Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Benchmark

Black Ops 2 Logo

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the ninth game in the franchise and a sequel to the 2010 Call of Duty: Black Ops. The game was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. With Modern Warfare 3, the engine on which all COD games are developed has been renamed from IW engine to MW3 Engine and now, the new iteration of the engine is called Black Ops II Engine. The Black Ops II engine was updated from IW 3.0 (Black Ops 1) and not IW 4.0 (MW3) as one might imagine.

The additions to the Black Ops 2 engine are as follows: Reveal mapping (improved texture blending), Water effects, Improved lighting effects, Lens flare effects, HDR lighting, Bounce lighting, Self-shadowing, Intersecting shadows. Going back to Modern Warfare 3, this game suffered from a lot of technical limitations such as: low resolution textures, inability to change the FOV and frame capping. Fortunately, Treyarch is not IW and some of these issues are not a concern anymore.

Methodology

All tests were ran in the intro of the first mission, Pyrrhic Victory.

FPS was recorded using the Beepa Fraps 3.5.9 for 100s.
CPU usage was recorded using Windows Performance Monitor. Processor(_Total) with a sample interval of 1 second.
GPU Usage was recorded using MSI Afterburner 2.2.5.

Test System Specifications
Test Hardware | Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Benchmark
Processor

Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)

3.3 GHz, OC = 4.5 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings disabled, Turbo Boost disabled.

Motherboard MSI P67-C43-B3, Intel P67 Chipset
Memory 2 x 2 GB DDR3 1600MHZ
Hard Drives

WD 500 GB SATA III (OS)

Samsung 750 GB Sata II (Game)

Graphics Card Sapphire HD6950 1 GB
Power Supply Corsair TX 650 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System Windows 7 x32 SP1
Windows 7 x64 SP1
Windows 8 Pro x32 build 9200 (RTM)
Windows 8 Pro x64 build 9200 (RTM)
Driver AMD Catalyst 12.10 WHQL

Operating Systems Comparison

When it came to operating systems, the first Black Ops game ran about 30% faster on Windows XP than on Windows 7. Since Black Ops 2 is a DirectX 11 game only, Windows XP isn’t supported but we can still compare it to Windows 7 and Windows 8.

This time around, there are absolutely no performance differences between different operating systems. Black Ops 2 is one of the games that will work just as good on Windows 8 as on Windows 7. One of the main developers at Treyarch (pcdev) stated that Windows 8 is supported even though the Official System Requirements don’t mention anything about Win 8.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Operating Systems Comparison

CPU and Cores Comparison

Since it’s a DirectX 11 game, Black Ops 2 won’t be needing a powerful CPU. Based on the requirements, the game will run fine with an Intel Core2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHz or AMD Phenom X3 8750 2.4 GHz. As long as your CPU has two cores (Black Ops 2 won’t start on single core CPUs) it will run the game.

CPU usage is extremely low and even with just two cores enabled on the i5 2500k there is absolutely no bottleneck, no frame drops or anything along these lines.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 CPU and Cores Comparison

CPU Usage GPU Usage
2 Cores 59% 99%
2 Cores OC 46% 99%
3 Cores 37% 99%
3 Cores OC 29% 99%
4 Cores 30% 99%
4 Cores OC 22% 99%

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 CPU Usage

GPU Overclock

As with almost any other game overclocking the GPU translates in better frame rates but don’t expect miracles. A 5% overclock means a roughly 5% performance increase.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 GPU Overclock

Settings Comparison

Fortuantely, Black Ops 2 has a decent amount of quality settings you can fiddle with. This means that gamers with older GPUs can lower the image quality in order to get good frame rates. The most taxing setting is Ambient Occlusion, you may want to disable it if you’re the “happy” owner of an outdated GPU.

The image quality differences between the three different quality presets are rather big. Textures, character models, lighting look horrible on Low Settings but if you liked how MW3 looked then this won’t be a problem for you. On the other hand, the maximum quality preset makes the game look decent enough to be enjoyed even by the most picky gamers; the graphics won’t win any prizes but the addition of DirectX 11 makes Black Ops 2 a beauty queen compared to MW3.

Besides the IQ settings, the FOV slider is always an extremely important feature for PC, unfortunately, it only goes up to 80. Most people (me included) are comfortable with an FOV of 90. A patch was announced that will allow the FOV to be increased to 90.

120hz monitor owners will be happy to know that there is no FPS cap in Black Ops 2. That doesn’t mean you can’t limit the FPS to 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 and unlimited or simply enable the vSync function that will cap the FPS to your monitor refresh rate, be weary as vsync might cause mouse input lag.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Settings Comparison

Settings

Option Low Medium High
Shadows Low Medium High
Texture Quality Low Normal Extra
Texture Filtering Low Medium High
Anti-Aliasing Off 2x MSAA 8xMSAA
FXAA No Yes Yes
Ambient Occlusion Off On On
Number of Corpses Tiny Medium Large

AMD Catalyst Drivers Comparison

At this moment, 12.10 WHQL performs the best with Black Ops 2 for HD6000 GPUs. But if you use Crossfire or a HD7000 Graphics Card the best bet would be the 12.11 Beta 7 which improves CF scaling with the game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 AMD Catalyst Drivers Comparison

Conclusions

There isn’t much to complain about Black Ops 2. Since COD 2, the Call of Duty Series was never about breaking the boundaries but fast paced arcade multiplayer with a rather exhaustive ranking and stats system. No one ca disagree that BO2 achieves its purpose. Though the console market is larger than the PC market, the devs took their time and added PC specific features that should be available in every PC game.

Optimization is also where it should be, of course there are a few issues here and there, mostly Crashes to Desktop with nVidia cards. Most issues are found in Multiplayer but are not related to optimization. For instance: Low recoil on guns, Lag Compensation and other such things that may or may not ruin the multiplayer component of the game for some of you.

The Good:

  • Performs the same on Windows 7 and Windows 8 (both 32-bit and 64-bit).
  • Will work with a older dual core CPU and almost no chance of a CPU bottleneck.
  • Good amount of graphic settings.
  • Decent graphics and DirectX 11 effects.
  • FOV Slider.
  • Frame capping to 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120.

The Bad:

  • FOV doesn’t go higher than 80, a future patch will fix this.
  • Character Models can clip through world objects (single player).
  • Mouse input lag with vsync enabled.
  • CTDs with certain hardware parts.
  • skr13

    Nice Test Jonhny 3D!
    Your 2500K deserves a little better GPU to shine, like 7950 or GTX 660 TI, but money doesn’t grow on trees right? ;)

  • SRSDUDE

    Excellent Review!

  • sylla

    ati 7950 +2500k same results on my System

    • skr13

      Just one word: Impossible

      • campdude

        He is GPU limited in this game.

  • ray

    GJ guys! it is nice that u include w8 on tests! for il go back to WinXP tomorow if i dont have all artificial limitation from Microsoft.

  • majstrzvasi

    i have 2500k 4.4ghz and 2x 6950 flashed to 6970 game runs perfect not like BO1.

    They polished this game for pc and game runs on dx11 api so good job treyarch.

  • Souv M

    skr13,see techspot or amd off videos with 12.11 beta,7950 is
    comparable to gtx 670 not 660ti(recently,a 7950 beats gtx 680 in hitman
    absolution and par with gtx 680 in some games as alien vs predator,alan
    wake,etc….7970 is the king of single gpu card

    here is proof :

    http://www.techspot.com/review/603-best-graphics-cards/page3.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-lLP–gtJU

  • Souv M

    skr13,see techspot or amd off videos with 12.11 beta,7950 is
    comparable to gtx 670 not 660ti(recently,a 7950 beats gtx 680 in hitman
    absolution and par with gtx 680 in some games as alien vs predator,alan
    wake,etc….7970 is the king of single gpu card