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Battlefield 3 was obviously limited by the performance of our Radeon HD 7970 the last time we tested it. As such, we don’t expect our choice in processors to have much effect on the frame rates of our configurations. In the first round, our target is a 30 FPS minimum frame rate:
Only AMD's Radeon HD 5570 has to be forced under 1080p to hit our minimum target; we set it to run at 1280x720. Every other graphics card achieves our goal at 1920x1080.
And, as expected, there is little to no difference between CPUs as we step up from entry-level to mid-range graphics setups. The Core i3-2100 does manage a marginal lead with AMD's Radeon HD 6770, but nothing you'd notice during game play.
Unfortunately, while we see minimum frame rates that look good, the averages are very close to 30 FPS, too. So, let’s aim for a 40 FPS minimum and closer to 60 FPS average and see what happens.
This time we had to drop the Radeon HD 5570 to 800x600 to achieve our target. The Radeon HD 6770 dips to 1680x1050. Both the Radeon HD 6850 and 6950 are able to handle 1080p.
Even at our lower settings, the choice of CPU doesn't affect the outcome in an appreciable way. In fact, the FX-4100 scores marginally better using the Radeon HD 6850, although the advantage is not significant. Overall, we're not surprised by the outcome of our Battlefield 3 charts. After all, even AMD's powerful Radeon HD 7970 couldn't shift enough of the game's workload to our CPUs to expose a weak link.