When compared to other games, Tarkov starts you off with decent game settings. You don’t start off with ridiculous spinbot sensitivity and weird binds like most other games. But there are a few things you should change.
You should have Quick slots, Stamina and stance and Health condition set to Always shown, as you should always be aware of your status.
Quick slots is the only one that I would say is optional as it only reminds what consumables are assigned to what, however, you’d naturally find a way how you like setting up your meds so after getting used to, unnecessary. It also is a means of checking the status of consumables to see how you’re doing. You wouldn’t want to risk getting a heavy bleed when your hemostat is all used up and your Salewa low.
Stamina and stance: You wouldn’t want to sprint away from danger, if your stamina hasn’t recovered enough. You might not notice as your stamina recovers more and more slowly as you gain weight over the raid. If you find yourself sneaking just before engaging in a firefight, I have found that it’s easy to mess up your ambush by having your movement speed set to something slow and be an easy victim for any return fire.
Health condition: Now this one is critical. The default setting makes it easy to not notice that you haven’t healed fully. With a lot of commonly used ammo being able to deal 70+ damage with good penetration, and you shouldn’t stand and stop to check your health, lest you catch a bullet. You should set the Health color scheme to “Colored” over “Monochrome” as it’s more clear.
Auto RAM Cleaner: Keep this set to off if you have at least 16GB available. This will unload unused game assets from your RAM. Tarkov will use your RAM if it’s available but it shouldn’t max it (unless your free ram was already very low), and it also uses up the CPU, slowing down your performance. The more assets you have loaded into your RAM, the fewer stutters you’ll feel when loading the map.
Use only physical cores: This one is mixed. For most people leaving this disabled gives them the best performance, but a few claim that they get better performance by having it enabled. Naturally, you should test all these settings to see what works for you.
FOV: This is the vertical FOV of the game. The game is designed for the default setting, so raising it will give issues with zeroing. You’ll naturally be more zoomed out the higher the setting so targets effectively end being visibly smaller, however, you’ll also see a lot more around your peripherals. Great for those who play CQB. I play at 50 FOV which is a good option for beginners to see enemies at 50m+ distance.
View Bobbing is how much the screen moves as you run around. You really don’t want your vision being unstable and unclear. Set to 0.2.
More FPS is always better. Even if your monitor can’t support high framerates, you will still benefit with lower input lag. Tarkov is poorly optimised. I find that Tarkov only uses about 30% of my CPU (Ryzen 3900X) and GPU (GTX 1080) when playing but I still don’t max out my framerate. Tarkov is primarily a CPU based game, and because of this, you can actually get better performance by enabling more demanding graphics settings, by giving more work to your GPU.
VSync should usually be set to Off as it usually creates a lot of input lag. Completely unnecessary if you have Freesync or Gsync.
Screen resolution should always be set to your native resolution for the best clarity. There are a few who like to play on a stretched resolution. Don’t do this, you sacrifice clarity, field of view and while targets may visually be larger on your screen, the truth is that they still are the same angular size. Distorting the screen also will work against muscle memory. A target may appear 400 pixels away on the Y-axis will be normal to flick to; a target appearing 400 pixels away(4:3) on the X-axis will need a flick at 75% the distance, despite visually being the same distance. While your muscles will get used to this deviation over time, I still believe that there’s no point distorting the game with little benefit.
Screen mode: Fullscreen will give the best performance, but the game has bugs when alt-tabbing in fullscreen mode, often leading to a black screen and a needed reset. I wouldn’t risk it. Play on borderless.
Object LOD quality should always be set as highest as you can go. Rendering a fag packet in pristine quality 50 metres away is unimportant. What is important however, is rendering the gear on enemies. You wouldn’t want to casually spray at a far away hatchling with your MP5, only to find a very irritated chad sprinting right for you.
Overall visibility: There are few areas which let you pull off 300m+ shots, so anything over 1000 is unnecessary.
Shadow visibility: Should always be set to lowest. It’ll make distant enemies stand out easier when they’re not concealed by shadow.
Anti-Aliasing should be turned Off. Anti-aliasing will attempt to smooth the appearance of any shape rendered at an angle. This makes silhouetted objects look less ‘pixely’. All forms of anti-aliasing interpret the scene around the edge of objects and smooth them with the surroundings; thus, the shape of targets becomes less distinct and harder to recognise. However, aliasing usually gives better visibility through fences.
HBAO can darken and lighten areas, it depends on the situation. It’ll also lower your performance by a fair bit, so I’d suggest leaving it off.
Anisotropic filtering should be set to Off. It’ll keep textures blurry at distance and on inclines. so players will silhouette very clearly.
All the tick boxes along the bottom should be set to off. They will only make enemies less clear.
You should have PostFX turned off, as it’s quite a heavy load on the game engine. Instead, you should be doing post-processing through a third party like your graphics card drivers. Do bear in mind that the best setting for someone else won’t be the best setting for you. Eyesight and monitors vary
Sound is mostly down to your own preference, with any real changes being in your equaliser.
Interface volume should be set to 10% or off entirely. While you root around your inventory you still want to be able to hear whats going on around you. Especially the case when packing mags, where the constant ticking goes on for a while. You would want to minimize that, just do bear in mind that it doesn’t stop the enemy from hearing you do actions.
Binaural sound replicates natural human ear spacing by having two sound inputs for your character, which greatly improves hearing by making it more similar to reality.
Quick-reload: the default option is to “Double click” “R”; however, there is an issue that any “Double click” command has a small delay. So if you want any tangential speed increase, you should have it bound to just a regular keypress.
Console should be either unbound or made difficult to press by accident.
Tactical device mode/on/off: I found that the default keys were far too annoying and confusing, so I bound them to my side mouse buttons.
Smooth lean: While a rarely used key, it is a lifesaver in situations with weird and odd angles, either remember the default binds or make them a bit easier to use.
zeroing: The default has you moving your hand all the way across the keyboard, delaying and opening you up to be an easy victim.
Grenade: if you suffer from fat fingers and often throw a grenade by accident, I’d suggest changing this to be Double click so that a nade will always be a conscious action.
Discard: this key is probably the most important key you can bind, as it allows advanced and fast looting. Set this key to something you can reach without moving your hand position. I set mine to Alt-MiddleMouse