Notebookcheck

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 11/15/2014

Cutting edge? The graphics and technology the previous game of the series was based on were no cause for celebration. Advanced Warfare aims to remedy that and supposedly offers a "next-gen" experience. In our review, we take a detailed look at the performance of the new Call of Duty offshoot.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Logo

Graphics

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Although the graphics engine, which was developed in house, still can't quite measure up to the standard set by Frostbite 3 (Battlefield 4) or CryEngine 3 (Crysis 3), Advanced Warfare looks much better than Call of Duty: Ghosts. In addition to the lighting and reflections, the quality of the characters is very decent as well and there are not many first-person shooter games that have textures that are as sharp or faces that look as lively. Although we did discover some flaws upon closer inspection: especially the eyes don't look that realistic, and the facial expressions ought to be a little more, well, human.

Advanced Warfare rates from decent to good in the other areas as well, no matter if it's effects (some explosions and rising smoke just look outdated) or simple physics (not all objects can be destroyed, for example). The environment textures are no different: while many blocks are exceedingly sharp, other objects could do with better details. In addition, a few effects left us with the impression that the developers were trying to make them less resource-intensive.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Despite the shortcomings, the game is decent enough overall - particularly, because Sledgehammer Games managed to give each mission its own distinctive "feel". In addition to the great animations and sound experience, Advanced Warfare also manages to impress with style and colors.

Too bad that the new Call of Duty offspring isn't perfect. It starts with the requirements on the hardware: 6 GB of RAM and a modern DirectX-11 system with 64-bit OS as well as more than 50 GB of hard drive space are needed for the install. Just like with Ghosts there are also a few technical bugs. On our first test system, Advanced Warfare crashed after loading with a very generic error message. The culprit turned out to be the swap file, which has to be managed by the OS and can't be set manually. In our experience, the FPS works better with Nvidia products. AMD-based systems seem to be more prone to crashes and don't perform quite as well (at least at moderate settings).

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Speaking of settings: the menu features a plethora of options. Some of the technical jargon might be a bit confusing, but most features are explained well enough to make sense of them. Unfortunately, some of the options impact the gaming experience in a negative way.

Activating the "Cache Shadow Maps", for example, sometimes prevents the correct textures from loading and objects subsequently lack definition. This is also the reason why we don't use this option when we conduct our tests. Selecting "Shader Preload" causes lengthy load times and - depending on the setting chosen - causes the videos to stutter. As far as we can tell, the performance increases is very minimal, if it is noticeable at all. In essence, selecting this setting might actually be counter productive.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Owners with extremely powerful notebooks should be pleased, since they are able to use super-sampling antialiasing. We used the term "extremely powerful" because SSAA requires significant processing power. An example: with a GeForce GTX 980M (see our review of the Gigabyte P35X v3 here), 2x SSA drops the performance by 25 %, while 4x SSA causes frame rate drops of nearly 50 %. Users with less powerful notebooks should use the post-processing options of FXAA or SMAA instead.

As far as the content is concerned, Call of Duty will likely polarize opinions. Gamer X might enjoy the straightforward Hollywood action sequences, while Gamer Y laments the lackluster story line, the silly AI, and the outdated game play (despite the cool Sci-Fi gadgets).

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Benchmark

For our benchmark test, we use the first minute of the fifth chapter ("Aftermath"). After being dropped off, the protagonist is led through a closed-off camp in Detroit. Because of the many characters, reflections, and lighting effects, the scene is pretty demanding, although the game has other sequences which tax the hardware even more. As always for a FPS game, the frame rate should be at least 35-40 fps for a decent experience.

Results

Before we get to the results, we need to explain the graphics settings. Except for the low setting, which has most of the options disabled, Advanced Warfare looks pretty sophisticated. The largest differences occur with the texture quality settings, as the objects degrade at lower settings. We'd never call the result ugly, however. The resource requirements follow suit.

Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings

Gaming aficionados who expect to play at maximum details and 2x super-sampling won't get by with anything less than a upper-class graphics card. A GeForce GTX 870M/780M or Radeon R9 M290X GPU enable frame rates of about 35 fps at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. For FXAA or SMAA, a GTX 850M is sufficient.

Normal settings and a resolution of 1366 x 768 require a middle-class graphics card, like the GeForce GT 750M, which enabled us to play at 34 fps. For low details and 1024 x 768 pixels, at least a HD Graphics 4600 is required. Less powerful GPUs simply can't handle Advanced Warfare.

All things considered, the game is neither a notebook killer nor a technical lightweight.

Discussion
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
    1920x1080 Extra / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off), 2x Supersampling AA:2x SM     1920x1080 High / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off) AA:FX     1366x768 Normal / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off)     1024x768 Low / Off (Shader Preload On)
GeForce GTX 980, 3770K
Desktop-PC
75.7 (min: 65) fps ∼98%
109.3 (min: 89) fps ∼87%
135.2 (min: 111) fps ∼70%
179.2 (min: 134) fps ∼72%
Radeon R9 290X, 4790K, Intel SSD 530 Series SSDSC2BW240A
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
67.5 (min: 51) fps ∼88%
86.6 (min: 59) fps ∼69%
91.3 (min: 59) fps ∼47%
119 (min: 77) fps ∼48%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
53.4 (min: 46) fps ∼69%
70.6 (min: 52) fps ∼56%
77.7 (min: 52) fps ∼40%
102.1 (min: 70) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
39.8 (min: 32) fps ∼52%
61.5 (min: 51) fps ∼49%
83.7 (min: 68) fps ∼43%
123.8 (min: 90) fps ∼50%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
35 (min: 29) fps ∼45%
51.9 (min: 42) fps ∼41%
71.4 (min: 57) fps ∼37%
102.6 (min: 71) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
33.8 (min: 29) fps ∼44%
53.6 (min: 45) fps ∼43%
75.3 (min: 59) fps ∼39%
113.6 (min: 86) fps ∼45%
Radeon R9 M290X, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
33.8 (min: 26) fps ∼44%
54 (min: 39) fps ∼43%
54.8 (min: 40) fps ∼28%
75.1 (min: 47) fps ∼30%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
24.9 (min: 21) fps ∼32%
39.1 (min: 31) fps ∼31%
57.1 (min: 45) fps ∼29%
86.3 (min: 64) fps ∼35%
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
24.4 (min: 20) fps ∼32%
41.2 (min: 35) fps ∼33%
61 (min: 50) fps ∼31%
97.4 (min: 68) fps ∼39%
GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
21.7 (min: 19) fps ∼28%
39.5 (min: 33) fps ∼32%
62.1 (min: 52) fps ∼32%
103.1 (min: 82) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
19.7 (min: 15) fps ∼26%
33.4 (min: 27) fps ∼27%
50.3 (min: 39) fps ∼26%
81.6 (min: 61) fps ∼33%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
11.9 (min: 8) fps ∼15%
21.6 (min: 18) fps ∼17%
34.4 (min: 28) fps ∼18%
63.6 (min: 52) fps ∼25%
Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
10.4 (min: 6) fps ∼14%
20.4 (min: 16) fps ∼16%
33.6 (min: 26) fps ∼17%
54.7 (min: 38) fps ∼22%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
8.1 (min: 4) fps ∼11%
16.7 (min: 12) fps ∼13%
26.7 (min: 21) fps ∼14%
49.1 (min: 37) fps ∼20%
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
8.4 (min: 7) fps ∼11%
16.1 (min: 13) fps ∼13%
26.4 (min: 22) fps ∼14%
48.9 (min: 41) fps ∼20%
GeForce GT 640M, 2637M, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
29.5 (min: 23) fps ∼15%
46 (min: 34) fps ∼18%
GeForce GT 720M, 4200M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
MSI CX61-i572M
11.6 fps ∼9%
20.7 fps ∼11%
38.9 fps ∼16%
HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
4.4 (min: 2) fps ∼6%
10.1 (min: 8) fps ∼8%
17.4 (min: 14) fps ∼9%
33.4 (min: 26) fps ∼13%
Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
19.3 (min: 11) fps ∼10%
33.1 (min: 18) fps ∼13%
GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
Asus N56VM
16.8 (min: 12) fps ∼9%
31.3 (min: 22) fps ∼13%
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
18.5 (min: 15) fps ∼10%
30.8 (min: 24) fps ∼12%
HD Graphics 4000, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
0 fps ∼0%

Test Systems

Four of our test notebooks are courtesy of Schenker Technologies:

  • W504 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 860M, GTX 870M, GTX 880M, Radeon R9 M290X)
  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M)
  • M504 (Core i5-4340M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 850M)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M)

All these notebooks feature Windows 7 64-bit.

Nvidia supplied the following systems:

One notebook is courtesy of Intel:

  • Schenker S413 (Core i7-4750HQ, 8 GB DDR3, Iris Pro Graphics 5200)

The desktop systems come with CPUs/APUs from Intel and AMD,  Micron, Intel, and Samsung SSDs, motherboards from Intel and Asus, as well as GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.

GPU drivers: Nvidia 344.60, AMD 14.9.2 Beta, Intel 10.18.10.3960

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)
low
1024x768
Low / Off (Shader Preload On)
med.
1366x768
Normal / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off)
high
1920x1080
High / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off)
FXAA
ultra
1920x1080
Extra / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off), 2x Supersampling
2x SMAA
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
238.1
144.4
114.752
65.62
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
179.2
135.2
80.254
60.34
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
2482
190.752
115.952
71.652
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
153.9
115.4
106.8
65.6
 22NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
219.4
162
125.3
77
 27AMD Radeon R9 290X
119
91.3
86.6
67.5
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
150.93
111.73
91.46
596
 36AMD Radeon R9 280X
102.1
77.7
70.6
53.4
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
229.9
139.3
94.6
55.3
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
153.3
117.42
80.154
49.94
 50AMD Radeon R9 M295X
105.9
72.6
48.9
31.9
 55AMD Radeon R7 370
143.63
106.87
54
30.25
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
123.8
83.7
61.5
39.8
 58NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
183
125.6
61.9
33.7
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
102.6
71.4
51.9
35
 63NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
112.8
75.9
46.9
28.3
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
136.82
90.22
57.252
31.552
 68NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
113.6
75.3
53.6
33.8
 69AMD Radeon R9 M290X
75.1
54.8
54
33.8
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
lowmed.highultra
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
109.22
81.63
53.63
30.43
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
86.3
57.1
39.1
24.9
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
84.12
56.352
38.652
23.652
 103NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
111.9
62.82
36.42
19.352
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
99.23
55.13
38.63
20.93
 108AMD Radeon R9 M280X
36.7
34.1
32.8
29.7
 113NVIDIA GeForce 945M
114.9
61
28.6
15.7
 114NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
81.6
50.3
33.4
19.7
 136NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
81.4
50.3
27.6
15.7
 138AMD Radeon R9 M370X
99.5
48.4
30.3
16.4
 163NVIDIA GeForce 845M
50.4
30.1
20.1
12.8
 166AMD Radeon R9 M265X
67.1
41.5
17.8
 175NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
63.6
34.4
21.6
11.9
 177NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
50.4
30.4
13
12.1
 178NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
49.7
30.1
14.7
8
 179NVIDIA GeForce 940M
60.852
31.52
17.72
 181AMD Radeon R9 M375
55
34.4
17.4
 188NVIDIA GeForce 840M
67.8
37
22.6
12
 194AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
54.7
33.6
20.4
10.4
 195Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
49.1
26.7
16.7
8.1
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
lowmed.highultra
 197NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
48.9
26.4
16.1
8.4
 198NVIDIA GeForce 930M
57.352
30.352
 200NVIDIA GeForce 830M
53.9
34.1
19.7
10.1
 218AMD Radeon R7 M260X
48.5
28.8
15.5
 229AMD Radeon R7 M265
45.8
28.7
14.7
7.9
 233NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
46
29.5
 234AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
45.9
31.8
30.5
14.1
 235AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
33.6
19.6
 239AMD Radeon R7 M360
34.8
21.5
13.4
 252NVIDIA GeForce 920M
47.3
23.5
11.5
7.9
 260AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
32.2
18.5
8.3
 291Intel HD Graphics 5600
44.6
21.8
9.9
5.2
 298AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
20.7
17.9
9.8
 317AMD Radeon HD 8650G
33.1
19.3
 322NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
31.3
16.8
 327AMD Radeon R5 M330
37.5
21.6
14.1
 328AMD Radeon R5 M255
41.1
24.4
14.6
 333Intel Iris Graphics 6100
36.452
19.9
13.6
 334NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
38.9
20.7
11.6
 345Intel HD Graphics 6000
33
17.6
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
lowmed.highultra
 348Intel Iris Graphics 5100
30.8
18.5
 353Intel HD Graphics 4600
31.252
15.92
92
4.4
 355Intel HD Graphics 5500
32.852
16.72
 366Intel HD Graphics 5000
25.4
16.2
9.7
 382AMD Radeon HD 8550G
30.6
19
 399Intel HD Graphics 4400
21.352
12.352
* Smaller values are better. / * Approximate position

 

Legend
5Stutters – This game is very likely to stutter and have poor frame rates. Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, average frame rates are expected to fall below 25fps
May Stutter – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, stutters and poor frame rates are expected.
30Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 25fps
40Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 35fps
May Run Fluently – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, fluent frame rates are expected.
123Uncertain – This graphics card experienced unexpected performance issues during testing for this game. A slower card may be able to achieve better and more consistent frame rates than this particular GPU running the same benchmark scene.
Uncertain – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game and no reliable interpolation can be made based on the performances of surrounding cards of the same class or family.
The value in the fields displays the average frame rate of all values in the database. Move your cursor over the value to see individual results.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Benchmarked
Florian Glaser, 2014-11-15 (Update: 2014-11-15)