Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3
Performance Target: 30 FPS Minimum
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.
Performance Target: 40 FPS Minimum, 60 FPS Average
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.
So if you need a new system and can't afford an i5, just buy a cheap 1155 SB as a placeholder until you can . Like the conclusion states, the upgrade path is there -- I just think that if it's a temporary step, you might as well save $60 to $80 if you're upgrading in the next 4 months anyway. You'd be surprised how fast the SB budget parts are, and they're fast enough to get you through till IB.
It would be nice if they through Civ 5 or MW3 in but at least on the FPS front, I think BF3 has a bigger following on the PC and the same thing goes for Skyrim. Not sure how many people are still playing Just Cause 2 though. In either case, I think this has more to do with being able to compare these results to the results from past benchmarks they've run.
The line graph is better way to show it's behaviour over a period of time rather than a flat average, which doesn't explain frequent dips or long stretches of smooth gameplay in fps and such.
A very informative and realistic article, nice work Tom's. Lets hope AMD has something with piledriver.
If DC Sandy Bridges could be unlocked, they would be so good for gaming.