Activision will release Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in a couple of days. Powered by IW 9.0 Engine, it’s time now to benchmark it and examine its performance on the PC.
For our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 benchmarks and PC Performance Analysis, we used an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, 32GB of DDR5 at 6000Mhz, AMD’s Radeon RX580, RX Vega 64, RX 6900XT, RX 7900XTX, NVIDIA’s GTX980Ti, RTX 2080Ti, RTX 3080 and RTX 4090. We also used Windows 10 64-bit, the GeForce 546.08, and the Radeon Adrenalin Edition 23.20.17.05 drivers. Moreover, we’ve disabled the second CCD on our 7950X3D.
Beenox who has been responsible for the PC version has included a lot of graphics settings to tweak. PC gamers can adjust the quality of Textures, Shadows, Shaders, Terrain, Water and more. The game also supports all PC upscaling techniques. So, you can use NVIDIA DLSS 3, AMD FSR 2.1, or Intel XeSS. And no, there aren’t any Ray Tracing effects to enable.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t come with a built-in tool for the single-player campaign. Or at least I couldn’t find one. So, for our CPU and GPU benchmarks, we tested the later parts of the first mission. This area appeared to be one of the most demanding ones (at least early in the game). Thus, it should give us a pretty good idea of how the rest of the game runs.
To see how the game runs with different types of CPUs, we simulated dual-core, quad-core, and hexa-core CPUs. Without SMT, the game was unplayable on our simulated dual-core system due to severe stuttering. With SMT, we were able to get a somehow enjoyable experience. There were still some stutters, but the game was playable. It’s also worth noting that COD: MW3 noticeably benefits from SMT/Hyper-Threading even on high-end CPUs.
At 1080p/Max Settings, you’ll need at least a GPU equivalent to the NVIDIA RTX2080Ti. And while the game still performs amazingly on AMD’s GPUs, the performance gap between NVIDIA and AMD GPUs is not as huge as it was in Modern Warfare 2. For instance, the RTX4090 is now faster than the RX 7900XTX, even at 1080p.
At 1440p/Max Settings, our top four GPUs were able to provide a constant 60fps experience. As for Native 4K/Max Settings, our AMD RX 7900XTX and NVIDIA RTX4090 had no trouble pushing over 60fps at all times.
When it comes to graphics, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 looks just like Warzone. The good news is that the characters in the game are highly detailed. However, the visual jump from MW2 to MW3 is not that big. MW3 honestly looks like an expansion and not like a sequel. But hey, at least the developers have reduced the pop-ins of distant objects.
There are also some big problems with the campaign in COD: MW3. Most of the missions feel like they’re just taken from Warzone, and those maps aren’t really that exciting. So, when you compare them to the first mission, they look bland and uninspiring. The campaign also feels like it’s trying to get you interested in Warzone, like it’s an advertisement. Its maps don’t have many cool moments or big events that stand out. The game’s AI also doesn’t seem very smart, and overall, it’s just not as exciting as it could be. I also find it hilarious that in a very limited map, there are CONSTANT reinforcements. Stealth approaches are also laughable. They are nowhere close to what MW2 offered (mainly because the game uses the exact same gameplay mechanics as Warzone).
Take a look at our screenshots. From 90-100fps in the first mission, we suddenly go to 120-140fps in the next couple of missions. The lighting, shading, and environmental detail also take a huge hit. Ultimately, these missions look visually boring and dated.
To summarize, if you’re able to run Warzone, you’ll also be able to run the single-player campaign of Modern Warfare 3. So while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 runs pretty well on PC, it does not look as exciting as its prequels. It also does not offer great graphics. Traditionally, the campaign mode of COD had way better graphics than its MP Mode. That’s not the case here. After the first mission, it really falls apart with its “Open Missions” structure. This isn’t the campaign that COD fans wanted. Honestly, it’s a slap in their faces. What a letdown!
John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved – and still does – the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the “The Evolution of PC graphics cards.”