Counterstrike: Global Offensive

Jeremiah    July 30, 2015

Lately, we’ve received quite a few requests to test Counterstrike: Global Offensive on the Potato Masher.

I’ll be honest, I was surprised that so many people wanted to see how a Source game that’s a few years old runs on a pretty decent computer, but CS GO is a very popular game and I can see that some people might be looking at a budget build so they can get into Counterstrike, DOTA, League of Legends, or some of the other older popular PC exclusives.

CS GO looks like every other Source game. I mean, seriously, what else do you want me to say? It looks fine. Not amazing, but Counterstrike is about blazingly fast gameplay and gambling your allowance on a virtual economy, not graphics. It does have a fairly timeless look that will hold up for a few more years, as long as you’ve never played Battlefield or pretty much anything else that has guns and came out in the last few years.

I set my original target at 1080p, 60 fps, maxed graphics. That was very easy to hit. As you can tell by the performance overlay in the left-hand corner of the screen, this didn’t push the Potato Masher much at all. Let’s give it more of a challenge!

60 fps is well and good, but if you rely on carefully honed twitch reflexes and split-second reaction times, a 120 or 144hz monitor is a great upgrade. The Potato Masher handled higher framerates extremely well. You’ll be happy to know that 120 fps worked great, still at Very High settings. Still at 1080p, I bumped the framerate limiter up to 144 fps. At Very High settings, the game fluctuated between 120 and 144 fps. If you had a Gsync monitor capable of that range, you’d never know the difference. That said, a stable framerate is always ideal, so I lowered the settings to High, and 144 fps was instantly achieved. The visual difference is slight, and at that framerate, visual fidelity is second to speed. Let’s look at some other resolutions.

Here’s where it gets fun. The Potato Masher can run CS GO at 1440p on Very High settings at 60 fps. 60 is easy! It can also do 120 fps at High settings. If that’s just not good enough, dropping down to Medium will get you 144 fps. Of course, you’ll need a $750 1440p 144hz monitor to take advantage of this, but you could if you wanted to. If 1080p at Very High settings isn’t good enough, and 1440p at Very High settings looks pretty boring, you can always play at 4K….and Very High settings. That’s right! The Potato Masher can’t play most games at 4K, 60fps, and certainly not at max settings. Counterstrike GO is one of those games, though! I don’t know why you’d need to play at 4K with 16x anti-aliasing, but it’s an option. You’ll be stuck at 60 fps though, because even if you lower the settings all the way down, you won’t hit a stable 120 or 144 fps with this computer at 4K. Of course, there aren’t any 120 or 144hz 4K monitors on the market right now, but they’ll probably be here at some point. You’ll be stuck with the 1440p 144hz peasants, crying about how you can’t buy a $2000 monitor to hook up to your $350 computer.

Counterstrike: Global Offensive looks fine, runs great, and is still the brutal, lightning fast game you played on the library computers in middle school. If you want to build a budget computer to get back into it, you’ll probably have great results!