Modern Warfare 2 Best Graphics Settings to Boost Performance

COD MW2 graphics settings – You have no idea how long I have been waiting for a sequel to Modern Warfare, and I am glad that I am finally witnessing it. Back in the day, I was a huge COD fan and went on to play every single COD game until Advanced Warfare.

Then I took a 5-year break from COD games until the release of Modern Warfare. So Modern Warfare was actually my comeback to the Call of Duty franchise, and I am glad that I did because I had the most fun in years in a first-person shooter. But, as happens with every franchise, COD fell off hard after that. Cold War and Vanguard were “meh”, IMO. I bought them but never played enough.

Now that Modern Warfare 2 is here. I can once again get back to playing Call of Duty, all day. I mean, I finished the campaign in 2 days. And now my body is ready for the Multiplayer. Also, this is the first time COD is coming back on Steam after a long time. So, that itself is a ‘W’ in my eye.

COD MW2 has implemented a decent amount of changes to the game. In the Campaign mode, you will get to experience new aspects like swimming, water physics, and, AI Systems. On top of that, the levelling and the Gunsmith system have also received a nice overhaul. This has allowed players to customize their loadouts, even more, according to their playstyles.

The shooting, the moment, and the weapon feel, so far, are making Modern Warfare 2 feel like the best first-person shooter multiplayer title, yet. For me, at least.

Speaking about the performance of the game, I have tested the game on an RTX 3060 Ti, and an RTX 3070. I didn’t test the game on the lower-end GPUs like the GTX 1650 or the GTX 1050 Ti, because in COD multiplayer, I mainly focus on getting more than 100 FPS constant, which I cannot achieve with these low-end cards.

I am pretty sure that a lot of COD users have already shifted to 144hz monitors, at least. So, I don’t think getting just 60 FPS is enough, now.

In this article, I will let you know the exact Graphics Settings that I am using in Modern Warfare 2, and why they are the best graphics settings you can use for mid-range GPUs.

The first section consists of only the settings, and the second section explains the reason I selected them. So, without further ado, here are the best graphics settings for COD MW2:

Modern Warfare 2 Best Graphics Settings

Display

  • Display Mode: Fullscreen Exclusive
  • Display Monitor: Select your High Refresh Rate monitor
  • Display Adapter: Your Dedicated GPU
  • Screen Refresh Rate: Select the highest Refresh Rate available
  • Display Resolution: Whatever the resolution of your monitor is (Mine is 2560×1440)
  • Dynamic Resolution: Off
  • Aspect Ratio: Automatic
  • V-Sync (Gameplay): Off
  • V-Sync (Menus): Off
  • Custom Frame Rate Limit: Custom
    • Gameplay Custom Frame Rate Limit: 60 for 60Hz, 143 for 144Hz, 239 for 240Hz
    • Menu Custom Frame Rate Limit: 60
    • Out of Focus Custom Frame Rate Limit: 30
  • Focused Mode: On (If you are using a widescreen display)
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR): Off

Quality

  • Quality Presets: Custom
  • Render Resolution: 100
  • Upscaling / Sharpening: NVIDIA DLSS / AMD FSR 1.0
    • NVIDIA DLSS Preset: Quality / AMD FSR 1.0 Preset: Ultra Quality
    • NVIDIA DLSS Sharpness: 60
  • Anti-Aliasing: Greyed out if using DLSS / Filmic SMAA T2X if using FSR
  • Anti-Aliasing Quality: Greyed out if using DLSS / Ultra Quality if using FSR
  • Video Memory Scale: 85
  • Texture Resolution: Normal
  • Texture Filter Anisotropic: High
  • Nearby Level of Detail: Low
  • Distant Level of Detail: Low
  • Clutter Draw Distance: Short
  • Particle Quality: Low
  • Particle Quality Level: High
  • Bullet Impact & Sprays: Off
  • Shader Quality: High
  • Tessellation: All
  • Terrain Memory: Min
  • On-Demand Texture Streaming: On
    • Allocated Texture Cache Size: 32
    • Enable Download Limits: Off
  • Streaming Quality: Normal
  • Volumetric Quality: Low
  • Deferred Physics Quality: High
  • Water Caustics: On
  • Shadow Map Resolution: Normal
  • Screen Space Shadows: Off
  • Spot Shadow Quality: High
  • Cache Spot Shadows: On
  • Spot Cache: Medium
  • Particle Lighting: High
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off
  • Screen Space Reflections: Off
  • Static Reflection Quality: High
  • Weather Grid Volumes: Ultra
  • Nvidia Reflex Low Latency: On + Boost
  • Depth of Field: Off
  • World Motion Blur: Off
  • Weapon Motion Blur: On
  • Film Grain: 0.05

Modern Warfare 2 (COD MW2) Graphics Settings

View

  • Field of View (FOV): 105
  • ADS Field of View: Affected
  • Weapon Field of View: Default
  • Vehicle Field of View: Default
  • 1st Person Camera Movement: Default
  • 3rd Person Camera Movement: Default

Explaining the Settings

Display Mode

Yes, I know that on Fullscreen Exclusive mode, the game starts acting up every time you alt+tab out. But the truth is, Fullscreen Exclusive gives the best performance. If you have a dual or a triple monitor setup, then a Borderless option would definitely be more convenient. But it can never beat the smoothness that you get from Exclusive Fullscreen. On top of that, your ability to play with the in-game resolution goes away if you are on Borderless.

Also, for reason, when you are not playing games on Fullscreen, Windows has this habit to detect it as a background application. Since, Windows, by default, doesn’t allocate a lot of resources to background apps, you might, at times, experience some choppiness.

Dynamic Resolution

If you don’t know what this setting does, it dynamically changes your resolution to get the framerate that you set as the target. Let me explain. Suppose, you have turned on DR, and you have set 60 FPS as your target framerate.

Now, the game will do whatever it can, to maintain that framerate. In this process, it can drastically reduce your in-game resolution to meet the requirements, whenever you have a graphically intensive screen on your screen. Trust me, you wouldn’t want that in a multiplayer game, when your opponents can mow you down with a blink of an eye.

V-Sync

I normally don’t like turning V-Sync on in my games. Of course, if you are experiencing screen tearing issues, then V-Sync will definitely help. But nowadays, with all these new GPUs, screen tearing is not that common. It also caps your framerate and handicaps your performance. This might come in handy if you notice that your GPU is overheating, and the FPS that you are getting is way more than you need.

HDR

HDR was, is, and will be useless in multiplayer or PvP games. Also, most of the displays we have now, still cannot handle HDR properly.


I don’t think there is any other important setting, under ‘Display’, that requires an explanation. So let’s move to the most important section of the Graphics Settings menu, ‘Quality’.


Render Resolution

I am actually surprised to see how many people still don’t know what this setting does. This setting controls what percentage of your selected resolution do you want the game to render.

For example, If you are playing the game on 1920×1080, and you have set Render Resolution to 100. You will get exactly the resolution you have selected, which is 100%. If you lower this, then you will actually be lowering your resolution, causing the game to look like it has low-level textures. So keep this at 100%.

Upscaling / Sharpening

One of the most significant settings in COD MW2. The reason NVIDIA DLSS is my favorite, it is the only upscaling option that has the ability to output a drastic fps boost, while also keeping most of the visual quality intact.

I am personally using a 1440p monitor, and DLSS, on ‘Quality’ Preset and Sharpness set to 60, increases my framerate by almost 40 FPS, when compared to something like FidelityFX, which gives the highest visual quality but really puts a dent in performance.

Comparison between NVIDIA DLSS and FIdelity FX - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

If you want your game to look the best, and don’t care much about performance, go with FidelityFX CAS. But if you want a balanced experience, then DLSS is the way to go.

If you are not using an Nvidia GPU, then you can obviously use AMD FSR. But even on the ‘Ultra Quality’ preset, FSR doesn’t come close to DLSS. Every other option is kind of trash.

In a fast-paced PvP shooter like COD MW2 where a dip in performance, even for a second, could actually decide the result of face-off, DLSS really helps in keeping the FPS stable.

Anti-Aliasing

In case, you are not using DLSS, then Anti-Aliasing and Anti-Aliasing Quality won’t be greyed-out for you. Filmic SMAA T2X looks a tad bit better, and gives 1-2 fps more than the other option.

The reason I went with ‘Ultra’ Anti-Aliasing Quality, is because, I was getting actually FPS on ‘Ultra’, when compared to ‘High’ and ‘Medium'(LOL). I cannot set it too low as the game will then start looking extremely jaggedy.

Video Memory Scale

I left Video Memory Scale to what it was from the very beginning, which is 85, because upon setting this to 90 just once, the game force-closed, and I got greeted by a pleasant error message. Don’t remember what it was, but the game then went on to redo the ‘shaders optimization’ process once again. And I don’t want that to happen again. So this at whatever the game decides for your system.

Texture Resolution

Another vital setting. After testing all four options available for this setting, I can confidently say, that ‘Normal’ is the best option you can pick here. It is not as demanding as ‘High’, but does not make the game look as bad as ‘Low’ and ‘Very Low’.

After switching to ‘Normal’ from ‘High’, I was able to get a fps boost of almost 14 fps, without suffering much loss in visual quality. Check out the comparison:

Comparison between different Texture Resolutions - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Texture Filter Anisotropic

This setting controls the texture quality of surfaces (mainly the ground) when viewed from different angles. Now, answer me this. While playing PvP in COD, how many times do actually pay attention to how the ground is looking from different angles? And this setting doesn’t even affect the surfaces close to you. Only the ones at the distance.

Anyway, I tested this setting on various maps, and found no changes in performance. So ‘High’ it is.

Nearby and Distant Level of Detail

I swear, I tested all three options available on these two settings individually, and couldn’t find any graphical changes in my ‘Nearby’ or ‘Distant’ objects. The only reason I set this both to ‘Low’, is because I was getting 3-4 fps more. If anybody could explain what should I look to spot the difference in the comment section below. It would be of huge help.

Clutter Draw Distance

I don’t even pay attention to the rocks on the ground that are at close range, forget the distant ones. Anyway, I set this to ‘Short’, because I got a whopping 1 FPS boost, compared to ‘Long’ (XD).

Particle Quality

Trust me when I say this, this setting is actually one of the most demanding settings in the game. Apparently, the ‘Particle Effects’ in Modern Warfare 2 have a touch of realism. Remember Nvidia PhysX? Yes, the quality is quite close to that. Which makes the particles in this game extremely demanding.

After switching to ‘Low’ from ‘High’, I literally got a 22 FPS boost. Yes, the quality of the effects went down drastically. But I don’t care about particles when I am trying to snipe a camper who has been sending me back to spawn constantly. Also, with explosions from grenades an C4, your performance could take a huge hit.

Comparison between High and Low Particle Quality - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

The Particle Quality Level, on the other hand completely becomes harmless once you switch to ‘Low’ Particle Quality. Even if you set this to ‘High’, you won’t see any noticeable drops in FPS.

Bullet Impacts & Sprays

Initially, I didn’t realize what kind of impact ‘Bullet Impacts’ have on performance. It was when I picked up an LMG and fired full-auto at a concrete wall, I realized how much the FPS was dropping. I was straight up losing 7-8 fps, every time I was firing full-auto.

Sure the chunks of rocks breaking and flying off the walls look awesome, but I don’t think most Multiplayer players would care about this. Disabling this is the right thing to do if you do not care about making dents on walls and ground, that much. Check out the comparison:

Comparison between Bullet Impact Settings - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Shader Quality

After testing this setting for almost an hour, I finally decided to go for ‘Low’. This was probably the most annoying setting to test, as every time you make changes to the Shader Quality, you will have to restart the game, for the changes to take effect. And every time, you will have to wait through the shaders optimization process, before you start playing.

This setting primarily controls the quality of some lighting effects. I tried to spot the differences between ‘Low’ and ‘High’ but wasn’t able to spot any inside the multiplayer maps. The good thing about this is, without compromising the visual quality, I got an easy 10 fps increase to the performance on my RTX 3060 Ti.

Tessellation

Neither was I able to spot any visual difference between ‘Off’, ‘Near’, and ‘All’, nor did I see any change in performance when I switched between the 3 options. So, decided to keep it at max.

Terrain Memory

If you are playing on an open map, and there are mountains and planes in the distance, this setting controls the quality of those. And takes quite a hit at the performance in the process.

I personally don’t care about ‘Distant Terrain Textures’, so decided to keep it at ‘Min’.

On-Demand Texture Streaming

Pretty sure a lot of people find this setting the most confusing among the bunch. When enabled, what this setting does is, it downloads the HD textures while you are playing the game. Instead of using the textures, that are already present in your system.

Though it doesn’t affect performance in any way, if you do not have a fast and wired internet connection, then you might start experiencing washed-out graphics, if the game fails to download the HD textures fast enough.

I personally have this enabled (Download Limits disabled), as I have a 300 MB/s wired connection. And I haven’t experienced any issues yet. You can easily disable this if you want.

Shadow Map Resolution

This setting controls the quality of your shadows, and shadows in COD games, have always been demanding. There is no way I was going to use ‘High’, as I don’t care how detailed my shadows look in PvP. ‘Normal’ works fine.

Comparison between different Shadow Quality Settings - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

I use shadows in COD, just to spot opponents before they show up, and ‘Medium’ is more than enough to do the job. Not to mention, the 9-11 FPS boost, that you get over ‘High’.

Screen Space Shadows

I actually never liked Screen Space Shadows in COD games, the reason being, it gives weapons these weird shadows around the scopes and barrels, that act as a hindrance to the look of the weapon. It also makes weapon skins look bad, at times. Check out the difference and you will know what I am talking about:

Screenshot showing the comparison between different Screen Space Shadow Settings in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Spot Shadow Quality

This only controls the quality of spot light shadows, which you might not even see much, if you are playing during daylight in the game. This setting has no effect on performance. ‘High’ or ‘Low’, doesn’t really matter.

Cache Spot Shadows

Always keep this enabled. This setting will allow the game to cache the spot shadows, and use them next time, instead of reloading all the spots shadows every time, and affecting performance in the process.

Spot Cache

Determines the size of the cached spot light shadows. This eats VRAM, so ‘Medium’ is the best option here.

Particle Lighting

We have already set Particle Quality to ‘Low’. This just changes the quality of lighting on the particles. Doesn’t have any effect on performance. Set this to whatever you want.

Ambient Occlusion

Apart from getting a huge 12-13 FPS increase by disabling this setting, there is another reason, why I would have disabled this anyway, even if it didn’t contribute to the performance.

You see, COD has a lot of campers, and those campers really like to hold corners, build a house, start a family there, and then snipe from the same location constantly. Ambient Occlusion makes corners and the ground below the vehicles look darker, by applying a soft shadow. I have missed many opponents with dark outfits sitting in a corner in the past and ended up getting eliminated by them. Since then, I have stopped using Ambient Occlusion in PvP. In Singleplayer mode though, you can set this to ‘Both’, or some vehicles might look like they are floating, due to the absence of their shadows on the ground.

Screenshot showing the comparison between different Ambient Occlusion Settings in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Screen Space Reflections

Adds reflections to metallic surfaces which I don’t care about. I have tested this setting, on different weapons, and I can confirm that this doesn’t affect reflections on weapons surfaces.

You will notice the difference mainly when you look at cars with shiny bodies.

Static Reflection Quality

This setting kind of stops working as soon as you disable SSR. In the absence of Screen Space Reflections, you can set this to anything you want, and this won’t put any dent on your performance.

Weather Grid Volumes

I love the weather quality effects of Modern Warfare 2, and this is why I decided to take the penalty of 1-2 fps and set it to ‘Ultra’.

NVIDIA Reflex Low Latency

I am a common guy. I see Nvidia Reflex… I set it all the way to the max setting. No joke, straight makes you hit more shots. “On+Boost”, always.

Depth of Field

I don’t like DoF in PvP games. Only shows the area that you are aiming at, and literally makes everything else look out of focus. Doesn’t have any effect on performance.

Motion Blur

I have never liked Motion Blur in my games. I almost never use this. Makes me feel nauseous.

Weapon Motion Blur, on the other hand, is something I can work with. It smooths out the weapon animations. Makes it look good.

Film Grain

LOL!


All the ‘Quality’ settings have been explained. Let’s move to the ‘View’ settings now.


Field of View

Now, this is something that you have to keep checking by yourself and find your sweet spot. For me, 105 is the best, as I can properly see the sides of my screen, and my opponents don’t feel like they are standing 1000 miles away from me. I am using a 27 Inches Samsung Odyssey G7 with 1440p resolution, and after testing for hours, I arrived at this FOV.

ADS Field of View

You have to keep this to ‘Affected’. Otherwise, whenever you use your scope of aim down sights, you will experience a completely different FoV, and you will start missing shots, due to your muscle memory not being able to keep up.


That is all I have on the Graphics Settings of Modern Warfare 2. I have not mentioned some settings, as I don’t think they are significant enough. I have tried to share everything I know, and if manage to read and understand this whole article, you won’t have any problem understanding the COD MW graphics settings, ever, in the future.

This video from the beta gameplay that I uploaded a while ago should give you an idea about the performance of the game:


If you think this guide has helped, then let us know in the comment section below. And for more Modern Warfare 2 guides, keep an eye on Frondtech. We will be covering every single technical issue and bug of the game. Good luck!


That’s all, folks!