Battlefield 3 (BF3) Beta Performance: Quality Preset and SLI Scaling

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 1, 2011 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: sli, gtx 570, gtx 460, bf3, battlefield 3

I know, we've been talking a lot about Battlefield 3 this week, but I have yet another set of numbers and results that I think you guys will want to see.  Previously, all of our BF3 benchmarks have been run under the Ultra quality presets but it is obvious that not all GPUs or gamers are going to want to target the highest settings the game can accomplish.  With that in mind I decided to test a couple of cards at Ultra, High, Medium and Low presets in order to guage how well the game scaled based on image quality.

For this round I wanted to use a high end card as well as an older, much more popular (and currently low cost) card; the result is tests on the GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB and the GeForce GTX 460 1GB reference platforms.  We used the Operation Metro map and the initial outdoor section for our testing as it was the most strenuous in the beta thus far.  

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As a side note, if you want to see how the image quality actually changes from the Ultra, High, Medium and Low presets, check out this page of my previous performance article that included screenshots and even some animated GIFs as demonstration.

Here are the results:

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On the more powerful GTX 570 you can see that BF3 scales pretty well from the Ultra settings through the Low options in even steps.  By moving from Ultra down to High a gamer would see about 34% better performance and 22% better minimum frame rates.  The jump to Medium gains another 41% while the move to Low gets another 25% on top of that.  The gap between Low and Ultra is about ~2.3x.

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The GTX 460 sees similar levels of performance grades though the move from Ultra to High only gains you about 28% and averages of 33.8 FPS or so.  I would still consider that on the low side of a good game play experience and thus the move to Medium (which is 82% faster than Ultra) seems like the sweet spot for BF3.  

I know we also had some requests for SLI scaling performance and, in particular, with the GTX 460 1GB cards.  Since this card has been so incredibly popular we thought this would be the perfect candidate for the "SLI Upgrade Path" option and you can pick one up for $150 (or less with rebates).  Let's see how well Battlefield 3 scales with multiple GPUs.

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At the Ultra quality settings we saw a 60% scaling capability by adding in a second GTX 460 at stock speeds while at High settings we see that rate increases to 84%!  That is pretty impressive and for the cost investment of a second GPU it looks like you are going to see better than average scaling.  Considering this is with the first driver release and with a beta version of the game, I can only see multi-GPU scaling rates going up as the full retail release hits.

With these results and some others we have done through the week we are ready to put together our Battlefield 3 system build guide.  Stay tuned!

Source: PCPer
October 1, 2011 | 02:12 PM - Posted by Zoyx (not verified)

Test Llano!

October 1, 2011 | 02:12 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

You know I hadn't even thought to do that yet...

October 1, 2011 | 04:21 PM - Posted by Zoyx (not verified)

Fired it up on my Llano living room computer. Low setting at 1280x800 resolution. The game is playable. Is it pleasurable? ... not really. Do a bench on it for the fun of it anyway. Made a video for my Llano build - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-mBlPZDvzo

October 1, 2011 | 07:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can you test some AMD cards? (6970 Crossfire, for example)

October 1, 2011 | 08:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Do the gtx4601gb cards run out of memory, running Ultra Preset 1920x1080. I have and have run this combination, I say no. But I see a push by some fans that this game is using more than 1gb at 1080p.

October 2, 2011 | 11:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Interesting that the difference between the GTX 580 and 570 is 2fps average outside.

October 2, 2011 | 06:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

LOVE THE CHAT BOX convo in your screenshot!

October 4, 2011 | 07:36 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

Getting around 50FPS with GTX 570 SLI @ 2560x1440 Metro outdoor on Ultra.

October 4, 2011 | 12:28 AM - Posted by Max (not verified)

I've played about 4 hours of the beta on the Metro map, and I have gtx 460 1gb SLI at 1980x1080p. Using FRAPS, id say I get about 80-85fps on the high side, 25fps on the random stutter low side (sli configurations are known to "hiccup" where the single card setup does not), and average about 55fps on the ULTRA preset. My cards are not overclocked (you dont get much of a difference anyway), but I do run a sandybridge i5 2400, and 8gb ram. I'm definitely seeing better numbers than this test, but I will say that the game does hiccup during big firefights, i think its the SLI config, hopefully that will be fixed on full release with better optimization, but they may also tweak the features and make it more graphic intensive, which would stress the card more. it may also be because the game is approaching or exceeding the 1gb of VRAM memory on each card, of course I don't know how to check that.. anyone know how?

October 6, 2011 | 02:56 PM - Posted by Anon_etc:) (not verified)

I have:

P8P67 B3 PRO
i5-2500k@4,5ghz
2x Gigabyte 1GB GTX 460 (SLI)
8GB DDR3 1600MHz

So I'm running the SLI at x8 2.0.

Metro outside with High preset setting I get 80-100 fps. Doesn't drop below 80 fps. Inside in Metro I get 120-150 fps. Would've been nice to know what kind of CPU they were using in the tests... But anyway: I'm very pleased with the SLI performance, I don't have micro stutter - the SLI works perfectly :)

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