Review Index:

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

How long is the beta going to be available :o

October 1, 2011 | 01:15 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It runs through Oct 10th.

September 30, 2011 | 05:57 PM - Posted by Cody Templeton (not verified)

Ultra w/anti-aliasing in this game is pretty pointless IMO. It does so much post-processing there aren't many hard edges to soften... my AMD 955 w/stock 5850 gets well above 30fps outdoors, all ultra settings except for AA (which is turned off), and approaches 60 in the subway tunnels.

Performance on the big outdoor 64 player map is better than you would think, very comparable to outdoors on the Metro map, although it seems a lot buggier. I noticed many more problems with the destroyable buildings on that map, more stability issues, and occasional frame rate tanks with little rhyme or reason.

September 30, 2011 | 06:56 PM - Posted by Tomas K. (not verified)

Good article, nice testing.

Do you think i get normal frames on my system or is it a bit too low(outside)?:

i5 2500k @4.0ghz
corsair 2x2gb 1600
MSI GTX 570 Twin Frozr II/OC @750/1000

Min fps:34

Everything is set to max - Ultra, 4xAA etc. Resolution 1920x1080

October 1, 2011 | 12:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I used a dual geforce gt 540m with an Intel Core i7 2720QM (2.2GHz, turbo boost up to 3.1) and a 8Gb RAM and it passed 60 FPS

October 1, 2011 | 12:01 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I used a dual geforce gt 540m with an Intel Core i7 2720QM (2.2GHz, turbo boost up to 3.1) and a 8Gb RAM and it passed 60 FPS on ultra (1920 x 1080)

October 1, 2011 | 01:10 AM - Posted by Devil 2 U

I am currently running a system with an E6600 Core 2 and 2X EVGA GTX460s SC 1GB in SLI, overclocked. All set on the graphics front. However, I have been waiting for Bulldozer to build a new system. With the desktop part release pushing further into the future, it may take longer than planned to build a new rig. Therefore, I very well may be using this CPU and sys at the release of BF3.
I am also curious what other Core 2 CPU users, who have good GPUs, are finding in terms of performance. I am downloading the beta now (along with the NVidia beta driver), so I will report results tomorrow.

October 1, 2011 | 01:16 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Great, looking forward to hearing your results!

October 2, 2011 | 04:02 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

When I was using that CPU for my Unreal Tournament 3 mods, I know it was bottlenecking my GTX 260 in that game. I believe I jumped from ~50FPS to ~90 in my level when going to a Core i7 920.

Not sure what type of luck you will have with it.

October 1, 2011 | 04:20 AM - Posted by MDMonster (not verified)

I get between 25-45fps on my GTS 450 at 1920x1080, and between 29-53fps in 1280x720fps. The rest of my computer consist of an AMD Athlon II x2 260 @3.2GHz, 8GB DDR3 1333MHz

October 1, 2011 | 04:21 AM - Posted by MDMonster (not verified)

ALso forgot to mention, I have it maxed with these frames.

October 1, 2011 | 03:29 PM - Posted by pc master (not verified)

hmmm very interesting indeed running an skv 9800 slrdram with dual cooled cores at 9.7699 ghz ultra high mood i have noticed that after shooting an enemy to approximately 20% health... there seem to be pop stains on the characters pants around the buttox area...a detail that would have gone unoticed if ur not running maximus titan 7.29 mercess shader buffer.

October 1, 2011 | 03:31 PM - Posted by pc master (not verified)

i meant to say poop stains.

October 2, 2011 | 01:12 AM - Posted by cstinson4 (not verified)

I have a late 2010 MBP running Windows 7 x64, i7 processor, 2.66GHz, and 4GB RAM, and have the NVIDIA GT M330 graphics card. I've put my computer on performance mode, downloaded the 285.38 drivers, and turned all the graphics settings on low in the beta, but I'm still getting pretty choppy gameplay. Does anyone know a fix to this because I've heard of people getting smooth gameplay with the same system as me. Thanks!

October 2, 2011 | 06:48 AM - Posted by Scott (not verified)

Hey, right now i have an old intel core 2 duo overclocked to 2.56 ghz and an nvidia gtx 260m. I can run that on low-medium with a decent frame rate. I will be getting a new computer before the year ends and was wondering how this would do. Intel Core i5 2500k @3.3ghz---nVidia gtx 560 2gb

October 3, 2011 | 07:00 PM - Posted by durjoy184 (not verified)

if ur planning to get a 560ti...then ull find its test results on this site

and i too have almost the same config as u ..except i got a 6870 which is a lil lower than the 560ti...

ive oc'd my 2500k to 4.7ghz..and i get 50-60 fps out @ ultra and 4xAA and i have a 4GB ram @ 1600mhz long as ur planning to overclock..ull be fine :)

October 3, 2011 | 03:55 AM - Posted by Deafty (not verified)

Any results from overclocked e8400's with 4890 VGA
I'm @4.2Ghz and debating crossfire or Gtx 570,..
CPU upgrade to follow next year with IVY Bridge.

October 4, 2011 | 06:07 AM - Posted by Anas (not verified)

Great review you made Ryan thank you.
just to mention, I have XFX HD 6970 and I did not face the issue you mentioned regard the crash outside in metro! yes I face this on first day of releasing public beta but then everything went smooth. I play on 1080p. if you want some result regard this card on outside you are welcome. but keep in mind the max resolution is 1080p.

October 5, 2011 | 09:25 AM - Posted by Troy (not verified)

I've been running the BF3 beta on a GTX 460 1GB MSI Hawk, slightly OC'ed to 850/1700/2000, a I5 2600k @ 4.3, and 8gb ddr 1600, and I get a average of 50-65 inside, and 40-50 outside. On 1920.. That's of course with only light AA on, but still..

October 8, 2011 | 01:05 PM - Posted by Yuri (not verified)

Hello, exelent review, but i have a question, i have the EVGA 460 2win card, do you think that i will be able to play this monster game in ultra setings with good frame rates, mi CPUits I7 920 OC to 3.4, 6 gbram 1726mhrz.

October 8, 2011 | 01:06 PM - Posted by Yuri (not verified)

Hello, exelent review, but i have a question, i have the EVGA 460 2win card, do you think that i will be able to play this monster game in ultra setings with good frame rates, mi CPUits I7 920 OC to 3.4, 6 gbram 1726mhrz.

October 22, 2011 | 05:34 PM - Posted by Edu (not verified)

Great review!
Detail: I think the last screen about nvidia and ati quality images are exchanged.
I'm assuming this because the ATI images are better.

October 25, 2011 | 01:51 PM - Posted by Danny (not verified)

I have a geforce 460 and battlefield 3 runs very smooth. however, doesnt quite look like the textures are as good as BC2. I have a quad-core phenom II 965 OC up a hair to 3.7Ghz, 8GB RAM, and running at 1920X1080. Im sure it must be my graphics card that is limiting my texture and detail. any detailed advice on getting the quality better in settings would be greatly appreciated.just a temporary fix til I upgrade in a couple months. Thanks.


November 2, 2011 | 03:19 AM - Posted by Jono (not verified)


Proccesor - Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM
• 2 GHz

Chipset - intel HM65

Memory Standard - 8GB 1333 MHz DDR3 (2 X 4 GB)

Graphics (worried!!) - ATI Radeon HD 6630 (1GB GDDR3)


June 26, 2012 | 03:57 PM - Posted by Anony (not verified)

amd looks much better and realistic to me

June 26, 2012 | 04:01 PM - Posted by Anony (not verified)

and amd much more detail defenatly

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