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Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards, Benchmarked

Test Setup And Sequence

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) 3.4 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core i3-2105 (Sandy Bridge) 3.1 GHz (31 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core i7-875K (Lynnfield) 2.93 GHz (22 * 133 MHz), LGA 1156, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core i3-530 (Clarkdale) 2.93 GHz, LGA 1156, 4 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled
AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 3.6 GHz (18 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3+, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardAsus P8Z68-V Pro (LGA 1155) Intel Z68 Express, BIOS 0801
Asus Maximus III Formula (LGA 1156) Intel P55 Express, BIOS 2001
Asus Crosshair V Formula (Socket AM3+) AMD 990FX/SB950, BIOS 0813
MemoryCrucial 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR3-1333, MT16JTF1G64AZ-1G4D1 @ 1.65 V
G.Skill 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-2133, F3-17000CL9Q-16BZH @ 1.65 V
Hard DriveIntel SSD 510 250 GB, SATA 6Gb/s
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 6950 2 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 5970 2 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 5870 1 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 6870 1 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 5850 1 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 5770 1 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 5750 1 GB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 4870 512 MB GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 4850 512 MB GDDR3
AMD Radeon HD 4770 512 MB GDDR5
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 512 MB GDDR4
AMD Radeon HD 5570 512 MB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3 GB GDDR5
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB GDDR5
Asus GeForce GTX 570 1.25 GB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 1.5 GB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1.25 GB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1 GB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 1 GB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTX 295  896 MB GDDR3 * 2
BFG GeForce GTX 285 1 GB GDDR3
Zotac GeForce GTX 275 896 MB GDDR3
Zotac GeForce GTX 260 896 MB GDDR3
BFG GeForce GTS 250 1 GB GDDR3
BFG GeForce 9800 GTX 512 MB GDDR3
Asus GeForce 8500 GT 256 MB DDR3
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 11.10 Preview 3
Nvidia GeForce Release 285.62

The video clip above demonstrates the short sequence used for benchmarking. It's not the most demanding segment of Battlefield 3 I've seen thus far, nor is it necessarily the most representative of single-player game play (and certainly not multi-player). However, after a couple of hundred runs, I know it's consistent.

That makes this system precise, but not necessarily accurate, so its validity could certainly be called into question. The challenge in a game like this, which doesn't offer the timedemo functionality purportedly made available to IHVs, but not press, is that nailing both precision and accuracy then becomes very difficult due to Fraps-based testing of actual sequences. While not perfect, what we have here is, at the very least, great for relativistic comparisons.

  • kyosuke
    pffft. My HD 6870 handles Ultra maxed just fine!
    Reply
  • jrnyfan
    Great review, thank you very much!
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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)
    Reply
  • orellius
    blah, I guess my first comment didnt come through, nevermind then! ha
    Reply
  • spentshells
    Wow does it look good, I played the demo on Xbox did it ever look dumb
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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. :)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • canadian87
    Frikkin' finally, now I can upgrade safely. :)
    Reply