Last Updated: January 11, 2022
Call of Duty Warzone has quickly become one of the most played, streamed, and hotly contested multiplayer shooters on the PC platform. If this is your Battle Royale of choice and you're planning to buy or build a new PC, in this hardware guide we go over GPU and CPU recommendations based on having analyzed multiple independent performance benchmarks around the web.
Frames don't win games - skill and dedication does. But subpar frame rates can, and often do, get in the way of both enjoyment and playing at your pinpoint-precision best. That means you want to shoot for as close to a consistent 60FPS and above if gaming on a 60Hz monitor, and 144FPS on 144Hz screens which is highly recommended if possible to get the most out of a fast-paced shooter like Warzone.
For pro gamers you even have the now well-established 240Hz scene of monitors; most professionals use a 240Hz display and therefore aim to reach a scintillatingly smooth 240FPS or higher. In this guide we'll go over what gear you need if you want to be able to hit your desired frame rate consistently, whether that's for 1080p, 1440p, or high refresh rates like 144Hz, 240Hz, or even 360Hz. If you're after complete PC builds that go over all the parts needed for a new PC ready to assemble, don't miss the main nugget-filled recommended PC builds section in conjunction with this guide. Or the recommended prebuilt gaming PCs if you don't fancy putting in the time it takes to build your own custom setup.
Related: Build the Best PC for CSGO
I'll get to Warzone's 144FPS requirements soon, but first let's cover 60FPS if that's all you're aiming for. Since Warzone is not a hugely demanding title in terms of hardware requirements (don't get me wrong, it's still mildly demanding, but it's no Cyberpunk 2077 and no Escape from Tarkov), at 1080p resolution it's not hard to hit 60FPS in Warzone.
You can build (or buy) a relatively cheap PC and get quite decent performance in Warzone, especially if you don't mind running lower graphics settings. Even a modern CPU that has integrated graphics, like an AMD Ryzen 3200G, is actually going to hit 60FPS or thereabouts on low settings, which if you're new to hardware means that you don't even need a dedicated graphics card. So, if you just want the cheapest PC for Warzone, this is actually exactly what I would recommend; getting the 3200G and pairing it with a couple of quite-fast 3000MHz or 3200MHz memory modules.
You could get either 8GB (2x4GB sticks) if on a real tight budget, but 16GB (2x8GB) is ideal for modern games - even when on a budget. Having 16GB is well worth the extra money over 8GB, and comes in real handy for integrated graphics. CPUs with integrated graphics (like the 3200G) are memory hungry and perform noticeably faster in games when you increase the memory size (or speed). In other words, having 16GB of memory with a 3200G will give you a nice boost in FPS over having 8GB.
Same goes for speed; having 3200MHz memory modules is also proven to give noticeably higher frame rates than say 2666MHz. Lastly about memory, make sure to always get 2 memory modules, and not just one. So, if getting 16GB, always choose 2 modules of 8GB, instead of a single 16GB module. Having 2 modules/sticks, often referred to as dual channel memory, is yet another thing that increases performance (and not just for an integrated graphics PC, but for any type of setup).
With 1080p 60FPS on low settings out the way, if you want to crank those graphics settings up high for a more visually impressive experience, you will need to ditch the thought of integrated CPU graphics and bring a graphics card into the mix. Specifically, for a consistent 60FPS and above, the current crop of modern entry-level gaming GPUs from NVidia (GTX 1650 Super) or AMD (RX 5500 XT, 4GB or 8GB model) is what you ideally want to be looking at.
Slightly slower cards such as a vanilla GTX 1650 (non-Super version) or even the quite older GTX 1050 Ti would still get you 60FPS and above on high settings though, but if you're buying or building a new PC today, the latest GTX 1650 Super (or AMD equivalent like the 5500 XT) is the best choice as that way you're getting the latest tech that will handle upcoming games better (and will have better resell value in future if you ever decide to sell your GPU for an upgrade). Since both the 1650 Super and RX 5500 XT are neck and neck in terms of gaming performance, including in Warzone (the 8GB 5500 XT model is clearly faster but more expensive), I would just get whichever you find cheaper in your region (since it does vary).
When paired with a basic modern CPU like a Ryzen 3 3100 or Intel i3 10100 (60FPS doesn't require a very strong processor), either GPU will provide an excellent experience on 1080p 60Hz or 75Hz monitors, and is all the GPU power you really need for Warzone and most other popular shooters (CSGO, Valorant, Fortnite, Apex Legends, PUBG, Overwatch, etc). If I had to stick my neck out a little, I have seen the 5500 XT generally perform a little faster from the Warzone benchmarks I've seen, so between AMD or NVidia for a budget Warzone build, the 5500 XT gets my top pick if you want to maximize bang for buck.
For RAM, you could get away with just 8GB if you really wanted to, but as mentioned earlier, and as mentioned probably a gazillion times on this site over the past few years, nowadays you really want to be getting 16GB of RAM since many modern games do perform slightly better with 16GB vs 8GB, and also because 16GB makes for a noticeably faster computer as a whole (for multitasking, work, productivity, streaming, or pretty much anything else you'll be doing).
The money saved by getting 8GB used to be something to consider in the past when building budget gaming PCs, but these days it's just not worth in my opinion, and these days the price difference between 16GB and 8GB isn't huge. Last but not least, for 1080p 60FPS on high settings, you can still do just fine with a modern Ryzen 3 or Core i3 processor. Warzone can be a CPU intensive game without question, and so faster processors do definitely help in this title, but they're not necessary if you all you care about is 60FPS gaming and you want to be cost-effective.
Let's move into more enthusiast territory for those opting for a super-fast 144Hz monitor (and sticking with 1080p resolution for now; I'll touch on 1440p and 4K requirements after). Based on the many Warzone CPU and GPU benchmarks I've had a close look at, below are the modern specs I suggest if you want the best experience on a 1080p 144Hz monitor. In other words, this is the hardware required to get a consistent 144FPS or above in Warzone on low (or low-ish) settings.
As you can see, the CPU requirements jump up a fair bit from the previous 60Hz recommendations; when you're aiming for 144FPS or thereabouts (to make the most of that 144Hz display), the power of your processor becomes a whole lot more important, and simply put you want to get the best CPU you can afford if you want the highest and most consistent frame rate.
But if you still want to remain cost-effective - of course not everyone is a pro gamer or streamer who can just nonchalantly plop in the latest i9 or Ryzen 9 and not have to endlessly research and read guides like this - the best bang for buck CPU I recommend for 1080p 144Hz in Warzone (or most other games for that matter) is unsurprisingly the Intel Core i5 12600K or Ryzen 5 5600X. Both easy recommendations for gaming setups and both generally good value gaming CPUs right now. When paired with a good mid-tier graphics card, either will make for an excellent Warzone setup to get those nice and juicy high frame rates.
Speaking of graphics cards, either an RX 5700 XT, RX 6600 XT, RTX 2070 Super, or RTX 3060 is the minimum I can comfortably suggest to go along with the aforementioned CPUs if you want 144FPS in Warzone (even for just low settings), but ideally you'll want to eye off the extra power of a RX 6700 XT or RTX 3060 Ti (or better, like the RTX 3070) - especially if you want to run higher than low settings.
Most Warzone players will be rocking low-ish settings though (referred to as competitive settings, which are simply a custom mix of specific settings tweaked to maximize frame rates in Warzone specifically), hence why I've only listed recommendations for 1080p 144Hz at low settings (and not high settings). Anyway, here is just one Warzone benchmark showing a 5600X and RTX 3060 Ti setup getting 144FPS at 1080p on low settings. On high settings, you'd need a stronger GPU than the 3060 Ti if you want to hit 144FPS. Keep in mind the benchmark used 32GB of extra-fast RAM, but with 16GB you wouldn't get that much less FPS (the difference wouldn't be noticeable).
If you research further benchmarks (there are tons on YouTube, but pay close attention to the user's specific settings, specs, resolution used, etc) then you'll see that a 5600X and 3060 Ti (or 6700 XT) is great for Warzone at 1080p 144Hz and that you don't need to spend more on faster CPUs or GPUs. You would get slightly higher frame rates with stronger CPUs like the Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 9 5900X, or Intel Core i9-11900K (or the older 10900K), but these are expensive beasts and not something I can recommend to most people unless you're the minority who is serious about becoming a Warzone pro and willing to invest money into the game (in which case I'd get a 240Hz monitor and a RTX 3080/3090).
On the other end of the spectrum, you also don't need a 5600X or 10700K either - these are still quite expensive, and more affordable CPUs like a Ryzen 5 3600 or Ryzen 7 3700X (or Intel equivalents) would still clear 100FPS without issues (with a good-enough mid-range GPU) which is still absolutely fine for 1080p 144Hz monitors if they have G-Sync or FreeSync support (which helps smooth out the experience when you don't reach 144FPS). For the best Warzone PC build though, a Ryzen 5 5600X is ideal though and gets my top pick.
Since Warzone is a competitive FPS where getting the highest frame rates you can takes priority over pretty visuals (at least for most players), a great many players will actually stick to 1080p resolution (including most if not all pro players, including pretty much every single CSGO and Valorant professional as well who use 1080p 240Hz monitors to get every little miniscule increase in precision that they can). But if you're just a casual player and would prefer the crispier visuals of a 1440p or even 4K monitor to play Warzone, all you really need to know is that your GPU becomes a lot more important.
In other words, you simply want to get the best GPU you can afford. The CPU still matters, especially for 1440p 144Hz monitors, but at higher resolutions like 1440p or 4K your performance is going to be limited by your graphics card, and not your CPU as is often the case at 1080p. That said, if you're only using a 1440p 60Hz monitor, you don't need much GPU power, and even a GTX 1660 Super will get you around 60FPS on high settings. For 1440p 144Hz though, you will want a RX 6700 XT or RTX 3070 as minimum though, with a RX 6800 or RTX 3080 being ideal. Same goes for 4K.
Now to the eternally flamewar-filled discussion of whether to choose a NVidia or AMD graphics card for Warzone. To start, as I said earlier in the 1080p 60Hz recommendations, I give AMD the slight nudge in that department with the RX 5500 XT performing very well compared to its rival (1650 Super) in Warzone in particular. But for 1440p or 4K builds where your decisions are the likes of a RX 6700 XT vs RTX 3070, or a RX 6800 (and 6800 XT) vs a RTX 3080, it's a difficult call. Performance is very close in Warzone between all aforementioned cards, with AMD taking the lead again in certain benchmarks. However, NVidia has DLSS, a real-time super-sampling feature found on RTX cards that can boost frame rates quite considerably, which was recently added to Warzone in April 2021.
Having DLSS turned on does come at the cost of slightly lower visual quality, but there are various DLSS settings and if you use the higher quality settings (the ones that boost FPS less, but that lower image quality less) then it can lead to a nice bump in performance at little to no cost (ie you wouldn't notice the difference). For that reason (DLSS support), and also the fact that NVidia graphics cards come with a superior built-in hardware encoder for better recording and streaming performance, NVidia does now have an edge for Warzone performance in the high-end market (remember DLSS is only supported by RTX cards, and GTX cards like the 1660 Super do NOT support DLSS). That said, if you don't care for DLSS and/or streaming, the tables turn and AMD can be the better choice, offering slightly higher FPS.
Overall, opinions on whether DLSS in Warzone is worth it or not have been mixed so far for other reasons, with some preferring to leave it off because of the slight blurriness in the image caused by DLSS (which could get in the way of pinpoint precision). How blurry DLSS is will depend on the specific DLSS setting though, as there are different strengths you can select in the settings, each coming with their own tradeoff in terms of lower image quality (and/or blurriness) vs the performance boost. As with many things gaming related, it's going to come down to personal preference. To summarize, either NVidia or AMD graphics cards are good for Warzone at 1440p or 4K, but NVidia will get you higher frame rates if you don't mind enabling DLSS, as well as offer better streaming performance if you're into that.
See Also: The Best Gaming Monitors for the Money
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Indie game dev currently working on my first public release after years of hobby projects, a story-driven VR FPS adventure built using Unreal Engine (to be announced once I'm ready here and here for anyone into VR FPS's). Also likes writing about tech on this site, which helps fund development of the game.
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