Recommended CPUs, RAM, and GPUs for 60Hz or 144Hz (Buyer’s Guide)
Published: June 30, 2021
Call of Duty Warzone has quickly become one of the most played, most streamed, and most hotly contested multiplayer games in the world. If this is your Battle Royale of choice and you’re planning to buy or build a new PC, in this hardware guide I share my GPU and CPU recommendations based on analyzing various performance benchmarks from around the web to help you pick the perfect parts for your chosen resolution and refresh rate.
Frames don’t win games – skill, belief, and dedication to your craft does. But we all know 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, 144FPS on 144Hz screens, and so on (240Hz or even 360Hz if you’re a merciless savage).
For complete PC build examples that are ready to assemble, see the main recommended PC builds section in conjunction with this guide, or the best prebuilt desktops if you don’t fancy putting your own rig together (or don’t want to play the waiting game with GPUs seeing as it’s still hard buying graphics cards).
Warzone PC Requirements for 1080p 60FPS (LOW Settings)
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 fairly cheap PC and get smooth performance in Warzone, especially if you don’t mind running low graphics settings.
Even a modern integrated graphics setup like a Ryzen 3200G is 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 for a lesser demanding game like this. So, if you just want the cheapest PC for Warzone, I’d actually recommend the 3200G and pairing it with a couple of fairly-fast 3000MHz or 3200MHz memory modules (either 2x4GB if on a tight budget, but 2x8GB is ideal for modern gaming, even when on a budget as having a total of 16GB is well worth it and also nicely boosts the multitasking/general performance of your PC as a whole).
Slower, more budget-oriented 2666MHz modules will be okay and won’t get in the way of your 60FPS goal, but AMD’s integrated graphics found on the 3200G (and 3400G) directly benefits from faster memory. Whatever you do, whether getting 8GB or 16GB of RAM, don’t forget to get 2 sticks and not just one. Dual channel memory setups make a noticeable difference to gaming performance as well (not just speed, or capacity for that matter).
Warzone PC Requirements for 1080p 60FPS (HIGH Settings)
If you want 60FPS at high graphics settings though, you will need to bring a graphics card to the party. Integrated graphics is fine if your requirements are quite low (ie 1080p 60FPS on low settings), but it obviously has a lot of limits. For a consistent, smooth 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, but lesser cards such as the vanilla GTX 1650 (non-Super version) or even the now-very-old GTX 1050 Ti would still get you around 60FPS and above on high settings (and if not you can just use medium settings which most people wouldn’t notice vs high settings).
But if you’re building a new PC, the 1650 Super and 5500 XT are the best choice. Since both 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). I have seen the 5500 XT fair a little better from the benchmarks I’ve seen though, so if I absolutely had to choose between AMD or NVidia for a budget Warzone build to maximize frame rates, I would go for the 5500 XT (only for this price segment; for high-end Warzone builds, NVidia has a nice trick up its sleeve called DLSS which we’ll get to). When paired with a basic CPU (60FPS doesn’t require a very strong processor) like a Ryzen 3 3100 or Intel equivalent like the i3 10100, either a 1650 Super or 5500 XT will provide an excellent experience at this resolution and refresh rate (1080p 60Hz) and is all the power you really need for Warzone and many other popular titles.
For RAM, you could get away with just 8GB if you really wanted to, but as mentioned above, and as mentioned probably a gazillion times on this site over the past 3 years or so, 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 much faster computer as a whole (for multitasking, work, productivity, streaming, or pretty much anything else you’ll be doing with your new rig). 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.
Warzone PC Requirements for 1080p 144FPS (Low Settings)
With casual 60Hz out the way, let’s move onto 144Hz monitors for more enthusiast players wanting super smooth performance at 1080p (we’ll get to 1440p and 4K later, too). Once again, based on the many benchmarks I’ve had a look at this past week to prepare for this guide, below I’ve listed the modern specs that will get you 144FPS in Warzone at either low or high settings.
Until now I haven’t said much about CPUs, because for 60Hz gaming it’s not much of a concern. But 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 is the Ryzen 5 5600X or the Intel i7 10700K, both easy recommendations no matter the game, and both good value gaming CPUs that when paired with a good mid-tier GPU will make for an excellent Warzone setup that breaches that all-important 144FPS mark.
Speaking of GPUs, a RX 5700 XT, RX 6600 XT, RTX 2070 Super, or RTX 3060 is the minimum I can comfortably suggest for a great 1080p 144Hz Warzone experience, 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 following benchmark uses 32GB of extra-fast RAM, but with 16GB you wouldn’t get that much less FPS (the difference wouldn’t be too noticeable).
If you research further benchmarks (there are tons on YouTube, but pay close attention to their settings, specs, resolution used, etc) then you’ll see that a 5600X and 3060 Ti (or 6700 XT) is a great setup for Warzone at 1080p 144Hz and all you really need for a superb experience. You would get slightly higher frame rates with an even stronger CPU like a Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 9 5900X, or Intel Core i9-11900K (or the older 10900K), but these are expensive beasts and a 5600X or 10700K is still very capable for excellent 144Hz gaming, and so aren’t something I can recommend to most people unless you’re the small minority who is serious about becoming a Warzone pro and willing to invest the money to leave nothing to chance (and I’d get a 240Hz monitor and a RTX 3080/3090 in that case too).
On the other end of the spectrum, you also don’t need a 5600X or 10700K unless you’re really into the game and want to get that consistent 144FPS – lesser CPUs like a Ryzen 5 3600 or Ryzen 7 3700X (or Intel equivalents) are still very capable for gaming, and will clear 100FPS without issues (and assuming the right 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). But a strong gaming CPU like the 5600X really is ideal for the CPU-intensive situation that is 1080p 144Hz on low/competitive settings, and highly recommended if you can get your hands on one.
Best Warzone Setups for 1440p/4K
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.
Choosing the Best GPU for Warzone: AMD vs NVidia
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, however NVidia has DLSS, a real-time super-sampling feature found on RTX cards that can boost frame rates quite considerably.
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, the facts don’t lie and I must recommend NVidia as having the best GPUs for Warzone overall in the high-end market. That said, if you don’t care for DLSS and/or streaming, the tables turn and AMD can be the better choice.
Whether DLSS is worth it or not for Warzone is up for debate. When you have the option to turn DLSS on or off in Warzone (ie you own a NVidia RTX 20/30 series GPU), I’d say the decision isn’t as clear cut as when using DLSS in Cyberpunk for instance, which you absolutely want to enable at 1440p or 4K to boost performance. What I mean is, opinions on using DLSS in Warzone have been mixed so far, 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. It’s going to come down to personal opinion. So to summarize, either NVidia or AMD graphics cards are good for Warzone at 1440p or 4K. But NVidia will get you higher frame rates for the same amount of money if you don’t mind enabling DLSS, as well as offer better streaming performance if you’re into that. Anyway, that’s my thoughts on building the best PC for Warzone, and hope it helped in your research. Good luck and GG, friend.
Julz here, creator of BGC. In my teens I learned game programming as a hobby in my spare time, which led to a keen interest in the hardware side of things as well. I then started this site to share what I was learning about DIY at the time, and through years of trial and error and slow reiterations in the quality and depth of content, over time the site has evolved from a very rudimentary little blog with only a handful of pages into a relatively in-depth resource for PC builders and gamers that has helped many gamers and power users take the plunge to build their first PC with confidence to reap the benefits of doing so.
My fav games of all time are the immortal OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, and HL1, but since trying VR for the first time a few years ago I’ve been completely fascinated by it and the limitless possibilities it presents. Once you experience the greatest virtual reality experiences available today like Half Life Alyx and Saints and Sinners just to name two, if you’re like me you’ll feel pretty freakin’ excited about the future of gaming and entertainment as a whole.
PS: After a long hiatus from hobbyist game dev, I recently made a return and am excited to say I’ll soon be announcing my first official game release – an immersive story-driven VR Sci-Fi Adventure powered by Unreal Engine. When the time is right I’ll be announcing the first sneak peak trailer on my Twitter if interested.