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Will this CPU upgrade suffice for Battlefield 3?

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October 27, 2011 7:01:32 PM

I have the current system:

Intel Core 2 DUO E8400 @ 3.00GHz, 2997 Mhz, 2 Core
AMD Radeon HD 6850
4.00 GB Ram
600W ATX Seasonic SS600ET
Windows Vista 64x

and after playing BF3 (came out yesterday), I found out the gameplay was pretty bad. After asking around, I was lead to believe that upgrading the CPU / MOBO / Memory would do the trick. (PSU and GPU stays the same).

Here's what I have in mind for the upgrade:

CPU: i5-2400: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
MOBO: ASUS P8H61: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Memory: 2x4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333G.SKILL Ripjaws: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Total: 321.97$

My budget being 325$ or lower, is this the best I can do atm or am I missing better/cheaper parts that will allow me to play BF3? (the specs are below).

ATM, playing the game is next to impossible, everything is choppy when running / crouching around.



Here are the min and recommended requirements
*************************************************
Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) 32-Bit
Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core (Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHZ or Althon X2 2.7 GHz)
Memory: 2 GB
Hard Drive: 20 GB
Graphics Card (AMD): DirectX 10.1 compatible with 512 MB RAM (ATI RADEON 3000, 4000, 5000 OR 6000 series, with ATI RADEON 3870 or higher performance)
Graphics Card (NVIDIA): DirectX 10.0 compatible with 512 MB RAM (NVIDIA GEFORCE 8, 9, 200, 300, 400 OR 500 series with NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 GT or higher performance)
Sound card : DirectX compatible
Keyboard and Mouse
DVD ROM Drive

Recommended System Requirements
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit
Processor: Quad-Core CPU
Memory: 4 GB
Hard Drive: 20 GB
Graphics Card: DirectX 11 compatible with 1024 MB RAM (NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 or ATI RADEON 6950)
Sound Card: DirectX compatible
Keyboard and Mouse
DVD ROM Drive
*************************************************
a c 188 à CPUs
October 27, 2011 8:34:17 PM

Would upgrading to the Intel® Core™ i5-2400 give you a major performance boost? Yes it would. The problem is that the items that you have selected are not really parts that you would want to build around. The H61 chipset is the base chipset for the 2nd generation Intel Core processors and it will not allow you to overclock the processor even if you were to move up to the Intel Core i5-2500K. The Intel Core i5-2500K is only $25 more then the Intel Core i5-2400 and unlocks the ability to overclock and get much greater performance from it.

I guess I would see if I could get to about another $75 and move up to a Z68 board and the Intel Core i5-2500K.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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October 27, 2011 8:47:01 PM

I agree with Christian. If you're going to upgrade, make it count. That $75 will be worth it :) 
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October 27, 2011 9:09:50 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I agree with Christian. If you're going to upgrade, make it count. That $75 will be worth it :) 

completely agree with all the comments above

although i would also get a better graphic card as well, bf3 is a very demanding game and it tend to be better using nvidia gpus and to play it at high settings would require a 560ti/hd 6970 or above so although you will notice a difference going to the i5, a gpu upgrade will also worth the cost or you can turn down the detail ans res for now
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October 27, 2011 9:10:51 PM

That extra $75 will be worth it for the 2500k beast.
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October 27, 2011 9:16:22 PM

After the 2500K the next upgrade would be 6850 CF - I don't recommend changing to a 560 Ti. It wouldn't be a huge upgrade.
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a c 102 à CPUs
October 27, 2011 9:16:24 PM

If you budget is to tight for the i5 and a P67 or Z68 board just get the i3 2100 BF3 only needs 2 cores according to this

though the beta did before anyone says this is wrong.
Source http://benchmark3d.com/battlefield-3-benchmark
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October 27, 2011 9:18:48 PM

I'm hoping Tom's will release a performance analysis during this week.
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October 27, 2011 9:49:06 PM

Thanks for the detailed answers.

To bring a bit more info on my situation.

I don't mind playing on MEDIUM or even LOW settings, as long as I can be competitive in-game. By that I mean smooth play as opposition as now where just having my avatar run brings glitches and micro-freezes.

I know I could shell more $ to get to play on HIGH or ULTRA settings but that's not what I'm after (I wish I weren't a poor student).

Also, I don't know how to overclock and don't plan on learning it.

Knowing that, which is best?

A) My original plan (see original message of thread)
B) Intel Enthousiast's plan
C) thrakazog's plan (4GB instead of 8GB won't hurt my BF3 gaming experience?)

Thanks again, keep the opinions coming in, I need to order the parts in the next day or 2.
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October 27, 2011 11:42:43 PM

I will say that a single Radeon HD 6850 is going to severely limit your experience in this game.

I can't prove this but something tells me that CPU performance isn't that relevant in Battlefield 3 and that it is entirely up to the Graphics Accelerator.

I have used ATi (AMD now) graphics for a long time but Battlefield 3 may have sold me on nVIDIA hardware (assuming AMDs next gen architecture lacks a decent tessellation engine). Something tells me that when the benchmarks come out nVIDIA will be significantly ahead.

What I did to boost performance for my friends rig (he has two 6850s in Crossfire) was to manually set the tessellation level to 4x in the CCC. He plays with the "High" settings but with the tessellation factor reduced can play on Ultra.
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October 27, 2011 11:55:03 PM

elmo, BF3 is actually hugely processor dependent. so his duo is really going to struggle.

thrakazog's build looks like the perfect solution. do it.
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October 28, 2011 12:01:37 AM

thrakazog's choice is a good solution.
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October 28, 2011 12:26:02 AM

welshmousepk said:
elmo, BF3 is actually hugely processor dependent. so his duo is really going to struggle.

thrakazog's build looks like the perfect solution. do it.


I hear you saying that but the fact that the game utilizes heavy tessellation, post processing effects as well as Motion Blur and HBAO leads me to be critical of your opinion... so I googled it.

Sure enough... it appears I am correct:



http://www.techspot.com/review/448-battlefield-3-beta-p...


So yeah a Dual Core will struggle a bit but it appears to be a far more GPU heavy game than CPU heavy.

Here's the GPU scaling:
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October 28, 2011 12:30:39 AM

I'm sorry, but performance charts for the BETA mean absolutely nothing.

Now I'm not saying you are definitely wrong here, but those charts don't help. I'd like to see some for the actual release, but as far as i am aware no one has done that yet.
I'm still convinced this is a processor heavy game.
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October 28, 2011 12:39:16 AM

welshmousepk said:
I'm sorry, but performance charts for the BETA mean absolutely nothing.

Now I'm not saying you are definitely wrong here, but those charts don't help. I'd like to see some for the actual release, but as far as i am aware no one has done that yet.
I'm still convinced this is a processor heavy game.


Because the game engine was totally changed from Beta to full release? :heink: 

Just because you're, personally, totally convinced of something is no reason to lead a member astray. The evidence, so far, is quite compelling. If I were the OP I would hold off but for now he can try to set the Tessellation level a tad lower in the CCC for increased performance.

I would also recommend he scale down his in-game settings and disable any AA. In the CC set AA level to Multi-Sample and make sure Morphological AA is not checked off.

The game is very Shader dependent with the Post Processing effects and the 6850 has but 960 ALUs at its disposal. enabling Morphological AA would kill performance.
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October 28, 2011 1:01:21 AM

This discussion between you 2 is VERY instructing, I thank you for it.

From the get go, I've put all the graphical settings at the lowest. Yet not playable. Does this help you guys draw a conclusion?
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October 28, 2011 1:16:03 AM

Leads me to say CPU is lacking.
-Bruce
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October 28, 2011 1:17:07 AM

There is a 1fps difference between the 2600k and the 965 using the same Gpus. The major jumps in fps came when they used a faster gpu. Ain't that a suprise yes? no?
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October 28, 2011 1:20:06 AM

^If you make the game use only 2 cores & try it. Both those are faster quad than the OP has.
-Bruce
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October 28, 2011 1:26:45 AM

Not saying his cpu is fine am saying you don't need a 220usd cpu when a 125usd cpu will have the same effect. But spending the money you saved to upgrade your gpu will give you better performance in it.

BF3 are able to use 4 cores. That doesn't mean its cpu dependent. Just multi threaded and better optimized.
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October 28, 2011 1:29:30 AM

^Agree. Can get a pretty inexpensive AMD quad/mobo solution.
-Bruce
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October 28, 2011 1:30:14 AM

Option B IS Option C, it just wasnt priced like Option C took the time to price it out. You will not miss the 4GB though, and what does it matter, you can upgrade that later if you do. Quad core over Dual core is highly taken advantage of in a game like BF3 and performance charts show the RETAIL version taking advantage and even scaling with hyperthreading. Get the Z68, get the 2500K and crank that baby up to 11. The 6850 is fine for gaming with that setup and when you outgrow it, then upgrade. But right now the dual core is holding you back the most on this game.
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October 28, 2011 1:47:37 AM

What's your native resolution btw?
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October 28, 2011 2:05:07 AM

That resolution your gpu is the more important factor.
Ill get a x4 955 Oc it a bit and save the cash for a future gpu upgrade whenever you feel your gpu is not cutting it anymore or when the newer Gpus arrive
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October 28, 2011 2:09:56 AM

Here's another info I just found out.

Always on lowest settings, I've tried playing in a less populated server (23 ppl) as opposed to the previous gaming sessions with 55+. This time, its much more playable as there's no skipping, excess lagging.

Does this suggest a GPU bottleneck or CPU bottleneck?
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October 28, 2011 2:12:27 AM

Drop your settings all to do with the graphics and to your gpu to its lowest. Then push them back up if your fps is more or less the same its your cpu bottlenecking.
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October 28, 2011 2:42:08 AM

Did a little test, I went on a 23 players server and ran around where the action was at.

Low settings: 40-60 FPS
Medium: 35-50 FPS
High: 29-35 FPS
Ultra: 23-25 FPS

My computer is really having a hard time when there's more stuff going on around me. (example: multiple players with tanks and jets and all the bang bang)
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October 28, 2011 2:47:23 AM

Yeah thats the AI which your dual core have a bit of a hard time with probably. Bump its frequency up a bit then run the test again. But I suggest start thinking about a Quad
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a c 102 à CPUs
October 28, 2011 11:12:03 AM

Its official a dual core with no hyper threading is all you need for BF3


"Battlefield 3's single-player campaign doesn’t care if you’re using a $130 Core i3 or $315 Core i7. It doesn’t care if you come armed with two Hyper-Threaded cores or four Bulldozer modules. It just. Doesn’t. Care.

In fact, after getting a little overzealous swapping out Lynnfield-, Clarkdale-, and Sandy Bridge-based chips, I tried one AMD CPU and decided to call it a day. Any reasonably-modern processor is going to be held back by graphics long before hamstringing performance itself."
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/battlefield-3-graphics-pe...
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October 28, 2011 8:08:31 PM

Indeed... it should have been intuitive to all that a stronger CPU was not of great importance. The game uses several layers all working one on top of the other (post processing effects). This is a rather shader intensive game. Throw in Tessellation and you've got a really GPU heavy title on your hands.
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October 28, 2011 10:56:05 PM

Best answer selected by patlav1980.
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November 7, 2011 10:55:10 PM

Just want to chime in here...

I came in wanting to say the HD6850 is a great card for BF3...However upon realizing that OP is playing at 1920x1200, a HD6850 is not going to cut it... Lowest graphics settings possible, it may 'work', but still won't be completely 40-50+ FPS.

Not sure what to suggest, however... I'm just glad I play at 1680x1050, so the 6850 is almost perfect for me on 'Medium' to 'High' settings...

I'd suggest a GTX570 or a Radeon 6950 2GB for 1920x1200 resolution
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November 8, 2011 9:11:36 PM

I agree with the previous poster. I also read somewhere from a guy who tried BF3 with a 6850 and later a 6950. He said difference was night and day. Dunno about his resolution, but since OP plays at 1920x1200 I too suggest getting a 6950, better 2gb if it's a really high resolution or plan on setting Eyefinity setups later.
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