Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Performance and IQ Review @ [H]

Haiku214

[H]ard|Gawd
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I know other people have microstuttering problems, but I want to see if there are others that have it with my setup.

I'm running an i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz and GTX 570 SLIs @ 1080p. I normally get 80fps outdoors on large 64 player games but sometimes it stutters severely making it impossible to play. The stutter lasts about 2 seconds and those 2 seconds are crucial as I may die. It goes from 80fps down to 30fps and jumps erratically making it almost unplayable. This happens at the most intense battles, explosions of tanks, jets and what not, so I think it's understandable for it to lag. I, however, want to find the culprit.

Is it because my CPU isn't able to keep up with the physics of so many things happen hence the stutter? My GPU isn't able to keep it up? Or is my connection the culprit? I'm only running a 2mbps connection, ie. I download at 300kb/s.

I tried disabling SLI and I average around 40-50fps and same thing happens. It drops down to an unplayable 10fps at these situations when it stutters. I just want to figure out what's wrong since I spent $700 on my GPUs and I can't even play it smoothly at times. The most important of times when I need my monster rig to kick in.

You did not mention what settings you are using. I believe it's probably MSAA (Aliasing Deferred) that causes problems.
 

WiL11o6

Limp Gawd
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Messages
478
All ultra, 4x MSAA and high FXAA.

If MSAA is the problem that means it's my vram issue? 570s only have 1.2gb and I know bf3 eats all the vram that you throw at it so I'm guessing the stuttering is my gpus hitting a wall if it is indeed a MSAA issue?
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
254
All ultra, 4x MSAA and high FXAA.

If MSAA is the problem that means it's my vram issue? 570s only have 1.2gb and I know bf3 eats all the vram that you throw at it so I'm guessing the stuttering is my gpus hitting a wall if it is indeed a MSAA issue?

yeah its VRAM. my setup does the same thing you describe but i run out of VRAM sooner than you do because im running 2x 560 Ti's (1GB). CPU induced bottlenecking is doesn't just happen out of nowhere but outdoor maps/areas and lots of destruction does on most systems lead to a CPU bottleneck if you are running an SLI setup but the frame rates are already well over 60 FPS so it has little impact on the smoothness as long as its a fast CPU.

the settings i found yesterday to run for my 2x 560 Ti's are
single player
ultra everything
MSAA 2x
FXAA off or low (hate the blurryness)
AF 16x
ambient occ. SSAO

i can run HBAO if i shut off MSAA completely, both take
VRAM and with these settings it keeps single player just under 1GB of VRAM

Multiplayer VRAM usage can go higher and in general is harder on the system esp with the large conquest maps in 64 player servers so settings i run are tweaked accordingly.

this is a new ultra setting i came up with last night, so far so good, before this i just ran high across the board pretty much.
ultra everything
MSAA off
FXAA off
AF 16x
ambient occ. SSAO - if i run into VRAM issues again this will be the first thing i shut off.

with these settings my frame rate is 70-100 FPS, as your 570's can afford a bit more VRAM usage i would suggest trying my settings and then one at a time upping the settings that are not maxed out, when you run into a huge lag spike in frame rate then you know the setting you last upped needs to go back down a notch. people have been running into VRAM limits on this game in multiplayer pretty quickly, maxed out settings will easily take 1.5 GB of VRAM and IIRC there was someone who had 2 580's in SLI and still had problems with running out of VRAM from time to time with max settings.
 

code137

n00b
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Nov 26, 2011
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The 6950s are not enough to run at that res with ultra everything. If you can replace that with 570s at least then that would be better, though more expensive. If you look at benchmarks online, you need two 580s to be able to run everything at max with AA. AMD GPUs do not perform well when AA is on.

So I'm getting ready to order an i7 2600k setup but I'm debating between the price/performance of SLI 570s and SLI 580s. I really don't want to push for the 580s based on the price but I also don't want to spend 1200$ on a CPU and 570s only to find out that I still can't play ultra smoothly. I would be fine if it could run ultra textures and just lower or no MSAA. What type of settings do you think the an i7 2600k and 2 570s (the 2.5gb option from evga?) can do at 2560x1600 resolution?
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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So I'm getting ready to order an i7 2600k setup but I'm debating between the price/performance of SLI 570s and SLI 580s. I really don't want to push for the 580s based on the price but I also don't want to spend 1200$ on a CPU and 570s only to find out that I still can't play ultra smoothly. I would be fine if it could run ultra textures and just lower or no MSAA. What type of settings do you think the an i7 2600k and 2 570s (the 2.5gb option from evga?) can do at 2560x1600 resolution?

buy 2x 560 Ti 2GB cards and run SLI. 560 Ti's in SLI have the horsepower to run ultra maxed out smoothly, the problem is VRAM so getting 2GB versions will solve that problem. if i could trade my 1GB cards in and pay even 200 dollars to get 2GB cards i would. the performance is outstanding until you hit the VRAM wall in games like BF3.
 

code137

n00b
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Yeah I saw that. I'll have to keep looking a little bit. I wish I could find someone with the setup to verify whether it is capable or not before I make any orders. If I have to go the 580s I really want to know before hand.
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
254
Yeah I saw that. I'll have to keep looking a little bit. I wish I could find someone with the setup to verify whether it is capable or not before I make any orders. If I have to go the 580s I really want to know before hand.

oh i see 2560 res. its going to be tough but 2x 570 2GB should be plenty of power, you might have to lower AA to 2x but your def going to need 2GB cards to do what your trying to do.
 

code137

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Instead of playing around and hoping, I just placed the order for two MSI GTX 580 3072mb cards along with the i7 2600k. If I still have problems with this setup then I guess I'll just be out of luck for now. Thanks for the help though.
 

N1GHTRA1N

Gawd
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Instead of playing around and hoping, I just placed the order for two MSI GTX 580 3072mb cards along with the i7 2600k. If I still have problems with this setup then I guess I'll just be out of luck for now. Thanks for the help though.

Nice. I considered those cards but the price of two of those was almost $500 more than the price of the two MSI 6970 lightnings I bought. I couldn't justify the extra cost.
 
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code137

n00b
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Nice. I considered those cards but the price of two of those was almost $500 more than the price of the two MSI 6970 lightnings I bought. I couldn't justify the extra cost.

Yeah the price is a bit tough to deal with for these cards. My problem was that I originally had ordered 2 HIS 6950 cards for crossfire and both of them left my display flashing black when loaded at all in crossfire or individually. I returned them and ordered two MSI 6950 Frozr III cards and really they have been great temperature wise and for the most part I think the performance has been fine aside from the issues I mentioned a few posts back. They just weren't enough to push my 2560x1600 resolution display the way I wanted. The fps drops and stuttering got to be a bit too annoying so I figured I'd give nvidia cards a try. At this point I'm kind of tired of buying and returning cards though so I figured I'd just go for the 580s and a new processor to try to eliminate all of the possibilities.
 

gibber

Gawd
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Messages
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Ok... what I'm about to say will not be popular but I feel it's an honest eval of BF3. It is a dumbed down version of BF2 with a graphics facelift.

The eye candy in this game is simply breath taking. However, the game itself is a console game ported to pc regardless what EA has told us that is how it plays. If you like console games and are a casual gamer then this game is up your alley. I was ranked 2nd in bf2 at one point in vehicles. I understand that unlocks make a game addictive and increase the lif of the game but missles, coax machine guns and fricken flares should never be considered unlocks... its just plain stupid.

along with the ridiculous unlock component, there is the fact that if you take a hit in a vehicle dont worry, youll heal automaticly just like halo. let not forget mobile aa can pretty much kill anything, and I mean anything.

To sum it up BF3 is like a hot plastic blonde at the beach... Really pretty to look at but lacking fundamentaly in substance. It might not be a console port, but it sure as hell plays like one and a beta with all the bugs I might add. I'm not sure how this game is getting all these great reviews for pc... for the console I'm sure it's ground breaking but for pc it is really Meh. I'm shocked HardOCP jumped on the bandwagon... I seriously question their judgement after this review...
While I thought the game is fun and looks awesome, playing it was discouraging when half the other players had an unfair advantage, and I agree mostly with what you're saying.

If you think about it logically, "unlock" is really BACKWARDs for multi-player! Give the better/more practiced players better weapons? Really? That simply blows for a new player. What's next when BF4 comes out? Pay cash for special gear like Zygna's shitty pay-to-cheat games?
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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lol @ you guys complaining about unlocks. i agree that jets/heli's should have flairs from the start but honestly it does not take much to level up to the best gun/accessory combo for each class, for the most part the guns in each class are all equal in damage

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...1E0bjBueWVSQjc0V0E&f=true&noheader=true&gid=0

its a bit of a grind to get the best setups on each gun in each class but it keeps you interested beyond just playing normally.

there definitely are some balance issues DICE needs to address, mobile AA is definitely one of them. imo they screwed up big time when they buffed its damage to ground targets in the patch, they can now take out tanks as well as tanks can take them out and that is pretty retarded to say the least. all in all though it is a great game and much more fun if you play with friends. its not a console port but some console elements have definitely made their way into the PC version as a result of it being developed for both. they got the mouse control for infantry down right for the most part but jet control with analog joystick/throttle is broken because of consoles, they dumbed down throttle control so its done by buttons rather than being able to control it with a full analog control like you can on the helicopters and this is annoying to me. the other issues with flight controls and joysticks are button maps, certain button numbers register as the start button for example on a gamepad and even though you can assign them you will end up going to the escape menu when you press them etc. those things can of course be overcome by button remapping in the controllers software to either another button or a key on the keyboard instead as a fix but these things are what are the most obvious problems that have bled over from consoles directly.
 

code137

n00b
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Nov 26, 2011
Messages
34
So I got the new i7 2600k and the two MSI GTX 580 Lightning Xtreme 3gb cards all setup and installed. The performance is better than the 6950s (thankfully for the price), but I still don't get the performance I was expecting especially considering the review article here. I've tested the i7 at both stock and 4.2 ghz and all of the performance pictures below are at 4.2ghz. All settings are the same as the review article for the 580s with MSAA and motion blur off. I also have hyper threading disabled.

I do have vsync on because it seems to have quite a bit more stuttering and a lot of tearing at 2560x1600 resolution for me. But with it off I do manage to hit the same 75fps average as the review. My problem is more with the minimums and drops.

I've resized all the pictures but enlarged the performance charts on each to be more visible.

normal_smooth.png

This is normal play and for the most part how things look the majority of the time. In a normal firefight there might be some extra blips but it still keeps a solid 60fps without any issues.

large_scene_drops-1.png

This is looking over a large scene of action. It doesn't seem to happen in every situation and I have trouble replicating it all the time, but for the most part looking from hilltop on caspian to a large fight at checkpoint or from the antenna to a large scene of action over the entire map seems to bring a drop down to the low 50's. Its not terrible but I can feel it pretty obviously without any fps indicators.

tank_debris_exp_drops.png

The worst drops happen in tanks or other vehicles and when being attacked by tanks/vehicles. I see drops in the 40's and on one occasion the upper 30's when being attacked by a helicopter. The picture there is just in a tank with a few explosions on hilltop. Most of the time all a tank has to do is fire its canon and the smoke from the firing seems to drop me from 60 to about 55 fps when using either the CITV or the gunner positions looking straight ahead with it.

Is this type of experience normal or should I be expecting better results? The review minimums were 54 fps but I've had fairly regular drops into the upper 40's ignoring the one occurrence of 38 fps.
 

Forceman

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
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Are you sure MSAA isn't forced in the control panel or something? Seems like you should get better performance than that.
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
254
yeah it looks like MSAA is on in those graphs. i experience the same performance hits on my system in situations like you described but only if i have MSAA on or other too high of settings for my graphics cards to handle due to lack of VRAM

here is one i made happen tonight for another thread where we are discussing VRAM issues with SLI in this game and what happens when you run out of it (might be the same thing your seeing there though with 3gb cards i doubt that!)

overvramperfg.jpg


also try disabling hyperthreading and see how it performs, many i7 owners have reported studdering issues with HT on.
 

code137

n00b
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Nov 26, 2011
Messages
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I already have hyperthreading disabled. I'm up to 4.5ghz now but I haven't really noticed much of a difference. I double checked and MSAA was off. I enabled it at 4x just to test and the performance was quite a bit worse.

Heres a few shots with MSAA 4x - vram maxed at about 1863mb during this


4xmsaa_hilltop.png

With very little action I could still get it to hover around 60 fps but it would regularly drop to 50-55 fps with very little happening.

4xmsaa_tank_thermal.png

Things got worse in the tank especially with thermal imaging

4xmsaa_aa.png

The fps seemed to stay decent here but the Anti Air sure caused the graphs to go insane
 

Evil Scooter

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
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That in game resource monitor seems pretty useless to me. It often shows very little CPU and GPU usage as demonstrated in the screencap above that shows the average for both under 20% when both are obviously under very high loads. Or am I just reading it wrong? :confused:
 

Met-AL

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Messages
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That in game resource monitor seems pretty useless to me. It often shows very little CPU and GPU usage as demonstrated in the screencap above that shows the average for both under 20% when both are obviously under very high loads. Or am I just reading it wrong? :confused:

It doesn't show usage, it shows time. As in how much time is spent by the CPU and the GPU to render the frame. Whatever one is on top indicates what is taking the most time to render and is your PCs "weak spot".
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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That in game resource monitor seems pretty useless to me. It often shows very little CPU and GPU usage as demonstrated in the screencap above that shows the average for both under 20% when both are obviously under very high loads. Or am I just reading it wrong? :confused:

your reading it wrong. numbers represent how long its taking for each subsystem to render frames measured in milliseconds. because of this fact LOWER is FASTER. cpu/gpu utilization isn't a perfect indicator of how things are performing and with this game the higher both of those get the worse the game performs esp on the CPU side of things. it likes lots of headroom in the CPU department. this method of showing performance is much like showing frame rates because it directly translates into the frame rates. if your gpu is taking 5ms to render a frame on average and your cpu is taking 16ms your cpu limited in your frame rates at 62 fps (1000 / 16 = 62.5) but your graphics card could be outputting 200 FPS (1000 / 5) but its spending alot of time waiting on the CPU to finish its work so your only getting 62 FPS

make sense?
 

Evil Scooter

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Messages
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your reading it wrong. numbers represent how long its taking for each subsystem to render frames measured in milliseconds. because of this fact LOWER is FASTER. cpu/gpu utilization isn't a perfect indicator of how things are performing and with this game the higher both of those get the worse the game performs esp on the CPU side of things. it likes lots of headroom in the CPU department. this method of showing performance is much like showing frame rates because it directly translates into the frame rates. if your gpu is taking 5ms to render a frame on average and your cpu is taking 16ms your cpu limited in your frame rates at 62 fps (1000 / 16 = 62.5) but your graphics card could be outputting 200 FPS (1000 / 5) but its spending alot of time waiting on the CPU to finish its work so your only getting 62 FPS

make sense?

Much more now... thanks for taking the time to dumb it down for me. :p I was using it when I was trying to isolate my BF3 stuttering issue and thought I was going crazy. Numbers so low (rig in siggy) on Caspian and such I was like... WTF??!! :D
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
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I feel for the guys trying to run this game at high resolution. My feeling is that the current hardware just can't cut it. I am hopeful that the next gen gpus will be a better fit. I am struggling at 1600x1200 on all low with a 480gtx ffs. By struggling i mean average of 100 fps but with huge swings from 60 to 200 fps? Wild.
 

TwistedAegis

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
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I already have hyperthreading disabled. I'm up to 4.5ghz now but I haven't really noticed much of a difference. I double checked and MSAA was off. I enabled it at 4x just to test and the performance was quite a bit worse.

Heres a few shots with MSAA 4x - vram maxed at about 1863mb during this

Shouldn't have any need to disable hyperthreading with a 2600k; I believe only the last gen processors had issues with that.
 

code137

n00b
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Nov 26, 2011
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I'll test it out enabled again then and see what happens. Its mainly because of the effects quality. I don't know what gets taxed the most with the smoke/explosions/etc but if I change from ultra to high it plays a bit smoother in tank battles. The easiest way for me to test this was just getting into a tank with thermal imaging on and then shooting a rock. With effects set to ultra I'd easily drop into the low 40s every time. With it set to high I'd drop into the low 50's maybe upper 40's. Similarly with it set all the way to low there was almost no drop at all. Anyone else with SLI 580s at 2560x1600 resolution will to try that themselves and see what happens?

Edit - I still get a lot of cpu spikes and stuttering with hyperthreading enabled. I'll be leaving that off for this game.
 
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WiL11o6

Limp Gawd
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Feb 20, 2007
Messages
478
Well, I am glad I'm not the only one. I'm only playing on 1920x1080 with an i5 2500k @ 4.5 and SLI GTX 570s and I get huge drops of FPS just as you described. I go from 80 down to 30 and it stays there for a couple seconds. My 570s are only 1.28GB vram compared to your 3GBs which you said BF3 only eats up to 1.8GB meaning it's probably not limited by vram, while mine might or might not be. I need to drop MSAA down to 2x to smooth it out.
 

guppie

n00b
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Apr 2, 2011
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Wow, that took along time to read all this and I'm more confused than before I knew nothing... Lol

Can someone with a 6970 please give me "optimal" settings? What were the developers thinking everybody running SLI/CF $500 cards?
 

samuelmorris

Supreme [H]ardness
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Depends on the res. At 1920x1080 I'd say all ultra, but with AO disabled and AA set to postprocess only (not deferred) - doing this at 2560x1600 is enough for me with two 6970s, so that should translate well to 1920x1080 with one HD6970 - it's half the graphics power, and half the pixel count.
 

guppie

n00b
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Apr 2, 2011
Messages
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Depends on the res. At 1920x1080 I'd say all ultra, but with AO disabled and AA set to postprocess only (not deferred) - doing this at 2560x1600 is enough for me with two 6970s, so that should translate well to 1920x1080 with one HD6970 - it's half the graphics power, and half the pixel count.

1920x1080. Sorry about that.
Thanks for the info
 

naizarak

Limp Gawd
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Nov 8, 2011
Messages
189
anyone feel like posting a multiplayer CPU benchmark? the OCN article was a real let-down. still don't know if i should upgrade to an x6 or get a 2500k.
 

Frito

Limp Gawd
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Nov 7, 2005
Messages
254
anyone feel like posting a multiplayer CPU benchmark? the OCN article was a real let-down. still don't know if i should upgrade to an x6 or get a 2500k.

i did some testing on my 2500k rig with various clock settings/core counts

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1654043

the conclusion i came to is as long as you got the GPU power the CPU is often the bottleneck except if you run AA and other settings that put a major taxing on the video card.
 

Apple740

Gawd
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Oct 21, 2004
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What i would like to know, is there a difference in IQ in this game between dx10 and dx11 cards? I know dx11 should be using tessalation, but is this really noticale vs the dx10 cards?
 

linuxfueled

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If your considering buying this game you might want to look around the net. If you have a fast connection and decent PC your gonna die behind objects. Get one shotted or simply killed buy a hacker. The new expansion is visually stunning but the maps play like crap.

The problem is the client side hit detection. Why client side? Because it's a console port to PC. 122 hrs played and it never gets better just worse. Save your money. You won't read this in any reviews for fear of never getting product to review again.
 

Ehren8879

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
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If your considering buying this game you might want to look around the net. If you have a fast connection and decent PC your gonna die behind objects. Get one shotted or simply killed buy a hacker. The new expansion is visually stunning but the maps play like crap.

The problem is the client side hit detection. Why client side? Because it's a console port to PC. 122 hrs played and it never gets better just worse. Save your money. You won't read this in any reviews for fear of never getting product to review again.

I have noticed this. I've run behind objects and still get shot two or three times when I'm already well behind cover. Freaking annoying.
 

okashira

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jul 7, 2005
Messages
1,802
If your considering buying this game you might want to look around the net. If you have a fast connection and decent PC your gonna die behind objects. Get one shotted or simply killed buy a hacker. The new expansion is visually stunning but the maps play like crap.

The problem is the client side hit detection. Why client side? Because it's a console port to PC. 122 hrs played and it never gets better just worse. Save your money. You won't read this in any reviews for fear of never getting product to review again.

Client side hit detection? Unbelievable.

To those who don't know what that means - if someone is shooting at you and has a 1000ms ping, they can kill you before you even know they were shooting at you. No chance to take cover after the first few shots.

Fuck it, I am going to starting playing on servers with a high ping intentionally, since it gives you an advantage.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Jun 13, 2003
Messages
14,679
If your considering buying this game you might want to look around the net. If you have a fast connection and decent PC your gonna die behind objects. Get one shotted or simply killed buy a hacker. The new expansion is visually stunning but the maps play like crap.

The problem is the client side hit detection. Why client side? Because it's a console port to PC. 122 hrs played and it never gets better just worse. Save your money. You won't read this in any reviews for fear of never getting product to review again.

This has been an issue with MP games for decades- and it's not going to go away. It's also not that bad. Nothing to see here, move along.
 
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