The Best Modern Warfare 2 Settings on PC

Best MW2 settings Featured

Figuring out the best Modern Warfare 2 settings can make the game run at high FPS, even with a low-end gaming PC. But picking the right combination of Modern Warfare 2 graphics settings can be difficult, particularly when it comes to visuals, which can degrade to unbearable levels when choosing the wrong config.

While Modern Warfare 2 does offer some quality presets, we discovered through our in-house testing that customizing your settings is best. Our suggested Modern Warfare 2 settings avoid degrading the visuals to a blurry mess, which can happen when using certain quality presets. Read on to find the best graphics settings for your setup.

Table of Contents

Update your graphics drivers

Do yourself a favor and check for recent graphics drivers updates before using our suggested best settings for Modern Warfare 2. Fortunately, updating your NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel graphics drivers takes less than a few minutes and can provide a great FPS boost.

Best Modern Warfare 2 settings for low-end PCs

An image listing out the best Modern Warfare 2 settings for low-end PCs
Source: Setup.gg analysis

It’s best to start with our suggested low-end Modern Warfare 2 settings if your gaming PC is having a hard time pushing out more than 100 FPS or doesn’t meet the game’s recommended system requirements (we detail the system requirements a few sections below).

Keep in mind that these settings prioritize achieving competitively-high FPS at the expense of visual quality. So, you may find it best to try the below settings and adjust upward some textures and other graphics settings as needed to find the lineup that works best for your gaming PC.

Display

  • Display mode: Fullscreen exclusive
  • Display monitor: Select your gaming monitor
  • Display adapter: Select your GPU
  • Screen refresh rate: Auto
  • Display resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
  • Dynamic resolution: Off
  • Aspect ratio: Automatic
  • V-sync gameplay: Off
  • V-sync menus: Off
  • Custom framerate limit: Custom
    • Gameplay custom frame rate limit: 200
    • Menu custom frame rate limit: 60
    • Out-of-focus custom frame rate limit: 30
  • Display gamma: 2.2 (sRGB) for monitors, 2.4 (BT1886) for tv’s
  • Brightness: 60 to 70
  • Focused mode: Off
  • HDR: Off

Global quality

  • Quality presets: Custom
  • Render resolution: N/A, locked when enabling NVIDIA image scaling
  • Upscaling/sharpening: NVIDIA image scaling
    • NVIDIA image scaling preset: Quality
    • NVIDIA image scaling sharpness: 0.3
  • Anti-aliasing: SMAA T2X
  • Anti-aliasing quality: Normal
  • Video memory scale: 85

Details and textures

  • Texture resolution: Very low
  • Texture filter anisotropic: Low
  • Nearby level of detail: High
  • Distant level of detail: High
  • Clutter draw distance: Short
  • Particle quality: Low
  • Particle quality level: Very low
  • Bullet impacts and sprays: On
  • Shader quality: Low
  • Tesselation: Off
  • Terrain memory: Min
  • On-demand texture streaming: Off
  • Streaming quality: Low
  • Volumetric quality: Low
  • Deferred physics quality: Off
  • Water caustics: Off

Shadow and lighting

  • Shadow map resolution: Very low
  • Screen space shadows: Off
  • Spot shadow quality: Low
  • Spot cache: Low
  • Particle lighting: Low
  • Ambient occlusion: Off
  • Screen space reflection: Off
  • Static reflection quality: Low
  • Weather grid volumes: Off

Post-processing effects

  • NVIDIA reflex low latency: On + boost
  • Depth of field: Off
  • World motion blur: Off
  • Weapon motion blur: Off
  • Film grain: 0

After savings your settings, jump into Modern Warfare 2’s benchmark mode to see how your gaming PC performs. Benchmark mode will let you see the visuals for your settings config and provide you with average FPS.

Best Modern Warfare 2 settings for high-end PCs

An image listing out the best Modern Warfare 2 settings for low-end PCs
Source: Setup.gg analysis

Our suggested Modern Warfare 2 graphics settings for high-end gaming PCs can get most mid-range and higher setups into the 200+ FPS club. Better yet, this can be achieved with a good visual experience that is detailed where it matters most.

Display

  • Display mode: Fullscreen exclusive
  • Display monitor: Select your gaming monitor
  • Display adapter: Select your GPU
  • Screen refresh rate: Auto
  • Display resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p) or 2560×1440 (2K)
  • Dynamic resolution: Off
  • Aspect ratio: Automatic
  • V-sync gameplay: Off
  • V-sync menus: Off
  • Custom framerate limit: Custom
    • Gameplay custom frame rate limit: 300
    • Menu custom frame rate limit: 60
    • Out-of-focus custom frame rate limit: 30
  • Display gamma: 2.2 (sRGB) for monitors, 2.4 (BT1886) for tv’s
  • Brightness: 60 to 70
  • Focused mode: Off
  • HDR: Off

Global quality

  • Quality presets: Custom
  • Render resolution: 100
  • Upscaling/sharpening: Off
  • Anti-aliasing: SMAA T2X
  • Anti-aliasing quality: Normal
  • Video memory scale: 90

Details and textures

  • Texture resolution: Low
  • Texture filter anisotropic: Low
  • Nearby level of detail: High
  • Distant level of detail: High
  • Clutter draw distance: Short
  • Particle quality: Low
  • Particle quality level: Low
  • Bullet impacts and sprays: On
  • Shader quality: Low
  • Tesselation: Off
  • Terrain memory: Min
  • On-demand texture streaming: Off
  • Streaming quality: Low
  • Volumetric quality: Low
  • Deferred physics quality: Off
  • Water caustics: Off

Shadow and lighting

  • Shadow map resolution: Normal
  • Screen space shadows: Off
  • Spot shadow quality: Low
  • Spot cache: Low
  • Particle lighting: Normal
  • Ambient occlusion: Off
  • Screen space reflection: Normal
  • Static reflection quality: Low
  • Weather grid volumes: Off

Post-processing effects

  • NVIDIA reflex low latency: On + boost
  • Depth of field: Off
  • World motion blur: Off
  • Weapon motion blur: Off
  • Film grain: 0

Your mileage will vary on these high-end settings based on your gaming PCs specs. For example, gaming PCs on the bleeding edge are able to generate 200+ FPS in Modern Warfare 2 at 2K and 4K resolutions.

Modern Warfare 2 system requirements

As with prior generations of Call of Duty games, Modern Warfare 2 is one of the more demanding triple-A games. We detail below Modern Warfare 2’s system requirements, along with the specs of our gaming PC used in our in-house testing.

Specs OS CPU RAM Storage GPU
Minimum Windows 10 64-bit Intel Core i3-6100 or Core i5-2500K, AMD Ryzen 5 1600X 8GB 125GB NVIDIA GTX 670, AMD Radeon RX 470
Recommended Windows 10 64-bit Intel Core i5-6600K or Core i7-4770K, AMD Ryzen 7 1400 12GB 125GB NVIDIA GTX 1060, AMD Radeon RX 580
Tested gaming PC Windows 10 64-bit Intel Core i7-12700KF 32GB 1TB NVIDIA RTX 3070ti

In-house test results

We tested our suggested settings and Modern Warfare 2’s quality presets on our gaming PC can be best described as “mid-range”. We were able to generate competitively-high FPS in multiplayer on both our suggested low-end and high-end settings.

On our low-end settings, our system generated frames in a range of 190 to 205 FPS. At our high-end settings, we were consistently getting 160 to 180 FPS.

We should expect this performance to creep up over time as the game is optimized throughout and after its launch.

Important Modern Warfare graphics 2 settings

High FPS and low latency are two of the more important factors to get a competitive advantage in Modern Warfare 2. That doesn’t mean you can’t also have a good visual experience.

If our suggested graphics settings are either not generating high enough FPS or the visual quality you desire, it’s best to focus on customizing the below Modern Warfare 2 settings that have the biggest impact on FPS, latency, and visual quality.

MW2 Settings Biggest Impacts
Source: Setup.gg analysis

Meaningful impacts on FPS and visual quality

  • Display resolution
  • Render resolution
  • Upscaling/sharpening
  • Texture resolution
  • Streaming quality
  • Volumetric quality
  • Spot cache
  • Static reflection quality

Meaningful impacts on latency

  • Display mode
  • NVIDIA Reflex

Should you use Modern Warfare 2’s quality presets?

Most gamers should skip using Modern Warfare 2’s quality presets. We haven’t found many games where it makes sense to run with the developer-provided quality presets. The same theme holds true with Modern Warfare 2 and its Minimum, Basic, Balanced, Ultra, and Extreme presets.

If you have a low-end gaming PC, you may be tempted to just select the Minimum preset. While you’ll achieve high FPS, the visuals in-game are extremely pixelated and blurry.

Instead, our suggested low-end Modern Warfare 2 settings improve some of the graphics quality of the Minimum preset while retaining high FPS.

Our suggested high-end graphics settings slightly beat out the FPS highs achieved on the Balanced preset. Importantly, graphics quality is retained, and the unnecessary enhancements pro Call of Duty players avoid are disabled, such as motion blur and depth of field.

Here are the test results we encountered when running each quality preset.

Quality Preset FPS Visual Quality
Minimum 220 to 240 Very poor
Basic 190 to 210 Ok
Balanced 160 to 170 Good
Ultra 140 to 150 Great
Extreme 110 to 125 Excellent
Modern Warfare 2 graphics quality presets comparison
Modern Warfare 2’s Minumum preset is a last-chance preset to use only if your gaming PC is struggling to maintain consistently-high FPS. As you can see, the graphics quality with each setting goes from very poor to great the higher your graphics quality preset. Source: Setup.gg

Other graphics settings to consider

Our focus for this guide is on helping you find the best settings for Modern Warfare 2 with a focus on increasing FPS for competitive advantages and good visual quality. Adjusting your FOV can also give you a competitive advantage and adjusting your NVIDIA filters improves the vibrance and clarity in Modern Warfare 2, along with improving the visibility of other players.

Modern Warfare 2 FOV

Most PC players will want to adjust their FOV in the range of 105 to 120. The higher the FOV the further zoomed out, which helps you spot players faster in your periphery. The downside is higher FOVs make it more difficult to gun down enemies at a further distance. As your aiming skills improve, level up your FOV from 105.

NVIDIA filters for Modern Warfare 2

Adjusting your NVIDIA filters in Modern Warfare 2 packs in a one-two punch to help you find enemies faster by improving visibility while making the game more vibrant with additional clarity.

New graphics settings available in Modern Warfare 2

Compared to Warzone, Modern Warfare 2 has several display and graphics settings to choose from. The majority of these graphics settings are personal preference and/or have a minimal effect on in-game performance.

Many of the below Modern Warfare 2 settings take an existing Warzone setting and break components of it out into additional ones to customize. In our guide to the best Warzone settings, we already detail many of the same settings Modern Warfare 2 offers. Check out that guide if wanting to understand each shared setting at a deeper level than included in this guide.

Here is some additional information on each of the new Modern Warfare 2 settings and their impacts in-game.

V-sync menus: A menu-specific setting that limits your frame rate to match your monitor’s refresh rate. This can prevent screen tearing but at the cost of increasing input lag. There is also a V-sync gameplay setting. The overwhelming majority of streamers and Call of Duty players we track play with V-sync off.

Focused mode: Sets a black overlay around the game window, which is only relevant for widescreen monitors. This is a personal preference setting.

HDR: Turning on HDR creates a better color experience for monitors that support it. HDR is mostly a personal preference and we haven’t tested whether there are performance impacts when enabling it.

Upscaling/sharpening: Upscaling isn’t anything new to Call of Duty. But this new menu item offers more upscaling and sharpening options than Warzone and may be a welcome addition for AMD and Intel GPU users, who have had limited options before. Enabling upscaling greatly improves FPS.

Nearby level of detail: Sets the visual quality of nearby objects. It doesn’t have a big impact on performance or to enhance graphics.

Distant level of detail: Sets the visual quality of objects at a distance. It doesn’t have a big impact on performance or to enhance graphics.

Clutter draw distance: Sets the distance when small ground elements like bushes and rocks are visible. It doesn’t have a big impact on performance or to enhance graphics.

Terrain memory: Sets the allowable memory size on your PC for textures in the distance. It doesn’t have a big impact on performance or to enhance graphics.

Volumetric quality: Increases the visual quality of rays of light, fog, and clouds. This setting can meaningfully impact FPS and doesn’t offer much of a visual competitive advantage.

Deferred physics quality: Sets the physics quality of water. It doesn’t have a big impact on performance or to enhance graphics where it matters for competitive gaming.

Water caustics: This setting enhances the light rays produced at the bottom of a lake or ocean. It doesn’t have a big impact on performance or to enhance graphics where it matters for competitive gaming.

Static reflection quality: Enhances the quality of static reflections throughout the game. It has a noticeable impact on performance but doesn’t enhance graphics where it matters most.

Weather grid volumes: Weather effects can be added dynamically to objects. It doesn’t have an impact on performance or to enhance graphics where it matters for competitive gaming.

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