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Is Call of Duty Warzone CPU or GPU Intensive?

Testing if COD Warzone makes use of CPU or GPU

I’ve been a fan of the Call of Duty franchise for the last 12 years. I remember playing Call of Duty 2 on my Pentium III desktop that had a 64MB of Nvidia graphics card on it. Since then, the COD franchise has thrown hit titles like Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Call of Duty Black Ops, Ghosts, etc. At the time of writing this article, Call of Duty: Warzone is the most popular game that tests the limits of your PC hardware. To be honest, this “battle royale” genre demands more gaming juice out of your gaming PC than any previous game in the franchise. So most gamers are wondering whether Call of Duty: Warzone is CPU or GPU Intensive? Here’s the answer

Call of Duty Warzone is a game that falls more on the GPU side for smoother performance. However, to avoid any bottlenecking, you’ll need to pair your GPU with a powerful CPU. Especially, if you want to max out the COD Warzone at 4K settings, then you’ll need a powerful graphics card and CPU.

System Requirement of Call of Duty Warzone

Below are the minimum requirements to run Call of Duty Warzone:

CPUIntel Core i3-4340 or AMD FX-6300
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX670 or GeForce GTX 1650 or Radeon HD 7950
Video Memory2GB or more
RAM8GB

As you can see, these are the minimum requirement you’ll need to play the game. Even the 4th generation Core i3 4340 would be able to play this game. But beware, playing the game doesn’t mean that you’ll get smoother frame rates at all.

Keep in mind these are the bare minimum specs you should have on your PC to launch and play the game at its lowest settings. For smoother performance (over 60fps), you’ll need a high-end graphics card and CPU. With the minimum specs, you can bypass 720p resolution, but it would be hard for you to touch 1080p settings in COD Warzone with an entry-level CPU or GPU.

So don’t fall for the minimum specs stated by the COD franchise to run Warzone. Modern FPS games are designed to use more “Cores” and clock speed out of your CPU. Therefore, it’s better to have at least a six-core CPU if you want to run COD Warzone.

Furthermore, the 2GB of VRAM would limit you to a 720p resolution and in most cases, you may end up falling down into the bottleneck. To be honest, gone are the days when 2GB of VRAM was enough to play the most intensive PC games.

6GB is the bare minimum for playing games at 1080p settings. And playing COD Warzone at 720p doesn’t make any sense at all.

Testing If Call of Duty Warzone Depends Upon CPU or GPU

The moment I played the COD Warzone, I knew it was putting more stress on my graphics card. I noticed the GPU fans whistling a lot trying to push hot air away from it. Also, in the Windows Taskbar, the GPU usage was all the way up to 95% when I was playing Call of Duty Warzone at 1440p settings.

To find out if COD Warzone uses more GPU or CPU, I opt for a mid-range gaming PC. Within this gaming PC, I paired a Core i5-10400F CPU with an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super graphics card and 32GB of DDR4 ram.

While playing Call of Duty Warzone at 1080p settings, there was no issue at all. Most of the time, the average frame rates were above 75fps even in the intense combat scenes. In order to find, the stress on the CPU or GPU, I opened the Task Manager in the side panel.

Is Call of Duty Warzone CPU or GPU Intensive?
Hardware Usage Statistics in Call of Duty Warzone

As you can see in the image above, the GPU usage in Call of Duty Warzone is around 97%, whereas the CPU usage is around 57%. So it’s clear that Call of Duty Warzone is more dependent on your graphics card than it does on your CPU.

To run COD Warzone, you’ll need a decent gaming PC that at least has a powerful graphics card in it. Most people also say that the game is poorly optimized, which to some extent is true. Unlike the Battlefield franchise, the COD franchise always gets criticism from gamers for poor optimization.

Even if you have a mid-range gaming PC on your desk, you’ll still get lower frame rates in COD games as compared to Battlefield titles. Game-debate has listed the Call of Duty Warzone as the most poorly optimized game of the year 2020.

Why You Are Getting Higher GPU Usage in COD Warzone

The only reason you are getting higher GPU usage stats in Call of Duty Warzone is that the game itself is poorly optimized. Do you remember playing GTA IV on your PC back in 2010? Even the most powerful graphics cards of that time were unable to deliver smoother performance in GTA IV. The same is the case with the Call of Duty: Warzone, the game is designed to eat more VRAM from your graphics card.

Is It Possible to Play COD Warzone without a GPU?

No, it’s not possible to run this game without a graphics card. In case you have a good integrated graphics card on your motherboard, you can play the game at the lowest settings possible. However, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get more than 30fps even at 720p settings. The only way around is to buy a good dedicated graphics card for playing Call of Duty Warzone.

Recommended Graphics Cards for Call of Duty Warzone

We’ve tested the COD Warzone on an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super 6GB and it was easily playable at 1080p 60fps settings. There are some other graphics cards that show better performance with COD Warzone like GTX 1660 Ti, AMD RX 5700 XT, AMD RX 5500 XT, Nvidia RTX 2060, RTX 2080, RTX 3060 Ti, etc.

The only thing to keep in mind is to pick a graphics card that has more VRAM installed on it. Like we’ve said earlier, the Call of Duty Warzone is a VRAM eater game. My personal recommendation would be to pick a graphics card that has at least 6GB of VRAM if you want to game at 1080p settings.

Conclusion

Call of Duty Warzone is a graphically intense game and demands more power from your graphics card at higher settings. But if you play the game at lower settings, it would ease the pressure from your GPU and shift it towards your CPU. In order to balance the game performance, you’ll need a better CPU for achieving higher frame rates in the game. Therefore, you’ll need to spend more cash on buying a reliable graphics card and a CPU for smoothly running this game.

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