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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Now Requires Its Own SSD

Jokes about the size of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare have been running for some months. Last year before launch, the company requested that end-users reserve up to 175GB of SSD space for the game, but promised that the final version would be smaller.

That promise has been merrily obliterated. First, the game hit that 175GB limit. Then, an August update pushed it over the 200GB limit. Now we’ve hit the point where Call of Duty literally fills a 250GB SSD to the very brim.

This is absurd. If the recent rumors about the PS5 having ~660GB of usable storage are true, Activision believes CoD deserves to eat 1/3 of your storage space for a game that came out a year ago. Given that video game sizes typically increase with every generation, it would scarcely be surprising if Activision just claims the entire available partition for itself and recommends you buy additional storage if you want to play anything else.

I’ll admit, I’m exaggerating there, but only by a little. On console, players can choose if they want to install the COD single-player campaign, a co-operative mode (Special Ops), or Warzone, which grafts battle royale tactics on to CoD-style gameplay. On PC, they can’t.

Games Can Be Too Big

We don’t normally think about storage as a problem for gaming, beyond grumbling about needing to remove a game or two to fit a new one. But blowing past the 250GB mark means that games are now exceeding the capacity of a lot of SSDs that were sold and shipped in OEM systems as primary storage up to and including today. Manufacturers have largely focused on adding faster SSDs and emphasizing cloud services as opposed to simply shipping large SSDs.

Computers ship with far faster storage than they once did — but also far less of it.

Alienware’s M15 R3 starts at 256GB of storage for $1,499. 512GB will cost you $1,649, though some other upgrades are included. For 1TB, you’ve got to go up to a $2,199 base price.

Developers should not build games that require more storage space than the entire drive capacity OEMs are selling. If you bought a $1,449 Alienware and brought it home, you’d discover yourself literally unable to play CoD because Activision finds it inconvenient to support PC players with modular installs.

The 128GB SSDs that were popular at the beginning of SSD adoption are, yes, now too small for anything but very light use. But 256GB drives are still being sold as mainline storage in $1,000+ machines. It’s not as if ignoring this fact is in Activision’s best interests. If someone buys a $1,500 PC, brings it home, and discovers they have to fork over more cash to play one game — plus deal with the headache of a laptop with attached external storage — they’re not going to be all that happy.

It’s long past time to deal with this problem. Give PC gamers the same option to remove components of the game they don’t want to play that you’ve extended to console players.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Now Requires Its Own SSD - ExtremeTech 

9 Replies

Don't forget about compressing the drive. TomsHardware did a review years ago, and shows that at worse there is no difference vs uncompressed, and in games it actually performs quite a bit better.,3073.html

Worth mentioning as the compression is a good idea is that there have been games that don't like to be compressed. 

That being said you can compress just certain game folders too not the whole volume. Unless that is something they have removed. I'll admit I have not done this in a long time. 


You can still do individual files and folders. I wish a site would do a more up to date version, since M.2 drives are considerably faster than SATA ones at processing data, and even SATA drives are faster than they were 9 years ago. Part of me is tempted to see how much space compressing my Games drive would save, but at 272,553 files, that'd take, well, all day.

Well, I went ahead and did it. Actually I took out my 512GB NVMe I dedicated to my OS and moved my 1TB drive, which I had dedicated to my games, from an adapter card in my bottom x16 slot to the motherboard's NVMe slot, so now I have my GPU running at proper PCIe 3.0 x16, though I'm not sure exactly how much that affects the 3070 Super, need to run 3DMark and see, and my OS and games on the same physical drive, though on two different partitions. Since I had to copy everything anyway, I enabled file and folder compression, and this is the result, a reduction of 11%, though the size difference ranges from 0 in games which use their own compressed archives, like MMOs, to a whopping 2GB in The Witcher.

Doesn't seem to affect performance, and actually increases it if you go by CDM because it IS compressed data.

Cool! Report back along the way if you find any reasons not to do this. 

I had wondered how it would change load times. I watched a very interesting video today that was illustrating that in most games the load times are almost unchanged from the slowest ssd to the fastest pcie 4 nvme drive. So how compressed vs uncompressed enters into the mix is pretty interesting. 


Remember too that data is actually compressed at the hardware level by the controller before it is written to the flash cells, so it -shouldn't- actually have any effect other than to have more usable space. It is possible that this is a relic of the pre-SSD era.


black_zion wrote:

Remember too that data is actually compressed at the hardware level by the controller before it is written to the flash cells, so it -shouldn't- actually have any effect other than to have more usable space. It is possible that this is a relic of the pre-SSD era.

Back when hard disks were very small there was a product called Stacker which was a card that could offload the CPU to compress the data. Microsoft then developed their own version and after some litigation compression disappear as hard disks capacity was growing rapidly. With DOS 5 I had a 540MB hard disk which was slightly more than the maximum that DOS could use. It was not until Windows 95 that I was able to use the full capacity of the disk. DOS limitations were not the only problem storage faced.

NTFS has compression but 7-zip is more efficient to compress archives.


i moved from a 512GB SSD to a 2048GB SSD and already I am looking at larger capacity models. The 8TB SSD choices are limited and prices are steep.