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CS2 optimized specs include Nvidia RTX GPU and AMD CPU, says PGL

Ahead of the first Counter Strike 2 major, PGL has shared what graphics card and processor will power the esports teams' gaming PCs.

Counter-Strike 2 key art, featuring a counter-terrorist operative (left) and terrorist (right), surrounded by a monitor (bottom left), CPU (top left), and GPU (right)

Identifying the definitive CS2 optimized specs requires a serious amount of time and effort, the kind only afforded to companies with the cash, expertise, and power of PGL. With the first Counter-Strike 2 major due to take place shortly, the company has shared what monitor and components will be used in the competition.

On the surface, it seems like the simplest solution for PGL would be to slap the best gaming CPU and graphics card on the market into every PC and call it a day. However, the way each game interacts with GPU architectures is different, with Counter-Strike 2 being no exception, so testing is naturally required. That’s not forgetting the balance of performance to cost that’s partly at play here, leaning towards the latter.

Following its benchmarking and optimization work, PGL has concluded that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 and AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D are the best graphics card and processor pairing for Counter-Strike 2. The organization sings the praises of the CPU in particular, describing it as “a game-changer in the esports arena, promising to elevate the competitive play of CS2 to new heights.” It’s not hard to to see why, given the chip’s ability to deliver high frame rates at lower resolutions, thanks to its 3D V-Cache technology, beating the likes of the Intel Core i9 14900K in games.

A floor filled with motherboards, each sporting an air cooler and graphics card

A lot of work has clearly gone into selecting these specs, as evidenced by the sea of test benches shared by PGL optimization partner Afromnazareth (shown above). It’s unclear why the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Super wasn’t selected in place of the non-Super graphics card, given its cheaper price and better specs, but this could be due to availability or lower pricing made available to PGL.

For those wondering why AMD lost out here, despite its Radeon graphics cards typically performing better than GeForce competition when ray tracing is disabled, there are a few good reasons we can think of.

Counter-Strike 2 supports Nvidia Reflex, and this input latency reducing feature is naturally all the more important in a professional esports environment. Combine this with the fact that CS2 seems to prefer Nvidia GPUs for maximum performance, and there’s little reason to opt for Radeon over GeForce.

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PGL has also shared that the first CS2 major will be played on one of the best gaming monitors for esports, the Zowie XL2566K. This display comes with a 24-inch 1080p panel, sporting a 1080p resolution and 360Hz refresh rate. It also packs BenQ’s ‘DyAC+’, which aims to provide greater motion clarity, making it easier to line up your shots on fast moving targets.

We’ll see this setup in action come March 17, 2024, so if you’re looking to play some Dust 2 to get you in the mood for the competition, check out our best CS2 settings guide to give you the greatest edge possible.