Update (March 10): We've received a little clarification on the question of exactly how well Mass Effect: Andromeda will perform on a 3GB GTX 1060. At PAX East today, we asked producer Michael Gamble if the card would really deliver 30 fps at best on high.
"No, I mean, it depends on your machine," said Gamble. "And it’s really hard to benchmark individual machines. We’re just saying that that’s the bare minimum that it’ll run at. It’ll probably run at higher than that for most of the game, it’s just really hard to be specific about it. We just want to do the minimum and we want to do the recommended. The recommended, at least on my machine at home, I have a 1060, I run at higher than 30 [fps] for the majority of the game. But it’s hard to actually to say, 'This is the specs, and this is exactly what you’ll run at.'"
So the estimate may be conservative, as we suspected. We have a GTX 1060 in the office, so as soon as we can we'll test Andromeda with it and report back on how it performs. The original story follows below.
Original story (March 9): The Mass Effect: Andromeda system requirements were made public a couple of weeks ago, and they were a little on the high side but not really any more than you'd expect from a big-budget action-adventure released in 2017. More recently, though, EA has posted performance predictions based on the minimum and recommended system specs, and those you might find a little surprising.
The minimum system requirement—a Core i5 3570, 8GB RAM, and a 2GB GTX 660 or Radeon 7750—is predicted to be capable of 30 fps at 1280x720 resolution on "low" graphics settings. That's the sort of visual experience that I'd expect would convince an awful lot of gamers that it's finally time to upgrade. But it's the high side of the scale that I find more of a surprise: A Core i7 4790, 16GB RAM, and a 3GB GTX 1060 or 4GB RX 480 will deliver 30 fps at 1920x1080, on 'high' settings.
That's not terrible, but it's still very much a mid-range setting for the game, since Andromeda supports 4K resolutions and, as you can see at Nvidia.com, 'ultra' settings across a wide range of graphical options. I wouldn't go so far as to say those middling numbers are concerning, because performance predictors aren't carved in stone, but it does make me wonder what kind of setup will be needed to achieve those sweet 4K visuals at anything resembling a playable frame rate.
It's important to note that one game's settings aren't necessarily equivalent to any other game's settings, so Andromeda's 'high' could hypothetically be the same as another game's 'ultra.' It's also possible that EA is trying to manage expectations by aiming low: Mass Effect: Andromeda and Battlefield 1 are both built on the Frostbite 3 engine and have similar system requirements, and our performance analysis of Battlefield 1 found that both the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 were able to dance around the 100 fps mark at 1080p at "ultra" visual settings. It could be a typo, too. We've emailed EA to confirm that the predicted performance numbers are accurate, and while we wait for a response you can have a look at the graphics settings options below.