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Battlefield 3 Beta Performance Testing and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: EA

Game Quality Settings Comparison

Even though we did all of our testing at the Ultra quality settings for our Day 1 results, we were curious to see how much of a difference in image quality we would see when switching between the various presets of Ultra, High, Medium and Low.  One note here: switching between the quality settings requires a restart of the game client, meaning you have to exit the server you are playing on and either re-join or find another one.  Also, if you want to change settings for some freaking reason you can only do it when you are "deployed", spawned and in the game.  You cannot do it while you are dead - which makes absolutely no sense to me.

Even worse, if you are in the settings and you die (which will happen as yoareu standing still looking like a jackass), you get pushed OUT of the settings menu and nothing you did is saved.  Pretty nice, huh?  Oh well, we fought through all the pain of that to take the following screenshots.

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(NVIDIA) BF3: Operation Metro - 1920x1200 - Ultra Settings - Click to Enlarge

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(NVIDIA) BF3: Operation Metro - 1920x1200 - High Settings - Click to Enlarge

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(NVIDIA) BF3: Operation Metro - 1920x1200 - Medium Settings - Click to Enlarge

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(NVIDIA) BF3: Operation Metro - 1920x1200 - Low Settings - Click to Enlarge

Again, I did my best to line up in the exact spot each time but since it was a new server and game instance each time, there are some minor differences.  The primary difference I see in all four of our images above is in the amount of antialiasing going on.  The Low present doesn't have much of it and you see very hard edges on the shadows on the ground.  After that, the differences appear to be in the shadow quality as well as detail anti-aliasing in the trees, the bench seats, etc. 

I did make some basic animated images below to try to give you a better way to view the differences.

The gun barrel doesn't appear to change much though texture quality is a bit better on the High-Ultra side of things. 

Again the Low quality setting is the one that really stands as being "bad" and even Medium makes a big jump over that. 

This shot tells us a bit more about the quality scaling from Low to Ultra as you can see the foliage in the background increase as the quality setting does as well.  Of course the shadows are the most obvious change.

The detail on the gazebo is definitely lost in the Low quality setting and we see a small but consistent increase in the distant object quality as we progress through Medium, High and Ultra.

September 29, 2011 | 09:28 AM - Posted by Colin (not verified)

Ryan, I am running a 6970 with the beta 11.10 preview and it works perfectly on both the indoor and outdoor sections. Please retest. I have everything at max and it performs wonderfully.

September 29, 2011 | 10:55 AM - Posted by Adam (not verified)

How much RAM and CPU resources does the game use? How many cores does the game utilize?

September 29, 2011 | 06:00 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

So far the game seems to be fairly well threaded. During my testing with a Core i7-965 processor (quad core with HT) it was using ~40% of the CPU power.

October 1, 2011 | 01:45 AM - Posted by Tim (not verified)

It uses 75%~ on my 2500K@4.2GHz and win7 64bit used 4.8GB ram all up

September 29, 2011 | 11:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I would like to see the HD4870(512mb) getting tested in DX10.1(saying this because I have seen other sites testing DX10.1 cards in DX10 only to keep the comparison "fair")

I think it also would be interesting to test the 512MB model and 1GB model of an otherwise identical card, to see how much this game benefits from the extra VRAM

September 29, 2011 | 12:01 PM - Posted by AMDScooter

Even with the 11.10 previews I'm getting bad texture artifacts outdoors. The recently released 11.9 and CAP 11.8/4 are a hair better on my unlocked 6950/xfire setup. Frames are nice and steady with all the bells and whistles maxed out.

September 29, 2011 | 12:28 PM - Posted by fuzzynuts69 (not verified)

well i know i have been play the last 3 days! i have 2 evga 465gtx in sli and got 58fps with everything maxed out. i will say the servers are far to laggy in any setting though. im not sure what to think about this game, i dont know if it is that i have been waiting for ever to play it and had to high of expectations for the game but it is not what i thought it would be:( lol. and im all about battlefield till the end!!!

September 29, 2011 | 12:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd love to see FPS levels at different settings with these GPU's and maybe even a different CPU with the same tests.

September 29, 2011 | 01:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

260GTX Core 216 or the 48701gig, they're both the same thing.

Would definitely like to knew where those stands at middle settings with things like SSAO turned off. I'll be heartbroken if the game isn't playable with this card, the 260 isn't bad at all (especially the 216 revision). :(

September 29, 2011 | 02:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice benchmarks. I am running with I7 920 @ 3.8 and 580 SLI and am getting 70-90 fps. I imagine once released and you can up the anti aliasing options alot of cards may start showing their limits.

September 29, 2011 | 03:15 PM - Posted by sorenk (not verified)

i need a better graphic card, this game is slaughtering my old GTX260 core 216. at medium settings fps is 20-30.

September 29, 2011 | 03:43 PM - Posted by bf_lover (not verified)

I am currently using Q9550, it runs well with bfbc2, but the CPU usage remain 85-95% in the game.
i would like to see how these old C2Q CPUs perform in BF3, compare to new i3\i5.

my spec:
23" 1920x1080\Q9550\8GB DDR2\HD 6850

September 29, 2011 | 05:52 PM - Posted by Kusanagi (not verified)

i just did a run in test. my video card isn't that great, but it's giving me some pretty decent results

system set up:
AMD Phenom 2 X6 1045T @ 2.70Ghz
8GB DDR3 1333
AMD Radeon HD 5570 1GB

FPS:
30 @ 1920x 1080P

custom game settings:
Texture Q: High
Shadows: Medium
effects: medium
Mesh: medium
Terrain: medium
AA Defered: Off
AA Post: Low
Motion Blur: off
AF : 4X
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO

September 29, 2011 | 06:01 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Those are actually really good results for a 5570. What was your CPU utilization like?

September 29, 2011 | 11:36 PM - Posted by Kusanagi (not verified)

i actually haven't tested that out, yet Ryan. i'll most likely get a chance to tomorrow and post it up

September 29, 2011 | 11:49 PM - Posted by Kusanagi (not verified)

it stays at 45%, max it'll hit is 49&

September 29, 2011 | 06:50 PM - Posted by Mark (not verified)

Athlon 64 x2 6400+, slow memory and a 560ti, low setting is the best playable, memory is really the bottleneck for me.

September 29, 2011 | 10:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Honestly, I'd bet your processor is the bottleneck.

September 29, 2011 | 08:09 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

I really want to see 6950 2gb and 6970 2gb on eyefinity results :).

September 30, 2011 | 12:03 AM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

What's the PCPER IRC Chatroom info?

September 30, 2011 | 05:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous89 (not verified)

Overclocking Sandy Bridges (i5/i7 2500/2600) gives 1-3 additional FPS. Overclocking your GPU by 10% might give alot more.

ENGTX570 @ 900/2050 65-120 FPS @ Ultra

September 30, 2011 | 08:25 AM - Posted by Billy (not verified)

Since we know that a typical i5/i7 + 570/6970 setup can easily run this game with no issue

Perhaps u could try test something like this.

1. minimum CPU/GPU combo to run @ min 24-30fps @ 1680x1050/1280x1024/1024x768 on LOW setting, WITHOUT AA/Anisotropic. Yes cut everything u can. I still see u run 2x aniso @ 9800GT. Why we need to on these when we need to cut every detail out for fps right?

2. minimum CPU/GPU combo @ 1920x1080/1680x1050 @ medium setting WITHOUT AA that is not too far image quality drop from Ultra max setting.

again to be honest I cant really tell the huge diff between with AA and without on a 1080p, even my primary rig is 2500K +570 now, I barely use >2x AA.

September 30, 2011 | 10:23 AM - Posted by jose nava (not verified)

So I downloaded battlefield 3 beta even know that nvidia says that I couldn't run this game,however I knew that my card could handle this game easy. I run crysis 2 on it without any lags at 1920X 1200.I got an amd athlon X 11 quad core 3.0. 6gb ram 1tb and 460gtx nvidia.my pc runs battlefield 3 beta at 1980x1020. No problems just download the new driver!!

September 30, 2011 | 10:28 AM - Posted by jose nava (not verified)

Sorry 1920X1200

September 30, 2011 | 10:30 AM - Posted by jose nava (not verified)

Sorry !! 1920x 1080

September 30, 2011 | 10:37 AM - Posted by Shawn (not verified)

I just saw a 9500gt ddr 2 512mb pull 29 avg. fps with fraps at 1024*768 at all low settings. graphics arent candy as in ultra but its pretty playable.

September 30, 2011 | 12:16 PM - Posted by simplicity311

You're testing the very two cards that I have in my work and home PC's! I do have a few concerns though with performance on my home PC and would like some insight. Please see below...

Home PC Specs:
-Win 7 64 Pro
-Radeon HD 5850 1GB x1
-Intel Quad Core Q9400@2.66GHz (not overclocked)
-8GB RAM

*Currently seeing avg 18-20 FPS on low settings at 1920x1200

Work PC Specs:
-Win 7 64 Pro
-Nvidia GeForce 460 GTX 1GB x1
-Intel Core i7 930@2.80GHz (not overclocked)
-8GB Ram

*Currently seeing avg 30-60 FPS on low settings at 1680x1050

As you can see from the drastic FPS difference, I'm beginning to wonder how CPU dependent BF3 really is...thoughts anyone?

September 30, 2011 | 12:30 PM - Posted by simplicity311

You're testing the very two cards that I have in my work and home PC's! I do have a few concerns though with performance on my home PC and would like some insight. Please see below...

Home PC Specs:
-Win 7 64 Pro
-Radeon HD 5850 1GB x1
-Intel Quad Core Q9400@2.66GHz (not overclocked)
-8GB RAM

*Currently seeing avg 18-20 FPS on low settings at 1920x1200

Work PC Specs:
-Win 7 64 Pro
-Nvidia GeForce 460 GTX 1GB x1
-Intel Core i7 930@2.80GHz (not overclocked)
-8GB Ram

*Currently seeing avg 30-60 FPS on low settings at 1680x1050

As you can see from the drastic FPS difference, I'm beginning to wonder how CPU dependent BF3 really is...thoughts anyone?

September 30, 2011 | 01:10 PM - Posted by FastRedPonyCar (not verified)

I tested it at ultra settings / 1920X1200 yesterday on my system

SLI GTX470's w/mild overclock
i7 920 clocked @ 3.6 ghz
6 gigs DDR3

seemed to get constant 50~ish fps outdoors and stays pegged at 60fps (vsync) indoors. I'm really pleased with the performance. If they did indeed withhold some graphical goodies, even better!

Skyrim is the one game this year that I think could seriously challenge my setup aside from witcher 2 at max settings.

September 30, 2011 | 01:52 PM - Posted by Natsumex (not verified)

How long is the beta going to be available :o

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