Before we move onwards into the conclusion it is handy to know how much graphics memory the game requires in a preferred resolution. So I had a peek at four resolutions:
So 2GB graphics card are sufficient and thus recommended for maximum quality mode with complex AA levels, at 2560x1600 or above you'd are slowly pushing it though with say 8x MSAA or something better / equivalent. This measurement once again is done at best image quality settings for shadows, textures, etc.
Final Words & Conclusion
Call of Duty Black Ops is looking to be a great game in the sense of the overall experience. The game has just been released and I've only been able to play four levels or so. The updated game rendering engine is definitely showing improvements, but still does not offer the PC graphics experience it should be anno 2012.
On the graphics cards side of things, the Radeon 7900 series perform rather well. The GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture pays off. At a 1920x1200 monitor resolution even the 7800 series manages quite well. The fun thing about the new game engine however is that you can play around with many AA modes now and yeah the Radeons with their large framebuffers are just very capable.
A notch better overall are the NVIDIA cards. Heck even the aging GTX 480 seems to be able to keep up really well -- that's nice. The series 600 starting at GTX 660 simply offers very solid performance, with the GTX 680 being able to go nuts in 2560x1600 with rediculous AA image quality settings.
Single GPU wise the winner today is the GeForce GTX 680.
As stated in the review, we will need to update our charts with the Multi-GPU card. Both NVIDIA and AMD have multi-GPU issues (at least on our end).
** Update - Multi-GPU support is here the GeForce GTX 690 and Radeon HD 6990 have been added into the charts.
So guys there you have it. Pretty much all modern graphics cards will run the game at Full HD extraordinary well. For mid-range the 7800 series from AMD and the GTX 660 series from NVIDIA will offer EXCELLENT value for money. There is just no need to drop down in images quality modes and heck, that's where we as PC gamers needs to be. We do noit like to forfeit in quality.
If you need a little more boom-boom-pow then the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is great with the Radeon HD 7950 Boost editions being very price competitive as well -- single GPU wise.
The last bit I wanted to point out, all cards used today are reference cards with reference clocks. As you guys know AIC/AIB partners mostly offer factory overclocked or factory faster clocked products. That by itself can shift performance per card or brand upwards another 10% -- just so that you guys know okay ?
Also mind you that the Radeon cards all have been tested with the Catalyst 12.11 Beta 7 driver (released today) (download here) and the GeForce cards with the new 310.54 Beta driver released yesterday (download here).
We hope you enjoyed this selection of measurements.