Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Performance and IQ Review @ [H]

Makaveli@BETA

2[H]4U
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Mar 24, 2004
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"Obviously, we make every effort to not use CPU limited games for video card evaluations, but the i7-920 at 3.6GHz seems to put many peoples’ minds at ease when it comes to that subject."

Not sure if this is still true.

I'm aware the single player has no CPU scaling but I was under the impression the multiplayer (with a large amount of players) was different. Skyrim also seems to improve with newer CPUs (i7-3960X) although not with more cores.

New CPU for gaming reviews please.

This isn't an AMD cpu chill out!
 

linuxfueled

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
88
Specs:
I7 920 @ 3.9Ghz (4.299Ghz HT OFF) Water cooled Fully stable under prime 8 threads
SLI GTX460s Water cooled independently
12 GSkill RAM
Asus P6T Deluxe V1.0
RAID 0+1 2TB
FIOS 35/35 Connection

I'm running HT ON with no problems after today's patch. Game play is hit and miss and varies server to server. Default settings are 85-135 FPS. Explosions and sounds are incredible.

It could be an awesome game if it were not for:

Constant server disconnects from EA and game servers, it's random.
Hacks and exploits are everywhere ruining servers to the point everyone leaves.
Random not starts of the game

DO NOT BUY!!!
 
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Forceman

[H]F Junkie
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Aug 7, 2005
Messages
9,243
For one... "Wrong" shadows on the wall behind the dumpster - invented by SSAO,
and the subtle job HBAO done with the same dumpster.

Also much better effect on the right wooden palette by HBAO

I don't know. Looks pretty subtle to me. Certainly not worth the performance hit that HBAO costs over SSAO, at least for me.
 

HohnyF

Gawd
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
645
See here... There's even some artifacting with SSAO
Ultra and High is with HBAO

ambient-occlusion.jpg
 

fausto412

Limp Gawd
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Oct 8, 2009
Messages
461
"We can also use NVIDIA's new AA technology, FXAA or Antialiasing Post setting, which on "high" provides identical picture quality compared to 4X MSAA with hardly any impact on performance. "

problem with that statement...FXAA is BF3 is not identical to MSAA. FXAA alone introduces a slight blurriness to the scene. Some of us are sensitive to that. I turned it off.

Also, I don't know what's the deal with AMD but they gotta get their driver shit together. This has been a disaster for AMD. I have a good mind to sell my 6990, 5870 and 6850 just to get an nvidia 590 to play this game without stuttering.
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
254
i really think you guys should also do SLI tests on less than the highest end cards because many people like myself already had 1 560 Ti and its more cost effective to get 2 and do SLI than it is to buy a higher end video card and get lower frame rates than what 2 560 Ti's can produce in multiplayer :)
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
254
bf3 is not a cpu limited game. as long as you have 2 or more cores you will be limited by the gpu.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graphics-performance,3063-13.html

this isnt skyrim.

you are flat out wrong, i HAD a C2Q Q8200 running at 2.8ghz, i got BF3 and due to poor reviews stating that this game is not cpu reliant simply because they didn't test CPU's that are not on the market today i figured my poor frame rates in multiplayer even with lowest settings was because my 560 Ti couldn't keep up. due to this and it was not just [H] that reported this, many other high profile review sites did as well so i trusted my CPU should be fine as it has been with everything i've played recently anyways i took the plunge and got another 560 Ti to run SLI. result of this upgrade was zero performance increase. i said wow. started reading up on other people experiences on forums and using the games built in performance graph to see that my CPU was a MAJOR frame rate bottleneck so i went out and got an i5-2500k. after that upgrade my minimum frame rates doubled when just running 1 560 Ti and they nearly quadrupled with SLI turned on!

this is not an isolated experience, friends of mine have also done CPU upgrades to get the game performance up as well because the game is highly CPU dependent to an extent depending on what settings you run, if i run low 1920 x 1080, my CPU is still the slower component according to the games performance monitor.
 

Makaveli@BETA

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you are flat out wrong, i HAD a C2Q Q8200 running at 2.8ghz, i got BF3 and due to poor reviews stating that this game is not cpu reliant simply because they didn't test CPU's that are not on the market today i figured my poor frame rates in multiplayer even with lowest settings was because my 560 Ti couldn't keep up. due to this and it was not just [H] that reported this, many other high profile review sites did as well so i trusted my CPU should be fine as it has been with everything i've played recently anyways i took the plunge and got another 560 Ti to run SLI. result of this upgrade was zero performance increase. i said wow. started reading up on other people experiences on forums and using the games built in performance graph to see that my CPU was a MAJOR frame rate bottleneck so i went out and got an i5-2500k. after that upgrade my minimum frame rates doubled when just running 1 560 Ti and they nearly quadrupled with SLI turned on!

this is not an isolated experience, friends of mine have also done CPU upgrades to get the game performance up as well because the game is highly CPU dependent to an extent depending on what settings you run, if i run low 1920 x 1080, my CPU is still the slower component according to the games performance monitor.

I totally believe this.

People saying this game will run on a Dual core cpu are talking about single player.

BF3 is not playable multiplayer with anything less than a quad core anyone that says otherwise is lying!
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
254
I totally believe this.

People saying this game will run on a Dual core cpu are talking about single player.

BF3 is not playable multiplayer with anything less than a quad core anyone that says otherwise is lying!


a quad core with a fast FPU. Core 2 Quads are too slow and are a bottleneck on the game big time.
 

Bumrush

Limp Gawd
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Kyle,
Why no mid range Crossfire or SLI tests? I'd love to see how my 6870's compare to 6970's in crossfire.. A lot of people are stuck with either one 6870 or 560 and it would make sense to give them an idea of the performance they could expect with two cards.. Just my two cents. Thanks for the awesome review.
 

stiltner

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
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Frankly, today's patch fixed the 2 issues I have had with the game since launch.

1.) Eyefinity was busted, simple as that. It would not display my menu's properly, so I had to drop to only using a single monitor, even in Windows because of this, fixed.
2.) Green flashes across my screen after a good solid 3-5 hours of play sometimes, others after 30-40 minutes. I drop out of the game, and restart and it'd cease for awhile. So far tonight I have not seen it yet

They fucked up this though: Set player start to 4. My lonely little SQDM server is gonna die on the vine because of that. its hard getting a server to go when you don't have a large pool to pull from. Battlelog hates my server, even when it shows as the best ping, it doesn't show up reliably.

Fantastic review, and I can assure you, their #'s were spot on and I can say that mine were within reasonable up and down ranges same as you on the AMD side.
 

Finger

Limp Gawd
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I know that criticisms of methodology are not terribly welcome and all, but I just don't see the point in leaving SSAO or antialiasing on (yes, even FXAA) in multiplayer mode, especially when your frame rates are dipping down to 45 like this article showed on the 560Ti. For a competitive FPS, dropping any detail that doesn't help kill people seems to be the best idea long-term, and a high frame rate certainly would help. I consider 60fps to be much closer to the minimum than to an average when I'm in the market to buy PC gaming hardware for something like BF3 multiplayer, and I have to look at other sites' reviews to get the information I want.

I guess that's not that big a deal, but I just wish I could get everything I needed from the good ol' [H].
 

Forceman

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I know that criticisms of methodology are not terribly welcome and all, but I just don't see the point in leaving SSAO or antialiasing on (yes, even FXAA) in multiplayer mode, especially when your frame rates are dipping down to 45 like this article showed on the 560Ti. For a competitive FPS, dropping any detail that doesn't help kill people seems to be the best idea long-term, and a high frame rate certainly would help.

Some people play to enjoy the game, which includes sound and visuals, not just to get stats.
 

Hornet

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I would love to hear yalls opinions on hyperthreading in BF3. I've read several people complaining about stutter on X58 platforms being resolved by disabling hyperthreading. I believe Brent commented that it made no difference in the singleplayer test comments. I personally don't notice any stutter on sandybridge regardless of hyperthreading being on/off. Are yall still planning on running some eyefinity benchmarks in the future?

So far, for my system at least, the horrendous stuttering only appears if I switch to windowed mode and back. Sometimes if something pop up in the background while I was playing, the game switched to windowed mode. When I switched back, it begins to stutter and I have to leave the game and rejoin again.

Anyway the patch released yesterday stated that they've fix a certain stuttering issue on nVidia cards. We'll see if it helps.
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
254
I know that criticisms of methodology are not terribly welcome and all, but I just don't see the point in leaving SSAO or antialiasing on (yes, even FXAA) in multiplayer mode, especially when your frame rates are dipping down to 45 like this article showed on the 560Ti. For a competitive FPS, dropping any detail that doesn't help kill people seems to be the best idea long-term, and a high frame rate certainly would help. I consider 60fps to be much closer to the minimum than to an average when I'm in the market to buy PC gaming hardware for something like BF3 multiplayer, and I have to look at other sites' reviews to get the information I want.

I guess that's not that big a deal, but I just wish I could get everything I needed from the good ol' [H].


I agree and that is why i play at 1920 x 1080 low settings across the board, its not because my pc can't handle more, its because the game is the smoothest when your getting over 60 fps 24/7 and im usually getting at least 90-100 fps at the worst.
 

Bahanime

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BF3 punishes CPU way harder in 64 player MP than SP.

Definitely re-examine CPU speed if possible, just a short article, SB @ 5ghz vs i920 @ 3.6ghz.
 

technogiant

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I'm not a fan of post process AA, it blurs the image, you can see that occuring on the screen shots of the vegetation in the fore ground.
When are they going to bring out higher resolution screens? 24 inch with a 2560X1600 would be nice and the smaller pixel size would reduce the eye's ability to notice the aliasing.
 

Saxie

Weaksauce
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Well, you just lost another reader imbecile... flaming your audience is brilliant. By all means continue...

Well... Hell hes kinda right. They could review every bloody card from GTX590/6990 all the way down to a ATi 8500 and a TNT2, and someone will still be ticked off and ask if they could try different ram timings lol. You've got people complaining about gameplay..... and he's reviewing the hardware.

You've been on this forum for over 4 years and you're still this sensitive??
 

Bahanime

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I'm not a fan of post process AA, it blurs the image, you can see that occuring on the screen shots of the vegetation in the fore ground.
When are they going to bring out higher resolution screens? 24 inch with a 2560X1600 would be nice and the smaller pixel size would reduce the eye's ability to notice the aliasing.

MSAA does a bad job of removing aliasing, on 4x, still too much on the screen and is really annoying. I play with FXAA on medium, good mix. Some blurring, but it gives a better IQ than MSAA.
 

SKL1

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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MSAA is really jerky for me in BF3, I can play with 2x with post at low but if I turn it up to 4x the game gets jerky, laggy even at frame rates higher than 60 plus.

The perfect combo for me is....2xMSAA, FXAA low, everything else at Ultra. This gives me the least amount of blurring and most if not all jaggies gone.

Good review btw ;)
 
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Devilpup

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Well, you just lost another reader imbecile... flaming your audience is brilliant. By all means continue...

If you've been around that long then you'd know that the [H] staff doesn't hide their opinions, they more or less call it like they see it. Most of us appreciate that, because in return they don't edit our opinions when we post them. But that's one thing I really like about the reviews here, and why I come here first when I am looking for the straight scoop on things.

I do remember the thread a while back where Kyle built Brent the OC'ed 2600k machine, and after the review where 580 scaling in...quad-SLI(I think?)...actually improved, I thought the statement was made it was going to be the future platform for all GPU reviews. Not nit-picking here, just wondering why that transition hasn't occurred.

Ah I knew I wasn't crazy thinking I read that in an article here. I thought it was their SLI article but I couldn't find the text when I went back to look for it. I wish they would include some info about CPU scaling in their reviews, I hate having to go somewhere else to get an idea of CPU scaling. Can you guys at least run the tests by changing the OC of your processor to see if it matters? That shouldn't take up that much extra time.
 
Joined
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I have to agree BF3 is hard on the CPU. I had a Q6600 oc @ 3.4 Ghz and was still hitting 100% usage. Also I was swapping with 4G of ram. Switched to a 2500K, 8G of ram and a SSD and it runs like a peach. I guess 64 players with the vehicles, explosions, physics is demanding. But what a game!
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
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Can anyone who runs a crossfire setup comment on whether or not the latest BF3 patch fixed some of the lag issues that were mentioned in the article? I was thinking about pulling the trigger on a 6970 crossfire setup but am a little hesitant after reading about some of the lag issues.
 

Met-AL

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I don't know how you guys can play with these slow frame rates.

I am always running an average of 100 frames per second with lows in the 80's and highs in the 140's just going off the fraps display in the upper corner. I just can't play worth a darn at a low frame rate, and that was never more apparent with Bad Company 2 when running on my old Core 2 e8400 and single 6850 and getting an average of 40fps.

Old PC (40 FPS) K-D was way under 1.00 average
New PC (100 FPS) K-D is always at least 2:1 and commonly 3:1

BF3 on my old PC during the beta was a nightmare.

To me, frame rate & resolution is top priority then quality. Gotta have high frame rate and have to be running in the native resolution of the panel.

I will have to go look for this lag that was mentioned on AMD cards, I have not noticed any. My settings are ultra settings with the exception of blur=off, and Ambient Occlusion=off. Perhaps the Ambient Occlusion is the cause of the lag on AMD cards or the low frame rate might just let the lag show up more.

i7-2600k 4.8Ghz / 16GB DDR3/ HD 6850 Crossfire/ ASRock E4G3 Z68/ 11.11 Catalyst
 

Travatron

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I know that criticisms of methodology are not terribly welcome and all, but I just don't see the point in leaving SSAO or antialiasing on (yes, even FXAA) in multiplayer mode, especially when your frame rates are dipping down to 45 like this article showed on the 560Ti. For a competitive FPS, dropping any detail that doesn't help kill people seems to be the best idea long-term, and a high frame rate certainly would help. I consider 60fps to be much closer to the minimum than to an average when I'm in the market to buy PC gaming hardware for something like BF3 multiplayer, and I have to look at other sites' reviews to get the information I want.

I guess that's not that big a deal, but I just wish I could get everything I needed from the good ol' [H].

If you're running around engaging people at 20 yards with your F2000 using IRNV so the entire world is green and yellow, graphics settings don't matter.

Trying to pick someone out of the background at 900m for the perfect headshot, low settings don't cut it.
 

Met-AL

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
7,889
Trying to pick someone out of the background at 900m for the perfect headshot, low settings don't cut it.

My 12yr old son can snipe very well on his PC which is running as low of settings as that can be set.
 

Met-AL

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
7,889
It could be an awesome game if it were not for:

Constant server disconnects from EA and game servers, it's random.
Hacks and exploits are everywhere ruining servers to the point everyone leaves.
Random not starts of the game

DO NOT BUY!!!

Join a clan and/or rent a server. Gameplay issues are a non-issue then. I have had nothing but fun...

got a hacker (super rare)... kick
got a exploiter (eh, somewhat common)... kick
got a punk with a mouth... kick

If the teams are super unbalanced... start moving people around and even it up. There is no fun when you end the round 200-0 or worse and the battle is fought at the enemies deployment.
 

weebling1

2[H]4U
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Aug 31, 2002
Messages
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...Trying to pick someone out of the background at 900m for the perfect headshot, low settings don't cut it.

odd, thats opposite of what BF series always has been, turn off shadows, special lighting, low settings on most stuff and just go shoot sh*t. I find high setting prettiness distracting usually.
 

weebling1

2[H]4U
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Aug 31, 2002
Messages
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"Constant server disconnects from EA and game servers, it's random"

...and manually update PunkBuster ffs....wish they could move that into the 21st century internet connected games world :rolleyes:
 

Finkus

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Aug 2, 2004
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Great review Kyle.

Since yesterday's patch with the Eyefinity/Surround fixes, BF3 makes me want the next gen of GPU now. Running Surround with everything on Ultra and trying to keep framerates at 60fps is challenging for 580SLI. I had to drop to 3x720p for maximum eye candy at silky framerates across all maps. Luckily FXAA/MSAA in combination is amazing at smoothing over aliasing. The game looks stunning and plays beautifully on three screens.

I want to see someone actually measure how much of a difference is to be had when you switch to a quad core.

I've heard that 64 players is where CPU might become a factor. I've only played 24/32 player servers as the maps are built for that. Like BC2, it seems like more of a marketing ploy to have high population options on the PC. The maps are built to accommodate the number of players you find on the consoles. The 64 player options are a meatgrinding clusterfuck, although some people might enjoy that kind of gameplay.

If you only play on 32 player servers then the CPU matters very little I think. I'm running an i7 920 at stock 2.66GHz and framerate sits happily at 60fps with vsync on, with dual 580SLI. Increasing the resolution to silly Surround sizes is what brings down the minimum framerate. This game is very heavily GPU dependent. I'm sure any old stock quad core from several years back will be more than sufficient. Mine certainly is; I've not needed to overclock or change my CPU heatsink/fan from its blissful silent setting.
 

y0bailey

Gawd
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Mar 31, 2003
Messages
558
Figured I would post this here too: Anyone getting occasional BF3 freezes? GTX 570

I am using the beta drivers. I am 30 minutes Furmark stable, can run the Heaven benchmark all day and night, but I get an occasional lock-up in BF3 in which I have to control-alt-delete and close the game (it takes about 30 seconds to do so due to the freeze). No artifacts, computer runs fine and I can re-start the game immediately after control-alt-deleting and resuming. No NVIDIA driver crash errors (like I get with too high of an overclock in Furmark). I can voice chat still throughout the freeze.

Anyone getting this occasional lock-up? Concerned my overclock is unstable, although this isn't the typical crash I get with an overclock issue.
 

Finkus

Gawd
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Messages
931
I consider 60fps to be much closer to the minimum than to an average when I'm in the market to buy PC gaming hardware for something like BF3 multiplayer, and I have to look at other sites' reviews to get the information I want.

I guess that's not that big a deal, but I just wish I could get everything I needed from the good ol' [H].

I agree. I've always thought [H] was 30fps too low but that's ok, image quality is subjective and you can just extrapolate from the results that are on show. I find [H] also favours extreme resolutions with extreme levels of AA so I just knock it down to levels I find reasonable and that gives me my extra 30fps! :D
 

Arklight

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831
Simply awesome review. I need a pair of 580s as soon as I get a job :( ;)

I do have one question. If one has a 2560x1600 with a GTX580, should one lower the resolution to 1920x1200 since that is the highest playable setting, or should one keep the native resolution of the monitor and lower some other setting?

I am sure this has been talked about before but I cant find it. Any links would be great.

Again great article... been waiting for this one for a while.

I run BF3 at 2560x1600 with all settings at MAX except for MSAA (and motion blur off since its annoying) and get great FPS with my GTX480. No complaints whatsoever. I was going to upgrade to a GTX580, glad I didn't spend the money.
 

Arklight

Gawd
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Oct 11, 2004
Messages
831
This game is so good I'm already bored of it. I don't know why and I have not thought about it much yet, I'm just bored of it. Part of the reason is Origin, thinking about starting that up puts me off. All the stupid MW3 style unlocks as well.

Having to unlock items bores you? Having everything available at the start.....wouldn't? I actually like the fact you need to "earn" new unlocks. Being able to work your way up oin a class is a lot more engaging, IMO, than being just handed everything at the start. I actually really like Origin. The fact we can see all of our stats, unlocks, etc.. without having to go in-game is something I really enjoy.

I don't think it looked that great either. Many other games and even Bad Company 2 had me stopping and staring many times, not this one. The character models in BF3, they look a bit last gen to me. Facial animation/drawing seems off.

Show me a better looking FPS that also has better sounds.

"Battlefield 3 is the most realistic first person shooter ever created"

I disagree on this one. I think ARMA 2 is the most realistic FPS created so far that I know of. BF3 is a fun FPS arcade game and that's all it is. Arguably it's a really good console port and a good sequel to Bad Company 2.

The animations and movements in ArmA2 are not fluid and very poor. That alone, IMO, puts ArmA2 back a few steps. It just feels clunkly and unrefined. The weapon sounds also suck, as do the particle effects.

Also, BF3 is not a console port.
 
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8du8

Limp Gawd
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Mar 28, 2011
Messages
298
You would think being a website for hardware enthusiasts the writers wouldnt be so quick to dismiss the gtx 560 ti as "outdated". Sure if your running it at stock, but how many readers here run their cards at stock? I know I dont, and I know my 560 clocked @ 950 performs on par with my brothers 570.

The only downside with the 560 and BF3 is that there is obviously some driver issues that nvidia still needs to fix ie artifacts.

PS I run BF3 on ultra except have AA deferred set to x2 instead of x4 and the game is perfectly playable.
 

Finkus

Gawd
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Messages
931
Well I was loving the Surround patch but it crashes a lot. I've crashed three times tonight, which doesn't happen in single screen mode.

Back to 1920x1080 I go! I hope they don't take a year to patch out the Surround crashing like they did with BC2. :(

EDIT: Was fine for hours last night but then that's exactly how it used to go with BC2. The crashing was very unpredictable, which made it even more annoying.
 

simonizor

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Messages
709
Well... Hell hes kinda right. They could review every bloody card from GTX590/6990 all the way down to a ATi 8500 and a TNT2, and someone will still be ticked off and ask if they could try different ram timings lol. You've got people complaining about gameplay..... and he's reviewing the hardware.

You've been on this forum for over 4 years and you're still this sensitive??

People complain about everything that has ever happened. It's ALWAYS going to happen. Using that as an excuse not to do something is just plain idiotic.
 
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