Battlefield 1 was a blast to play at launch and it remains immensely popular months later, thanks in part to an engaging single-player campaign, varied multi-player locations supporting up to 64 players, and plans to add new content through four downloadable expansions.
As far as performance goes, we’re impressed by the title’s scalability across varying hardware configurations. Most gamers can stick with the Low, Medium, High, and Ultra presets to dial in the best frame rate on their PCs. However, there’s a Custom option for fine-tuning, too.
Stretching back three generations of GPUs, it’s almost always possible to find some combination of settings that yields playable performance. Our data only turned up a handful of exceptions.
The lowest-end cards we tested were AMD’s Radeon HD 7790 and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 760. The Radeon did struggle at the beginning of our benchmark sequence as its modest FX-8320-based platform struggled to keep up. But eventually, even the Medium preset proved playable at 1920x1080. The GeForce started much stronger, but seemingly ran out of memory partway through the test and fell to ~30 FPS. Battlefield’s official minimum requirements call for a 2GB GeForce GTX 660, but that’d only work at lower resolutions. FHD wants more.
At the other end of the spectrum, 3840x2160 and the Ultra preset are enough to keep a Titan X or GeForce GTX 1080 Ti between 50 and 60 FPS on a fairly high-end PC. AMD doesn’t even have a card capable of cutting through those settings smoothly (yet).
EA’s minimum CPU requirement is an FX-6350 or Core i5-6600K. Our data from the single-player campaign shows that Battlefield 1 needs at least four physical or logical cores. Beyond that, higher-end CPUs help mitigate frame time spikes better than the mainstream platform we tested. We also know from experience (though it’s significantly harder to illustrate using charts) that the multi-player experience is much more processor-intensive. So, if your primary attraction to the Battlefield franchise is squad play on big maps, direct more of your budget to a fast CPU.
Several other Frostbite 3-based games have launched since Battlefield 1 debuted, including Mass Effect: Andromeda. The engine is an important one to characterize, no doubt about it. And with those hundreds of benchmark runs under our belt and a better idea of what to expect from the hardware in our library, it’s time to get some actual game time in.
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