Red Dead Redemption 2 PC build guide

Rockstar's wild west magnum opus arrives on PC in a couple of weeks. Make sure your new PC has enough beef to handle it.


After leaving players hanging in the wind for an entire calendar year, the folks at Rockstar are finally releasing Red Dead Redemption 2 for the PC on November 5. The PC version of the game will come with exclusive new content and mouse support, but the biggest selling point will most assuredly be the improved graphics and unlocked framerate.

Rockstar just released a PC trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 that shows off the graphical upgrades in 4K resolution. Unlike the console versions, the PC will see native 4K resolution and the ability to run the game above the 30hz it was chained to for the last year. The minimum requirements for running the game on PC were revealed last week, so if you already have a PC, you’ll want to make sure you have the juice to experience the definitive version of Rockstar’s cowboy adventure.

If you have plans to upgrade your existing PC or even build a new machine for Red Dead Redemption 2, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will cover a few builds that target certain resolutions and quality settings so you can be sure that your wild west experience is the best it can be.

Building a PC for Red Dead Redemption 2

PC Read Dead Redemption 2 build
The PC version of Read Dead Redemption 2 will have increased draw distances.

The minimum requirements for Red Dead Redemption 2 are relatively light and should you just barely meet them, you will likely be able to play the game on Medium-Low settings at a steady framerate. This is good news for folks who still rock hardware that is nearing a decade in age and even better news for those choosing to build new, as budget-tier parts on the market today are much faster than what you need for a console-level Red Dead 2 experience. Because Grand Theft Auto V’s PC port was so well-optimized, it is likely that RDR2 received the same treatment.

All the following builds are simply guidelines, so feel free to swap out for parts from your favorite vendors where needed. 

Budget Bronco: 1080p/1440p High Settings at 60Hz

PC Read Dead Redemption 2 build
Higher quality depth of field and post-processing effects will make RDR2 shine on PC.

Build list @ PC Part Picker

This build has everything you need to enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2 (and virtually any other PC game) at High Settings with a 60Hz frame rate. For budget builds, going with the AMD Ryzen 5 CPU is the best bang for your buck. The 16GB of RAM kit ensures smooth gameplay, even if you have web browsers and music players open in the background. The 500GB SSD ensures the game will load much faster than the console versions and you will have no problems streaming in the vast open-world the Rockstar created. The graphics are handled by the AMD Radeon RX580 8GB GPU, which will allow effortless 1080p performance and 1440p output at 60Hz if you are willing to adjust a few settings here and there. The example build as assembled will set you back ~$550 (does not include a monitor).

Mid-range Mustang: 1080p/120Hz Ultra or 1440p Ultra

PC Read Dead Redemption 2 build
Higher resolutions ensure that Read Dead Redemption 2 PC is the definitive way to play the game.

Build list @ PC Part Picker

PC gaming enthusiasts who waited out the console version of Red Dead Redemption 2 are most likely aiming for a 100Hz+ experience when the game launches and this upper mid-range build has the horsepower (pun intended) to make it a reality. Stepping up to the new AMD Ryzen R5 3000 series CPU offers a boost to minimum frame rates over the budget build and will help keep the hungry Radeon RX 5700XT GPU fed. An upgraded 1TB NVME SSD gives you unmatched disk speed and enough space to have other game installed along with the absolute 150GB unit that is Red Dead 2. NVIDIA fans should look out for the RTX 2060 Super and RTX 2070 Super GPUs in this price bracket for comparable or better performance. The example build linked above will set you back ~$1100.

No-compromise Clydesdale: 1440p/144Hz Ultra or 4K/60Hz Ultra

PC Read Dead Redemption 2 build
The No-compromise build ensures the game will run smoothly at high refresh rates.

Build list @ PC Part Picker

If your entire life has been leading up to the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, it makes perfect sense to play the game on the best possible hardware. The No-compromise Clydesdale selects the best of the best, ensuring that you don’t have to turn down any settings. 4K/60Hz is no problem, and should you upgrade to one of the upcoming 4K/120Hz HDR monitors on the horizon, you should also be in great shape. As a fun bonus, assembling a machine like this ensures that you can already look down on the next-generation of console owners, as the PS5 and Xbox One X Two will be significantly less powerful.

At the center of the build is the Intel Core i9-9900K. It’s expensive and runs hot, but it is inarguably the fastest gaming CPU you can buy today. It is a perfect match for the absurdly expensive and powerful GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU. A 2TB NVME SSD, 32GB of DDR4 RGB RAM and one of Corsair’s finest power supplies rounds out the package. AMD diehards can look to swap out the Intel CPU with the new Ryzen 3900X, should their heart desire. AMD currently offers no comparable GPU to the RTX 2080 Ti.

With this guide and a little bit of disposable income, you can be sure that your Red Dead Redemption 2 experience on PC will be fantastic on Day 1. If you need advice on a set of headphones to make the most of your Red Dead audio journey, refer to our guide on selecting the best set, as well as matching amps and DACs. If you also need a monitor, we have a guide to help you make the best purchase for your needs as well. 

If you find yourself needing a helping hand while playing, don’t forget our exhaustive collection of guide content for Red Dead Redemption 2 to ensure you have the best possible experience. Good luck out on the trail, cowboy.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 17, 2019 2:50 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Red Dead Redemption 2 PC build guide

    • reply
      October 17, 2019 2:57 PM

      I think this may be the last major game my 970 will be able to run decently in 1920x1080. It handled The Witcher 3 ans Doom like a champ, but I’m not sure about this one. Going to wait with the upgrade until Cyberpunk comes out though.

Hello, Meet Lola