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Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War PC performance report - Graphics card benchmarks
By Chad Norton on November 13th, 2020 at 03:15pm - original article from game-debate

COD Black Ops Cold War is finally here, once again bringing us the annual edition of the Call of Duty franchise. The fifth installment in the Black Ops series takes us into the Cold War, and it certainly looks quite good, but how well does it perform? We take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for ¬¬g_id:37410[Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War]¬¬, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end ¬¬gc_id:4022[RTX 2080]¬¬, the lower-end  which is close to the minimum required GPU for 60fps gameplay at 1080p resolution on Low graphics settings, as well as the mid-range  which is also close to the recommended GPU for 1080p High settings at 60fps gameplay.

Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card running at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the minimum and recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War really is.

COD Black Ops Cold War does not include an in-game benchmark tool unfortunately, so for these test results below we ran a private match with bots to allow for the most standardized route, we then ran around the map a bit, shooting anyone we came across. Overall we felt this to be pretty representative of your typical multiplayer experience in Black Ops Cold War.

Since Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War does not include in graphics presets options in the graphics settings menu, we chose to use only 3 custom presets: Low, Medium, and High. Low preset is everything to set to either the Lowest settings or disabled completely, whilst the High preset is everything to set to it's maximum quality setting or enabled. For the Medium preset we switched everything to either Medium graphics quality or the middle option where available, and enabled all features that were disabled in the Low preset.

Call of Duty Cold War also includes DLSS and ray tracing graphics features, but we chose not to enable any of these as to standardize these results across a variety of cards. GTX 10 series GPUs will be able to use ray tracing effects, but only RTX GPUs will be able to take advantage of the DLSS technology available.

With that in mind, let's jump into the performance benchmarks for Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War...

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War PC Graphics Settings

Check your PC can run Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War system requirements

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War minimum system requirements

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War recommended system requirements

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War recommended system requirements (ray tracing)

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War competitive system requirements

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Ultra RTX system requirements

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Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War RTX 2060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia PNY GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Nvidia RTX 2060 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4051[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 1080p

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 173 146.8 109.4
Min FPS 148.2 110.5 95.4
Max FPS 197.9 176.9 130.2
1% Low FPS 116.2 93.2 72.1
0.1% Low FPS 95.9 13 61.8

The FPS performance for the RTX 2060 in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is really good, easily achieving well above 60fps and even more than 100fps on the Max graphics settings at 1080p resolution.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4051[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 1440p

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 144.8 103.5 69.7
Min FPS 116.6 86.6 58
Max FPS 183.7 128.2 86.4
1% Low FPS 91.3 71.9 49.4
0.1% Low FPS 71.7 27.9 31.4

At 1440p, the FPS performance for the RTX 2060 in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War i still really great, delivering more than 60fps even on the Highest graphics settings available.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4051[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 4K

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 74.1 51 30
Min FPS 57.4 40 25.4
Max FPS 95.4 62.9 37.9
1% Low FPS 53.7 17 23.2
0.1% Low FPS 45.9 10.6 20.9

Finally at 4K resolution, the RTX 2060's FPS performance in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is still decent, though getting 60fps frame rate at this resolution may require a lot of tinkering in the graphics settings menu if you want to use higher than Low graphics settings. Whilst using the Maximum graphics settings achieves 30fps gameplay, it's recommended to stay below those graphics settings in order to make sure you don't dip below 30fps at any point in gameplay.

Overall, the RTX 2060 is perfectly suitable for playing Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War at 1080p and 1440p resolutions on the Maximum graphics settings. However 4K may require some tinkering in the graphics settings to get a decent frame rate.

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Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Nvidia GTX 1060 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 1080p

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 131.7 96.2 66.8
Min FPS 104.9 79.6 57.6
Max FPS 171.9 119.4 77.9
1% Low FPS 85.6 69.2 49.7
0.1% Low FPS 71.8 56.1 45.1

The FPS performance for the GTX 1060 in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War at 108p resolution is pretty good, achieving more than 60fps even on the Maximum graphics settings.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 1440p

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 81.7 61.2 43.6
Min FPS 67.4 50.8 36.5
Max FPS 109 78.7 52.1
1% Low FPS 60.1 45.8 31.7
0.1% Low FPS 50 39.1 13

At 1440p, the GTX 1060's FPS performance in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is still pretty good, delivering more than 60fps on Low to Medium graphics settings, whilst High achieved between 60fps and 30fps but was still perfectly playable at this frame rate.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 4K

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 41.9 30.9 20.3
Min FPS 34.7 25.8 17.2
Max FPS 53.4 37.4 24
1% Low FPS 33.1 23.9 16.4
0.1% Low FPS 32.1 18.5 15.5

Finally at 4K resolution, the FPS performance of the GTX 1060 in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is okay. At this resolution you can still achieve a playable frame rate on the Lowest graphics settings, whilst Medium would sometimes dip below 30fps in some really intense moments. Maximum graphics settings is not recommended here as it drops below 30fps and became unplayable.

Looking over the results above, the GTX 1060 is perfectly suitable for playing Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War at 1080p and 1440p on the Highest graphics settings available, whilst 1440p may require a bit of tinkering below that if you want to achieve 60fps performance. As for 4K, the GTX 1060 is still playable at this resolution but is recommended to stay on the Lowest graphics settings for smooth and comfortable performance.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War R9 380 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD MSI Radeon R9 380 Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War AMD R9 380 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 1080p

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 82.4 54 10
Min FPS 54.5 43 7.8
Max FPS 119.9 71.7 12.4
1% Low FPS 54.9 39.3 6.1
0.1% Low FPS 49.7 34 5.6

The FPS performance of the R9 380 at 1080p in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is actually okay, whilst the Maximum graphics settings exceeded the available 2GB of VRAM on the card and significantly dropped the performance down to 10fps, it was still playable on Low or even Medium graphics settings.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War @ 1440p

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Low Medium High
Average FPS 52.5 9.5 7.1
Min FPS 30.8 6.7 5.2
Max FPS 79 12.4 9.3
1% Low FPS 33.2 5 3.6
0.1% Low FPS 25.3 4.5 3.4

At 1440p, the FPS performance for the R9 380 in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is okay as long as you stay on the Lowest graphics settings, as moving up to Medium once again exceeded the available 2GB of VRAM on the card and significantly dropped the frame rate to an unplayable performance.

Overall, the R9 380 is perfect for playing Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War at 1080p resolution on the Lowest or even Medium graphics settings, whilst exceeding that 2GB available VRAM significantly impacted frame rate down to an unplayable performance. 1440p is pretty much the same except it is recommended to stay on the Lowest graphics settings as to not exceed the 2GB VRAM.

We tried to play Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War on the R9 380 at 4K resolution, but even on the lowest graphics settings this still exceeded the 2GB VRAM available on the GPU, and considering the major performance impact at 1080p and 1440p, the R9 380 is not at all able to play Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War at 4K resolution.

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Conclusion

Overall, looking at the results above we can see that Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is not that demanding depending on your resolution and VRAM capacity, as BO Cold War seems to be heavily reliant on VRAM for performance.

There is a great degree of adjustability when it comes to graphics settings though, and as long as you have a GPU with 2GB of video memory you should be able to launch COD Blops Cold War in a playable frame rate on low-end hardware.

You can see how much this affects performance with the R9 380, since as soon as the graphics quality settings or resolution requires above the 2GB VRAM available on the GPU, the FPS performance drops significantly below a playable frame rate. So in order to play Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War on low end hardware, make sure that the VRAM requirements do not exceed your card's available video memory.

However, exceeding the required VRAM does not always affect cards so significantly, and seems to get better the more powerful the GPU you are using. The GTX 1060 for example did not exceed the required VRAM until 4K resolution, and whilst performance dropped significantly at higher graphics settings, it wasn't nearly as bad on the R9 380.

To play COD Black Ops Cold War at its best though you will need a beefy GPU like the RTX 3070 or RX Vega 64 to play at 4K Ultra settings at a decent frame rate. As for ray tracing however, these settings will impact your FPS performance and will require an even better GPU in order to run properly, or use the available DLSS setting on any RTX graphics cards.

Overall, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War performs really well across a range of graphics cards, but relies heavily on available VRAM on your GPU. Higher VRAM cards will be required for running at a decent FPS on higher resolutions and Max graphics settings, but low end hardware will still be able to run COD Black Ops Cold War at a playable frame rate on lower resolutions and graphics settings.