Notebookcheck

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

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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
HD Graphics 4000, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
32.2 fps ∼16%
19.7 fps ∼10%
12.2 fps ∼6%
4.7 fps ∼3%
Radeon HD 7660G, A10-4600M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
AMD Pumori Platform A10-4600M
27.9 (min: 11) fps ∼14%
20.9 (min: 12) fps ∼10%
13.4 (min: 6) fps ∼7%
5.2 (min: 4) fps ∼3%
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
36.6 fps ∼18%
24.8 fps ∼12%
15.3 fps ∼8%
5.5 fps ∼3%
GeForce GT 640M, 2637M, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
50.3 (min: 38) fps ∼25%
34.7 (min: 27) fps ∼17%
23.5 (min: 21) fps ∼12%
9.9 (min: 8) fps ∼6%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
62.9 (min: 49) fps ∼31%
45.5 (min: 37) fps ∼23%
28.5 (min: 24) fps ∼14%
9.7 (min: 6) fps ∼5%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
66.8 fps ∼33%
45.4 fps ∼23%
28.7 fps ∼14%
11.2 fps ∼6%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
77.7 fps ∼39%
53.4 fps ∼27%
34.8 fps ∼17%
14.9 fps ∼8%
Radeon R7 250, 3770K
Desktop-PC
98.2 fps ∼49%
66.7 fps ∼33%
42.7 fps ∼21%
14.9 fps ∼8%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
98.4 fps ∼49%
68.8 fps ∼34%
44.9 fps ∼22%
18.6 fps ∼11%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
109.9 fps ∼55%
75.4 fps ∼38%
49.4 fps ∼25%
19.7 fps ∼11%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
109.1 fps ∼55%
80.1 fps ∼40%
53.2 fps ∼27%
23.9 fps ∼14%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
126.8 fps ∼63%
94.2 fps ∼47%
62.2 fps ∼31%
26.5 fps ∼15%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
111.1 fps ∼56%
91 fps ∼46%
69.7 fps ∼35%
31.1 fps ∼18%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
73.8 fps ∼37%
61.9 fps ∼31%
53.3 fps ∼27%
35.3 fps ∼20%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
80.7 fps ∼40%
67.4 fps ∼34%
57.4 fps ∼29%
37.7 fps ∼21%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
131.1 fps ∼66%
109.2 fps ∼55%
88.7 fps ∼44%
40 fps ∼23%
GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
126 fps ∼63%
107.2 fps ∼54%
90.4 fps ∼45%
42 fps ∼24%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
108 (min: 80) fps ∼54%
90 (min: 67) fps ∼45%
86 (min: 60) fps ∼43%
50.6 (min: 41) fps ∼29%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
137.3 fps ∼69%
114.2 fps ∼57%
101.7 fps ∼51%
58.5 fps ∼33%

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
Discussion

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                                     Perf. RatingBattlefield 4
 Battlefield 4 (2013)
low
1024x768
Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1366x768
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
4x MSAA
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
99.6
200
200
200
176
90
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Notebook)
99.8
199.6
199.5
198.9
176.8
91.6
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
~76.740%
136
70
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
~92.280%
199.3
199
197.9
124.8
 6AMD Radeon R9 Fury
~59.140%
101
56
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
71.7
179.7
162.7
157.4
93.4
51
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Notebook)
82.7
2002
2002
199.952
992
52.72
 10AMD Radeon R9 390X
77
198.3
189.3
172.4
89.7
49.9
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
82
199.6
199
196.6
104.3
48.7
 12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
~69.480%
171
147.9
136
89
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
78.3
199.8
199.7
195
83.2
43
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
~78.180%
194.4
179.3
155.8
84.5
 17AMD Radeon R9 290X
~47.540%
783
46.6
 20AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
~61.680%
152.4
132.2
120.6
77.2
 24NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
70.6
196.23
193.73
156.254
71.74
36.052
 26AMD Radeon R9 280X
~52.480%
137.3
114.2
101.7
58.5
 27AMD Radeon R9 380
64.2
194.3
176.1
148.9
59.5
25.3
 28NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
~75.680%
198.8
193.2
147.5
58
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
63.4
198.83
178.13
134.154
56.654
27.1
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 31NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
~62.880%
172.5
153
120.8
49.7
 32NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
~42.780%
108
90
86
50.6
 38AMD Radeon R9 M295X
38
105.2
93.4
89.2
39.9
21.7
 42AMD Radeon R7 370
~67.980%
185.64
166.33
131.09
52.89
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
~58.680%
166.92
137.352
112.13
46.23
 45NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
60.5
199.7
176.7
123.4
48
23.4
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
~46.480%
126
107.2
90.4
42
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
~59.880%
176.4
141.7
104.6
49.3
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
~46.880%
131.1
109.2
88.7
40
 50NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
46.6
169.65
122.64
89.51
36.5
19.8
 52AMD Radeon HD 7870
~35.680%
91.6
76.5
68
43
 53NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
49.1
1563
1353
1043
43.13
21.52
 55NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
~4980%
1413
1193
90.94
36.64
 56AMD Radeon R9 M290X
~36.580%
93
81.6
73.9
38.7
 57AMD Radeon HD 8970M
~3180%
80.7
67.4
57.4
37.7
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
~38.480%
111.1
91
69.7
31.1
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
~58.280%
181.1
136.9
101.9
40.3
 65AMD Radeon HD 7970M
~28.680%
73.8
61.9
53.3
35.3
 66*AMD Radeon R9 M390
46.5
168
121
91
37.6
19.5
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
~49.880%
162.3
116.3
81.8
33.3
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
42
152.34
112.44
81.25
33.85
16.22
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
~39.680%
126.8
94.2
64.952
27.152
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
~42.980%
136.154
1026
72.758
28.858
 79NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
~33.760%
95.1
71
31.9
 82NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
~33.780%
109.1
80.1
53.2
23.9
 84NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
30
110.95
81.45
57.525
23.55
10.9
 85NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
~33.280%
104.86
81.17
56.49
20.49
 87AMD Radeon R9 M280X
~1680%
42.2
33
28.6
21.3
 92NVIDIA GeForce 945M
~33.680%
111.9
78.3
54.4
21.6
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
~40.680%
125.582
97.262
70.312
28.152
 104*AMD Radeon R9 M385X
~25.680%
66.8
56.1
52.5
26.2
 117NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
29.2
108.4
75.4
55.4
24
11.7
 119AMD Radeon R9 M370X
~2780%
97.1
59
41.5
16.6
 120NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
~29.180%
98.4
68.8
44.9
18.6
 122NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
~29.780%
100.852
68.72
46.752
18.82
 125*NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
~19.380%
67.13
44.33
29.93
11.92
 130AMD Radeon HD 8870M
~17.380%
46.7
39.1
35.3
15.1
 141AMD Radeon R7 250
~28.180%
98.2
66.7
42.7
14.9
 142NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
~19.860%
57.3
41.1
17.9
 143NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
~22.880%
77.7
53.4
34.8
14.9
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 144NVIDIA GeForce 845M
~16.680%
56.4
37
27.1
10.9
 145AMD Radeon HD 8850M
~17.840%
40.7
30.6
 147AMD Radeon R9 M265X
~27.880%
98
63.82
42.42
16.252
 158NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
~19.380%
65.073
45.43
30.13
123
 160NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
~17.980%
59.4
40.2
29.6
12.3
 161NVIDIA GeForce 940M
~17.980%
61.084
40.354
28.154
11.892
 162AMD Radeon R9 M375
~14.660%
43.8
30.6
11.9
 165AMD Radeon R7 M370
~20.380%
68
46.7
33.2
12.8
 169NVIDIA GeForce 840M
~18.780%
64.12
43.82
29.052
11.2
 170AMD Radeon R7 M275DX
~17.180%
48.1
41.2
32.9
13
 171NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
~14.660%
45.8
28.9
11.2
 174AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
~18.880%
62
45.8
30.4
11.1
 175Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
15.6
62.9
45.5
28.5
9.7
3.9
 176*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
~9.880%
31.62
24.32
16.252
5.62
 178NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
~14.380%
49.75
33.95
21.95
8.13
 179NVIDIA GeForce 930M
~20.660%
57.652
39.452
26.62
 180*Intel Iris Graphics 550
~18.180%
59.8
43.5
30.8
9.6
 181NVIDIA GeForce 830M
~15.980%
54.3
36.8
25.6
9.5
 182Intel Iris Graphics 540
~1480%
47.42
31.752
21.352
10.4
 187NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
~17.460%
48.4
33
23.2
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 189NVIDIA GeForce 825M
~18.460%
51.2
34.7
24.7
 198AMD Radeon R7 M260X
~14.180%
48.5
32.6
22.6
8.2
 200AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
~19.360%
50.3
39.1
26.1
 201*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
~16.380%
54.5
37.8
26
11
 202NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
~15.280%
52.5
34.6
24.2
9.1
 206AMD Radeon HD 8750M
~14.980%
49.152
35.452
25.22
8.1
 209AMD Radeon R7 M265
~14.660%
34.482
26.42
26.7
 213NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
~1580%
50.3
34.7
23.5
9.9
 214AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
~6.180%
19.92
172
6.2
4.9
 215AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
~12.680%
37.32
29.152
23.652
9.552
 216*AMD Radeon R7 M460
~16.380%
59.4
38
23.9
7.8
 219AMD Radeon R7 M360
~13.880%
45.73
34.53
21.93
7.13
 229NVIDIA GeForce 920M
~15.280%
51.4
35.1
24.5
9.6
 230AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
~11.680%
40
27.7
17.6
6.5
 231Intel HD Graphics 530
~12.980%
44.82
30.12
20.72
6.52
 234AMD Radeon R7 M260
~6.480%
21.52
15.82
10.152
3.352
 235AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
~8.680%
29
19.9
14
5.4
 243AMD Radeon HD 8670D
~15.280%
52.4
37
23.6
7.9
 266Intel HD Graphics 5600
~12.980%
46.9
30.9
18.6
6
 267AMD Radeon HD 8570D
~1180%
37
26.5
17.8
6.2
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 269AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
~12.660%
35.1
24.5
15.8
 272AMD Radeon HD 8670M
~12.660%
33.6
24.8
17.1
 273AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
~12.160%
34.2
21.9
16.5
 274AMD Radeon HD 7660D
~12.480%
41.9
30.1
19.6
7
 292AMD Radeon HD 8650G
~8.980%
27.72
19.952
17.1
5.6
 297NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
~9.480%
32.52
21.1
14.8
6.3
 298AMD Radeon HD 7560D
~10.580%
35.8
25
16.9
5.9
 302AMD Radeon R5 M330
~1280%
40.53
29.13
193
6.42
 303AMD Radeon R5 M255
~15.180%
51.3
36.2
24.7
7.8
 305NVIDIA GeForce 820M
~1460%
38.8
26.3
18.7
 306Intel HD Graphics 520
~10.380%
35.417
24.817
16.917
4.912
 307Intel Iris Graphics 6100
~10.880%
35.1
26.8
17.2
6.4
 308NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
~11.260%
30.4
21.4
15.2
 310AMD Radeon R5 M240
~11.260%
26.8
22.4
17.7
 312AMD Radeon R5 M230
~13.760%