Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards, Benchmarked

Benchmark Results: AMD Graphics Cards, Post-Process And MSAA

In AMD’s Battlefield 3 documentation, the company makes a big deal about the difference between the Anti-Aliasing Post and Anti-Aliasing Deferred options, which toggle on and off Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing and Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing, respectively. Both features do different things, but have very disparate effects on performance.

It’s easy to see why AMD is so concerned with the use of Anti-Aliasing Deferred: it imparts a massive frame rate drop, which takes a card like the Radeon HD 6970 that might be playable at 2560x1600, or a Radeon HD 5850 at 1920x1080, and beats performance back quite a bit. Anti-Aliasing Post, on the other hand, though not always an effective approach, barely touches speed.

Perhaps more worrying for AMD is that, while the GeForce cards are also hit pretty hard by MSAA, the impact is far less detrimental. At no point does the addition of 4x MSAA take an Nvidia board from playable to unplayable (aside from maybe the GeForce GTX 285 at 1680x1050). AMD can’t say the same.

You’re at least safe turning Anti-Aliasing Post to High on AMD’s cards. Whether you want to mess with MSAA depends on how much performance you have “in reserve” to throw at eye candy.

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  • kyosuke
    pffft. My HD 6870 handles Ultra maxed just fine!
  • jrnyfan
    Great review, thank you very much!
  • great review. but I am curious if a gtx 560ti can run ultra on a playable fps? because I am about to buy one :D
  • orellius
    nevermind my comment about 560 Ti, I see it in the benchmarks (high) but it is not on the main page list of cards (missed putting it there?) (yes, I used the search feature in my browser, no 560 to speak of)
  • orellius
    blah, I guess my first comment didnt come through, nevermind then! ha
  • spentshells
    Wow does it look good, I played the demo on Xbox did it ever look dumb
  • m0th2
    sirus3020great review. but I am curious if a gtx 560ti can run ultra on a playable fps? because I am about to buy one


    Without any form of AA you can run it on ultra and get over 30fps on every map @ 1920x1080 easily (over 60 when close quarters). Depends on your cpu and if you OC your gpu though. i have mine at 940/2100 and its always above 40fps.
  • kcorp2003
    AWESOME! thank you very much for this. looks like i wont have to upgrade my CPU then. i have HD4870 and i play this on medium settings but still i want the ultra settings. :)
  • aznshinobi
    Great read, lovely to see a wide assortment tested, specially my 5850. Thanks for taking the time Chris, I'm sure it must've taken FOREVER to bench and swap all those cards.
  • canadian87
    Frikkin' finally, now I can upgrade safely. :)
  • alhanelem
    looks like my e8500 and gtx 460 can pull through this game (hopefully)
  • I run BF3 in 1920x1080 ultra MSAA4x with my X4 955+HD5770 and it works fine. Playable 30fps :D
  • the torso
    running x fire 6950's and besting 78FPS avg fps on ultra, i5 2500k W/ Thank God no problems with multi GPU
  • saratj1
    For anyone interested I get
    min - 21 Fps
    Max - 71 Fps
    Avg - 41.2 Fps
    Everything maxed at 1080P
    I7-2600k @ 4.3 + Sapphire 6950 2gb Flashed to 6970 with stock clocks 880 1250
  • saratj1
    For anyone interested I get
    min - 21 Fps
    Max - 71 Fps
    Avg - 41.2 Fps
    Everything maxed at 1080P
    I7-2600k @ 4.3 + Sapphire 6950 2gb Flashed to 6970 with stock clocks 880 1250
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Great article and I love that picture with a pile of graphics cards :D Just one obvious thing missing: WHERE ARE SLI 560 Tis??? I was kind of considering picking up a second card for this game... come on, I'm sick of Tom's ignoring that card so often.

    Though I think my 560 Ti still doesn't need a pair if I tone down the settings a tiny bit :) Good to see that. And yet I hear the game looks great... kudos to DICE for optimizing the game nicely!

    Also, 6950 kicked the 560 Ti nicely in this game :D

    P.S. So the FX 8150 now has a Phenom name tag on it? :)
  • cangelini
    amk-aka-phantomGreat article and I love that picture with a pile of graphics cards Just one obvious thing missing: WHERE ARE SLI 560 Tis??? I was kind of considering picking up a second card for this game... come on, I'm sick of Tom's ignoring that card so often.Though I think my 560 Ti still doesn't need a pair if I tone down the settings a tiny bit Good to see that. And yet I hear the game looks great... kudos to DICE for optimizing the game nicely! Also, 6950 kicked the 560 Ti nicely in this game P.S. So the FX 8150 now has a Phenom name tag on it?


    I actually don't even have two 560 Tis to show you, unfortunately.

    Phenom? FX? Where? =)
  • amirp
    Hey Chris, quick question, did you notice any micro-stuttering with the 6870 cards in crossfire? (kind of like that previous article that was up on toms a while ago). The performance of 6870x2 seems amazing for the price, and am really tempted to pick another one up for my system.
  • cangelini
    aznshinobiGreat read, lovely to see a wide assortment tested, specially my 5850. Thanks for taking the time Chris, I'm sure it must've taken FOREVER to bench and swap all those cards.


    Very welcome, glad you enjoyed it. Didn't take forever, just four very long days ;-)
  • sentinelspark
    Okay how is the HD5850 better than the HD6850. The HD6850 has better memory clock speeds. I was able to play the game in 1080p and AAx2 and all but two on ultra high, and i was getting 35fps average. I am calling Bulls**t on this one.
  • Gamer-girl
    Quote:
    Processor-wise, it doesn’t really matter. I could pick an AMD FX, an Intel Core i3, or a Core i7 and get the same performance.


    Surprising since some people where saying how BF3 was CPU intensive...
  • wolfram23
    Man I wish my 5850s scaled like the 6xxx series! Still, looks like I'll get to play on Ultra given my OCs :D

    Thanks Chris and Toms!

    (PS: Maybe you could send me one of those spare GTX 590s??)
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    cangeliniI actually don't even have two 560 Tis to show you, unfortunately. Phenom? FX? Where? =)


    What? You don't have two 560 Tis??? That's blasphemy! :D

    Phenom FX? Why, right here....



    EDIT: Chris >>>>> Wolfgang
  • E6700 non OC with 460 GTX gets no huge FPS drops mostly in the 40fps range.

    I'm sure I'd get +10 fps if I got some new fancy CPU but looks like I'll do just fine for now until I get some money!