DF2014:System requirements

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This article is about the current version of DF.
If you're looking for information on improving the performance of Dwarf Fortress on your computer, see Maximizing Framerate. For installation instructions, see Installation.

Dwarf Fortress is a very complex game, but in ways that differ from most other complex games. This leads to the game having a somewhat unusual set of requirements.

Note that while the front page displays only three builds, there also exist other builds under the "All Versions" link.

OS[edit]

  • Windows requires XP SP3 or newer and an Intel/AMD CPU.
  • Linux runs natively on an Intel/AMD CPU (x86 or amd64) with the proper dependencies installed. Running the Windows build under Wine is an alternative, but introduces overhead that may be significant.
  • MacOS requires 10.5 or later and an Intel CPU. There is not an ARM build yet, but the existing macOS build may work under Rosetta.
  • Builds for other systems do not exist. Depending on your system, it may be possible to run the other builds through some messing around.

GPU[edit]

Dwarf Fortress is not particularly graphically intensive, even when using high-res tilesets and graphics sets. Dwarf Fortress also doesn't use technologies like OpenCL to make use of graphics cards anyway, so a top-of-the-line graphics card will generally not improve performance.

CPU[edit]

Dwarf Fortress mostly operates on a single thread, so if you want to optimize for DF, you should probably optimize for single-core performance. This is especially true if you want to do more laggy things, such as mist generators. However, laggy circumstances are generally the exception, not the rule, and in those other circumstances, you generally don't need a particularly powerful CPU.

Cache size[edit]

As Dwarf Fortress' bottlenecks are mostly due to cache misses, it has been speculated on the DF forums that "a CPU with a positively giant L3/L4 cache (and I mean > 256 mb or GTFO)" would improve DF performance, as would using faster RAM with smaller transfer times—see the next section.

RAM[edit]

During regular gameplay, Dwarf Fortress usually doesn't consume too much memory. 512MB is probably a bit tight, but 1GB is absolutely sufficient, though if you're short on RAM, you may want to quit other running processes. What's particularly important during regular gameplay is RAM latency—since the game uses the RAM every single frame, it's important that your RAM be fast, lest you experience FPS death.

However, world generation is known to eat up a lot more RAM than normal gameplay, especially if you generate world that are particularly large or have long histories. Multiple gigabytes may be consumed. To be safe, you should shut down any background processes when generating a world, and if you're particularly tight on RAM, consider reducing the size or history of the worlds you generate—the game is rich enough with content that you'll still have plenty of things to do, and you can always tweak the other, less RAM-hungry advanced world generation parameters. (RAM latency is less of a problem here, since you'll only need to do this once every so often.)

SDL vs. Legacy[edit]

SDL is a cross-platform application framework. The SDL version of DF runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It includes Baughn's new OpenGL code, which is faster and has more features (including support for PNG tilesets and using scroll wheels).

"Legacy" refers to the (Windows-only) framework Toady used before migrating to SDL. The legacy version is only necessary if the SDL version doesn't work for some reason.

Experiential reports[edit]

Report format[edit]

Please read the report template page before contributing any reports.

Reports[edit]

Configuration type: Self-built PC from 2008

Game info
Game version: v0.34.07
World size: Small
Embark size: 4×4
Age of fort: 1 year
Number of dwarves: 15
Average fps: 100
Default/nondefault raws: default
Tileset in use: Mayday
Amount of stone dug: ~3000
Amount of water and state: About 15 murky pools, no river or stream
Approximate amount of z-levels: 10
RAM usage of game: 622 Mb
Draw mode in init.txt: 2D
PC info
CPU: Intel Core2Quad Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz
MBO: Gigabyte P35-DS3L
RAM: 4GB DDR2 @ 800Mhz
GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD5850
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64

Configuration type: Self-built PC from 2012

Game info
Game version: v0.34.11
World size: Small
Embark size: 4×4
Age of fort: 8 years
Number of dwarves: 232
Average fps: 78
Default/nondefault raws: default
Tileset in use: Mayday
Amount of stone dug: ~1100
Amount of water and state: Frozen river, frozen murky pools, two artifical-made underground rivers
Approximate amount of z-levels: 8
RAM usage of game: 765 Mb
Draw mode in init.txt: 2D
PC info
CPU: Intel Core i5 3570K @ 3.4 Ghz
MBO: ASUS P8Z77-M PRO
RAM: 8GB DDR3 @ 1600Mhz
GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD5850
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64

Configuration type: Self-built PC from 2012

Game info
Game version: v0.34.11
World size: Small
Embark size: 4×4
Age of fort: 2 years
Number of dwarves: 98
Average fps: ~250
Default/nondefault raws: default
Tileset in use: Mayday
Amount of stone dug: ~1900
Amount of water and state: Frozen river, Frozen Pools
Approximate amount of z-levels: 9
RAM usage of game: 834 Mb
Draw mode in init.txt: 2D
PC info
CPU: Amd Fx-8350 @ 4.8 Ghz
MBO: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
RAM: 16GB DDR3 @ 1866 Mhz
GPU: Sapphire Hd 7970 Ghz Vapor X
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64
"System requirements" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: idith inem
Elvish: eritha enotho
Goblin: obsår eted
Human: histek tikes