Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War PC Performance Review & Optimisation Guide

Call of Duty's Engine is more advanced than ever

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War PC Performance Review & Optimisation Guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War PC Performance Review & Optimisation Guide

With the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2019, the franchise was placed firmly on the road to next-generation platforms. The engine which powered the franchise was dramatically overhauled, and the game was updated to leverage DirectX 12 DXR ray tracing on PC for the first time.   

With Black Ops: Cold War, the Call of Duty series is at a crossroads, supporting both current generation and next-generation hardware platforms. As such, Treyarch has delved even deeper into the next-generation feature set, offering more extensive DXR support and an optional 120Hz mode on supported console platforms. 

On PC, Black Ops: Cold War pushes the game's visuals further and implements support for Geforce-specific features like Nvidia's Reflex latency reduction technology and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) support on RTX series graphics cards. 

Within this analysis, we will be looking at how Black Ops Cold War's performance scales on PC, how features like DLSS and DXR ray-traced shadows impact performance and graphics fidelity and what settings PC gamers should alter to run Cold War at higher framerates on their setup. 

Please note that Call of Duty: Warzone remains a part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Trying to open the mode within Black Ops: Cold War will close the game and boot up Modern Warfare on Blizzard's Battle.net client. 
 

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War PC Performance Review & Optimisation Guide 

Contents

- Graphics Options & System Requirements
- Graphical Settings Comparisons - Do you need Ultra High settings?
- CPU Performance - Core Scaling - Do next-gen games need insane CPUs?
- Ray Tracing On VS Off - Next-Gen Visuals?
- DLSS - Image Quality and Performance Impact 
- Graphical Preset Scaling Is Ultra much more demanding than High?
- Ray Tracing Performance - Is it worth it?
- 1080p Performance
- 1440p Performance
- 4K Performance
- Conclusion

GPU drivers

When testing  Black Ops: Cold War, we opted to use the newest drivers from both the Radeon and Geforce camps. These drivers are AMD's Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 20.11.1 driver as well as Nvidia's Geforce 456.71 driver.

Testing Methodology - Our New Test System

With Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War, we will be using our new Games and Graphics Card test system, which is powered by AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X processor and PCIe 4.0 storage. 


More information about this system is available here, where we have detailed why we have moved to Ryzen for our GPU and games testing. 

CPU & Motherboard - AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Formula

There is a lot to consider when building a new games testing system. Will this system stand up to the test of time. Does this system contain the features that new games will require, and are we choosing the right CPU platform for the job? 

With the next-generation of consoles coming with Zen 2 processors and support for PCIe 4.0 storage, it was logical to choose a Ryzen-based test platform. Intel's current offerings do not offer PCIe 4.0 support, and we cannot build a new test system knowing that it will be outdated as soon as games start to utilise faster storage mediums. 

With ASUS' ROG X570 Crosshair VII Formula, we know that we have a motherboard that has capable VRMs to withstand the punishments that a hardware test system must face. With X570 we also know that we can upgrade to Zen 3/Ryzen 4000 should we ever need to.   

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Memory - Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Series DDR4 @ 3600MHz


Having chosen a Ryzen processor for our new test systems, we needed capable memory modules which offered clock speed that would allow us to get the most out of our Ryzen processor.

3600MHz memory is the "sweet-spot" for Ryzen 3000 series processors, offering high levels of memory bandwidth while settings AMD's Infinity Fabric speeds to optimal levels. With this speed in mind, we decided to opt for Corsair's Dominator Platinum RGB series of DDR4 modules, as it offers us a great aesthetic, has modules that offer our optimal memory speeds and has relatively tight timings given its clock speeds. 
 

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SSD Storage - Corsair MP600 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD


As we mentioned previously, future games are going to require fast NVMe storage. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will make fast SSD storage a baseline feature of new gaming systems.

PCIe 4.0 devices are an obvious choice for those who want SSDs with the most potential throughput, making Corsair's MP600 SSD a great option for us. With 2TB of storage available to it, it offers us more than enough storage for even the largest of PC games. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare/Warzone will need a lot more 50GB upgrades before we would even dream of filling this SSD. 

A Total War Saga: Troy PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide  A Total War Saga: Troy PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

Case - Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE

When it comes to PC cases we require two things, a large case (to accommodate large GPUs) that's easy to access and looks good on camera. When new graphics cards start to flood in, we need a case that can look good on video. Beyond that, when testing new graphics cards, we need an enclosure with a side panel that's easy to take on and off, speeding up our testing procedures. 

With these requirements in mind, Corsair's Obsidian 500D RGB SE was a perfect fit. It is large enough to accommodate any graphics card without interfering with a front-mounted AIO liquid cooler, and it has a hinged side panel to make component switching fast and straightforward. For our use case, this chassis is perfect. 

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Power Supply - Corsair RM1000i

Your power supply is the most important part of any test system. There's a reason why rule number 1 for PC building is no never cheap out on your power supply. 

Over the years, we have used many test systems which have been powered by Corsair's RMi series of power supplies, and the reasons behind that are simple. They are 80+ Gold rated, making them very power efficient, and we have never had an RMi power supply fail on us. If you read our PSU reviews, you will know that these units are solid performers. 

Corsair Link is also a useful component of Corsair RMi series power supplies, as they allow us to see how much power the unit is using at any given time digitally. 

We have also paired this unit with Corsair's premium braided cables, which gives our test system a more premium look. 

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Cooling - Corsair iCUE H150i RGB Pro XT

While we are keeping our Ryzen 9 3950X at stock clock speeds, we do want to do what we can to keep it cool under load. We also want to do what we can to keep our system as quiet as possible. With this in mind, we have decided to use Corsair's latest 360mm H150i series All-in-One Liquid Cooler.

With the iCUE H150i, we can control the units fans, pump and RGB lighting with the same software as our other system components and keep AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X cool with relative ease. When testing graphics cards, keeping other fan noise to a minimum is a must, as this allows us to properly judge the noise levels of specific graphics cards or other system components.    

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Full System Specifications


OC3D Game/GPU Test Rig

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Processor with Prescision Boost Overdrive
ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula (X570) Motherboard 
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Series DDR4 3600MHz (2x8GB) Memory
Corsair RM1000i Power Supply
Corsair iCUE H150i RGB Pro XT All-in-One Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair MP600 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Corsiar Obsidian 500D RGB SE Case
Windows 10 x64 "May 2020" Update


GPU Selection

No gaming test suite would be complete without a large selection of GPUs. At OC3D our current test suite covers Nvidia's RTX 20-series and GTX 10-series GPUs alongside AMD's RDNA, RX Vega and RX 500 series graphics cards.

We hope to add Nvidia Ampere graphics cards to our game testing lineup soon. 


Radeon RX 5700 Series - Navi (RDNA)

- Powercolor Radeon RX 5700 XT Red Devil 
- Powercolor Radeon RX 5700 Red Devil

PowerColor Red Devil RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT LE Cooler

Geforce RTX 20-Series & GTX 16-Series


- Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
- Nvidia RTX 2060 Founders Edition
- Palit GTX 1660 Super StormX

nVidia RTX 2080 and RTX 2080Ti ReviewnVidia RTX 2060 Review


Geforce GTX 10-series

- Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition
- ASUS GTX 1060 Strix Gaming OC

 

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AMD RX Vega Series

- AMD RX Vega 56

AMD RX 500 Series

- AMD RX 580 Strix OC        

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Most Recent Comments

20-11-2020, 17:03:35

AngryGoldfish
Those screenshots make the game look impressive. DLSS is again a winner here. It is nice to see the 5700 XT outshine the 1080Ti, but Nvidia has a huge advantage even with that outpacing by AMD.Quote
Reply
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