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Game Engine, Image Quality, And Settings

Battlefield 4 Beta Performance: 16 Graphics Cards, Benchmarked
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Again, Battlefield 4 employs an updated Frostbite 3 engine, the newest version of Digital Illusions CE's game technology for the next-gen console and PC platforms. While it makes its commercial debut with Battlefield 4, Frostbite 3 will also power Need or Speed: Rivals later this year, in addition to the next iterations of the Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Star Wars: Battlefront franchises. 

Compared to it's predecessor, Frostbite 3 features higher-resolution textures, particle effects, and changes to tessellation, according to the company's feature video. A new networked water feature ensures that all players see the same waves in the water at the same time, allowing small naval craft to hide behind waves in rough seas.

Leavin' On A JetskiLeavin' On A Jetski

First we tested the Low, Medium, High, and Ultra detail presets, finding that the texture detail on Low appeared dependent on the game type. We noticed higher-resolution textures on the Low setting in domination mode compared to conquest, even on the same Seige of Shanghai map. It's not clear whether this is a beta glitch, or a result of the game dynamically allocating resources based on the number and size of models in the map.


We chose to benchmark the domination map because of its higher texture resolution on the Low setting. We didn't notice a significant performance hit shifting between the Medium and High presets, so we tested Low (MSAA off, AA Deferred off, Ambient Occlusion off), High (MSAA off, AA Deferred high, HBAO enabled), and Ultra (4x MSAA, AA Deferred high, HBAO enabled) detail presets.  

The challenge of benchmarking a multiplayer game is that every run is potentially different, altering the load from one test to the next. For this reason, we performed our measurements on servers with low 40 ms-or-less latencies and no other players. Populated servers are likely to exact more demanding CPU loads. However, we needed to eliminate this variable from our testing. The good news is that, when we compared our numbers to runs on servers with more people on them, frame rates didn't change noticeably.

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  • 29 Hide
    corvetteguy1994 , October 9, 2013 9:21 PM
    My system is good to go!


    ****EDIT BY TOM'S HARDWARE****

    Sorry, corvetteguy, you're the first so I'm going to hijack your post to answer some common questions:

    - Why didn't you mention mantle?
    I probably *should* have mentioned it, but at this point it seems a little early. We don't know that much about it and we don't even know exactly when it arrives. Rest assured, when Mantle is rolled out we will cover it!

    - Why did you use a Titan in the CPU tests instead of the dual-GPU 690 or 7990?
    Dual-GPU performance can be tricky, and without FCAT working, I didn't want to report potential pie-in-the-sky FRAPS performance that is difficult to verify. Titan is the fastest single GPU card we have.

    - Why no FX-6000 CPU?
    We benched the FX-4170 and FX-8350. The FX-6000 will be in between, there wasn't a colossal spread so it seems pretty straightforward.

    - For the love of everything good and pure, why did you use IE?
    Haha! Lots of comments on this. I used it because it was there - remember, we clean install for our benchmarks, so unless the test involves browsers we don't bother investing time installing anything else. For the record I feel dirty and violated having opened the software, but you should all know that my personal PC has both Firefox and Chrome installed. :) 

    Hope that clarifies things!

    - Don Woligroski

    ****END OF EDIT BY TOM'S HARDWARE****
  • 11 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 9, 2013 9:38 PM
    Any particular reason why only the 2500K was overclocked in the CPU benchmarks and why the FX-4170 was benchmarked in place of the 4300 or 6300?
Other Comments
  • 29 Hide
    corvetteguy1994 , October 9, 2013 9:21 PM
    My system is good to go!


    ****EDIT BY TOM'S HARDWARE****

    Sorry, corvetteguy, you're the first so I'm going to hijack your post to answer some common questions:

    - Why didn't you mention mantle?
    I probably *should* have mentioned it, but at this point it seems a little early. We don't know that much about it and we don't even know exactly when it arrives. Rest assured, when Mantle is rolled out we will cover it!

    - Why did you use a Titan in the CPU tests instead of the dual-GPU 690 or 7990?
    Dual-GPU performance can be tricky, and without FCAT working, I didn't want to report potential pie-in-the-sky FRAPS performance that is difficult to verify. Titan is the fastest single GPU card we have.

    - Why no FX-6000 CPU?
    We benched the FX-4170 and FX-8350. The FX-6000 will be in between, there wasn't a colossal spread so it seems pretty straightforward.

    - For the love of everything good and pure, why did you use IE?
    Haha! Lots of comments on this. I used it because it was there - remember, we clean install for our benchmarks, so unless the test involves browsers we don't bother investing time installing anything else. For the record I feel dirty and violated having opened the software, but you should all know that my personal PC has both Firefox and Chrome installed. :) 

    Hope that clarifies things!

    - Don Woligroski

    ****END OF EDIT BY TOM'S HARDWARE****
  • 5 Hide
    CaptainTom , October 9, 2013 9:23 PM
    Looks about right. My 7970 @ 1165/1805 gets 50-60+ FPS. But no quad core i7's?
  • 11 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 9, 2013 9:38 PM
    Any particular reason why only the 2500K was overclocked in the CPU benchmarks and why the FX-4170 was benchmarked in place of the 4300 or 6300?
  • 4 Hide
    BigMack70 , October 9, 2013 9:38 PM
    Would love to see some more detailed CPU benchmarks on a full 64 man conquest server once the game comes out... from some other data out there it looks possible that BF4 multiplayer is the first game to actually benefit from Hyperthreaded i7s over their i5 counterparts.

    In 64 man conquest games, doing a FRAPS benchmark of an entire 30 minute round, I got a minimum framerate of 42, average of 74, and max of 118 on my rig (4.8 GHz 2600k || 780 SLI @ 1100/1500 || 16GB DDR3 2133c11) at 1440p with all settings maxed and 120 fov.

    Also interesting to see 2GB cards struggling at high res on this game. I really didn't think we'd see that so soon, given that the 780/Titan/7950/7970 are the only cards yet released with >2GB standard memory.
  • -2 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , October 9, 2013 9:44 PM
    Weird that there is absolutely no mention of Mantle when BF4 is going to be the first game to implement it.

    Obviously, we will need a follow up article to see what effect Mantle has with GCN enabled Radeons, including APUs, when BF4 gets patched.
  • 4 Hide
    BigMack70 , October 9, 2013 9:48 PM
    Why would they mention Mantle in an article about beta performance?
  • 2 Hide
    loops , October 9, 2013 9:55 PM
    I have an 2500k and an 7870xt (7930). As long as I dont max out AA I tend to be able to play at 45-50 fps with a mix of high/ultra on 1080p/ 24" screen.

    But not matter what, each time that main building is blown up I loss at least 5 fps for the rest of the round and have big time fps/lag spikes.

    Imo you want an 7970/280x and a quad core to be able to play smooth.

    Also, I hear a lot about vram...what is the feed back on 2 gigs vs 3 ?
  • -2 Hide
    smeezekitty , October 9, 2013 10:00 PM
    I think they focused too much on the bottom end cards (6450, 210). I think anybody that has less than a 6670 probably won't be buying BF4.

    I also wish they tested a Radeon and Geforce card that would be considered equal to see how it performs by brand.
  • 0 Hide
    nevilence , October 9, 2013 10:01 PM
    I have a 7770 and an i5, runs pretty clean on high, wouldnt want to bump up to ultra though, that would likely suck
  • 4 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 9, 2013 10:03 PM
    Quote:
    Weird that there is absolutely no mention of Mantle when BF4 is going to be the first game to implement it.


    Considering that mantle wont be available until December, why would it be mentioned? Especially considering the fact that none of the "new" AMD GPUs were included in the benchmarks...
  • 4 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 9, 2013 10:18 PM
    Quote:
    Why did you use a Titan for the CPU benchmarks when you have the GTX 690 / HD7990 delivering ~30% more FPS?


    Because the whole purpose is to test the CPU, not the GPU so it wouldn't matter what GPU there was it was to show where the game stands on CPU cores which it looks like 2 cores 4 threads is not enough really.
  • -5 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , October 9, 2013 10:22 PM
    Quote:
    Why would they mention Mantle in an article about beta performance?


    Quote:
    Quote:
    Weird that there is absolutely no mention of Mantle when BF4 is going to be the first game to implement it.


    Considering that mantle wont be available until December, why would it be mentioned? Especially considering the fact that none of the "new" AMD GPUs were included in the benchmarks...


    Cool your jets, people. I didn't say anything about getting performance numbers that are Mantle related or anything. I'm just surprised that it went unmentioned in a BF4 performance article with all of the buzz surrounding Mantle.
  • 0 Hide
    Kingpin007 , October 9, 2013 10:23 PM
    Come on. I have a FX-6100 @ 3.5Ghz and a Radeon 7850 2GB with 4 GB RAM and I get like 17-20 FPS at 1280x720 low detail preset... Its extremely frustrating.
  • 2 Hide
    RooD , October 9, 2013 10:29 PM
    No 780 benchmark, I'm sure it is around 55fps?
  • -2 Hide
    jamger , October 9, 2013 10:31 PM
    lol all that ''hd7990 sucks'' we had few months ago, and look what that thing can do, seems like the higher the ress the better and smooth it goes. i have to systems ATM and i cant even start the game. a i7 3930k + titan sli and a fx 3820 7970 cross both with windows 8 i dont see why i cant start it... it stays on loading screen and then gets stuck. im guessing its my OS? idk.
  • 6 Hide
    enewmen , October 9, 2013 10:33 PM
    Quote:
    I think they focused too much on the bottom end cards (6450, 210). I think anybody that has less than a 6670 probably won't be buying BF4.


    Happy to see low-end cards where tested. This at least gives me an idea on what notebooks are capable of.
  • 2 Hide
    itzsnypah , October 9, 2013 11:00 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Why did you use a Titan for the CPU benchmarks when you have the GTX 690 / HD7990 delivering ~30% more FPS?


    Because the whole purpose is to test the CPU, not the GPU so it wouldn't matter what GPU there was it was to show where the game stands on CPU cores which it looks like 2 cores 4 threads is not enough really.


    Don explicitly stated the CPU test was GPU bound on the high end. Why would you create a GPU bottleneck in a CPU test?!?! The only thing it does is artificially limit the i5 and i7 making lesser chips look better in comparison.
  • -7 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 9, 2013 11:04 PM
    The CPU tests is interesting. I wonder what exactly is being processed on the CPU that needs so many cores. Is it something that can (and should) be done on the GPU, but is just being done on the CPU for the sake of "MOAR Multithreading" >

    Also, where are the Mantle tests ?
  • -4 Hide
    Narcissistic_Martyr , October 9, 2013 11:13 PM
    I can't help but notice that there's no overclocked fx8350 benchmark in the CPU test and that at stock speeds the fx8350 has a better minimum than the i5 2500k. I don't want to allege bias or anything but it seems like the overclocked fx8350 benchmarks would be beneficial for comparison's sake.
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