Modern Warfare 2’s Best PC Graphics Settings

After playing MW2 for more than 150 hours, I've compiled the most optimized settings for Modern Warfare 2's graphics options in the View, Display, and Quality menus.

Modern Warfare 2's Best Settings

Modern Warfare 2 is beautiful, and many of the Campaign levels also act as a tech showcase for the revitalized engine. Everything from the weapon’s warm muzzle flash to the volumetric fog shining in street lights is a visual treat. However, not every player has the latest and greatest PC hardware and may need assistance optimizing settings.

Moreover, the in-game graphics benchmark test is a welcome addition; however, it is time-consuming to check every option. Players may spend quite a while analyzing the performance impact for any given setting. This is where this guide steps in; we’ve spent the time for you and compiled the optimum settings for Modern Warfare 2. Before changing anything, take a look at Modern Warfare 2’s system requirements below.

About The Author

Yahya Jamshed has played 200+ hours of Call of Duty games, and on top of that, he’s a fan! He has played every COD game extensively, so you can easily trust his hands-on experience and the information he provides related to Modern Warfare 2!

Key Takeaways

  • Modern Warfare 2 caters to low-end PCs, as evidenced by the Minimum requirements.
  • A Higher Field Of View improves performance marginally.
  • Upscaling/Sharpening improves performance significantly with marginal visual changes.
  • Nvidia Low Latency set to On+Boost decreases input lag the most.
  • This year, consoles also get a Field Of View Slider.

Minimum Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 10 ( Latest Update )
  • Game Size: 125 gigabytes
  • Memory: 8 gigabytes
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 470 or Nvidia GTX 960
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or Intel Core I5-2500K

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 10/ Windows 11 ( Latest Update )
  • Game Size: 125 gigabytes
  • Memory: 12 gigabytes
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 580 or Nvidia GTX 1060 (3GB)
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1400 or Intel Core I7-4770

Running Modern Warfare 2 at comfortable framerates at high or ultra settings will require more powerful hardware. Players looking for the crispest visual experience should have hardware matching or exceeding the following specifications.

My Recommendations

  • Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 3060 (6GB)
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800
  • Memory: 16 GB

Modern Warfare 2’s Best Settings

The graphics menu in Modern Warfare 2 is divided into three categories: View/Display/Quality. I’ll be going over any setting you should change and others that are personal preferences. Keep in mind the settings chosen below are for a balanced visual experience with a diminished impact on performance.

View Settings

View Menu Settings Modern Warfare 2
Example View Menu

The View settings menu is the least interesting out of the three; however has one critical setting. Of course, we’re talking about the Field Of View setting, which is also now available on Consoles.

Setting the Field Of View higher essentially widens the player’s perspective with more fitting into the screen. This is especially helpful in Multiplayer, where awareness of your surroundings is key to winning. However, setting FOV too high results in a displeasing fish-eye effect that may also look confusing.

I recommend setting the Field Of View between 80 and 110. Any value below 80 makes the camera too close and limits what the player is able to see. Maxing out at 120 fits in as much as possible into the screen, however, with the dreaded fish eye effect. In my testing, I found the magic number to be 104 Field Of View.

Surprisingly, the higher the Field Of View value, the greater the performance gain. This is because Modern Warfare 2 treats objects displayed smaller in higher FOVs as also farther. As such, lower modeled textures are loaded, improving performance. Keep in mind that the performance gain at higher values is only marginal.

Display Settings

Display Settings Modern Warfare 2
Example Display Menu

Modern Warfare 2’s Display settings have some interesting options to toggle to maximize performance. I’ll outline the significant changes to be made below and explain important options below.

  • Display Mode: Full Screen Exclusive
  • V-Sync Gameplay: Off
  • Display Resolution: 1080P For Best Performance
  • Dynamic Resolution: Off

These are the optimal settings for the lowest input lag and sharpness. Full-Screen Exclusive is ideal for the lowest input lag; however, makes Alt Tabbing harder than Full-Screen Borderless. The other important setting is setting Dynamic Resolution to Off. While Dynamic Resolution improves performance, it may kick in mid-gameplay, ruining the overall experience.

Quality Settings

Quality Settings Modern Warfare 2
Example Quality Menu

The Quality settings menu is where the meaty optimization takes place and where you’ll be making the most gains.

I’ll list the settings below and explain where players can change settings for even more FPS gains.

  • Render Resolution: 100
  • Upscaling / Sharpening: On (Major FPS gains with every option except FidelityFX)
  • Anti-Aliasing: Personal Preference ( No Major performance difference between both options )
  • Anti-Aliasing Quality: Normal ( Best for quality with minimal FPS drop )
  • Texture Resolution: Normal ( Setting this to Low will improve performance marginally; however, have a significant visual impact )
  • Texture Filtering Quality: High
  • Nearby Level of Detail: High ( Set to Low if GPU is below 4GB VRAM )
  • Distant Level of Detail: High (Set to Low if GPU is below 4GB VRAM )
  • Clutter Draw Distance: Long ( Setting to Low increases Texture pop in )
  • Particle Quality: High
  • Particle Quality Level: Very Low for Performance or High for Quality
  • Bullet Impacts & Sprays: Personal Preference
  • Shader Quality: Low for significant FPS gains or Medium to save quality
  • Tessellation: High ( Set to Off if PC hardware is less than the recommended )
  • Terrain Memory: Max ( Set to Low if limited in Memory )
  • On-Demand Texture Streaming: Off
  • Streaming Quality: Low
  • Volumetric Quality: Medium ( Set to Low to increase FPS gains at the cost of quality)
  • Deferred Physics Quality: Low or Off ( Only effects maps with water elements )
  • Water Caustics: Off
  • Shadow Map Resolution: High ( Set to low if GPU limited )
  • Screen Space Shadows: High ( Improves shadows on weapons and close objects )
  • Spot Shadow Quality: Personal Preference
  • Cache Spot Shadows: Off ( Set to On if your GPU exceeds 6GB VRAM )
  • Particle Lighting: Ultra ( No significant impact on FPS )
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off for Performance or Both for High Quality
  • Screen Space Reflections: Normal ( Only has a substantial effect on windows )
  • Static Reflection Quality: High ( Set to Low or Off if GPU is limited in VRAM )
  • Weather Grid Volumes: Off
  • Nvidia Reflex Low Latency:  On+Boost ( Significantly decreases Input Lag; however, decreases performance slightly )
  • Depth of Field: Personal Preference
  • World Motion Blur: Personal Preference
  • Weapon Motion Blur: Personal Preference
  • Film Grain: Personal Preference


Extensive testing across several in-game scenarios guarantees the above changes are Modern Warfare 2’s best settings. Future Patches may impact performance and lead to more substantial FPS gains, too. It’s essential to update your graphics drivers and ensure Modern Warfare 2 is running on the latest version.

Moreover, try installing Modern Warfare 2 on an SSD if you have one to be on the safe side. This helps loading times and diminishes possible memory issues. Modern Warfare 2 is a beautiful game that should be played without sacrificing quality. You’ll enjoy the gorgeous visuals with high framerates with the above settings. If you’re looking to dominate in Multiplayer, take a look at the Best guns in Modern Warfare 2.

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