Nothing is one sided and Call of Duty: Black Ops proves that. Yes, the game may utilize an outdated engine, but as a benefit it can easily be rendered by any modern graphics cards in the Premium sector of the market. Flagships from both AMD and Nvidia camps have no problem running Call of Duty: Black Ops with highest settings. With 130+ fps of average performance, this truly is a walk in the park for Radeon HD 5970 and GeForce GTX 580. You can easily allow yourself an extra high FSAA setting, if you feel like it makes a difference.
Latest additions to the lineup – Radeon HD 6970 and GeForce GTX 570 – are armed and ready for the next game engine developed by Infinity Ward, as currently both have no problems in rendering 100 frames per second. It is also not the time to sell your good old Radeon HD 5870 or GeForce GTX 480. They are still more than capable of providing comfortable frame rates that ensure smooth gaming experience.
Summing up, every single participant in Premium segment of our review can be treated as an overkill solution for running Black Ops. If there is a deal on Radeon HD 6950 and GeForce GTX 470 graphics cards, then take it. You will save a significant amount of money and still be able to afford maximum quality settings in CoD: Black Ops.
Performance/mainstream segment of the market is the most popular and it comes to no surprise that the real battle intensifies here. Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850 graphics cards manage to outperform both versions of GeForce GTX 460. At the same time, we must once again stress that even in 2560x1600 resolution all the competing solutions are capable of delivering comfortable level of performance.
This is probably the first case where it might be helpful to highlight minimum fps. The premium 2560x1600 resolution may prove tricky for GeForce GTX 460 768MB, although 46 fps is a low number only in comparison. In the more popular 1600x900 and 1920x1080 resolutions they do not load contemporary graphics cards significantly, so not a lot of people are going to be upset about this slight drawback.
If you thought Call of Duty battles are intense, take a look at mainstream solutions. The undisputed leader here is Radeon HD 5770, which is one of the oldest solutions by graphics card standards. It easily dismisses 1600x900 resolution with 120 fps and has no problem with calculations in 1920x1080. The highest resolution will probably reveal some issues in FSAA 4x mode.
Nvidia fights back with Fermi-light class - GeForce GTS 450 graphics card - and does a pretty decent job at it. It manages to outperform Radeon HD 5750 in the lowest resolution and goes for a photo-finish in other cases. The premium class 2560x1600 resolution is a definite no-flight-zone for both solutions with highest quality settings, as anything below 60 fps mark is unacceptable for a First Person Shooter game.
In the bottom market sector the entry level solutions such as Radeon HD 5670 and GeForce GT 240 are only suitable for 1600x900 gaming. The ultra-light Fermi based GeForce GT 430 is really not an option for someone interested in high quality Call of Duty: Black Ops gaming.