Call of Duty Warzone DLSS Quality and Performance Analysis

Introduction - Why Nvidia's pushing DLSS Hard!

Call of Duty Warzone DLSS Quality and Performance Analysis

DLSS Tested - Call of Duty: Warzone

Nvidia's DLSS technology has been added to Call of Duty: Warzone, enabling higher framerates on PCs with Geforce RTX graphics cards. Given the lack of dedicated testing of this new feature, we have decided to conduct an in-depth analysis of Nvidia's DLSS technology within Warzone, looking at the performance and image quality impacts of the technology within the game. 

Why Nvidia needed to bring DLSS to Warzone

In our original performance analysis for Call of Duty: Warzone, it was clear to us that the game's engine has a strong preference for Radeon hardware. AMD graphics cards often outperformed their Nvidia Geforce counterparts, making Radeon GPUs preferable from a pure framerate perspective. This is one of the main reasons why Nvidia needed to bring DLSS to Warzone and why Nvidia marketed DLSS' planned inclusion in Warzone over three months before the feature was added to the game. 

Nvidia's marketing strategy with their RTX lineup is clear; add DLSS to as many games as possible, securing a performance advantage over Radeon using its proprietary technology while also pushing ray tracing into as many games as possible. With DLSS, Nvidia can gain a performance advantage in most modern games, even those that would otherwise prefer Radeon hardware. Nvidia's DLSS marketing could be equated to a "This game plays best on Geforce" sticker, which is a powerful message to send to PC gamers. 
 
DLSS Quality and Performance

This article will be looking at DLSS's image quality and performance levels within Call of Duty Warzone. As part of this analysis, we will be highlighting some surprising results. While DLSS does deliver major performance improvements for Geforce RTX graphics cards, it does not deliver the same imager quality targets as other DLSS-enabled games.

Contents

- DLSS Quality - It s better than Native Resolution Rendering, or Worse?   

- DLSS Performance Scaling - DLSS' Quality Modes Tested


- 1080p Performance Impact - Why Nvidia needed DLSS in Warzone

- 1440p Performance Impact 

- 4K Performance Impact


- Conclusion - DLSS is a great addition, but...



Testing Methodology - Our New Test System

With NieR Replicant's PC version, 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. 
 

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

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. 

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

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. 

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

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.    

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

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 

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