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I know almost nothing about PC's hardware. I have a Nvidia GTX 970 4GB (I think) and when I start up SC it takes a giant laggy dump all over my screen, I can barely get up out of the bed.

My situation is dire.

I need to know what is the bare minimum I can get away with so I can play this game with high graphic settings? 

I can't afford the high end stuff, i got an i5 with 16 gb ram I can't look at the specs since its in the repair shop and my memory is shot from decades of grass! Any help would be appreciated.

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This is the minimum for high textures at 1080p, though as you can see, you'll only get ~21FPS.

For recommended at same settings:

As an aside, running SC off of an SSD will vastly improve any potential loading problems you may have, though your current set-up is very much at or below the minimum required to run the game.

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I found this useful too, if applicable to your case https://testsquadron.com/threads/improve-sc-performance-with-page-filing.12695/.

I saw mentioned a couple more things:

1-it is better to run SC on high settings than low, since otherwise it burdens the CPU ( which is the bottleneck) with part of the graphic load of the GPU

2-Multi core is a must

3- more than 16g or ram help a lot since the game uses full 16 and Windows/iother apps need to dip on those all the time

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