TechSpot: Battlefield 3 GPU & CPU Performance Test

Earlier this month we checked out the beta version of Battlefield 3 to see how it played on a range of DirectX 11 graphics cards. The results were concerning as even the latest and greatest graphics cards struggled, especially those who planned to enjoy the game in all of its visual glory.

The good news is that only one month later reviewers in general are finding the final game to be quite enjoyable and considerably more polished than the beta. Our Product Finder has listed 11 reviews of the game so far, with a wide majority giving positive impressions and a very optimistic 92/100 metascore.

As before, BF3's developer DICE recommends a quad-core CPU be used along with 4GB of system memory. Suggested graphics cards start with the GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950, meaning that gamers will want to spend $200+ on a modern GPU to appreciate Battlefield 3. Today we'll take a peak at what's required to play Battlefield 3 as we test a number of GPU and CPU configurations.

Read: Battlefield 3 GPU & CPU Performance Test

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

HP CEO confirms Windows 8 tablet plans

Next Story

Windows Phone 7 Mango update delivered to all eligible phones

27 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

AMD 965 x4, Radeon 5870 running all ULTRA with 2x MSAA at 40 FPS.

That isn't an expensive build and I can run the game as good as it gets fine.

SPARTdAN said,
AMD 965 x4, Radeon 5870 running all ULTRA with 2x MSAA at 40 FPS.

That isn't an expensive build and I can run the game as good as it gets fine.

turn off MSAA and you should gain an extra 20~25fps even AMD recommend not to use it

This is sad considering that the system requirements seem to be artificially inflated if you compare with console hardware.

Udedenkz said,
This is sad considering that the system requirements seem to be artificially inflated if you compare with console hardware.

consoles also look like crap compared to what pc's are capable of. PC>>>.........>Console

SirEvan said,

consoles also look like crap compared to what pc's are capable of. PC>>>.........>Console

There is still no logical reason for such high system requirements, unless the game has... I don't know 16 time more polygons and 16 times higher texture resolutions that is console counterpart?
Consoles are weak little sh!ts and as much the game should be optimized to run smooth on such low-end hardware, it just seems no one bothers porting games properly. Not to imply that I care about that game itself, I do not.

Udedenkz said,

There is still no logical reason for such high system requirements, unless the game has... I don't know 16 time more polygons and 16 times higher texture resolutions that is console counterpart?
Consoles are weak little sh!ts and as much the game should be optimized to run smooth on such low-end hardware, it just seems no one bothers porting games properly. Not to imply that I care about that game itself, I do not.

How about much bigger MP maps and 64 player matches? Hilarious processing power was the reason console hurrdurr play in 24 player matches only.

You are crying about the recommended specs for enjoying the high quality settings. The minimum specs are significantly lower, just means you have to turn the resolution and quality settings down.

Playing on my laptop, with everything on low but the resolution up to 1366x768, the game still looks awesome and pretty impressive with veyr nice FPS. AMD Fusion A6 3410MX crossfireX with 6750m.

I run this game on my Core2Duo E6600/2.4GHz, 4GB of RAM and with a Nvidia GTX275.
Run this game at 1920x1080 resolution with all detail to medium and I think the game is really nice. Little glitch but run smooth.

I'm running this on a Q9650@3Ghz and a Nvidia 570 using Ultra settings with just MSAA and motion blur disabled. Getting between 45-60FPS, more than playable. Fix a few annoying bugs and I'll be playing this for months on end.

This is the reason I play on my PS3 or Xbox360. The system specs needed to play these latest games are crazy! I have what I rate as a "good" PC and it really struggles with new games, which means turning down the graphics settings and ruining the experience.

I don't understand that. You need a PC from about 3 - 4 years ago to match the power of a PS3 or Xbox360 so how does this make the PC more expensive. It just means the PC is much better and well it is. If you want console graphics turn BF3 down to medium and play at a low resolution like 1280x800, then you have the console version, albeit a version that will play much better thanks to the mouse and keyboard.

Battlefield does not scale well because these video card makers pay the developers so they can sell video cards. My PC is Q6600 and 9800GTX+ yet it struggles in Battlefield and looks horrible. There is no optimization for older hardware but the game is optmized perfectly for console hardware.

Deihmos said,
My PC is Q6600 and 9800GTX+ yet it struggles in Battlefield and looks horrible. .

Well duh, you've got an old ass card. My 260 SSC card can play the game just fine. I have to turn the graphics down a little, but i got at least 25-30 fps in the beta. I've got the q6600 as well, no issues here. I do plan on getting a better card though for this game, but it doesn't look horrible. You should get a newer-than-3,4-year-old-card

Guth said,
which means turning down the graphics settings and ruining the experience.

What ?

You do realise that even tuned down BF3 will look better on PC than 360 and PS3 right ?

So going by your logic you the experience on 360 should be ruined.

This kind of comment which should not be controversial always finds an audience. PC elitists can not let this go without telling you how much better it is on PC and that you should spend the money on a new PC to "play it right."
Anyway, I am fortunate enough to have a nice top of the line PC so I bought it for PC but if I had your system, I'd most definitely buy it for Xbox. In fact, I am actually thinking I should have because most everyone on Xbox has voice and you can effectively coordinate with it unlike the PC version.

Right it should not be controversial when you say something stupid like this is why I don't play on PC because the system specs are crazy. Again you do not need an elite PC to match the performance of an Xbox 360 or PS3.

On the PS3 Battlefield 3 runs at just 1360x768 at 30fps using what is comparable to medium quality settings. To achieve this on PC you need a $100 graphics card.

If you are going to argue that first person shooters are better on Xbox than PC I might as well give up now anyway. I also had a good chuckle about your team speak comment as well.

swright said,

If you are going to argue that first person shooters are better on Xbox than PC I might as well give up now anyway. I also had a good chuckle about your team speak comment as well.

I have had three year old systems in the past and guess what? Games did not scale down very well at all. I am really not convinced that BF3 will run with playable frame rates on his system.
I have played a lot of BF3 over the last few days and either BF3 does not support voice or no body uses it. I don't see what is funny about this fact. Oh, you mean to tell me that I am doing it wrong, I need to join a clan and rent a ventrillo server? Man, PC gaming is expensive if you want to "do it right."

Deihmos said,
Battlefield does not scale well because these video card makers pay the developers so they can sell video cards. My PC is Q6600 and 9800GTX+ yet it struggles in Battlefield and looks horrible. There is no optimization for older hardware but the game is optmized perfectly for console hardware.

Its very GPU bound, Im running a q66 and a 570GTX and the game flies at everything @high/x16aa @1050@1080p

SirEvan said,

Well duh, you've got an old ass card. My 260 SSC card can play the game just fine. I have to turn the graphics down a little, but i got at least 25-30 fps in the beta. I've got the q6600 as well, no issues here. I do plan on getting a better card though for this game, but it doesn't look horrible. You should get a newer-than-3,4-year-old-card


Yep a 9800 GTX+ from 2008 is an old ass card hence the reason the majority prefer xbox and ps3 rather than buying a new video card every 2 years.

LaP said,

What ?

You do realise that even tuned down BF3 will look better on PC than 360 and PS3 right ?

So going by your logic you the experience on 360 should be ruined.


That is completely false. The Xbox 360 scales well while PC games do not. Turning down my resolution from the default 1900x1200 looks terrible and so do the graphics. Nvidia and ATI wants to sell video cards.

Deihmos said,

Yep a 9800 GTX+ from 2008 is an old ass card hence the reason the majority prefer xbox and ps3 rather than buying a new video card every 2 years.
No. Consoles have more users cause of their simplicity. You don't need any level of intelligence to use a console. just toss in a disc and go, no need to think.

Also, spec wise the Geforce 9800 GTX is basically an overclocked 8800gts 512. Which means it is a 4 year old card. And if you expect great performance from 2011's most demanding titles on a card from 2007 then i'm sorry but, you're an idiot.

Well I meet the memory requirement. That's about it though lol.
Edit:
From what I can tell from the article, if you want high res ultra quality settings, you'll need a multi-gpu setup with current cards today. That's way too expensive for most people.

juanmix said,
It seems nowadays games are less cpu dependant. So I think i will stick to my q9550 for some time

Try Civ V. That's completely CPU dependant. It eats my dual core for breakfast.

juanmix said,
It seems nowadays games are less cpu dependant. So I think i will stick to my q9550 for some time

I am in the same boat, was thinking of doing an upgrade, but I think I will be good. Will wait for Sandy Bridge E I think........