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.

Testing Rig: I’ve put these optimized settings to the test on a laptop with the following specifications:

  • CPU: i7-11800H
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 3070 8GB
  • Memory: 32GB DDR4 Ram
  • Storage: 1TB Gen 4 NVME SSD 
Precaution: This article was first written about the game’s best settings during the early access period. Now, it’s been updated to address the same settings in the fully released version of the game.

Modern Warfare 3 System Requirements

Before we go ahead and start adjusting our system’s settings, we want to ensure that our computer meets the requirements for running Modern Warfare 3. So, I’ve gathered the minimum and recommended PC requirements for MW3 to ensure my system is up to the task.

modern warfare 3 system requirements

I’ve tested various settings for Modern Warfare 3, and the ones below offer the best combination of visuals and smoother framerates for an optimized multiplayer experience.

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.

Display ModeFullscreen Exclusive
Display MonitorPrimary with the highest refresh rate
Display AdapterYour graphics card
Screen Refresh rateMaximum for your monitor (e.g., 144Hz, 240Hz)
Display Resolution1080p (consider 1440p for high-end GPU, avoid 4K for better FPS)
Aspect RatioAutomatic (16:9)
Custom Frame Rate LimitCustom
Gameplay Custom Frame Rate Limit300
Menu Custom Frame Rate Limit90
Out of focus Custom Frame Rate Limit30
Display Gamma2.2 (sRGB)
BrightnessPersonal Preference
Focus ModeOff
Nvidia Reflex Low LatencyOn+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.

Here are the recommended PC graphics settings for the game:

Render Resolution100
Dynamic ResolutionOff
Upscaling / SharpeningFidelityFX CAS
FidelityFX CAS Strength65 (sharpening without impacting frames)
Anti-AliasingSMAA T2X
Anti-Aliasing QualityFilmic SMAA T2X
VRAM Scale Target90
Variable Rate ShadingOff
Video Memory Scale90 (use maximum VRAM available)
Texture ResolutionLow
Texture Filter AnisotropicNormal
Depth of FieldOn
Detail Level QualityLow
Distant Level of DetailHigh
Clutter Draw DistanceShort
Particle ResolutionVery Low
Bullet ImpactsOn
Persistent EffectsOn
Shader QualityLow
On-Demand Texture StreamingOff
Local Texture Streaming QualityLow
Shadow QualityLow
Screen Space ShadowsOff
Ambient OcclusionOff
Screen Space ReflectionsOff
Static Reflection QualityLow
Terrain MemoryMin
Volumetric QualityLow
Deferred Physics QualityOff
Weather Grid VolumesOff
Water QualityWater Caustics
Nvidia Reflex Low LatencyOn (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.

Modern warfare 3 render resolution
Modern Warfare 3 Render Resolution – [Image captured by eXputer]

Dynamic Resolution (Off)

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

modern warfare 3 dynamic resolution
Modern Warfare 3 Dynamic Resolution – Off – [Image captured by eXputer]

Upscaling / Sharpening (FidelityFX CAS)

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

Modern Warfare 3 Upscaling Mode
FideltyFX CAS Upscaling – [Image captured by eXputer]

Anti-Aliasing (SMAA T2X)

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

modern warfare 3 anti aniliasing
Modern Warfare 3 Anti Aniliasing Mode – [Image captured by eXputer]

VRAM Scale Target (90)

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

Modern warfare 3 vram scale target
VRAM Scale Target – 90 – [Image captured by eXputer]

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.

Modern warfare 3 depth of field
Modern Warfare 3 Depth of Field 3 – [Image captured by eXputer]

Detail Level Quality (Low)

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

mw3 detail quality level
Modern Warfare 2 – Detail Quality Level – [Image captured by eXputer]

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 its worth the fps boost it gives.

Modern warfare 3 particle resolution
Modern Warfare 3 Particle Resolution Set To Very Low – [Image captured by eXputer]

Bullet Impacts (On)

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

mw3 bullet impacts
Modern Warfare 3 Bullet Impacts – On – [Image captured by eXputer]
Persistent Effects (On): I keep this on for added realism and immersion.

modern warfare 3 persistent effects
Modern Warfare 3 Persistent Effects – [Image captured by eXputer]

Shader Quality (Low)

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

mw3 shader quality
Modern Warfare 3 Shader Quality – [Image captured by eXputer]

On-Demand Texture Streaming (On)

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

On demand texture streaming modern warfare 3
MW3 On Demand Texture Streaming – [Image captured by eXputer]

Local Texture Streaming Quality (Low)

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

mw3 local streaming quality
Modern Warfare 3 Local Streaming Quality – [Image captured by eXputer]

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.

mw3 screen space shadows
Modern Warfare 3 Screen Space Shadows – [Image captured by eXputer]

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.

mw3 static reflection quality
Modern Warfare 3 Static Reflection Quality – [Image captured by eXputer]

Tessellation (Off)

 I prefer to keep Tessellation off to maintain performance.

Terrain Memory (Min)

 Reducing terrain memory saves resources without a significant visual impact.

terrain memory for mw3
Modern Warfare 3 Terrain Memory Minimum – [Image captured by eXputer]

Volumetric Quality (Low)

 Lower volumetric quality balances performance and visuals well.

mw3 volumetric quality
Modern Warfare 3 Volumetric Quality – Low – [Image captured by eXputer]

Deferred Physics Quality (Off)

Disabling this can provide a small performance boost.

mw3 deferred physics quality
Modern Warfare 3 Deferred Physics Quality – Off – [Image captured by eXputer]

Weather Grid Volumes (Off)

 Turning these off helps maintain performance during bad weather conditions.

Weather grid volumes mw3
Modern Warfare 3 Weather Grid Volumes – Off – [Image captured by eXputer]

Water Quality (Water Caustics)

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

mw3 water quality
Modern Warfare 3 Water Quality – Water Caustics – [Image captured by eXputer]

Nvidia Optimization For Modern Warfare 3

If you’re running Modern Warfare 3 on an Nvidia graphics card, there are some additional settings to consider.

First, make sure you’ve properly configured any advanced features like upscaling. Once those are set up, you can enhance performance and visuals by making some adjustments in the Nvidia Control Panel.

These tweaks can provide an extra boost to the game’s overall visual quality and help maintain stable performance, just as we’ve explored earlier in this guide.

For In-depth guide: Read Our Best Nvidia Settings For Gaming

Image ScalingOff
Anisotropic FilteringApplication-controlled
Antialiasing Gamma correctionOn
Low Latency ModeOn
Power Management ModeMaximum Performance
Texture Filtering – Anisotropic Sample OptimizationOn
Texture Filtering – Negative LOD BiasAllow
Texture Filtering QualityHigh Performance
Texture Filtering Trilinear OptimizationOn
Threaded OptimizationAuto
Refresh RateHighest Available
Scaling ModeAspect Ratio

Windows 10 Optimizations For Modern Warfare 3

All the optimizations I’ve covered so far should make a significant difference in your Modern Warfare 3 FPS. These are the key Windows settings and the ones that matter most. However, if you’re running the game on a less powerful PC, these Windows 10 optimizations can give you an extra 15-20% FPS boost.

Don’t worry; these Windows optimizations won’t affect your system negatively; they’re geared towards speeding up and fine-tuning your PC for gaming. Most of the settings we’ll adjust are just extra stuff, so you won’t miss out on anything crucial.

Enable Ultimate Performance

By default, Windows 10 uses a balanced power plan with various power limits. To unleash the full potential of your CPU, switch to the Ultimate Performance Plan. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Open Command Prompt with Administrator Privileges.
  2. Paste the following code: powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61

    Windows ultimate performance

      CMD for Windows High Performance – [Image captured by eXputer]
  3. After running the code, you’ll see the “Ultimate Performance” option.

    windows 10 optimizaiton for mw3

      Windows Ultimate Performance Enabled – [Image captured by eXputer]
  4. Go to Start > Edit Power Plan > Power Options.
  5. Checkmark “Ultimate Performance,” and you’re good to go.

Maximize GPU Usage For Modern Warfare 3

In Windows 10, you can prioritize your game’s GPU usage to achieve an impressive FPS boost. Here’s what I did:

  1. Go to Start, type, and open “Graphics Settings.”
  2. Click “Browse” and add “modernwarfare3.exe.”
    mw3 windows priority
    Modern Warfare 3 High Priority – [Image captured by eXputer]
  3. Set its graphics preference to “High.”
  4. Click “Save” when you’re done.

Clear Temp Folder

Cleaning the temporary folder can help remove leftover files from uninstalled or deleted applications, keeping your PC clean and potentially boosting performance.

  1. Go to Start and type “Run,” then enter %temp%.

    mw3 temp files
    Clear all Temporary files – {Image captured by eXputer]
  2. Select all files with CTRL + A, right-click, and delete any leftover files.

Disable Hardware Acceleration 

Disabling hardware acceleration can be a game-changer for smoother gaming experiences. This feature is often found in various applications, including web browsers and communication tools like Discord. It shifts the application’s processing load to your CPU and RAM, which might seem efficient, but it can strain your resources during gaming. 

Get Rid Of Unnecessary Background Applications and Services

One common issue affecting your Modern Warfare 3 FPS is having applications like Chrome and Firefox running in the background, consuming a substantial portion of your system’s memory. This not only impacts the memory available for your game but also puts a strain on your CPU. To ensure peak performance in Modern Warfare 3, I’ve developed a habit of always closing unnecessary browsers and software before diving into the game. 

Disabling Xbox Bar

To optimize your Windows 10 settings for a smoother Modern Warfare 3 gaming experience, focus on managing the Xbox Game Bar and background notifications that can be distracting and resource-intensive. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Open Xbox Live Settings.
  2. Navigate to the Game Bar Tab, Captures Tab, and Game Mode Section.
  3. Disable all settings in these three tabs. These features are known culprits for impacting game performance and causing interruptions.

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.

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Haider Khan

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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