August 10, 2022
Call of Duty Vanguard PC performance review: Can any budget gaming rig handle it?


Call of Duty: Vanguard released last Friday on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S with crossplay enabled for multiplayer modes. The PC version of Call of Duty: Vanguard is available exclusively on Battle.net. Unlike last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Vanguard doesn’t eat up a huge chunk of your storage space. Cold War requires about 82GB of your HDD or SSD space for all game modes. Vanguard only gives you the option of setting up multiplayer and zombies modes. These files are around 36GB at launch. The campaign adds 14GB of assets which bring the file to a total of 50GB downloads on PC.

Call of Duty: Vanguard PC Requirements

Call of Duty: Vanguard offers you four different requirements, including, at a minimum, a GeForce GTX 960 or Radeon RX 470 with 2GB of VRAM, for 4K Ultra settings, which require you to have an RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT with 10GB of VRAM is needed. Better yet, you can also run Vanguard on a PC running the AMD FX-6300 or Intel i3-4340 – the former launched in 2012, and the latter in 2013.

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Call of Duty: Vanguard Minimum PC System Requirements

The minimum specs required to play Call of Duty: Vanguard are –

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit (Latest Update)
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-4340 or AMD FX-6300
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Video Memory: 2GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon RX 470
  • DirectX: 12
  • Storage: 36GB at launch (Multiplayer and Zombie only)

Call of Duty: Vanguard Recommended PC System Requirements

These are the recommended specifications for running Vanguard at 60FPS in most situations, with all options set to High.

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit (latest update) or Windows 11 64-bit (latest update)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Video Memory: 4GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580
  • DirectX: 12
  • Storage: 61GB at launch

Call of Duty: Vanguard Competitive PC System Requirements

These are competing specifications for using the new Call of Duty game with a high-refresh-rate monitor to run at a higher FPS.

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit (latest update) or Windows 11 64-bit (latest update)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K or AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Video Memory: 8GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 / Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
  • DirectX: 12
  • Storage: 61GB at launch

Call of Duty: Vanguard Ultra 4K PC System Requirements

Ultra specifications for running the game at high FPS in 4K resolution are as follows –

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit (latest update) or Windows 11 64-bit (latest update)
  • CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K or AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Video Memory: 10GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
  • DirectX: 12
  • Storage: 61GB at launch

Call of Duty: Vanguard Graphics Settings

Call of Duty: Vanguard gives you a bunch of options with which you can check which graphic settings best fit your rig. If you have a high-refresh-rate monitor, the game allows you to choose the refresh rate in the display settings. In addition, it also provides a frame-rate limiter that you can set manually depending on your system. This allows you to know the aspect ratio of 16:10, 16:9, 21:9 or 32:9. It also gives you a handle to change the field-of-view (FOV) setting which essentially increases the height and width of the frame. The default value is set to 80 and can be increased to 120. It’s worth noting that raising the FOV can affect the frame rate and cause motion sickness in some people.

Vanguard offers five different quality presets for graphics, starting with Low and moving up the ladder with Lowest, Medium, High, and finally, Ultra. It also provides an option to tweak the render resolution. It basically represents a definition level of rendering 3D scenes around maps and other elements. Lowering the value can increase performance and increasing the value parameter can improve image quality. This lowest price can go up to 66 while the highest is 200. This has a huge impact on VRAM, so choose accordingly.

Call of Duty Vanguard Graphics Settings Gadgets360 Call of Duty Vanguard Graphics Settings

Vanguard has many graphic settings to customize
Photo credit: Activision. Screenshot: Robin John/Gadgets 360

It offers a myriad of options in terms of detail and texture along with graphic options such as texture resolution, texture filter anisotropic, particle quality level, particle resolution, bullet effect and spray, shader quality, tessellation and many more such options. For power, you get to tweak the screen space shadow which basically increases or decreases the detail level of the shadow. It also allows you to change the shadow map resolution which allows you to set the detail level in the shadow. The game also gives you a brief description of all the settings so that everyone can easily dissect these jargon.

Call of Duty: Vanguard also supports FidelityFX Super Resolution 1.0 which is AMD’s spatial upscaling technology that offers frame rate boosting with minor impact on image quality. It offers four different presets ranging from Performance, Balanced, Quality, and Ultra Quality. This also has a huge impact on VRAM. Along with FidelityFX, it also offers an alternative to FidelityFX CAS which enhances the sharpness of the scene. For this to work properly, Vanguard insists on turning off any sharpening methods that are already enabled in your graphics card settings.

In addition, Vanguard is also supported by Nvidia Reflex Low Latency. You can either turn it off completely or enable it. You also get a third option which is On+boost. Enabling Low Latency Mode optimizes system latency, while the On+Boost option increases the GPU clock frequency in the CPU bound case. It also increases the amount of power drawn from the GPU.

Vanguard also supports a resolution multiplier so you can enjoy games in 4K even if you don’t have a 4K monitor. It basically renders the game at 3840×2160 resolution and then scales it up to 1920×1080. It can also have a huge impact on your VRAM and game shows that you keep the native resolution of your display.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Campaign PC Performance

For this game, our test rig includes a 3.6GHz AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super GPU with 6GB of VRAM, a full-HD 1080p monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVMe SSD on Windows 10. 21H1). We used all the latest drivers for the Nvidia card and Windows. The game was tested with FidelityFX Super Resolution 1.0 and FidelityFX CAS turned off.

As mentioned earlier, the game allows you to try out five different graphics presets. With graphics options set to “lowest,” we managed to clock an average of 115 fps with the maximum frame rate hitting the 190 fps mark. We did see some drop in framerate in moments when there were big explosions, but it didn’t flicker below 135 fps. Not too surprising, as our test rig exceeds all the bare minimum requirements posted by Activision.

Call Of Duty Vanguard War Gadgets360 Call Of Duty Vanguard

Arthur Kingsley and Polina Petrova amidst the chaos
photo credit: activism

Moving on, we tried the “Low” graphics preset, which managed to open an average of 96 fps with the maximum frame rate hitting the 118 fps mark. We also saw some sudden drops at 79 fps near explosions and even when you were fired at a lot of shots at once. It managed to stay between 95-110 fps most of the time. Next, we tried the “Medium” preset. The template managed an average of 60 fps with maximum frame rates reaching the 108 fps mark. The lowest frame rate measured in this preset was around 58 fps.

The next graphics setting, “High,” tested our rig just fine. It averaged 54 fps, with a maximum frame rate reaching about 86 fps, while the lowest point reached 43 fps, during close combat and gunfights. Last but not least, the “Ultra” graphics preset managed an average of around 50 fps, with a steady drop to the 41-43 fps mark during combat. The maximum frame rate achieved at this preset was 68 fps.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Multiplayer, Zombies PC Performance

You also get to experience two additional modes with Call of Duty: Vanguard. We played both multiplayer and Zombies mode on the “High” settings at 1080p. We managed an average of about 64 fps in Zombies mode, with the maximum framerate reaching the 88 fps mark, while the lowest reached 53 fps when a horde of zombies were rushing at you.

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Call of Duty Vanguard Zombies Gadgets360 Call of Duty: Vanguard

Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies Mode
photo credit: activism

As for the multiplayer mode, it was a pleasant experience. Our test rig’s average frame rate with the “High” preset was around 71, with the maximum hitting 80 fps and the lowest hitting 57 fps during close combat and grenade detonation.

Should you buy Call of Duty: Vanguard on PC?

Call of Duty: Vanguard offers two versions on PC: Standard Edition and Ultimate Edition. The standard version of the game is priced at $59.99 (approximately Rs 4,470), while the final version costs $99.99 (approximately Rs 7,408).

Ultimate Edition gives you Task Force One Pack (3 Operator Skins with Tracer Rounds and 3 Weapon Blueprints), Battle Pass Bundle (1 Season Battle Pass + 20 Tier Skips), 5 hours of 2XP. The asking price is a lot, especially the Ultimate Edition, but the campaign and multiplayer modes are fun to play, while the graphics are really good if you have a PC that can run the game on medium to high settings.

Unlike some other Call of Duty titles, such as Warzone and Black Ops Cold War, Vanguard doesn’t ask for much in terms of storage space—about 50GB, including campaign mode, as I said earlier. And, if you are a fan of multiplayer, you will not be disappointed as it supports crossplay as well. If you have friends on Xbox or PlayStation consoles, you can go into the lobby and become one of the “Vanguards”. Our review of Call of Duty: Vanguard will be out soon, to know what we feel about the game.


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