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Battlefield 3 BETA : Performance Preview, Screenshots and HD video walkthrough

DICE's latest installment of the Battlefield series of multiplayer shooters has finally arrived. We did a quick performance preview using graphics cards like Nvidia GTX 580 and AMD 6990 in Quadfire at Full HD1080p Ultra preset, captured high resolution screenshots and recorded a HD video walkthrough of the MP Beta's Operation Metro map for your viewing pleasure.

BF3 BETA Performance Preview

With no formal benchmarking tool and just using FRAPS in an empty server on the Operation Metro beta map, we observed the following:

CPU – Any modern quad core processor of at least 3.2GHz will not bottleneck the framerates in the game. The workload is evenly distributed between threads and more surprisingly, we did not see any noticable scaling when we upped the frequency or core count. Neat.

Memory Usage – The bf3.exe process used over 1GB of memory. Having at least 4GB of RAM and running a 64-bit operating system should take care of things.

GPU –  We ran the tests using the latest beta drivers from both AMD (Catalyst 11.10 Preview) and Nvidia (285.38). This game absolutely scales with multi-core GPU setups and shaders count/clockspeeds. GPU usage during monitoring was hitting the roof at 99% for the duration of the testing – something that we haven't seen in recent (shoddy) console ports.

At 1080p Ultra settings (with everything graphics details set to maximum), we get an average of around 50fps for a single AMD 6970/GTX580, 80fps for a AMD 6990 (2 GPU crossfire) and 140fps for a AMD 6990 in Quadfire, which is actually quite similar to the one-year old Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on maximum settings. It also needed around 1.3GB of GPU framebuffer for the ultra preset textures. A side-by-side monitor test showed indistinguishable image quality from both AMD and Nvidia solutions (drivers at default settings), so we know that there is no quack3.exe foul play yet.

Lowering the resolution and quality preset (low, medium, high ultra and custom) will get you more consistent frame rates, and a mid-range DX11 card like AMD 6850/Nvidia GTX560 should achieve a smooth ~ 80 to 100fps in 720p medium resolution. Entry level DX11 or last generation DX10 GPUs should be able to run this game, albeit not at high definition resolutions. We also noticed Stereo 3D and Eyefinity support, but using these features would definitely require a high-end multi-GPU setup. 

Expect Nvidia and AMD to come out with more optimized drivers for BF3, especially when the final retail game is out a month from now on 28th October. After that, VR-Zone will explore BF3 performance across the whole spectrum of graphics cards (from GTX260 to 6990 Quadfire/MARS II in SLi) and CPUs (Llanos, Zambezis, SB-Es…) in a mega roundup article.

Building / Upgrading your gaming rig today? Read our guide for Battlefield 3 systems. We have also prepared a short feature on BF3 running on dual core laptops which was released earlier.


VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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