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

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: EA

More Results! GeForce GTX 460, Radeon HD 5850, GeForce 9800 GT (Low)

So our first results were pretty popular and as expected everyone wants us to test the game on THEIR hardware as well.  Obviously we can't address everyone but I did have time this afternoon to test a few new cards to throw into the mix: the GeForce GTX 460 1GB, Radeon HD 5850 1GB and even a much older GeForce 9800 GT 512MB card (circa 2008).  

Both the GTX 460 and HD 5850 card were run at the same settings as the previous cards earlier in this performance evaluation: 1920x1200 and Ultra quality settings.  The 9800 GT would have none of that (as we expected) and as such you'll see some big fat zeros across the board for it.  Let's take a quick look at the results:

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The indoor results for these cards aren't too impressive as we only just barely break the 30 FPS mark with minimums in the high teens.  Compared to the HD 6870 score (34.3 FPS) and the GTX 560 Ti (42.7 FPS) both of these older generation cards are proving to be less than ideal. 

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The outdoor scores do go down to the mid-20s for the average frame rate making this pretty much less than playable for a high speed shooter.  Obviously you can back off on the quality settings (don't forget to restart the game) and get some added performance that way, but for the best experience in BF3 in terms of visual fidelity you are going to want to upgrade some hardware. 

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You noticed I glossed over the 9800 GT results - I was able to get average frame rates in the mid-30s with it at much lower (1680x1050, Low quality) and would have likely preferred to drop another resolution setting to get a smoother FPS experience.  But obviously, even though we were able to achieve some 30+ frame rates, the image quality does take a noticeable dive at the Low settings.

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Here are a few examples, and be sure to compare them to the screenshots we took here on the Ultra quality settings on higher end hardware. 

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Obviously avoiding the "Low" settings is what you want but if you can't afford an upgrade now, at least you know can get by.  But if you do take a look at those Ultra screenshots you can what quality of gameplay you would likely be moving up to if you do decide to shell out the cash for a new GPU.  I really think that a good target for most of our readers would be the "High" settings and as such we plan on putting together a "guide" of sorts with recommended components at a few different resolutions.  (Coming soon!)

We have more testing coming soon hopefully including results from the Caspian Border map that includes 64 players and vehicles!!  Stay tuned!

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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