It's hard to overstate how popular StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty already is among PC gamers, with keys to enter the closed beta that launched last week already fetching a price on eBay.
Blizzard had disclosed fairly relaxed minimum hardware requirements for the game's beta, but as you should know these hardly dictate what you are truly going to need to enjoy the game, let alone run it on all its visual glory. With most high profile PC games released in the last year or so remaining more hardware friendly than usual -- let's call it the Crysis effect -- we had no reason to believe Blizzard would choose a different route for StarCraft II considering its massive appeal. But even then the preliminary results look strikingly positive for the PC crowd on a budget. Our friends at Legion Hardware took the beta code for a spin and tested a wide range of GPU configurations to see how older and newer generation graphics boards performed in this upcoming RTS sequel.
At a less than modest 1920x1200 resolution with all graphics settings maxed out (no AA/AF in the beta) they found most current generation cards performing up to the task. In fact, pick any of the GPUs we featured in our recent tech tip where we listed the best budget to mid-range graphics cards currently available and you will see that a balanced card like the ATI Radeon HD 5750 achieved a noteworthy 59fps average at this resolution, while the sub-$100 GeForce GT 240 scored a very decent 44fps. Faster cards blazed through the tests, at 2560x1600 for example, a Radeon HD 5770 seems to be sufficient to draw the necessary frames per second for a smooth gameplay experience.
Another test that looks at CPU scaling shows that performance on StarCraft II does rely more heavily on the processor than your average gaming title. You can check the complete 1920x1200 GPU results after the jump, or read the complete article at LH.