receives data to and from game servers.

Which tasks are GPU intensive in Apex Legends?

The GPU primarily handles graphic rendering, including textures, lighting effects, shadows, and visual effects. Higher graphics settings, resolutions, and frame rates demand more GPU power to deliver smooth and visually appealing gameplay.

Will upgrading my CPU or GPU improve my Apex Legends performance more?

CPU and GPU upgrades can improve Apex Legends' performance, but the impact depends on your current hardware. If your CPU is bottlenecking performance, upgrading it will yield better results. Similarly, a more powerful GPU can enhance visuals and frame rates if your current GPU is the limiting factor.

Can lower-end PCs run Apex Legends?

Apex Legends is designed with scalability in mind, allowing it to run on a wide range of hardware. Lower-end PCs might need lower graphics settings and resolutions to maintain playable frame rates, but the game can still provide an enjoyable experience.

How can I balance my CPU and GPU usage in Apex Legends?

Adjusting graphics settings, especially those related to texture quality, shadow resolution, and anti-aliasing, can help balance CPU and GPU usage. Experiment with different settings to find a configuration that optimizes performance on your specific hardware.

Is it worth upgrading my hardware for Apex Legends?

Whether to upgrade your hardware depends on your current system's performance and expectations. If you need help with low frame rates and poor visuals, upgrading your CPU or GPU can significantly enhance your Apex Legends experience.


Apex Legends is CPU and GPU intensive, but the extent varies depending on graphics settings, resolution, and in-game actions. The game's dynamic environment, physics calculations, AI routines, and detailed graphics contribute to its demands on both components. The answer lies in the intricate dance between these two critical hardware components in the debate over whether Apex Legends is more CPU or GPU-intensive. The game's dynamic environment, real-time physics, advanced AI, and impressive graphics demand a substantial CPU and GPU contribution. A well-balanced hardware setup, consisting of a powerful CPU and GPU, is essential for delivering the smoothest and most immersive Apex Legends experience. 

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