Call of Duty: Ghosts Graphics and Performance Guide

(0 votes)

By Sean Ridgeley

Call of Duty: Ghosts is Infinity Ward's latest entry in the long-running first-person shooter series. Boasting a new four-player co-op Extinction mode, Squads mode, female soldiers,


 peripheral vision when aiming down sniper rifle sights, and more, the game offers some enticing new goodies for veterans and new players alike.

Graphically, Call of Duty has taken its biggest leap in some time, with an upgraded engine and the integration of new, advanced technology from NVIDIA. In this article we’ll examine the new technology, demonstrate how it enhances Call of Duty: Ghosts, and measure its performance impact on the game. We’ll also offer recommendations for game settings, and share some advanced tweaks that’ll help you get the most from your system, and the game.

IW Engine & Umbra 3: Upgrades Abound

Infinity Ward has again used its proprietary engine to build Ghosts, and as with previous titles has introduced a multitude of upgrades that enhance visual fidelity. Headline features such as DirectX 11 tessellation, Sub-D, and HDR lighting make the greatest impact, while upgrades like the Umbra 3 renderer improve performance and efficiency.

These updates are further bolstered by the addition of advanced NVIDIA GameWorks technologies, high-resolution PC textures, and support for 4K gaming resolutions. But before we go into further detail, be sure to go over the system requirements detailed below (recommended requirements are in brackets). Note while 6GB of RAM was previously required, this has since been lowered to 4GB.

  • OS: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHZ / AMD Phenom™ X3 8750 2.4 GHZ or better (Intel® Core™ i5 – 680 @ 3.6GHz)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM (8GB RAM)
  • Hard Disk Space: 40 GB
  • Video:NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 or better (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 @ 4GB)
  • Sound: DirectX compatible sound card
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • Internet: Broadband connection and service required for Multiplayer Connectivity. Internet connection required for activation.


NVIDIA GameWorks Technologies

NVIDIA GameWorks Technologies: HBAO+, TXAA, Dynamic Fur, and PhysX Turbulence



Ambient Occlusion (AO) will be familiar to most gamers due to its frequent use in recent titles, and the ability to add AO automatically to many more games through the NVIDIA Control Panel. In short, AO adds contact shadows where two surfaces or objects meet, and where an object blocks light from reaching another nearby game element. The AO technique used and the quality of the implementation affect the level of accuracy of the shadowing, and whether new shadows are formed when the level of occlusion is low. Technologically there’s more to it of course (if you’re interested, learn more here), but the long and short of it is that Ambient Occlusion increases the realism and fidelity of a scene by calculating the occlusion of light. Without Ambient Occlusion, scenes can look flat and unrealistic, and objects can appear as if they are floating on surfaces.

In Call of Duty: Ghosts, PC gamers can enable NVIDIA GameWorks HBAO+, a new and improved AO technique that is faster, more detailed, and more precise than all other variants, significantly increasing image quality.

HBAO+ enhances this scene by greatly increasing the level of depth and realism of shadows on each part of the house. The result is a richer, more detailed scene.

In Ghosts, HBAO+ dramatically increases the level of visual quality, adding major depth, warmth, and detail to nearly every scene. Every in-game elements is affected, including buildings, bridges, steps, foliage, vehicles, and more, creating richer scenes that cannot be matched by other platforms.

Note here especially the richness of shadows on the bridge.

If you'd like to learn more about the intricacies of HBAO+ please visit our HBAO+ technology page.


NVIDIA TXAA is a custom-developed anti-aliasing technique designed to tackle temporal aliasing, the movement of anti-aliased edges when the player’s camera or view point moves. Referred to as crawling and shimmering, this movement is a particular eyesore in games with fine detail, most commonly found in urban environments.

Combining Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) with a custom CG movie-style resolve, and a temporal filter, TXAA effectively combats temporal aliasing whilst simultaneously anti-aliasing geometry to a degree comparable to that of 2xMSAA and 4xMSAA.

In this early section of the game, the geometry of the space station and satellite are constantly moving, resulting in significant edge and temporal aliasing. With TXAA, the two are removed, improving visual fidelity by a significant degree.

To enable NVIDIA TXAA, a Kepler-class GeForce GTX 600 series GPU, or higher is required.


NVIDIA HairWorks (Dynamic Fur)

A Call of Duty: Ghosts game update has recently introduced the “Dynamic Fur” game option, marking the very first game implementation of NVIDIA's new DirectX 11-based, tessellated, HairWorks technology. With this option enabled, dogs and wolves in single-player and multiplayer feature dynamic, realistically-reacting fur that improves visual fidelity considerably.

NVIDIA’s HairWorks solution eschews the traditional method of applying polygon strips and transparent textures for the rendering hair and fur, and instead renders hundreds of thousands of individual hair strands, each of which reacts to movement and the+ environment, including lighting and shadows. This is best seen in the single-player campaign, where Riley the German Shepard sports up to 470,000 individually rendered, DirectX 11, tessellated hairs.

Compared to his appearance with “Dynamic Fur” disabled, the addition of NVIDIA HairWorks is a paradigm shift in visual fidelity.

Click here for an interactive comparison showing Dynamic Fur Off vs. Dynamic Fur High.


For further details, please check out our dedicated Call of Duty: Ghosts NVIDIA HairWorks article.


NVIDIA PhysX Turbulence

Also included in the aforementioned game update was the addition of PhysX smoke in multiplayer, which upgrades the game’s smoke grenade effect to one comprised of individual, dynamic particles that are powered by NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated APEX and Turbulence technologies. These particles react to player movements, explosions, and other forces, swirling around the scene in an accurate, realistic manner.

The addition of these particles greatly enhances the immersion and image quality of the smoke effect, which is further bolstered by the addition of Particle Shadow Mapping, a recent development that enables select particles to cast shadows, and self-shadow one another. This is particularly beneficial for thick, heavy smoke effects, such as the smoke grenade, instantly emphasizing the density of the effect to the viewer, and further increasing image quality.

Resolution & Image Quality

The performance graphs below demonstrate the impact of a specific setting on our i7-3770K, GeForce GTX 780 test system. For each setting we begin with a baseline where all options are set to the maximum, and anti-aliasing set to 4x MSAA. From this baseline, we vary individual settings to measure their effect on performance and image quality, represented by the performance charts, comparison images, and interactive comparison sliders.


This setting determines the amount of pixels seen in the game image, as measured horizontally and vertically (eg. 1920 x 1080) – the higher the resolution, the more detailed and crisp the image will be. Note the options available are determined by what your graphics card and monitor allow. Generally speaking, you should pick the maximum resolution available (also known as your native resolution). If for some reason you choose not to, it's recommended to use Windowed or Windowed (Fullscreen) mode in combination with your selection, or choose 'No scaling' under the 'Adjust desktop size and position' section of NVIDIA Control Panel.

Screen Resolution Performance Comparison

The graph shows a small performance impact when moving between lower resolutions, and a drastic impact when moving to higher. While the cost is steep, it's well worth the extreme improvement in visual fidelity, and as such should only be lowered as an absolute last resort. Users with multiple screens should look for a top-end single GPU setup or a multi-GPU SLI setup for strong framerates.

Image Quality

This setting dictates the game’s internal rendering resolution. If set below 'Extra', resolutions progressively lower than those selected in “Resolution” are used for rendering graphics, and the result scaled up to your chosen screen resolution. This ‘downscaling’ significantly impacts image quality and is not recommended

Click here for an interactive comparison showing Image Quality Very Low vs. Image Quality Extra.

As you can see, the result is a drastic hit to visuals once you drop below High (which still shows a noticeable decrease in sharpness). Normal offers an acceptable middle ground for those in dire need of extra frames; high-end gamers will find Low and Very Low completely unbearable, but they may be acceptable for those using minimum spec systems incapable of otherwise playing the game.

Image Quality Performance Comparison

Our testing reveals Image Quality has a major effect on framerate at all levels, and scales appropriately per setting. Like Resolution, however, the impact on visuals is so high that lowering this setting should be considered an absolute last resort.

If you found this valuable, please go read the full guide here:




Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Read 8829 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 08:06
Login to post comments

Monthly Newsletter

Закажите монтаж системы отопления по лучшей цене в Киеве