Battlefield 4 Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 11/13/2013

High-gloss and polished. Most gamers know that Battlefield 4 is a feast for the eyes. But what are its hardware demands like? We tested the single-player campaign with a variety of notebook graphics cards.

Battlefield 4 Logo

For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

Even though the Battlefield 3 graphics were stunning, its successor manages even more. BF 4 is one of the few PC titles to attain to the same graphics quality as Crysis 3, and in some places it even surpasses it. Alongside the tack-sharp textures, the effects are particularly jaw-dropping. Whether you're talking about light, shadows, water, smoke, snow or any other kind of particle: DICE deserves no criticism.

We must say, though, that the developers have perhaps overdone it a bit. If the player's character is blinded by the sun or some other reflective object and shot at from all directions (flying sparks, vision distortion, mud on the “camera”, etc.), you can hardly tell what's happening in the game. Destructible level elements contribute to the chaos, though they also make the atmosphere even more thrilling.

In general, the environments are chock-full of detail. DICE put a lot of effort into saturating the campaign with spirit. Speaking of environments: While some levels -- as per usual with ego-shooter games -- are built very linearly, in some scenes you get a surprising amount of freedom, which evokes the multi-player feeling. As our screenshots prove, the campaign certainly isn't short of impressive panoramas.

Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings

Unfortunately, being so young, the technology still has its problems. In our several hours of testing, we encountered a variety of issues. One time, the game complained of missing DirectX 9 files, even though everything was up-to-date. On another notebook, Origin supposedly wasn't correctly installed. Every now and then, in single player mode the game crashed -- despite the fact that we were using current (beta) drivers (desktop system with Radeon R9 280X and Windows 7 64 bit).

Also bothersome: Independent of the hardware we were using, we experienced intermittent jerking that wasn't always related to the frame rate. Even with powerful hardware, the title didn't always run fluidly. Depending on the system and graphics settings, some objects tended to flicker. We hope the developers are working on improvements in this area.

Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4

In terms of the graphics menu, there's nothing to complain about. Following BF 3's example, the action game offers a ton of options. The palette stretches from “A” for “Anti-Aliasing” to “W” for “Weapon DOF”. Beginners who aren't interested in messing around with the settings will be pleased with the four presets. A restart isn't required to adopt changes. Unlike other titles in its genre (did someone say Call of Duty?), Battlefield 4 is already attractive and fun at medium settings. And even at minimum details, the visuals certainly aren't ugly.

Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4

Benchmark

Our benchmark sequence stems from the “Shanghai” level. With the Fraps tool, we logged a car drive at the beginning of the mission that lasted around a minute and a half (see video). This multi-player sequence corresponds to the mid-level frame rate of single player mode (short test on a Conquest map).

Since the frame rate -- depending on the situation -- varied considerably, it's hard to make a general statement about the game's performance. An average of 40 fps should ensure that the game is rendered reasonably smoothly, though perhaps not perfectly.

Results

If you ignore the ultra-preset, the game's hardware hunger remains within reasonable limits. While the popular Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 4600 chips (HD 3000 doesn't work) prove to be essentially unusable, an inexpensive all-rounder model, like the GeForce GT 640M, can render the game fluidly at least at low graphics settings.

The medium settings level requires much more hardware power. At 1366 x 768 pixels, a GeForce GT 750M manages around 45 fps. You'll need a genuine high-end GPU for high details and 1366 x 768 pixels; the GeForce GT 670M(X) is the beginning of the line for rendering the game at those settings. On the Ultra preset, with 4x MSAA thrown in the mix, all current notebook graphics cards struggle. Only the GeForce GTX 780M can pull off the 40 fps in FullHD resolution.

Looking at the Radeon HD 8970M/7970M (normally on par with the GTX-680M) and the Radeon R9 280X desktop, it's clear that Battlefield 4 harmonizes better with AMD. That's unsurprising, as the graphics card giant had its finger in the pie during the game's development (keyword “Mantle”). At medium settings, the tides turn a little. The reason: AMD's Enduro technology costs a frame here and there.

Battlefield 4
    1024x768 Low Preset     1366x768 Medium Preset     1366x768 High Preset     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS

Verdict

Despites various inconsistencies, we are duly impressed with the Frostbite 3 engine. Technology gurus who expect state-of-the-art visuals won't be disappointed. In terms of gameplay, the single-player mode didn't have us on the edge of our seats. The usual army pathos, crude story, cliché characters and uninspired machine gun shootings fail to amaze us. But as a little snack between multi-player games, the campaign is plenty of fun.

Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4

Test Systems

Our four most important test devices are courtesy of Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M, Radeon HD 8970M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670MX, GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000)

A further thank you goes to Micron for providing the 480 GB Crucial M500, on which Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit is installed.

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 331.65, AMD 13.11 Beta 8, Intel 9.18.10.3257 and 9.17.10.3223

From left to right: Schenker Xesia M501, M503, XMG P502 & W503
From left to right: Schenker Xesia M501, M503, XMG P502 & W503

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
 Battlefield 4 (2013)
low
1024x768
Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1366x768
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
4x MSAA
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
171
147.9
136
89
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
194.4
179.3
155.8
84.5
 4AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
152.4
132.2
120.6
77.2
 8AMD Radeon R9 290X
783
 9AMD Radeon R9 280X
137.3
114.2
101.7
58.5
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
172.5
153
120.8
49.7
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
108
90
86
50.6
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
176.4
141.7
104.6
49.3
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
166.92
137.352
115.42
48.22
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
126
107.2
90.4
42
 19NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
131.1
109.2
88.7
40
 20NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
169.65
122.64
89.51
36.5
 22AMD Radeon HD 7870
91.6
76.5
68
43
 23AMD Radeon R9 M290X
93
81.6
73.9
38.7
 24AMD Radeon HD 8970M
80.7
67.4
57.4
37.7
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
1413
1193
90.94
36.64
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
111.1
91
69.7
31.1
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
181.1
136.9
101.9
40.3
 32AMD Radeon HD 7970M
73.8
61.9
53.3
35.3
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra
 33NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
162.3
116.3
81.8
33.3
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
126.8
94.2
64.952
27.152
 39NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
136.154
104.754
73.75
28.85
 42NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
95.1
71
31.9
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
109.1
80.1
53.2
23.9
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
108.95
84.25
587
20.77
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
125.582
97.262
70.312
28.152
 72NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
98.4
68.8
44.9
18.6
 74NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
100.852
68.72
46.752
18.82
 80AMD Radeon HD 8870M
46.7
39.1
35.3
15.1
 91AMD Radeon R7 250
98.2
66.7
42.7
14.9
 92NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
57.3
41.1
17.9
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
77.7
53.4
34.8
14.9
 95AMD Radeon HD 8850M
40.7
30.6
 104NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
65.073
45.43
30.13
123
 106NVIDIA GeForce 840M
64.12
43.82
29.052
11.2
 108NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
45.8
28.9
11.2
 111AMD Radeon R7 in A10-7850K APU (Kaveri)
62
45.8
30.4
11.1
 112Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
62.9
45.5
28.5
9.7
 115NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
49.75
33.95
21.95
8.13
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra
 119NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
48.4
33
23.2
 121NVIDIA GeForce 825M
51.2
34.7
24.7
 132AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
50.3
39.1
26.1
 133NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
52.5
34.6
24.2
9.1
 137AMD Radeon HD 8750M
49.152
35.452
25.22
8.1
 139AMD Radeon R7 M265
34.482
26.42
26.7
 143NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
50.3
34.7
23.5
9.9
 162AMD Radeon HD 8670D
52.4
37
23.6
7.9
 184AMD Radeon HD 8570D
37
26.5
17.8
6.2
 186AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
35.1
24.5
15.8
 189AMD Radeon HD 8670M
33.6
24.8
17.1
 190AMD Radeon HD 7660D
41.9
30.1
19.6
7
 208AMD Radeon HD 8650G
27.72
19.952
17.1
5.6
 213NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
32.52
21.1
14.8
6.3
 214AMD Radeon HD 7560D
35.8
25
16.9
5.9
 218NVIDIA GeForce 820M
38.8
26.3
18.7
 220NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
30.4
21.4
15.2
 222Intel Iris Graphics 5100
36.1
26.1
15.3
5.7
 223AMD Radeon R5 M230
38.6
26.1
17.4
 234Intel HD Graphics 4600
36.6
24.8
15.3
5.5
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra
 238NVIDIA GeForce 710M
40.1
26.5
16.5
 239AMD Radeon HD 7660G
32.152
23.42
14.92
5.352
 242Intel HD Graphics 5000
28.6
19.9
13.3
 258AMD Radeon HD 8550G
33.6
23.5
16.6
5.3
 267AMD Radeon HD 8470D
35.2
24.6
16.5
5.2
 270Intel HD Graphics 4400
223
153
9
 306AMD Radeon HD 7480D
26.5
18.4
12.7
3.9
 307Intel HD Graphics 4000
32.2
19.7
12.2
4.7
 311*AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
18.6
12.7
8.8
3.3
 312Intel HD Graphics 4200
15.9
10.1
6.6
2.5
 320AMD Radeon HD 8450G
28
19.6
14.5
4.6
 324AMD Radeon HD 8400
20.9
 335AMD Radeon HD 8350G
25.8
18.2
13.1
 336AMD Radeon HD 8330
18.9
 361Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
12.8
10
 381AMD Radeon HD 8280
15.9
11.7
 417AMD Radeon HD 8210
9.9
 459Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
7.3
* Smaller values are better. / * Approximate position

 

Legend
5Stutters – This game is very likely to stutter and have poor frame rates. Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, average frame rates are expected to fall below 25fps
May Stutter – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, stutters and poor frame rates are expected.
30Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 25fps
40Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 35fps
May Run Fluently – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, fluent frame rates are expected.
123Uncertain – This graphics card experienced unexpected performance issues during testing for this game. A slower card may be able to achieve better and more consistent frame rates than this particular GPU running the same benchmark scene.
Uncertain – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game and no reliable interpolation can be made based on the performances of surrounding cards of the same class or family.
The value in the fields displays the average frame rate of all values in the database. Move your cursor over the value to see individual results.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Battlefield 4 Benchmarked
Author: Florian Glaser, 2013-11-13 (Update: 2013-11-13)