Best CPU for MW3 and MW2 – top picks for Call of Duty 2024

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Whether you want to dominate Dome or rip up Rust, you want the best CPU for MW3 and MW2. We’ve got you covered right here with our top picks.

Last year, Modern Warfare 2 was a smash hit, selling millions of copies. It’s no surprise then that Activision wants to repeat the winning formula, with MW3’s release date not far away. Call of Duty has always been known for its fast-paced online multiplayer. In these kind of games, the slightest millisecond can be life or death. In that kind of situation, you don’t want your hardware to be holding you back, and getting the right CPU is vital for good performance.

The Modern Warfare 3 PC system requirements have been released and you’ll need at least an Intel Core i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600. This is the minimum however. It’s a good idea to try and go above this to really ensure your gameplay runs smoothly. This also has the added benefit of future proofing you against the next generation of games.

Best CPU for MW3 and MW2 at a glance

Intel Core i7-13700K

Cores

16

Threads

24

Base speed

P-cores 3.4 GHz / E-cores 2.5 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.4 GHz / E-cores 4.2 GHz

Cache

24MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost

AMD Ryzen 5 7600X

Cores

6

Threads

12

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.3GHz

Cache

32MB

TDP

105W

Intel Core i5 13600K

Cores

14

Threads

20

Base speed

P-cores 3.5 GHz / E-cores 2.6 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.1 GHz / E-cores 3.9 GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125 W / 181 W boost

We’ve picked these chips on a range of factors and categories. This means you have options and all the information you need. We’re confident that there’ll be something here that’s right for you. Pair these CPUs with the best monitor for Modern Warfare 2 and the best headset for Call of Duty and you’ll have the perfect tailored set-up.

So let’s get into it. Here are our picks for the best CPU for MW2 and MW3.

Best Intel CPU for MW3 and MW2

Intel Core i7-13700K

Cores

16

Threads

24

Base speed

P-cores 3.4 GHz / E-cores 2.5 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.4 GHz / E-cores 4.2 GHz

Cache

24MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost

Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 are CPU-intensive games, even at 1080p, and especially if you want the high frame rates that can give you the edge in competitive gaming. Because of these factors, we’ve opted for the i7 13800K, one of the best CPUs for gaming.

With 16 cores and a 5.4GHz boost clock, this is a seriously powerful CPU. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful available. This chip has a mixture of P-cores for performance and E-cores for efficiency. This explains why it has 24 threads as only the 8 P-cores are multithreaded.

Despite this increase in efficiency it is still a power hungry card and can get hot as a result. This means you’ll have to have an excellent cooling solution if you want to overclock it, which, as it is an unlocked CPU, is an option available for you.

Overall, if you combine this CPU with one of the best GPUs for Call of Duty, and your gaming set-up will be ideal for playing Call of Duty at a competitive level.

Best AMD CPU for MW3 and MW2

AMD Ryzen 5 7600X

Cores

6

Threads

12

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.3GHz

Cache

32MB

TDP

105W

The Ryzen 5 7600X was released last year to good reviews and general praise. It has the brand-new Zen 4 architecture, and an impressively large cache making it perfect for MW2 and MW3.

Cache is a kind of memory that stores information that is regularly used. It does so in a way that is far faster to access that information stored in usual memory. It is vital for gaming as it is an activity that relies on certain bits of information being used again and again. If these are accessible faster, the overall performance will increase.

AMD’s new architecture has improved load queues and facilitates the larger cache size of the 7600X, however, you do need to keep in mind that it requires AM5 sockets rather than the more common AM4. This may mean you need to upgrade your motherboard too.

This chip is seriously powerful. In fact, it’s one of the best CPUs for 4k gaming. If the rest of your components are up to scratch, you’ll have a gaming PC capable of handling all demanding triple-A titles.

Best Budget CPU for MW3 and MW2

Intel Core i5 13600K

Cores

14

Threads

20

Base speed

P-cores 3.5 GHz / E-cores 2.6 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.1 GHz / E-cores 3.9 GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125 W / 181 W boost

The Intel Core i5 13600K is well-reviewed and a great budget pick, not only because of its price but because of its lower temperatures too. That means you won’t have to fork out as much on a robust cooling solution to keep your PC and CPU safe, just don’t expect it to outperform the other CPUs we’ve listed here.

That said it will still handle MW2 and MW3 just at lower frame rates and lower graphic settings. It’s got an impressive 20 threads and a boost speed of 5.1GHz. It’s also simpler to overclock, again thanks to that lower operating temperature.

It uses the same P-core and E-core technology as the i7-13700K though it has one less of each. Overall this CPU will handle Call of Duty well which means you don’t have to break the bank to access a good level of performance.

Is Modern Warfare 3 CPU or GPU intensive?

Modern Warfare 3 is an incredibly demanding game, especially if you want the high frame rates that can give you an advantage in competitive gaming. Because of this, it is intensive on both your CPU and GPU.

Is Modern Warfare 3 cross-platform?

Yes – Modern Warfare 3 is cross-platform across the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.

About the Author

Rory Greig

Rory Greig works as a tech writer for Videogamer. He is a writer with a strong knowledge of gaming technology and an eye for detail. He is especially interested in graphics cards and generative AI.