Modern Warfare 3 Best PC Settings: High FPS & Optimization

An Ultimate Guide to optimizing Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's performance on your PC

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is out, and it’s essential to ensure that we have the best settings in place. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the display, graphics, and view settings available in the Modern Warfare 3 menus. Remember that the optimal settings can vary from person to person, but I’ll share my preferred options for optimal multiplayer experience.

I’ve benchmarked Modern Warfare 3 on a PC with the following specs:

  • OS: Windows 11 Pro 23H2
  • System: Lenovo Legion 7i Laptop
  • CPU: Intel i7-11800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3070 8GB
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Storage: Samsung 1TB SSD Gen 4
Key Takeaways

You’ll at least need to have an Intel i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU, NVIDIA GTX 960 or AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU, and 8 GB RAM to run MW3 on your PC.

The following settings are the most taxing on your in-game FPS:

  • Detail level Quality
  • Clutter Draw Distance
  • Particle Resolution
  • Shader Quality
  • Shadow Quality and Screen Space Shadows
  • Screen Space Reflections
  • Tesselation
  • Volumetric Quality

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 was one of the worst sequels among the new MW series. I’ve experienced a slew of stability and network-related issues including abrupt crashes to the desktop during matches. However, after a few updates, the state of the game improved significantly as I was able to achieve over 100 FPS in 1600p with high to ultra settings.

Best MW3 Display Settings

To achieve optimal performance and visuals in Modern Warfare 3, I recommend starting by configuring your Display Settings to match your computer’s capabilities. Make sure the game runs at your monitor’s native resolution.

You could opt for 1440p if you have a stronger GPU, but 1080p is optimal. Also, avoid 4k resolution, as the visual benefit is not worth the overall frame drops.

Overview Of Display Settings

Display Mode Fullscreen Exclusive
Display Monitor Primary with the highest refresh rate
Display Adapter Your graphics card
Screen Refresh rate Maximum for your monitor (e.g., 144Hz, 240Hz)
Display Resolution 1080p (consider 1440p for high-end GPU, avoid 4K for better FPS)
Aspect Ratio Automatic (16:9)
V-Sync Off
Custom Frame Rate Limit Custom
Gameplay Custom Frame Rate Limit 300
Menu Custom Frame Rate Limit 90
Out of focus Custom Frame Rate Limit 30
Display Gamma 2.2 (sRGB)
Brightness Personal Preference
Focus Mode Off
Nvidia Reflex Low Latency On+Boost

Best MW3 Graphics Settings

Although NVIDIA’s graphics cards are widely popular, I’ve tested that you can enjoy a smooth Call of Duty experience with various other GPUs.

It’s essential to tweak the settings to match your system’s specifications. I believe every PC player can make Modern Warfare 3 look and play exceptionally well by following the optimized graphical settings I provided below.

Summary Of Best Graphics Settings

Render Resolution 100
Dynamic Resolution Off
Upscaling / Sharpening FidelityFX CAS
FidelityFX CAS Strength 65 (sharpening without impacting frames)
Anti-Aliasing SMAA T2X
Anti-Aliasing Quality Filmic SMAA T2X
VRAM Scale Target 90
Variable Rate Shading Off
Video Memory Scale 90 (use maximum VRAM available)
Texture Resolution Low
Texture Filter Anisotropic Normal
Depth of Field On
Detail Level Quality Low
Distant Level of Detail High
Clutter Draw Distance Short
Particle Resolution Very Low
Bullet Impacts On
Persistent Effects On
Shader Quality Low
On-Demand Texture Streaming Off
Local Texture Streaming Quality Low
Shadow Quality Low
Screen Space Shadows Off
Ambient Occlusion Off
Screen Space Reflections Off
Static Reflection Quality Low
Tessellation Off
Terrain Memory Min
Volumetric Quality Low
Deferred Physics Quality Off
Weather Grid Volumes Off
Water Quality Water Caustics
Nvidia Reflex Low Latency On (significantly improves latency; use ON+BOOST if CPU-bound)

Render Resolution (100)

 I always make sure to set this to 100 to ensure the game runs at the highest quality my monitor can handle. It’s all about those crisp visuals.

Dynamic Resolution (Off)

 I prefer to turn dynamic resolution off. I like a consistent and sharp image, so this setting keeps things steady.

Upscaling / Sharpening (FidelityFX CAS)

FidelityFX CAS is my go-to for sharpening the game without sacrificing frame rates. It’s a nice visual boost.

Anti-Aliasing (SMAA T2X)

SMAA T2X works well for me, reducing jagged edges and delivering a smoother look.

VRAM Scale Target (90)

 I find that setting this to 90 is a good balance to ensure smooth performance.

Texture Resolution (Low)

 If I want to give my FPS a boost, I go with a lower texture resolution. It’s a trade-off with texture detail, though, as you can see in the comparison provided below.

modern warfare 3 textures. Low vs High
Modern Warfare 3 Textures – Low – [Image captured by eXputer]

Depth of Field (Off)

 Turning off depth of field improves performance and clarity in the game, giving a competitive advantage and reducing motion sickness for some players.

Detail Level Quality (Low)

 When I need a performance boost, reducing the detail level to low helps while still keeping the game looking decent.

Clutter Draw Distance (Short)

 Shortening this distance improves performance by not rendering clutter too far away. In the first picture, you can see the resolution and detail of distance are low, causing fewer fps drops.

MW3 draw distance comparison
Modern Warfare 3 Draw Distance Comparison – [Image captured by eXputer]

Particle Resolution (Very Low)

Setting this to Very Low makes explosions and effects look mediocre, but it’s worth the fps boost it gives.

Bullet Impacts (On)

I’ve noticed that realistic bullet impact effects during multiplayer are a huge help.

Persistent Effects (On): I keep this on for added realism and immersion.

Shader Quality (Low)

Lowering shader quality helps with performance, and it’s often not very noticeable during gameplay.

On-Demand Texture Streaming (On)

 Turning this off can be great if you have enough VRAM since it reduces texture loading times.

Local Texture Streaming Quality (Low)

For a performance boost, I set this to low; it streams textures at a lower quality level.

Shadow Quality (Very Low)

Reducing shadow quality helps keep FPS up without significantly impacting gameplay. As you can see in the comparison provided below, it’s not much of a difference, and you won’t even notice it much in a fast-paced game like COD: Modern Warfare 3.

mw3 shadow quality comparison
Modern Warfare 3 Shadow Quality Low vs High – [Image captured by eXputer]

Screen Space Shadows (Off)

I disable this for better performance by eliminating certain dynamic shadows.

Ambient Occlusion (Off)

It’s not always noticeable, so turning it off improves FPS without losing much depth. As you can see, the difference in the right picture (On) isn’t much different than it is off.

mw3 ambiet occulasion on vs off
Modern Warfare 3 Ambient Occlusion – [Image captured by eXputer]

Screen Space Reflections (Off)

 Disabling these reflections keeps the game running smoothly. In the left picture, the resolution of the reflection is much lower, causing less strain on your GPU and resulting in better FPS.

modeen warfare 3 reflections low vs high
Modern Warfare 3 reflections comparison – [Image captured by eXputer]

Static Reflection Quality (Low)

 Lowering this setting affects static reflection quality, which might not be too noticeable.

Tessellation (Off)

 I prefer to keep Tessellation off to maintain performance.

Terrain Memory (Min)

 Reducing terrain memory saves resources without a significant visual impact.

Volumetric Quality (Low)

 Lower volumetric quality balances performance and visuals well.

Deferred Physics Quality (Off)

Disabling this can provide a small performance boost.

Weather Grid Volumes (Off)

 Turning these off helps maintain performance during bad weather conditions.

Water Quality (Water Caustics)

I find “Water Caustics” a good balance between visuals and performance for water quality.

My Takeaway On Modern Warfare 3 Optimization

I’ve implemented the changes we discussed, which have enhanced my gaming experience in Modern Warfare 3.

Currently, the game’s performance can be a bit chaotic since it’s still new, but thanks to the settings and optimizations I’ve shared, things are looking much better.

It’s worth mentioning that during my benchmark tests, I discovered that certain settings appeared to have no impact, almost as if they weren’t working correctly. If you’re not following this in-depth guide, I strongly advise experimenting with each setting, but be prepared for a potentially frustrating experience.

The following guides will give you an additional boost in performance: 

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Haider Khan is our error guides writer who loves to tinker around with operating systems and game files to find practical solutions to video game issues. He then crafts easy-to-follow error fix guides based on his findings. He’s also a Battlefield veteran who likes to rack up some Ws in his spare time. Learn some more about his gaming journey on his Steam profile. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Successfully Troubleshot Over 200 Games || Mainly Covers Error Fix & Game Settings 

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