Battlefield 3 Benchmark

Battlefield 3

All major game reviewers gave Battlefield 3 huge scores, it averages above 9.0, at least for PC. Battlefield 3 really takes first persons shooters to another level, just like Crysis did back in 2007. DICE hit the jackpot with the new Frostbite 2 game engine, almost everything about the game feels and looks great. I’m sure PC owners are happy about the involvement developers put on the platform. The BETA was a great way to test the game and make sure our computers are ready for the leap forward. Since the Beta was over, DICE announced they did a lot of updates.

Test Hardware | Battlefield 3 Benchmark

Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)

3.3 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings disabled, Turbo Boost disabled.

Motherboard MSI P67-C43-B3, Intel P67 Chipset
Memory 2 x 2 GB DDR3 1600MHZ
Hard Drive WD 500 GB SATA III
Graphics Card Sapphire HD6950 1 GB
Power Supply Corsair TX 650 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating Systems

Windows 7 SP1 x32

Windows 7 SP1 x64

Windows 8 DP x32

Windows 8 DP x64

DirectX DirectX 11
Graphics Driver AMD Catalyst 11.9 WHQL

First the operating system comparison. Since Battlefield 3 left behind DirectX 9, Windows XP is not supported. When Just Cause 2 was released a lot of players were annoyed it didn’t support Windows XP, this was more than a year ago and it isn’t really a issue today since Microsoft stopped supporting it a while ago and we showed that games tend to perform better in Windows 7 (See this article).

The frame rate isn’t really great and we haven’t even tested at 1080p resolution. Despite the low FPS, Battlefield 3 was playable and I didn’t encounter any hiccups while playing. I personally look for the 60 FPS Nirvana with almost all games but I can’t really say I had problems or couldn’t play at all at 30 FPS with Battlefield 3.

Battlefield 3 Operating Systems Benchmark

Performance is the same across all tested operating systems. This stops people from saying that the 64bit version of any operating system performs better than the 32bit one. While this is generally true, it isn’t the case with Battlefield 3.

If you read this article you saw that CPU was an important factor if you wanted best performance at ultra settings. Since then things changed a lot apparently. While Battlefield 3 doesn’t start on a single core processor anymore, the final version of the game isn’t CPU bound, or at least this is what the tests showed. OC = 4.5 GHZ

Battlefield 3 CPU Scaling Benchmark

Battlefield 3 CPU Usage
2 Cores
2 Cores OC
3 Cores
3 Cores OC
4 Cores
4 Cores OC

Things look damn good if you ask me. The HD6950 tested was bottlenecked while using 2 cores but performance delivered was still amazing in comparison with other ones. In the BETA the Graphics Card was bottlenecked even while using 3 cores @ 4.2 GHZ. Things really improved with the final release of the game.

Even if the tested Intel 2500k Sandy Bridge CPU performed well with two of its cores disabled it doesn’t mean that all dual cores or triple cores processors will do the same. The 2500k processor is still much better than most CPUs on the market when it comes to gaming, it’s even better than the newly released AMD Bulldozer FX 8150 – 8 cores (vs 4) | 8 MB Cache (vs 6) and 3600 MHZ (vs 3300) (See comparison at In theory, AMD FX 8150 should crush the sandy bridge CPU, yet it doesn’t.

As you already may know, AMD and Nvidia released special drivers for Battlefield 3. Let’s see if AMD’s 11.10 Preview Drivers improves performance.

Battlefield 3 Catalyst 11.9 vs 11.10 Preview Benchmark

Just a couple of frames but this still means a healthy 5% boost. It’s normal that V2 and V3 of the 11.10 perform the same because version 3 of the driver is made entirely for RAGE and nothing else is changed. We expect to see Catalyst 11.10 WHQL released in the next two days 31 OCT 2011, which will pretty much just be WHQL version of the 11.10 V3 preview driver. I’ll definitely include Battlefield 3 in the AMD Catalyst Comparison we do each month.

Finally let’s take a look at the differences in quality between game settings: Low, Medium, High and Ultra. To be honest, Battlefield 3 looks damn right amazing even at Low quality settings, most games these days don’t look as good at highest settings…

Battlefield 3 Image Quality Comparison
Click to Enlarge

Textures look about the same at all quality levels, only thing that is really noticeable is shadow quality. Lighting, texture, animations stay pretty much the same. The differences are in the beholder’s eyes..

If we saw quality differences let’s see differences in performance.

Battlefield 3 Game Settings Comparison

While quality doesn’t change by much, performance really improves by lowering game settings. You can almost double your frame rate by going from Ultra to High without loosing a lot of visual quality. If you’re trying to improve performance try lowering Ambiance Occlusion and Antialiasing Post settings. If you’re running multiple graphics cards in Crossfire and encounter stutter try removing Catalyst 11.9 CAP3 or try CAP4

While some of us won’t be able to enjoy Battlefield 3 at its maximum potential (Ultra Settings @ 1080p) you can still make the best of it at lower settings without worrying too much about losing graphics quality. When it comes to hardware, you’ll need a beast of a GPU to reach 60 FPS, you won’t be able to do so with a single card. That’s nothing to worry about because Battlefield 3 is playable even at low FPS <40.

There’s only one thing left to be said: I got 99 problems but optimization ain’t one.

AMD Catalyst Performance Comparison – Updated 21 March 2012

Battlefield 3 AMD Catalyst Performance Comparison

  • Ricardo Barros

    Why no catalyst 11.10 prev 3 in test?

  • Oscar

    because they do not make the bench with the latest driver 11.10 V2 or V3??

  • Johnny 3D

    Added 11.9 vs 11.10 v2 vs 11.10 v3.

  • Oscar

    ummmmm ok thanks, that sadness these results, we all seek is to improve the fps minimum and q is the only thing there is no better, before there is a -1%

  • Oscar

    Ummmmmmm SORRY BUT YOUR SAY IN 2 DAYS OUT THE Catalyst 11.11, not they the Catalyst 11.10, FINAL VERSION??

    • Johnny 3D

      That was a typo, sorry

  • Junkie

    Hi! So i can play the game with dual core with a decent GPU ?

    My spec:c2d E6600 @ 2,8 with HD6870. Wll i have good framerate ?

    • Johnny 3D

      Yes you can play Battlefield 3 with that CPU and GPU on High Settings and performance will be decent.

  • Killsyou

    Hey man, you do not need a dual GPU to achieve 60 fps, at 1080p with everything set to ultra, I have a GTX580, and using the command in the console render.drawfps true, I am pulling 60 fps out side and 75-90 fps inside with AS/AA maxed out. I feel kind of bad for the ATI/AMD user’s out there the game does not really shine on AMD video cards, idk, there is the potential it is driver related but as usual with ATI/AMD people blame it on the poor drivers, shit thats been happening for years with ATI/AMD.
    My specs:
    Mobo: Asus M4A88T-M(Yeah I know it sucks)
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1100 Black Edition @3.3 ghz(Stock)
    Memory: 16 GB DDR3 1800MHZ(A-DATA)
    GPU: PHY Geforce GTX 580(Stock)
    Power Supply: Corsair 700GS
    HDD: does not mean much now a days.

  • Wahid

    Playing the game at 1080p with Ultra settings, I have a min 40 fps in intensive scenes and an averge of 55-60 fps, I don’t want to talk about max fps because it is useless.
    My GTX 480 O/C 815/1630/1900 is at 99% load all over the game while the 4 cores of my overclocked Q6600 3.6 ghz are used about 80 % each one.
    So this game is really demanding,
    I don’t know how dual cores owners will perform in this game.

  • Wahid

    Other thing I noticed is the absence of tesselation, despite in DirectX 11 mode.

  • Tokae

    The 580 GTX is considerably more powerful than the 6970. It also costs 150 dollars more on average, so I would expect it to perform considerably better. I think I am going to try running this game tonight with a single 6970 2gb card and see what my results are like. I think the fps shown here might be on the low side.

  • Wii166

    “The 580 GTX is considerably more powerful than the 6970. It also costs 150 dollars more on average, so I would expect it to perform considerably better. I think I am going to try running this game tonight with a single 6970 2gb card and see what my results are like. I think the fps shown here might be on the low side.”

    For the Price of a GTX580 one could buy 2 Amd radeon 6950’s and CF them and they will get you more performance then a 580 in this game and many others.

    • Killsyou

      True but the 6950, gets destroyed with regards to tessellation performance both in single card and in crossfire, also scaling is good only at resolutions over 1600p(2560×1600) look at the benchmarks for cards in sli/cf. I will admit AMD does a better job with scaling(most likely drivers), but still the future of gaming is DX11 w/tessellation and other effects.

  • fausto412

    Best benchmarks i’ve seen. reflects a lot of what i see with bf3.

    I have Q9550 and 6990 gpu. the cores on the 6990 load equally but stay below 50% load each.

    Is my cpu holding me back in bf3? would love to see testing done on this.

  • Tokae

    I tried with a single 6970

    Resolution: 1920 x 1080
    All Settings: Ultra
    MSAA x4
    AF x16
    HBAO on

    I saw an average of 45 fps, sometimes dipped to high 30’s, sometimes went up to high 50’s.

  • Oscar
  • Tokae

    They look to be the same as the preview 3 drivers.. I will be updating to these though!

  • Max77

    How come “wahid” is getting more FPS than the Author?
    He has lower GPU, lower CPU and is playing at higher resolutions than the Author.

    • Oscar

      false, 480>6950>470

  • Max77

    Lol, I read 460 instead of 480.. 480 FTW!!!

  • Johnny 3D

    Added chart that shows performance differences between 15 AMD drivers…

    • jp bonello

      be great if you could maintain a database of driver benchmarks up to date with latest catalyst drivers. like that it saves us scouring the internet to find out which one currently performs best.

      i see you added the chart to article but not sure if its the most up to date for example with the latest drivers ati released.

      • Johnny 3D

        I’ve updated the chart to reflect the newest drivers results.

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  • Triggeh

    Would you be able to add 15th march to the list

    • Johnny 3D

      I edited just now.

  • hundstvat

    Where are the 11.11a drivers on the comparison table???
    Those were the fastest drivers last time i checked this site!!

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  • Wojtol

    Can you add 12.4 and 13.2 drivers ?

  • Wojtol

    Guys i have HD 5670 what drivers should be the best for smooth playing without stuttering while im shooting to players because its annoying idk what drivers should i use and someone can explain me why i have bluescreen when i install drivers above 12.4