Call of Duty: Modern Warfare becomes the latest title to take advantage of NVIDIA’s RTX ray tracing technology, and over the past weekend, we finally found the time to install the 120GB+ game and give it a good test on the just-reviewed Corsair ONE i164 gaming PC. With MW, the RTX effects are fairly minor in comparison to other released titles, so if you have an RTX card, it probably won’t impact performance that much to enable it (unless you’re already dipping below your desired frame rate, that is.)
When NVIDIA gave us the suggested specs for using RTX in Modern Warfare, we were surprised to see the RTX 2080 recommended for 4K/60, since select other RTX games are lucky to break past 1080p (sometimes 1440p) and deliver a completely fluid experience with a high-end GPU. The reason for the more modest requirements is simply due to the fact that only shadows are being ray traced.
It’s easy to see some RTX effects, especially with the help of reflections, but with shadows, the end result is a lot more subtle at first, and we’d wager it wouldn’t be totally obvious during gameplay unless you stopped and looked around. This can be considered a good thing since it isn’t going to tank performance; it’s merely another advanced shadow technique that looks good.
You can see side-by-side examples of RTX off and on below:
In all three of these shots, it’s not hard to see how much shadows can be improved with RTX turned on. In the first shot, the shadows on the left side of the window are rigid and stark, whereas with RTX on, they are much more soft, and realistic. We can see more pronounced examples in the other shots; in every example of shadows, RTX manages to improve the end look.
How much performance is affected will vary greatly throughout gameplay, entirely dependent on how many shadows are being thrown around the scene. With RTX Off, the tested PC configuration tends to get around 100 FPS at ultrawide on average, but with RTX on, some scenes dip to 90 FPS, while others can dip closer to 60 – or even below, in some expansive environments (the screenshots found below hover between 60~90 FPS with RTX 2080 Ti at 3440×1440 max detail).
We only played through the first two missions (multiple times over), and never felt detrimental slowdown. But that said, we think any slowdown is reason enough to not use RTX shadows in multiplayer, but it really depends on your configuration and resolution. You will ultimately have to experiment yourself and see what you are willing to put up with. If you are able to enable RTX and still reach your monitor’s refresh rate, there’d be no reason to keep it off.
Here are a few more random shots with RTX on:
We haven’t played beyond the second mission so far due to some testing, but we plan to continue the story soon and see where else in the game RTX can make a scene shine (err, maybe not the best turn of phrase.) We’re due for a GPU suite overhaul, so we may add this game to our list if it turns out easy to benchmark (some games found on Epic and Battle.net like to fight).
If you’ve played Modern Warfare with RTX on, what are your thoughts?