Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a process-heavy video game and needs quite a 'beefy' system to run it, preferably something in the medium to high-end range. Low-end or budget PC owners might struggle, sorry!
If you're reading this guide, it probably means that even having a high-end gaming PC didn't fix the visibility and FPS issues that a lot of players have been experiencing with Cold War. The reason for that is poor optimization of the game.
This guide will help you understand each setting's meaning in the graphics setting menu and show the most optimum settings to increase the visibility and provide better FPS.
Before proceeding, it's best to know the minimum and recommended system requirements for this game. As we said above, the game is quite demanding in terms of GPU and HDD. These requirements do not consider Ray Tracing either. You can find more information about the system requirements (with Ray Tracing) in our dedicated guide.
- OS: Windows 7 64 Bit (SP1) or Windows 10 64 Bit (v.1803 or higher)
- CPU: Intel Core i3-4340 or AMD FX-6300
- RAM: 8GB RAM
- HDD: MP Only 35GB, 82GB for all game modes
- Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 / GeForce GTX 1650 or Radeon HD 7950
- OS: Windows 10 64 Bit (latest update)
- CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X processor
- RAM: 12GB RAM
- HDD: 82GB HD Space
- Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / GTX 1660 Super or Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580
The graphics settings are separated into seven sections: Hardware, Display, Details & Textures, Shadow & Lighting, Ray Tracing if you have a GPU that supports ray tracing), Post Processing Effects, and Advanced.
- Display Mode: This helps you choose whether you want to display the game in a resizeable window or full screen.
- Monitor: As the name suggests, you can select which monitor you want the game to be displayed on. This is applicable only if you have multiple monitors connected to your PC.
- Refresh Rate: This is your screen refresh rate that determines how many frames per second will show up on your monitor. This option works side-by-side with your monitor. If your monitor supports 240 Hz, then the drop-down list will show all the available options up to 240 Hz. If your monitor only supports 144 Hz, then it will only show up to 144 Hz in the list.
- Gameplay V-Sync: V-Sync or Vertical Sync limits your framerate to match your monitor's refresh rate. This usually helps prevent screen tearing issues. For instance, if your monitor supports 240 Hz, then the refresh rate will be synced with 240 Hz.
- Menu V-Sync: Same as the gameplay v-sync but only applies to the menus.
- NVIDIA Reflex Low Latency: This is used to reduce system latency which increases PC responsiveness. It only shows up in the settings if you have a GPU that supports it.
- Render Resolution: You can increase or decrease the resolution of the game's rendering. If you increase the resolution, your image quality will increase, but it will increase your VRAM usage significantly.
- Display Resolution: This helps you select the resolution in which the game is displayed. Render Resolution helps you set how much percentage of this display resolution you want the game to render. All the values are based on the currently used monitor, and the option is only available if you are in fullscreen display mode.
- Aspect Ratio: Aspect Ratio helps you accommodate the space left on your screen by setting a fixed aspect ratio for the game's rendering.
- Colorblind Type: This option helps you with color visibility, if you're colorblind, by giving you three colorblind types to choose from: Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia.
- Field of View (FOV): It defines the in-game view's height and width. If you increase the FOV, you will be able to see much more of the area. If you increase it to a very high value, you might experience some distortion on the edges of your screen, which we commonly call the "fish-eye" effect.
- ADS Field of View: There are two options to choose from: independent and Affected. On independent, the ADS will zoom the field of view to its intended value. On affected, it will zoom to a value closer to the FOV value you set. This does not apply to the magnifications of over 4x.
- Brightness: Self-explanatory - you can set the brightness of your game.
- Framerate Limit: It helps you limit your framerate manually. If you choose custom, then you can set your gameplay and menu framerate limit.
Details & Textures
- Texture Quality: This helps you adjust the quality of the resolution for the textures used in the game. Higher texture quality provides more detailed surfaces.
- Texture Filtering Quality: It is used to determine the texture color for a texture mapped pixel, using the colors of the nearby pixels of the texture. This improves the texture quality of surfaces when viewed at an angle.
- Model Quality: This helps you adjust the smoothness of the models in the environment. A higher-quality will result in a higher number of shapes. This essentially means that setting it to high quality will present the surface textures with greater detail, making it look like they are embossed or engraved. If it is set to lower quality, then it will look flat.
- Special Effects Quality: This helps you adjust the quality of the resolution used for special effects such as fire, explosion, and muzzle.
- Screen Space Reflection: Screen Space Reflection will allow you to see a real reflection of in-game graphics, when looking at a certain angle, on some reflective surfaces.
- Object View Distance: You can adjust the distance at which small objects can be seen. Seeing less objects gives better performance.
- Water Tessellation: Increases the amount of detail in water surface geometry for improved fluidity and rendering quality of waves.
Shadow & Lighting
- Volumetric Lighting: It affects the quality of sunbeam and lightbeam effects.
- Shadow Quality: It defines the resolution and filtering for all the in-game shadows. Shadow affects the VRAM significantly and having higher quality will lead to greater VRAM consumption.
- Dynamic Shadows: Dynamic shadows basically means shadows of moving objects, such as yourself and other players. If there is a player around a corner, you can see their shadow which gives you an added advantage in-game. Plus, it doesn't affect the VRAM.
- Special Effect Shadows: This lets you choose if special effects and particles should have shadows. It applies to the explosion, fire, muzzle, and debris from the explosion, etc.
- Weapon Shadow: This allows you to either disable or enable shadows on your weapon.
- Ray Tracing Sun Shadows: Enable ray tracing for life-like sun shadows. This increases fidelity of the shadows casted by the sun.
- Ray Tracing Local Shadows: Enable ray tracing for like-like shadows. This increases the fidelity of the shadows casted by dynamic objects.
- Ray Tracing Ambient Occlusion: Enable ray tracing for like-like ambient occlusion. This creates soft shadows of great quality that can intersect with each other. Enabling this replaces the original ambient occlusion quality setting.
Post Processing Effects
- NVIDIA DLSS: NVIDIA DLSS uses 'AI Super Resolution' to provide the highest possible frame rates at maximum graphics settings. DLSS requires an NVIDIA RTX graphics card. If you do not have one, this option will not show up in your graphics settings, just like ray tracing.
- Anti-Aliasing Quality: It smoothens the jagged edges on curved lines and diagonals. Anti-Aliasing is a filter that reduces perceived jagged edges in the final rendered image you see on screen.
- Ambient Occlusion Quality: Creates soft shadows that can intersect with each other. It makes the shadows look more realistic but also affects your VRAM quite significantly.
- Motion Blur: Adds blur effect when the camera or objects are moving rapidly. You can choose between three options: disabled, Weapons Only, or All.
- Motion Blur Quality: You can adjust the quality of the motion blur if you have it enabled.
- Subsurface Scattering: Subsurface scattering simulates light that's absorbed and diffused when passing through different materials. Enabling this option renders realistic-looking human faces.
- Order Independent Transparency: This helps you adjust the amount of transparent effects and objects that are sorted when looking through them. It makes transparent objects have more depth and realistic transparency to them.
- VRAM Usage Target: This lets you set a target amount of VRAM used for Black Ops Cold War. The more VRAM you allow, the better game performance will be. However, increasing it may also cause micro-stutters or hitching issues.
- Display Gamma: Lets you select the gamma setting that matches your display device. This affects the game's luminosity.
- Display Adapter: It lets you choose which display adapter to use. This means which graphics card or video card you want to use. This will normally have only one option unless you have multiple GPUs installed in your PC.
- CPU Priority Management: CPU priority management has an automatic and manual option. The automatic option automatically sets the CPU priority for Black Ops Cold War to optimize the CPU usage. For instance, if you "alt + tab" out of the game, then the FPS of the game will reduce dramatically to reduce the CPU usage. If you choose Manual, it will never change the priority automatically.
Now that you're familiar with what each setting means. Below, we have provided our optimized settings for better FPS and visibility in Black Ops Cold War, provided you meet the minimum requirements to run this game.
We will only go through relevant settings and skip the remaining.
- Display Mode: Fullscreen. Having fullscreen actually improves your performance and gives better FPS.
- Refresh Rate: Set this to a refresh rate of your monitor. For example, our 27" HP monitor has 75 hz screen refresh rate, so we've set ours to 75 hz.
- Gameplay V-Sync: Disabled. Enabling this causes input lag. Disabling v-sync always allows your game to break free of the framerate limit and run much smoother.
- Menu V-Sync: Disabled.
- NVIDIA Reflex Low Latency: Enabled (Boosted). This only applies to those who have NVIDIA graphics card.
- Render Resolution: 100%.
- Display Resolution: Set it to whatever your monitor resolution is. For us it is 1920x1080.
- Aspect Ratio: Automatic.
- Field of View (FOV): It defines the in-game view's height and width. If you increase the FOV, you will be able to see much more of the area. Increasing FOV to 120 does contribute to slight FPS drop, so you can set it anywhere in between 90-100.
- Framerate Limit: Unlimited.
Details & Textures
- Texture Quality: Medium or High.
- Model Quality: High.
- Special Effects Quality: Medium.
- Screen Space Reflection: Disabled.
- Object View Distance: Low.
- Water Tessellation: Disabled.
Shadow & Lighting
- Volumetric Lighting: Low.
- Shadow Quality: Low.
- Dynamic Shadows: Disabled.
- Special Effect Shadows: Disabled.
- Weapon Shadow: Disabled.
- Ray Tracing Sun Shadows: Disabled.
- Ray Tracing Local Shadows: Disabled.
- Ray Tracing Ambient Occlusion: Disabled.
Post Processing Effects
- NVIDIA DLSS: Balanced (if you have an NVIDIA card).
- Anti-Aliasing Quality: High.
- Ambient Occlusion Quality: Disabled.
- Motion Blur: Disabled.
- Motion Blur Quality: Disabled.
- Subsurface Scattering: Disabled.
- Order Independent Transparency: Disabled.
- VRAM Usage Target: Default (80%).
As you can see from the two images below, there is a massive boost in FPS and overall visibility to be gained if you optimize your settings. In the before image, the visibility is darker and blurry. But, in the second image, the visibility is better, clearer, and sharper. The FPS also increased from 96 FPS to around 162 FPS (you can see it in the top left corner of the images below).
The visibility changes might not be apparent in these images, but try out these settings for yourself, and you will notice a huge difference! Feel free to check out our Warzone optimized graphics setting guide as well.