Let’s skip intros and cut the chase.
Call of Duty is probably the most hardware demanding AAA game out there. One can easily waste tons of cash if proper research is not done.
The CoD series has a good reputation of not letting anyone get away with a cheap laptop heck not even any mid-range laptop with a dedicated GPU will do
If you really want to sharpen your skills so that someday you can go rambo against an entire team. You’re going to have to do a little research about its hardware usage.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Unlike Black Ops 4, which is a hog for every piece of hardware it can get it’s grubby fingers on and virtually unplayable on hardware over 4 years old (even giving some 2060 and 2070RTX rigs a hard time playing at the highest settings with FHD resolution).
The latest release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, has been well optimized to the point that most players as long as they have a decent mid range laptop will be okay (if they adjust settings accordingly obviously).
We have a detailed section on what specs you should have for the settings you want to play at the end of this post.
Here we’ll try to summarize it, if there’s anything you don’t understand head the last section.
Recommended Specs for Modern Warfare
Unlike most AAA games out there, the company has actually listed pretty accurate computer requirements to let you run the game lagless.
In fact, if you go to their site, you’ll find the requirements classified as minimum, recommended, high settings, epic, etc.
All pretty on point, I would say.
One thing I would recommend is to take those recommendations seriously (they’re at the end of this post) anything lower than is just low detail torture specs for this game.
Anyways, here’s my advice on how to get the most out of your budget without shooting yourself in the foot when launching the game:
P.S: Power goes from green to blue to orange to purple.
Call of Duty is very CPU intensive because of the number of players and all the objects/details it has to render in a short period of time.
Get the CPU with the highest clock speed you can afford preferably any CPU with an H next to it from the 9th or 10th generation or the from the latest Ryzen series. We are in the 4th in 2021.
EX: Core i5-9300H, Core i5-10300H, Core i7-9750H, Corei7 10750H, AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, AMD Ryzen 9 4800HS, Core i9 9900K. Check the table at the end for the entire list.
The game has lowered its output graphical settings requiring less the need of a top beefy GPU but luckily still keeping most aspects of the game unchanged. This is good news because now the game can tolerate a sort of a “mid range GPU”.
Recommended (in order of power): 1650,AMD Radeon RX 580,1060,1660Ti, Radeon RX 5500M,1070,2060RTX,1080,2070RTX,2080RTX
Avoid: MX150, 940MX, 940M, 1050,1050Ti, MX250, AMD Radeon RX 550/540/555/560
Note that you shouldn’t touch anything other than the GPUs I mentioned especially if you want to venture into the entire series of Call of Duty including Black OPs & Warzone.
The higher you go , the smoother the game will run at higher settings.
Black OPs 3 ran like crap with just 8GB of RAM. 16GB was the standard. It may not be necessary for Modern Warfare now but who wants to take a risk? RAM is cheap anyways. Make sure it’s dual channeled too.
The only real issue with the storage is how much space it takes. Freakin Call of Duty can take an entire 256GB SSD.
If you are opting for an SSD make sure to get at least 512GB. If you don’t plan on installing anything else than CoD + Windows 10, you might be okay with 256GB but the latest release can take ~150GB (maybe more with updates).
Top 5 Best Laptops for Call of Duty
All of these laptops can play any of the Call of Duty series including the latest release: Modern Warfare. Prices range from 570$-2000$ depending on the CPU/GPU combo and consquently the graphical settings you’ll be able to play with.
1. Acer Nitro 5
Best Cheap Laptop For Call of Duty
Intel Core i5 9300H
GeForce GTX 1650
256 PCIe SSD
15” FHD 1080p IPS
If you go to the official site, you’ll see that a 1650GTX GPU is the bare minimum they recommend. Although that may be for desktops, the laptop version of the 1650GTX is pretty much the same as the desktop version.
A 9300H with a mobile 1650GTX will give you around 55-65 FPS at low settings. The framerates are great considering that this laptop only has 60Hz refresh rates and we are talking about Call of Duty here.
If you check how the game runs at low settings it isn’t too bad either.
Note that the video was actually made with a weaker processor than the Core i5 here.
One thing I would add though is another RAM stick to make it 16GB.
Note that depending on demand the price of this laptop fluctuates between 550$ to 700$. This is still a better deal than MX250 laptops which cost +600$!
If it’s too expensive or you don’t find on stock take a look at the Lenovo L340.
If both happen to be out of stock there’s still a bunch of good models with the same hardware:
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||686$|
|Acer Nitro||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||700$|
|HP Pavilion||R5 3550H||1650GTX||60Hz||700$|
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||700$|
|ASUS TUF||R5 3500U||1650GTX||120Hz||737$|
|ASUS TUF||R5 3550H||1650GTX||60Hz||750$|
|Lenovo 3||i5 10300H||1650GTX||120Hz||750$|
|Dell G3||i5 10300H||1650GTX||60Hz||750$|
|Lenovo L340||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||628$|
|HP Pavilion||R5 4600H||1650GTX||60Hz||659$|
Best Budget Laptop For Call of Duty
15” full HD 120Hz IPS
This is not necessarily the perfect laptop for Call of Duty but it fits with the “medium recommended requirements” and it’s pretty dope that you’re getting a 2060RTX with a 120Hz display for under 1000 dollars.
How is that possible?
Well look at the CPU, it isn’t realy one of the best CPUs on the market right now but it’s pretty decent for gaming and actually pretty close in clock frequency to the Core i7s from the same generation. The only real difference is the fact that this Core i5 doesn’t have 6 cores and that’s alright because Call of Duty from Black Ops 4 to Warzone and Modern Warfare is pretty much single threaded with the newer versions using up to four cores.
This set up will get you around 70FPS on high settings (not ULTRA) at full HD.
Best Laptop Deal For Call of Duty
NVIDIA RTX 2060
512GB PCIe NVMe
15” full HD 120Hz IPS
If you got a little more budget, you should look for a laptop not necessarily with a better GPU but a much more powerful CPU because of two reasons: the game is intensely CPU bound and the Core i5 9300H is relatively weaker to Core i7 equivalents for the game.
The Acer predator here has the latest Core i7 CPU released by Intel, the 10th generation.
This will increase your FPS with the game to about 85 FPS on Ultra settings with RTX mode off.
Now there are several dozens of 10th Core i7 laptops with an RTX 2060 (not hundreds because the 10th Core i7 was just released a few months ago) but the Acer Predator is currently the one giving gamers the best bang for their buck.
A laptop with the same specs will cost on average 1300-1400$. That may not be a huge reduction in price but if you take the fact that this is one of the most popular series bought by gamers due to their cooling design, it is a great deal.
Anyways, currently there is no 10th Core i7 with an 2060RTX, on the market. This is it.
Best Gaming Laptop For Call of Duty w/ a 2070RTX
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Full (Non-Max Q)
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” full HD 144Hz IPS
Note this laptop and none of the laptops listed on this post are Max-Q (undervolted/nerfed to control high temperatures), they are the full blown version of the RTX series. That’s what I meant by “Non-Max Q”.
But really the only difference between the Acer Predator and this laptop is the GPU. Same CPU, same display and even the same Storage.
The 2070RTX is currently along the RTX 2080 the most powerful GPU on the market, it’s even got the same amount of vRAM as the 2080RTX. You’ll be getting around ~100 FPS on average at ultra settings, that’s pretty insane given the fact that we are talking about Call of Duty. If you’re buying a 2070RTX laptop and not getting anywhere near that, chances are your rig isn’t dual channeled, check the last section on RAM to see what I mean.
As for the price, well 2070RTX laptops range from the 1500(the lowest here) and as high as 3000$, the main reason behind the increase in price is the display. The more expensive laptops usually will have 240 and up to 300Hz displays.
But that may be kind of useless for CoD because the series are so insanely hardware demanding that you won’t go past 144 frames per second, which is exactly what this laptop’s refresh rates support. It’s a great way to cut down of prices if you don’t mind seeing 144FPS when you play and if you mostly playing at high-ultra settings.
Best Laptop For Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Upcoming releases
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” full HD 144Hz IPS
Lastly the most expensive laptop on the list however believe it or not this is also the RTX 2080 laptop with the best bang for your buck.
Don’t believe me, go online and check how these can range from 2500$ to 3500$.
Sure you might get a few more perks with a more expensive rig like a 300Hz display and a Core i9 9900HK or perhaps a 4k display, etc.
But I don’t think it’s wise to invest on anything higher than a 240Hz display for an 2080RTX laptop because the game will run at exactly 144FPS as you can see by this video.
4k displays are also out of the question, they will reduce your framerates to 50-60.
I think it’s a great way to cut down on prices by opting for a 144Hz as the maximum if you’re only playing games as graphically demanding as CoD whose framerates just won’t even get close to 200FPS no matter how much CPU/GPU power you throw at it.
Anyways, this is nice option to the old ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS gx701 which was the most popular 2080RTX laptop last year for call of duty. The current versions of the same model however are much more expensive but it does have everything a gaming laptop should have, the call is on you.
How To Buy The Best Laptop For Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare & All releases
Like I said unlike Black OP4 and BattleField which were a completely mess with hardware, Modern Warfare has used an entirely different engine and team to write the game. This time the changes in details and gameplay have not raised the need for better hardware.
In fact, it’s the total oppossite. Most decent “mid range laptops” will let you run the game unless you have a cheap old or an entry level GPU or a very old 4 core CPU released 5 years ago, you’ll be okay.
Now you have to be extra careful with laptops because more CPU/GPU power doesn’t always equal better performance and higher framerates.
Unlike desktops, laptops can be tricky because they need to be well built if their GPUs/CPUs are to hit the clock speeds they are supposed to hit. This is even more true the bigger and more powerful the CPU and GPU are.
Anyways before we dive in, let’s quickly check what Activision has said about requirements:
|Minimum||Intel Core i3-4340 or AMD FX-6300||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 / GeForce GTX 1650 or Radeon HD 7950||175GB||8GB RAM|
|Recommended||Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X processor||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / GTX 1660 or Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580||175GB HD space||12GB RAM|
|Recommended+Ray Tracing||Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X processor||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060||175GB HD space||16GB RAM|
|Competitive||Intel i7-8700K or AMD Ryzen 1800X||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 / RTX 2070 SUPER or Radeon RX Vega⁶⁴ Graphics||175GB HD space||16GB RAM|
|Ultra RTX||Intel i7-9700K or AMD Ryzen 2700X||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER||175GB HD space||16GB RAM|
Remember that minimum hardware is generally categorised as hardware that will run the game at 30 fps low settings. Playable but certainly not recommended and should be ignored.
This is far more ideal to make the game playable. Usually around 60fps in most situations( medium settings).
Recommended Specs (Ray Tracing):
The bare minimum to run the game with Ray Tracing. If you don’t know what that means it’s basically cooler looking shadows and lights at the expense of pretty relatively low framerates(note that you can deactivate Ray Tracing on settings)
Here are the Competitive specs to run at a high fps for use with a high refresh monitor:
Ultra RTX Specs:
Finally, here are the Ultra RTX specs to run the game at a high FPS in 4K resolution with Ray Tracing.
A game mode that has to track the activity of +30 players with objects moving all over the place is bound to be really CPU intensive. If you’re playing WarZone then it is even harder on the CPU because the number of players has increased in a match.
Open battle royals maps are even more cpu bound because it has to render every piece of information even what’s not seen on your screen.
I’m hitting 79% on an i7-8700k overclocked. It’s a little insane.
Cores vs Frequency
The number of cores in a processor isn’t something to to worry about. CoD only uses up to four cores and most processors today have that and even more.
And even if you somehow find a dual core with the same clock speed as quadcore the increase in performance isn’t abysmal. This is because calculations are done one step at a time just like most games and software today.
So your budget should be focused on the highest clock speed possible. This applies to desktops as well.
|i7 9750H||2.6 GHz||4.5 GHz||6|
|i9 8950K||2.9 GHz||4.8 GHz||6|
|i5 9600K||3.7 GHz||4.6 GHz||6|
|i7 9700K||3.6 GHz||4.9 GHz||8|
|i9 9900K||3.6 GHz||5.1 GHz||8|
|AMD Ryzen 9 4800HS||2.2||4.4GHz||8|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3750H||2.3||4.0||4|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3700U||2.3||4.0||4|
|AMD Ryzen 5 3550H||2.1||3.7||4|
|AMD Ryzen 5 3500U||2.1||3.7||4|
|AMD Ryzen 3 3300U||2.1||3.5||4|
I recommend you go for any of the green CPUs and if you’re realy on a tight budget the blue ones.
|2060 Super||2,176||8GB||1650 MHz|
|2080 Super||3072||8GB||1815 MHz|
Entry Level: I wouldn’t touch this game with an entry level GPU honestly and much worse an integrated GPU.
Both the Intel HD and The Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 5 2500U) kept crashing onour rigs. Before crashing, the terrain wouldn’t even show until you were right there. We also faced issues trying to fly a plane and not being able to move out of the way of a freaking mountain that just appeared out of nowhere.
An entry level GPU like the 1050 can be used to play at super low settings with some lag during intense fights which might tolerable to some people.
A 1050Ti/1650 is decently OK to play lag free at low to medium settings. It’s really the lowest you should go for and that’s only if you pair it up with a really good CPU. The most powerful you find on a laptop with those cards which should be something like a Core i5-8300H.
Mid Range: If you want to game on high settings at 1080p, then you will need aGTX 1060 or a 1660Tior any of the green CPUs. 1660Ti is pretty good I have no complaints with it.
RTX and Ray Tracing
As far I am aware. This game does not fully utilize ray traced rendering. It will only ray trace shadows and light to give more realistic shadows to objects. This is both good and bad.
You won’t get super cooler graphics with RTX cards but the performance hit won’t be severe since only shadows will be ray traced.
In reality you don’t actually need a RTX GPU to enable ray tracing. It can be enabled with non-RTX GPU but that will lead to an extreme drop in performance (~70%).
On the other hand, RTX chips will only be 30% slower when ray tracing is enabled.
Honestly, who cares about Ray Tracing…it isn’t really cool unless you’re big with campaigns and single player modes
If there are thousands of bullets going across your face, would you even have time to appreciate how cool the shadows and lightining look? Definitely not something for battle royale people.
8GB vs 16GB
Today, 8 Gigs of ram are the minimum spec to run windows and 3 tabs of chrome at the same time. Most games will be okay with 8GB but Call of Duty is much better with 16GB.
I originally had some minor issues with the game at 8GB when I upped my RAM to 16GB the game ran noticeably better.
Those minor issues were with CoD:WarZone , Black OPS 3 ran like crap with just 8GB!.
DDR4 vs DDR3
If you start sniffing around budget laptops, although you may end up with a sweet deal for a powerful CPU+GPU combo, there’s a big chance that laptop was last year’s model and has a DDR3 RAM instead of DDR4. That will decrease performance SIGNIFICANTLY. So watch out for that.
Also make sure whatever RAM you have installed is equally partioned, that increases CPU performance, by this I mean: if you have 16GB, make sure they’re made of x2 8GB sticks. This is called dual channeled RAM.
It means to make your RAM distribution as symmetric as possible. If you can, also make sure they’re from the same brand and Model.
Doing this will increase the efficiency by which your CPU will read and process data.
SSDs vs HDDs
Some people may think SSDs are not really useful with the game but remember that this thing is 150GB heavy and that’s without updated or incoming patches that’s why the game recommends more than that. So there’s definitely a lot of data to be read by your CPU.
SSDs are going to help quickly load the game and get you into a match a bit faster.Loading times will be quite short all around the game.
It will also help when you start dicking around settings, you won’t need to restart the game.
When you’re browsing mid-range to high end gaming laptops, display isn’t really something to worry about. They’ve all got IPS panels, full HD resolutions(in fact some of them have 4k displays), etc. However…
You still need to make sure you get the refresh rates you want. They can be all over the place on laptops: from 60Hz to 300Hz.
Now what exactly is refresh rate? It is the rate at which your display can output images, 60Hz pretty much means your display will be able to output 60 frames per second to your eyes.
So if you got a CPU+GPU combo that can output 200FPS and your display only has 60Hz refresh rates, your eyes will only be able to experience what’s like to see 60FPS because that’s the limit of your display even though the frame counter can tell you that you’re playing with 200FPS.
What refresh rates are good for this game?
I’m pretty sure 120-144Hz will be enough for everyone here because there’s no way you’re hitting +150fps consistently on high settings with any of the Call of Duty series even with the most beastly CPU+GPU combo.
For those who just want to run the game with entry level CPU+GPU combos , 60Hz might be okay.
Luckily laptop manufacturers know when a GPU+CPU combo is going to need 60,120,300Hz. So you’re definitely will have enough refresh rates for your CPU+GPU power (depending on the game)
But checking out refresh rates.. is a great way to cut down on prices and get better deals…
Going for a lower refresh rate display will actually make a laptop several hundred dollars cheaper.
What if I have the budget to go for a 300Hz display and I can only get 150FPS with CoD? Should I go for it?
If you lower down your settings to low-medium, then yes, you’ll definitely go past 150FPS. Now even if you don’t it may still be worth going for really high refresh rates , higher than your framerates, as many “PC Master Race” fans will tell you:
“G-sync display on laptops are really hard to find these days because they’re just too expensive however high refresh rates on a laptop display can minimize reduced frame tearing”
If you’ve already bought a laptop before reading this post or for some weird reason your laptop does not run CoD as expected here’s a few tips to follow:
- The most obvious choice is to drop everything to low nothing you can do besides that.
- I’d start with everything on lowest, uncap your framerate, and see how it runs. Assuming you’re wanting it to be running at 60fps you can increase some settings and try to keep the framerate above 60 in game.
- Update Drivers, pretty obvious
- RAM, not so obvious, by this I mean you should make sure your RAM is optimized. Make sure it’s the latest RAM (the fastest DDR4) and it’s properly installed to run in a dual channel (Ex: 2x4GB instead of a x18GB)
- Overclock the CPU + GPU.Try doing either separately see if that solves the problem. And buy a separate cooler to be used at all times
- Follow the steps on this video beggining at17:33 (only if it actually matters to get the litle extra FPS): https://youtu.be/RYYoCXh2gtw
- The most common problem with CoD is not being able to recognize your dedicated GPU and using your integrated GPU instead, this can be solved by going here and settings Hardware performace to high. If that doesn’t work disable your integrated GPU on device manager.
If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or recommendations on how to pick up the best laptop for Call of Duty . Please let us know in the comments below.