Both games were released ~10 months, both were highly anticipated. Thanks to mods, huge number of quests and the recent release of Dawnguard DLC, Skyrim is still one of the most played games out there. Alongside Skyrim, Battlefield 3 enjoys the same attention from gamers but because of a different reason: Multiplayer.
Those of you who played these two games know the problem we had and still have to deal with: performance issues. While Skyrim is a clear Xbox port, Battlefield 3 was supposed to be a game for PC gamers, or at least the PC would have priority, that didn’t really happen as consoles were pretty much the first to get new content and patches.
On release date, Skyrim was a CPU hogger, and as it turned out, the game’s engine wasn’t optimized for PC at all; In some circumstances, shadow rendering was more than a high end PC could handle. Thankfully, a couple of months later the issue was fixed, patch 1.4 did the job.
Battlefield 3 wasn’t as bad developed as Skyrim but Frosbyte 2.0 needs a lot of resources to get smooth framerates, CPU usage was/is normal.
Before Bethesda fixed the abnormal CPU usage issues, AMD couldn’t do much as drivers didn’t make any difference. As soon as the issue was fixed, Catalyst drivers got better and better each month, in 4 months the average framerate was improved by 13 FPS and the minimum FPS increased from 51 to almost 59.
Battlefield 3 is a different story, couple of months after BF3′s release, AMD Catalyst drivers were very unstable. Performance was dipping very low and the game was unplayable at times on Ultra/High Settings. Starting with 12.1 WHQL drivers matured and Battlefield 3 become playable. Since then little has changed, all drivers released in 2012 have similar performance, the biggest difference in FPS between them is 3 FPS. The pressing matter AMD should have handled better regarding this game was Crossfire, many CF users complained of troublesome scalability, which was critical as you needed two or more GPUs properly working together to get 60+ FPS on Ultra Settings.
Finding the best driver for Battlefield 3 was always a trial and error exercise, different cards perform differently with each driver in this game. Looking at the chart for Skyrim anyone can clearly see the “positive trend” Catalyst drivers go. On the other hand, after 12.1 little has changed for drivers regarding Battlefield 3.
Tests and Settings
- Battlefield 3 – Ultra Preset – 1680×1050 – 4xMSAA – 16xAF – Multiplayer @ Strike at Karkand (32p map, Large Conquest) – 3 Runs x 60s.
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – v1.5 – Ultra Preset – 1680×1050 – 8xAA – 16xAF – Tested in the area East of Rorikstead – 3 Runs x 60s.
Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)
4.5 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|
WD 500 GB SATA III (OS)
Samsung 750 GB Sata II (Game)
|Graphics Card||Sapphire HD6950 1 GB|
|Power Supply||Corsair TX 650 W|
|System Software And Drivers|
|Operating System||Windows 7 x64 SP1|