Call of Duty: Ghosts Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 11/15/2013

In the shadow of the competition. Almost parallel to Battlefield 4's release, Activision sends the newest edition of their Call of Duty series to the market. With its modern graphics the action game wants to seize its genre's throne. Our article deals primarily with the title's hardware demands. Can the engine make Call of Duty: Ghosts fun for PC gamers too?

Call of Duty: Ghosts Logo

For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

We'll clearly state from the outset: No, Call of Duty: Ghosts isn't the graphics masterpiece that some gamers hoped it would be. Although the developers' efforts are clearly evident, most of the textures and effects don't attain to the level of Battlefield 4 or Crysis 3.

Ghosts tries to make up for this shortcoming -- as the Call of Duty series often must -- by starting off the staging with a bang. Compared to the earlier installations, now there are considerably more debris and physics elements, though the latter often seem "scripted" and not particularly dynamic. Overall, the graphics quality levels out to be no better than somewhere between decent and good. Gamers with high expectations will be quite disappointed.

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

The title also deserves criticism for its steep hardware demands. Without 6 GB of working memory (they claim it only needs a maximum of 2 GB), a graphics card that supports DirectX 11, and a 64-bit operating system, Ghosts refuses to function. Even Battlefield 4, which plays in a whole other league in terms of visuals and sound, doesn't demand this much. The game's enormous space requirement is another shortcoming. Despite its mediocre texture quality, Ghosts takes up about 40 GB of hard drive space. Like its main competitors, its load times could be shorter too.

The graphics menu also leaves us ambivalent. On the plus side, there are a lot of options. The ego-shooter doesn't offer any global presets, but PC users will still be excited about all the possible settings. For instance, in terms of anti-aliasing variants, Activision integrated FXAA, MSAA, SMAA and TXAA. We're less fond of the chaotic naming scheme (On vs. Yes, Off vs. No, etc.) and the lack of user-friendliness. Couldn't they have put some of the options on a separate screen, so the player wouldn't have to scroll for so long? Also annoying: Most changes automatically force the game to restart.

Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts

All this, combined with the following bugs and inconsistencies, arouse the suspicion that Ghosts wasn't really optimized for the PC:

  • Although the graphics aren't all that different, the game needs considerably more hardware power than Black Ops II.
  • You get the shortest load times with Nvidia graphics cards. AMD systems tend to take longer. Intel chips seem to take an eternity.
  • AMD GPUs compute -- especially at moderate settings -- slower than their Nvidia counterparts. The Enduro graphics switching is probably partly responsible for that (the Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9 was unfortunately released too late for us to use it in our tests).
  • If an Intel graphics accelerator is installed, the menus' responsiveness is jerky and there are delays that last more than a second. Worst case scenario, the screen freezes completely.
  • After load operations, AMD models have to cope with short drops in performance. In general, the frame rates vary more with AMD cards than with Nvidia models.
  • After settings changes the screen often goes black. Hitting the "Esc" key fixes the problem.
  • With high-end devices the game sometimes runs more fluidly on normal graphics settings than on low settings.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts

Benchmark

We used the beginning of the fifth mission ("homecoming") as our benchmark sequence. After a helicopter landing with jets zooming by, the protagonist follows his colleagues through a battle zone. Alongside explosions and numerous effects (smoke, fire, etc.), the around 45-second clip also features a ton of characters, who are no light load for the hardware.

Over the course of the game there are certainly more demanding scenes, but the sequence is still taxing. Like with Battlefield 4, you'll want at least 40 or even 50 fps on average.

Results

Considering the game's visuals, its hardware hunger is too high. Despite numerous deficits, the title's performance is similar to that of Battlefield 4. With entry-level chips, like the Intel HD Graphics 4000 or 4600, the game only plays at minimum settings and resolution. Even at those low settings it jerks now and then. Owners of mid-range GPUs, starting with the GeForce GT 640M, can at least switch to normal details and 1366x768 pixels.

For high settings and activated anti-aliasing, you'll definitely need a high-end model. The GeForce GTX 760M was the first card to run the game smoothly at those settings. Graphics freaks who expect to be able to use 1920x1080 pixels, maximum graphics options and 4x MSAA will need a GeForce GTX 780M or a dual-GPU system (the HD 8970M and GTX 770M are too weak).

Call of Duty: Ghosts
    1024x768 (Very) Low / Off / No     1366x768 Normal / Off / No     1366x768 High / On / Yes / No dynamic fur AA:2x MS     1920x1080 Extra / High / HBAO+ / No dynamic fur AA:4x MS
Radeon HD 7660G, A10-4600M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
AMD Pumori Platform A10-4600M
37 (min: 23) fps ∼22%
24.6 (min: 6) fps ∼16%
12.8 (min: 8) fps ∼12%
3.4 (min: 0.1) fps ∼4%
HD Graphics 4000, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
40.6 fps ∼24%
24.3 fps ∼16%
7.2 fps ∼7%
4 fps ∼5%
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
40.8 fps ∼24%
27.4 fps ∼18%
10.1 fps ∼9%
5.2 fps ∼6%
GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
41.8 (min: 29) fps ∼25%
26.8 (min: 16) fps ∼17%
14.9 (min: 10) fps ∼13%
6.4 (min: 0.1) fps ∼8%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
58 (min: 38) fps ∼34%
40.1 (min: 26) fps ∼26%
16.7 (min: 12) fps ∼15%
8.7 (min: 4) fps ∼11%
GeForce GT 640M, 2637M, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
48.8 (min: 29) fps ∼29%
40 (min: 25) fps ∼26%
21.5 (min: 14) fps ∼19%
8.9 (min: 5) fps ∼11%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
67.4 fps ∼40%
51.9 fps ∼34%
27.5 fps ∼25%
11.9 fps ∼15%
Radeon R7 250, 3770K
Desktop-PC
84 fps ∼49%
69.3 fps ∼45%
32.9 fps ∼30%
13.5 fps ∼17%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
75.1 fps ∼44%
59.4 fps ∼39%
32.6 fps ∼29%
16.3 fps ∼20%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
81.1 fps ∼48%
65.5 fps ∼43%
38 fps ∼34%
19.2 fps ∼23%
GeForce GTX 760M, 4700HQ, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
Gigabyte P34G
83.4 fps ∼49%
72.4 fps ∼47%
41.2 fps ∼37%
20.5 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
89.2 fps ∼52%
77.6 fps ∼50%
42.9 fps ∼39%
21 fps ∼26%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
76.5 fps ∼45%
74.3 fps ∼48%
44.8 fps ∼41%
25.8 fps ∼32%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
87.7 fps ∼52%
83.2 fps ∼54%
53.4 fps ∼48%
28.4 fps ∼35%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
68 fps ∼40%
65.9 fps ∼43%
49.8 fps ∼45%
29.7 fps ∼36%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
70.3 fps ∼41%
69.8 fps ∼45%
53 fps ∼48%
31 fps ∼38%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
82 fps ∼48%
80 fps ∼52%
55.3 fps ∼50%
31.7 fps ∼39%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
86 fps ∼51%
95.2 fps ∼62%
65.2 fps ∼59%
40.5 fps ∼50%
GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
84.1 fps ∼49%
83.4 fps ∼54%
70.2 fps ∼63%
41.5 fps ∼51%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
84.2 fps ∼50%
87.6 fps ∼57%
69.2 fps ∼63%
47.8 fps ∼58%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
99.7 (min: 54) fps ∼59%
87.9 (min: 50) fps ∼57%
70.8 (min: 45) fps ∼64%
48.7 (min: 27) fps ∼60%

Verdict

The graphics don't really deserve to be termed "Next Gen". Call of Duty is only now at the level it could have been at years ago. Ghosts can't keep up with competitors like Crysis, Metro or Battlefield. Some of its textures are too spongy, and some of its effects are too antiquated.

It's better simply not to talk about the campaign. The story, gameplay and characters are reminiscent of a circus show. Unfortunately, the game just doesn't have much entertainment value for adults.

Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts

Test Systems

Our three most important test devices are courtesy of Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M, Radeon HD 8970M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670MX, GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)

A further thank you goes to Micron for providing the 480 GB Crucial M500, on which Windows 7 Professional 64-bit is installed.

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 331.65, AMD 13.11 Beta 8 & Intel 9.18.10.3257

From left to right: Schenker Xesia M501, M503, XMG P502 & W503
From left to right: Schenker Xesia M501, M503, XMG P502 & W503

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Ghosts
 Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)
low
1024x768
(Very) Low / Off / No
med.
1366x768
Normal / Off / No
high
1366x768
High / On / Yes / No dynamic fur
2x MSAA
ultra
1920x1080
Extra / High / HBAO+ / No dynamic fur
4x MSAA
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
170.1
154
110.6
81.8
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
97.2
91.4
75.1
71.2
 4AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
53.2
50.1
37.4
27.1
 8AMD Radeon R9 290X
53.52
 9AMD Radeon R9 280X
84.2
87.6
69.2
47.8
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
102.2
96.8
73.2
46.3
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
99.7
87.9
70.8
48.7
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
150.2
112.5
76.2
50
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
982
84.152
66.43
46.83
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
84.1
83.4
70.2
41.5
 19NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
86
95.2
65.2
40.5
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
87.3
83.4
57.152
37.252
 24AMD Radeon R9 M290X
58.6
55.9
44.7
33.2
 25AMD Radeon HD 8970M
70.3
69.8
53
31
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
82
80
55.3
31.7
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
91.4
83.3
65
40.7
 32AMD Radeon HD 7970M
68
65.9
49.8
29.7
 33NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
150.7
99.3
58.6
34.6
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
87.7
83.2
51.152
27.252
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Ghosts
lowmed.highultra
 39NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
83.485
78.65
51.756
31.056
 42NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
73
55.1
32
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
76.5
74.3
44.8
25.8
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
78.45
70.65
40.856
21.16
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
89.2
77.6
42.9
21
 72NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
81.1
65.5
38
19.2
 74NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
80.952
65.72
39.22
19.652
 80AMD Radeon HD 8870M
31.1
24.6
19.4
11.6
 91AMD Radeon R7 250
84
69.3
32.9
13.5
 92NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
54.1
35.1
17.9
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
75.1
59.4
32.6
16.3
 96AMD Radeon HD 8850M
35.1
33.2
16.9
 105NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
67.4
51.9
27.5
11.9
 107NVIDIA GeForce 840M
57.93
38.23
223
10.8
 112AMD Radeon R7 in A10-7850K APU (Kaveri)
55
 113Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
58
40.1
16.7
8.7
 116NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
58.052
38.352
18.72
7.2
 120NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
53.7
29.9
18.7
 122NVIDIA GeForce 825M
60.4
42.5
18.7
 134NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
65.1
29.1
16.5
6.9
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Ghosts
lowmed.highultra
 138AMD Radeon HD 8750M
35.3
32.7
14.3
 140AMD Radeon R7 M265
32.8
31.1
8.6
 145NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
48.8
40
21.5
8.9
 158AMD Radeon R7 M260
41.2
26.8
 166AMD Radeon HD 8670D
56.3
40.3
17.7
6.2
 170AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
26.3
22.3
 191AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
24.8
23.6
12.7
 194AMD Radeon HD 8670M
27.3
21.3
 213AMD Radeon HD 8650G
30.1
18.9
 218NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
41.8
26.8
14.9
6.4
 223NVIDIA GeForce 820M
53.7
30.6
15.4
 225NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
51.3
34.9
15.8
 227Intel Iris Graphics 5100
40.5
26.5
10.3
4.9
 228AMD Radeon R5 M230
31.152
24.12
10.22
6.3
 239Intel HD Graphics 4600
40.8
27.4
10.1
5.2
 244AMD Radeon HD 7660G
37
24.6
12.8
3.4
 248Intel HD Graphics 5000
24
20.5
6.2
 264AMD Radeon HD 8550G
33.6
19.7
 276Intel HD Graphics 4400
42
28
12
 312AMD Radeon HD 7480D
30.9
19.6
7.6
Pos      Model                                     Call of Duty: Ghosts
lowmed.highultra
 313Intel HD Graphics 4000
40.6
24.3
7.2
4
 317*AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
12.3
7.7
 318Intel HD Graphics 4200
18.4
12.7
4.2
 326AMD Radeon HD 8450G
27.8
12.6
28
 330AMD Radeon HD 8400
14
12.3
 341AMD Radeon HD 8350G
20
13
 342AMD Radeon HD 8330
13.3
 387AMD Radeon HD 8280
11.9
 423AMD Radeon HD 8210
2.6
* 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: Ghosts Benchmarked
Author: Florian Glaser, 2013-11-15 (Update: 2013-11-15)