Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards, Benchmarked

Benchmark Results: CPU Scaling

Looking back at my notes for the Bulldozer launch (AMD Bulldozer Review: FX-8150 Gets Tested), AMD was very enthusiastic about FX’s performance in Battlefield 3 (multiplayer beta, at the time). And no wonder—Battlefield 3's single-player campaign doesn’t care if you’re using a £100 Core i3 or £300 Core i7. It doesn’t care if you come armed with two Hyper-Threaded cores or four Bulldozer modules. It just. Doesn’t. Care.

In fact, after getting a little overzealous swapping out Lynnfield-, Clarkdale-, and Sandy Bridge-based chips, I tried one AMD CPU and decided to call it a day. Any reasonably-modern processor is going to be held back by graphics long before hamstringing performance itself.

How many cores does the game require for optimal performance? With Turbo Boost disabled on our Core i7-2600K, we get all the way down to two cores at the same 80 FPS. Battlefield 3 requires a dual-core chip, though, so with one core left, the game wouldn’t get past its initialization stage.

AMD’s FX-8150 only lets you disable cores in pairs, as Bulldozer modules. So, we slid down from eight to six and four to two, trying to see if this architecture behaves any different from Sandy Bridge. The only slight performance hit happens with one module left enabled, which is seen as two cores. As you can see in the line chart, a handful of hiccups early on in the test are what drag the average down by seven FPS or so.  

We’ve also read about folks complaining about stuttering issues caused by Hyper-Threading; disabling the feature seems to smooth things out for them. At no point did a perceptible stuttering (aside from the jerkiness attributable to a too-slow GPU at a too-high setting) afflict our platform. However, we can confirm that turning off Hyper-Threading on the Core i7-2600K, going from eight logical processors to four physical ones, doesn’t hurt performance in any way, and in fact may slightly increase it. The rest of our tests were run with Hyper-Threading enabled, but feel free to shut it off if it benefits your experience!

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  • mad tech
    Kudos to BF3 for a real dx11 game at last :)
  • Morgifier
    Wow, such a comprehensive test - I was worried that after all the testing during the beta that most sites had already exhausted this title.

    I run an E5200 @ 3.66GHz (333x11) and this game absolutely red-lines my CPU, so am quite surprised by your CPU results.

    Thanks Tom's and a big cheers to Chris.

    Frag you later.
  • ps3hacker12
    works great on my 2500K/GTS 450 setup on mid-high settings at 1900P.
  • Anonymous
    I'm running BF3 on an i7 930@4Ghz, 10GB ddr3@1540mhz, GTX460@850mhz, 7200rpm hdd. 1920x1080 with everything as high as it goes.
    Getting between 38 and 87fps.
    Actually got some of the best frames on Going Hunting! :D

    Thought I would share...
  • yasir siddiqui
    wonderful Graphics.
  • tamati
    Hmmm I'm runnng on i7 930@4.2 Shz, 6GB Ram, 128 SSD and two ATI 5870s in crossfire and averaging less than 30 frames on ultra - which drops to 8 fps in certain scenarios - WTF!!! I can only get to 40 fps if I drop all settings to medium - *#$%@*! Checked and it looks like both cards are working and under load during the game. Took an hour mucking around with installing lastest drivers etc... thinking I may need to do a complete wipe and reinstall :-( Unless anyone else has a better solution? Ideas anyone?
  • gnomio
    I think Tom is biased towards nvidia. Why do they always go first.....
    JUST KIDDING. Very good review and some excellent testing. Great job guys keep it up