The Ultimate Borderlands 3 Guide for PC Gamers - Prima Games

The Ultimate Borderlands 3 Guide for PC Gamers

by Nicholas Barth

Hello, Vault Hunters! We are sure you have been having the time of your lives shooting and looting your way through the Borderlands 3 universe. How can you not when the latest entry in the legendary franchise allows you to fight enemies with a hamburger shooting gun?

These insane worlds were brought to life by the good folks over at Gearbox Software bringing out the big guns in game development hardware and optimized your trip to Pandora for AMD Ryzen and Radeon. Don’t worry. This powerful development arsenal was not created by those jerks over at Maliwan. Borderlands 3 had its life-breath forged by Xidax PCs equipped with the latest in AMD hardware. 

So, if you’re looking to up your game and loot ALL the guns, but your busted PC isn’t up to snuff, what are your options? Well, your first option is to buy a PC optimized from the ground up to run Borderlands 3 with all the juicy visuals maxed from a company like Xidax, and the other is to make sure you’re configuring Borderlands 3 to perform as best it can if you already own a PC. We’ll talk about both options.

But first, let’s look under the hood into what makes Borderlands 3 so drop-dead gorgeous when played on AMD hardware and Xidax PCs.

The AMD Juice in Borderlands 3

This high-profile title has plenty in it that makes it tick. No, we are not talking about the badass powers of a Siren. However, we are talking about the multitude of features the looter-shooter is optimized for when it comes to AMD Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics cards.

AMD made a big deal out of the technology utilized in Borderlands 3 when they launched the all-new Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards, and it’s one of the first titles to prominently feature some of the key technologies that deliver excellent visuals and fast frame rates. 

The mayhem-fueling technologies that AMD brings to the table for Borderlands 3 can be boiled down to AMD Zen 2 CPU architecture, AMD RDNA Gaming Architecture, AMD FidelityFX, and AMD FreeSync 2 HDR.

You may be wondering what exactly these technologies do for you when it comes to your Borderlands 3 gaming experience. The answer is that they work in tandem to bring you three things:

  • Faster frame rates

  • Higher quality visuals

  • Smooth, tear-free gaming

It’s All About the Platform

While a PC’s graphics card typically gets all the love when it comes to doling out juicy frames, it’s not the only rock star at the party. The CPU has to handle managing the flow of information in and out of the game, the operating system, and what YOU tell your character to do. So, just like you wouldn’t want a fancy Ferrari with a four-cylinder engine, you don’t want to plug that shiny new graphics card into a PC without a beefy CPU. That’s where AMD Zen 2 architecture comes in. 

Found in 3rd Generation Ryzen 3000 series processors (available in Ryzen 3600 models and above), this first-of-its-kind 7nm processor based on Zen 2 architecture is available in up to 16(!) cores with boost frequencies up to 4.7GHz. Together with X570 chipset, it is the perfect fit for a Radeon RX 5700 series graphics card, which is the only combination to feature PCI-Express 4.0 connectivity. But don’t worry, 3rd Generation Ryzen 3000 series processors are compatible with many of AMD’s previous generation chipsets for the AM4 socket, which is why we think this platform is a great place for anyone looking to build any type of PC for any task.

Adding The GPU Special Sauce

Fresh from the foundry, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 series is also built on a 7nm process, delivering 50% more performance per watt than previous generations. It also brings a whole host of gamer-centric bells and whistles that let you see Pandora just as the developers intended. And just how does it go about doing that?

AMD’s RDNA architecture is found at the heart of any AMD Radeon RX 5700 series graphics card, and it’s a grounds-up technological wonder that was designed for next-generation gaming. 

Front and center in Borderlands 3 is AMD’s FidelityFX, a key feature that RDNA brings to the table. A lot of visual quality is lost in translation when you are limited by your monitor’s resolution or your tolerance for low frame rates, leading you to dial down the visual settings to up your FPS. In steps FidelityFX. At any setting, FidelityFX teases out the details that other GPUs just can’t show you. At its heart is a technique called Contrast Adaptive Sharpening – it’s a way for the GPU to apply a technique that takes the qualities of the image you’re seeing and make them more refined with more perceived definition. Those who take advantage of FidelityFX will be rewarded with an extremely sharp gaming experience and improved image clarity that negates the softening that occurs from post-process effects like upscaling. 

Here’s a quick screenshot so you can see for yourself:

Gorgeous visuals don’t cut it if you’re st-st-stuttering along! Microsoft’s DirectX 12 API unleashes a pair of powerful capabilities found in AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs:  Asynchronous Compute and the Multithreading of Command Buffers. Both features provide a highly efficient workload distribution for AMD Radeon graphics cards. This reduces the latency induced by the CPU and allows for more work to be done by your GPU in the same amount of time as before and results in players getting those downright impressive high frame rates.

Now that we’ve got a fast processor serving up data to the GPU, and the GPU dishing out tons of beautifully rendered frames, there’s only one piece of the puzzle left to that silky-smooth gaming experience.

FreeSync 2 HDR Is A Nice Touch

Your monitor is limited in the number of frames it can display each second. A monitor’s refresh rate, measured in Hz, dictates that number. Most traditional monitors have a refresh rate of 60Hz and can display 60 frames per second. But what happens if your graphics card is pumping out MORE than that? You get tearing. It’s nasty. And if your GPU is having a hard time keeping up, you get a stuttering, juddering mess. FreeSync 2 HDR not only solves both of those problems, but it also allows you to see brighter brights, darker darks, and better-defined overall color. 

By leveraging FreeSync’s ability to adaptively synchronize the refresh rate of the panel to the frames being sent by the GPU, you eliminate tearing and juddering. And by exploiting wider color gamut and higher peak and lower black luminance levels, HDR technology brings the picture you’re seeing to life in a way that delivers immersion never seen before. Look for FreeSync 2 HDR callouts when you’re looking for a new monitor to loot and pillage your way through Pandora, and remember, it only works on Radeon.

What if I already have an AMD Ryzen system?

If you already have an AMD Ryzen and Radeon PC that you feel is going to get the job done, here are a few key things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system.

  1. Make sure you’re running the latest GPU and chipset drivers. You can find the latest AMD drivers here.

  1. Make sure Windows is up to date. In Windows 10, type into search located on your taskbar “Check for updates” and click on the result. Click the button “Check for updates” in the window that pops up and restart your system when the updates are complete. To get the most out of AMD Ryzen processors, make sure you’re running the latest 1903 build of Windows 10.

  1. For Ryzen 3000 series, AMD has introduced BIOS updates that increase performance and bring new features to the platform. Check with your motherboard manufacturer to ensure you’re running the latest BIOS.

OK, I’ve Updated My System or Bought A Rockin’ Xidax PC That’s Ready to Play

Once you’ve installed Borderlands 3 and have updated it to the latest version, you’ll want to tweak the visuals to deliver that smooth gaming experience that AMD technology brings to the game. Under Options -> Visuals you have three tabs that we’ll be exploring.

The first view allows you to set basic settings like Resolution, etc. It should default to the native resolution of your panel and the corresponding aspect ratio. For a great balance of frame rates and visuals, we recommend running 2560×1440 if your monitor supports it (though 1080p panels are quite prevalent.) We do recommend that you change the display mode to Full Screen, which is the first option on this screen. Leave Vertical Sync off if you have a FreeSync monitor; that allows the GPU and the monitor to work together to deliver a tear-free gaming experience. If you don’t have a FreeSync monitor, you might want to consider turning it on, but know that you’ll be capped by the maximum refresh rate of the panel, and you’ll want to make sure that your frame rates from the GPU don’t dip below that limit or you’ll introduce judder.

Next, click on the double gears icon for access to the advanced menu. Here is where you can really dial in the visual goodies. First, make sure your Graphics API is set to DirectX 12. Next, if you intend on testing your settings and really dialing into your desired frame rate, consider turning on Performance Stats to get real-time frame rates displayed in the upper right-hand corner while you play. You can always turn this off later.

Next, the Graphics presets are where you’ll want to begin your tweaking. We recommend Ultra for 2560×1440 resolution. However, here’s where you need to decide on what type of gamer you are. If 60 fps is what you’re aiming for, consider turning Volumetric Fog down to Medium or even off.

Volumetric fog is the single most impactful setting to your frame rate aside from display resolution.

You can also play with settings like material complexity and draw distances to gain some extra frame rates, but make sure that you stick with FidelityFX Sharpening and Temporal Anti-Aliasing as those two settings make for the most stunning visual experience. Keeping Shadows set higher and enabling Ambient Occlusion also add to the immersion.

If you’re looking for even higher framerates, consider playing at 1080p or dropping down to High settings (with Volumetric fog off,) even if your monitor supports higher resolutions. FidelityFX and Temporal Anti-Aliasing do a wonderful job of hiding the effects of dropping down a notch in resolution and gamers looking for higher frame rates for that accurate twitch gaming experience without sacrificing all the beauty (and ugliness!) that Pandora has to offer.

Do you want to experience Borderlands 3 at its highest potential? If so, we have the perfect thing for you, Vault Hunter. Players can now get a free copy of Borderlands 3 and an in-game AMD Echo Device skin when they purchase AMD Radeon RX graphics cards, Ryzen processors, or an AMD Radeon RX powered PC thanks to the “Raise the Game” offer that will be running until December 31st, 2019. 

Benchmarking The Xidax PC

These results were found utilizing The Xidax X-6 PC with the following specifications:

  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB GDDR6 GPU
  • AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 8C/16T 4.4GHz Processor
  • ASUS TUF X470-PLUS Gaming Motherboard
  • XIDAX Performance NVME M.2 500GB (500GB M.2) SSD
  • DDR4-3600MHz G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB Memory

Tests were run on the DX12 graphics API using the Ultra and High graphical presets. Volumetric Fog was set to medium for both series of tests. 

Players who jump into the Borderlands 3 universe with AMD hardware and Xidax PCs in their inventory will be able to enjoy the hit title at the highest visual and performance levels. This will no doubt make Lilith the Firehawk proud to call you a Crimson Raider, which really, what else do you need? 

For a limited time, Xidax is offering PC’s skinned with your favorite Borderlands 3 characters! Check out for details.  

Nicholas Barth

Guides Writer Nicholas enjoys helping fellow members of the video game community learn more about their favorite games. First-person shooters and Battle Royale games are what you can usually find Nicholas playing when he isn't writing. We will congratulate you if you can find a bigger Call of Duty fan than Nicholas, who has been playing since he got Call of Duty 2 with his first Xbox 360. [email protected]