Civilization 5 Review: PC performance issues

By Peter Chubb - Sep 22, 2010

When it comes to gaming on a big scale, you need to forget about Halo: Reach or Call of Duty: Black Ops; Civilization V is where it is. I am not talking about sales or popularity here; I am talking about how much work has gone into this complex game. Steve Farrelly from AusGamers has spent some time with the new game from 2K Games and believes that it is the best yet.

In his review Farrelly covers all the bases, but one thing that we seem to have let pass us by is how demanding the graphics and other mechanics are on your PCs hardware. The further you progress in the game the more demand is placed on your system – so expect things to slow down.

Farrelly was running Civilization 5 on a PC with a Quad Core CPU and a GeForce 8800 graphics card. OK, so this is not the most powerful set-up, but is normally more than enough to run most games. He notes that if you are running 12 civilizations, then something has to give, for me that would have to be my patients.

Do not let a minor thing like this put you off though, Steve has given Civilization 5 a 9.2 out of 10. It will not matter if you are new or a veteran of the series, you will soon get the hang it and spend all your spare time transfixed on your PC.

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Also See: XCOM: Enemy Unknown review positivity for Android

  • angry civ pwner

    Civ 5 should have never got into bed with Steam. Steam is soley responsible for the long turn times…. Ive got about the best gameing PC money can buy and it takes the same time per turn as my office pc. Steam is shit, and its a shame the Civ guys got into this situation. so untill we all have fiber net, and until steam is pushing gigs per sec, steam is failsauce.

  • Rico

    I'm playing on dual Xeon 5420's (2.5GHz), 4 GB of RAM, and an overclocked 8800GT. I can live with the choppy zoom/scroll and animations and blame it on the aging graphics card. What I don't understand is why do I have to wait so long between turns? I'll have the performance monitor opened on the 2nd monitor and I'll never see CPU utilization go above 20-30%. The load is distributed across all 8 cores, but it's always pretty low.

    What gives?

  • Dafna1

    Today I install XFX HD 6970. Crashing like before

  • Denton

    I have a AMD Phenom II 955 Quad Core Processor overclocked at 3.6 GHz with a Geforce GTX 260. 4 GB DDR 3 RAM. My system is a beast and eats anything thrown at it. HOWEVER, Civ 5 is choppy, slow, and freezes/crashes on a consistent basis. My system is way above the recommended specs for this game – what gives??

  • Dafna1

    I have the same problem. Ihave to wait two minutes or more plus it crashies time by time, so I have save game at the begining and at the end of the turn. (I'm at the turn 726).
    Intel i7-720@ 4.2 GHz Quad core
    12Gb DDR3-1600
    Radeon 5850 1Gb
    60Gb OCZ Vertex 2E SSD

  • Beamer67ca

    The wait for each turn is getting annoying for me too. Plus steam verification and have to download world builder through steam and then not have it accessible during game play, has definitely soured my experience.
    My system has frozen on a couple of occasions.
    The graphics are nice but I think eye candy for system performance is not a fair trade.
    My system of course does not have a quad core, but I thought the specs were scalable. I have 8 gigs of ram and I can't remember my gpu specs, but it's no slouch.

  • Adam Solo

    After playing so much Civ5 I think it was time to make my review on my blog:

    Feel free to criticise, correct or comment, specially on the section about the changes from Civ4 (what was removed and added, for sure there are many things I could not remember).

    I think I will not keep playing, I'll wait for the next patches and then give it another try. As you'll read in my review my biggest complaints go for diplomacy, global happiness and boredom (not too much things to do).

    See you around,

  • JimBones97239

    The performance issues are really starting to ruin the game for me. I love all the new changes to the franchise, but the amount of time it takes to process one turn on a huge map with max civs is approaching 2 minutes and after 1 or 2 hours of play, I get really bored of those waits. I assume this is the AI taking this long to make its decisions, but I wish they could have scaled that down to no more than a 30 second wait (the AI is still pretty stupid anyway).

    Intel QX9650 (3 GHz quad)
    4 GB DDR2 1066
    GeForce 8800 GTX
    2x 300 GB Velociraptor RAID 1

    • Guest

      I'm with JimBones here. I bought the game last week, and the performance on my system is a nightmare. Mind you my system is underpowered compared to JimBones.

      Intel T9550 (2.66GHz duo)
      3 GB RAM

    • Mile

      I have the same problem. The game is getting extremely annoying. I have to wait for 2 minutes for a turn. I want my money back!
      Intel i5-750 @ 3,6GHz Quad core
      8GB DDR3-1600
      Radeon 5770 1Gb
      128Gb Kinston SSD

    • ElHaraqldo

      Hi, same to me. It is not the one more turn thing again. It is more of waiting for the next turn!
      And the last time it stuck i went to the Taskmanager and it took 1 core full at 25%. I am waiting
      and my CPU idles. Now i know why is spend money on Hardware!

      AMD Phenom2 X4 at 3400 GHz
      8 GB DDR2 1066
      GeForce 8800 GTX

  • the comfy chair


    you need seperate cd-keys to lan anyway. You always had to buy two copies. Unless you're using keygens (a.k.a. illegal, you may as well torrent in that case). Xbox isn't any better, you still have to buy two discs.

    So basically your complaints are void 😛

    • Nadthor

      No – he means there are no decent strategy games for consoles. Civ for consoles was a weak shallow affair not really worthy of the name. Console strategy games are generally really weak and shallow. Dwarf Fortress will never be a console game, Napoleon Total War will never be a console game, Panther Games Battles fromn the Bulge will never be a console game.
      Worse still – even the PS3 is really showing it's age. I use mine for MLB the show and nothing else now – every other game on Xbox and PS3 is an assault on the eyes. Modern 1.5gigabyte graphics cards on PC (with 800 stream procesors or more in each card) absolutely HAMMER the blocky rubbish graphics of consoles.
      Come to think of it – other than for kids – don't really know what Xbox and PS3 are for any more. Old. drecepit and stuffed full of dull 1st and 3rd person shooters and the odd driving game – and little else

  • smiley

    CIV 5 may be good but if you would like to actually like to play multiplayer on a LAN in your own home, Steam is nothing but a headache and a rip-off. Stick with the X-box platform and don't feed the computer gaming rip-off that is evolving. Greed is expecting each member of a household to purchase the game seperately to play each other on computers located in the same home running on the same internet connection.

    • yea lets support the gaming consoles that comes out with endless amounts of generic shooters and racers just because they took out lan.

      This isn't mw2 or halo where you can just split the screen and go at it. There's a whole PC gaming experience where the consoles don't come close.

  • Pedantic Jerk

    I think you mean "patience" … mmmm credibility

    • Natalya

      Indeed … I'm not a 'grammar nazi', but that struck me like a hammer to the forehead.

      • Brock.Travis

        Maybe he is a doctor or something.

        • Mr. Noitall

          Kinda comparing apples to oranges when he said "forget about Halo & MW2".