I am planning to get black ops, but I need to know that my machine will be able to play it. The typical system reqs that they have offered on steam are not quite decipherable to me, as I've got a Macbook Pro and despite my initial expectations, MW2 runs fine on it in bootcamp with xp-sp2. I'm just curious as to whether or not Black Ops will run at around the same quality.

Also, I would like to know if they are based off of the same engine and if so, what modifications have been made? (which would answer my other question)

  • Just to add a little bit of personal experience to the info already posted, it's likely that a CPU a little bit weaker than listed ones (Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750) will run the game fine. It did for me with 2.60Ghz AMD Athlon X2 CPU.
    – winta
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 17:15

5 Answers 5


Hey man, I'm in the same unsure position as you. Macbook Pro 2.66 core 2 duo 2.72 GB RAM Nvidia 9600MGT BOOTCAMP

It seems that everything is fine and can be handled by a Macbook Pro except for the CPU. "Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750" seems to translate to a 2.93 core 2 duo which may be a problem unless you have one of the newer slightly more powerful Macbook Pros.

Hope this helps.


According to the Wikipedia page, it uses a modified version of the World at War engine. This is probably because Treyarch made both World at War and Black Ops, while Infinity Ward made Modern Warfare 2.

  • This is correct. More so, the World at War engine is based off Modern Warfare.
    – jmlumpkin
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 17:45

All of the Call Of Duty series run on a version of the Quake III engine from ID software.
Acutally, that means that CoD is a direct decendant of the very first 3D FPS game,
Castle Wolfenstein 3D!

Here is the genealogy of CoD:

Castle Wolfenstein 3D
   |->DOOM II
   |->DOOM III
         |->Quake II
         |  |->Digital Paint: Paintball 2
         |  |->Numerous mods
         |->Quake III
            |->Infinity Ward (IW) Engine
               |->Call Of Duty
               |->IW 3.0
                  |->CoD MW
                  |->IW 4.0
                  |  |->CoD MW2
                  |  |->IW 5.0
                  |     |->CoD MW3
                  |->CoD Black Ops

Since Black Ops uses a modified version of the engine of MW, it should run just fine on your box.

  • Interesting but do you have a source ?
    – Luc M
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 22:35
  • look it up; here is an article on ID Tech 1, otherwise known as the DOOM engine. ID Tech 1 evolved into ID Tech 3, otherwise known as Quake III Arena, and the IW engine was derived from ID Tech 3 Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 0:51
  • which does not mean, they were all designed for the same CPU / GPU(?) power. "Based on" just does not explain the worlds of difference between the Wolf3D and CoD:BO.
    – DrFish
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 11:03
  • i didn't mean that Wolfenstein and CoD were the same. CoD MW and CoD BO use a slightly older engine (IW3) than CoD MW2 (IW4) Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 21:26

Here are the PC requirements for Blacks Ops on a PC:

  • Windows Vista / XP / 7
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750 or better
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 12GB of hard drive space
  • Video: Shader 3.0 or better 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT/ ATI Radeon X1950Pro or better
  • DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound
  • DirectX: 9.0c

It uses a modified World at War engine.


To dig deeper, the entire Call of Duty series actually runs off of a modified id Tech 3 engine (Quake III Arena engine), from 1999. Infinity Ward modified it and calls it the IW engine, updating the audio and visual elements. Call of Duty Modern Warfare introduced the IW 3.0 engine, and World at War modified this engine. However, with MW2, Infinity Ward diverged and used the IW 4.0 engine, while Black Ops further modified the IW 3.0 engine, likely leading to some of the complaints about poorer graphics. The upcoming MW3 will use the newer IW 5.0 engine. No details on whether Treyarch will continue to use modified IW 3.0 engines or will change back to the main IW engine line.

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