What are the best settings for MW3 on PC? The next Call of Duty game is finally here, and following another successful beta period, we already knew that, despite the game underperforming with fans, from a technical perspective, Modern Warfare 3 runs very well.
With the Modern Warfare 3 release date now having come and gone, we took to the servers and tested out the game’s performance. We took into account both the hardware and gameplay settings that you might want to tweak, including settings like FOV, DLSS, and Texture Resolution, because it’s much easier than shelling out for one of the best graphics cards when the issue could lie in your menus.
Throughout a few hours of testing MW3, we were able to achieve a steady fps of 125, which rarely suffered any kind of drops or instability. The worst issue we encountered during testing was when we allowed the recommended settings to be put in place for us, which isn’t uncommon when a game judges settings based on hardware without a proper benchmarking tool. Auto-settings went a little too hard in trying to improve the game visually and saw our fps drop to around 70 as a baseline.
Here are the best settings for MW3 on PC:
Best video settings for MW3
- Texture resolution – High
- Nearby level of detail – High
- Distant level of detail – High
- Nvidia DLSS – Quality
- Particle quality – High
- Bullet impacts – On
- Shader quality – High
- Particle lighting – Normal
- Ambient occlusion – Both
- Static reflection quality – High
- Nvidia Reflex low latency – On (Nvidia GPUs only)
- Film grain – 0.00
These are the key settings that got us the best performance and max fps in MW3. The main takeaway from our testing time is that there were ways to further improve upon fps, but the visual hits would have been too great, considering the marginal return. It’s no use playing with poor graphics for the sake of adding another 10-20 fps, at least not in a Call of Duty game. We feel the above settings offer the perfect balance.
We’ll take you through some of the key options that were big factors in us settling on our chosen settings.
Unsurprisingly, changing the DLSS setting from balanced to quality offered better performance in every aspect of MW3. You might think that performance would be the better option given that this is a shooter, but we noticed that the visual compromises made to improve fps were quite severe, so sticking with quality is the way to go unless you are on a very old gaming PC or laptop that happens to have an RTX card.
Level of detail
Both the near and distant level of detail settings made quite an impact when we messed around with them. There were some performance gains when reducing the quality, but ultimately leaving both on high was worth sacrificing a few frames for, especially when overall performance was still very solid.
While not having any major performance impact, a higher particle quality reduces the visual fuzz that appears around certain animations in the game. These can be a difference maker in areas where a particle effect may enter your field of view, so the higher quality, the better.
A major factor in any game is the overall texture resolution. In a shooter like Modern Warfare 3, you’re going to want the best quality possible while also maintaining peak performance. For us, setting the texture resolution to high had no major negative impact on performance, so we were happy to continue with it because it ensures a certain standard of quality across all game modes and maps.
If you’re concerned about how certain features will impact your performance and don’t want to keep jumping into games blindly, make use of the VRAM calculator that is featured in the settings menu. This shows you how demanding your current settings will be on your GPU’s memory, and you can even set a cap for this. We personally set ours at 85%, but the above settings didn’t come close to maxing out our memory.
Best gameplay settings for MW3:
- Depth of field – Off
- World motion blur – Off
- Weapon motion blur – Off
- Field of view – 120
- ADS field of view – Affected
- Weapon field of view – Wide
All of the above gameplay settings are crucial to making sure you have the smoothest experience possible in Modern Warfare 3. Some are uniform across any game that they appear in, but some are specific to MW3.
Depth of field
Nothing is more annoying than being locked into your aim and then getting shot by someone who was apparently right in front of you. This is where depth of field is key. Rather than blurring out your surroundings when aiming, your view remains clear, thus allowing you to see what is going on around your weapon sight.
It’s become a bit of a meme to ensure motion blur is turned off in every game you play. The primary issue with any kind of motion blur is that it can interfere with the overall quality of your images and leave you having to scramble to regain focus. The notion still remains in MW3 that motion blur is bad and should never be enabled.
Field of view
One of the biggest advantages PC gamers used to have over console players was FOV. Being able to literally see more in your line of sight was huge, but there is now parity across console and PC versions of the game. However, your FOV will be set to a reduced number by default, so you need to go into the settings and boost it up to 120.
Weapon field of view
A relatively niche setting, the weapon field of view can alter how your weapon looks in-game. We recommend setting this to wide, as it reduces the size of your weapon slightly but has no knock-on effect on your aim. This way you have a little more unobstructed screen space at your disposal.
What we use to test game settings
At PCGamesN, we use specific gaming rigs to test out the best settings for performance and gameplay in the latest releases. Currently, our test rigs include the following components; Intel Core i7 11700F, MSI Ventus Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 32GB of DDR4 3200MHz RAM, MSI B560 motherboard. We also test using Widows 11 64-bit.
We use the same rigs to ensure that every game we test is done under fair conditions. We will occasionally upgrade these rigs to ensure they don’t fall behind the market and this allows us to aim for the highest quality possible in every game we test.
Can MW3 be played using an HDD?
Yes, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 can be installed and booted from a mechanical HDD. However, this isn’t the recommended way to experience the game and you will experience performance drawbacks.
Loading times will be much longer and you will run into frequent stuttering and graphical hiccups during matches. You can grab one of the best gaming SSDs on the market without having to break the bank and secure the best performance in MW3 and any other games you play.
How to monitor performance in MW3
If you want to keep an eye on the performance of Modern Warfare 3 while you’re playing, there are a few ways to do this. If you use an Nvidia GPU, you can enable performance monitoring in GeForce Experience by hitting ALT + R. This brings up a menu that shows your fps, 99% fps, render latency, CPU and GPU utilization, GPU clock, memory clock, GPU temp, fan speed, GPU power, and finally, the GPU voltage.
For AMD GPUs, you can enable performance monitoring via the Radeon overlay. Here, you have more control over what reporting you see, but all in all, it’s very similar to the Nvidia option.
Did you also play MW3 during its recent beta, well, you’ll want to know how to claim your MW3 beta rewards so you can rock some unique in-game cosmetics. While you wait for ME3 to officially release, you can also check out the best FPS games on PC to tide you over.