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

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a loyal reader of notebookcheck? Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team!

Especially wanted:
News Editor, Review Editor
(Smartphones) - Details here

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
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                                     Battlefield 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
200
200
200
176
90
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Notebook)
199.6
199.5
198.9
176.8
91.6
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
136
70
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
199.3
199
197.9
124.8
 6AMD Radeon R9 Fury
101
56
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
179.7
162.7
157.4
93.4
51
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Notebook)
2002
2002
199.952
992
52.72
 10AMD Radeon R9 390X
198.3
189.3
172.4
89.7
49.9
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
199.6
199
196.6
104.3
48.7
 12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
171
147.9
136
89
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
199.8
199.7
195
83.2
43
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
194.4
179.3
155.8
84.5
 16AMD Radeon R9 290X
783
46.6
 19AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
152.4
132.2
120.6
77.2
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
196.23
193.73
156.254
71.74
36.052
 25AMD Radeon R9 280X
137.3
114.2
101.7
58.5
 26AMD Radeon R9 380
194.3
176.1
148.9
59.5
25.3
 27NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
198.8
193.2
147.5
58
 28NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
198.83
178.13
134.154
56.654
27.1
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
172.5
153
120.8
49.7
 31NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
108
90
86
50.6
 37AMD Radeon R9 M295X
105.2
93.4
89.2
39.9
21.7
 41AMD Radeon R7 370
185.64
166.33
131.09
52.89
 43NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
166.92
137.352
112.13
46.23
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
199.7
176.7
123.4
48
23.4
 46NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
126
107.2
90.4
42
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
176.4
141.7
104.6
49.3
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
131.1
109.2
88.7
40
 49NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
169.65
122.64
89.51
36.5
19.8
 51AMD Radeon HD 7870
91.6
76.5
68
43
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
1563
1353
1043
43.13
21.52
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
1413
1193
90.94
36.64
 55AMD Radeon R9 M290X
93
81.6
73.9
38.7
 56AMD Radeon HD 8970M
80.7
67.4
57.4
37.7
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
111.1
91
69.7
31.1
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
181.1
136.9
101.9
40.3
 64AMD Radeon HD 7970M
73.8
61.9
53.3
35.3
 65*AMD Radeon R9 M390
168
121
91
37.6
19.5
 66NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
162.3
116.3
81.8
33.3
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 70NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
152.34
112.44
81.25
33.85
16.22
 74NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
126.8
94.2
64.952
27.152
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
136.154
1026
72.758
28.858
 78NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
95.1
71
31.9
 81NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
109.1
80.1
53.2
23.9
 83NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
114.854
80.354
57.364
22.754
10.9
 84NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
104.86
81.17
56.49
20.49
 86AMD Radeon R9 M280X
42.2
33
28.6
21.3
 91NVIDIA GeForce 945M
111.9
78.3
54.4
21.6
 92NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
125.582
97.262
70.312
28.152
 103*AMD Radeon R9 M385X
66.8
56.1
52.5
26.2
 114NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
108.4
75.4
55.4
24
11.7
 116AMD Radeon R9 M370X
97.1
59
41.5
16.6
 117NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
98.4
68.8
44.9
18.6
 119NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
100.852
68.72
46.752
18.82
 122*NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
67.9
47
31.7
12.1
 127AMD Radeon HD 8870M
46.7
39.1
35.3
15.1
 138AMD Radeon R7 250
98.2
66.7
42.7
14.9
 139NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
57.3
41.1
17.9
 140NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
77.7
53.4
34.8
14.9
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 141NVIDIA GeForce 845M
56.4
37
27.1
10.9
 142AMD Radeon HD 8850M
40.7
30.6
 144AMD Radeon R9 M265X
98
63.82
42.42
16.252
 155NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
65.073
45.43
30.13
123
 157NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
59.4
40.2
29.6
12.3
 158NVIDIA GeForce 940M
61.084
40.354
28.154
11.892
 159AMD Radeon R9 M375
43.8
30.6
11.9
 162AMD Radeon R7 M370
68
46.7
33.2
12.8
 166NVIDIA GeForce 840M
64.12
43.82
29.052
11.2
 167AMD Radeon R7 M275DX
48.1
41.2
32.9
13
 168NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
45.8
28.9
11.2
 171AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
62
45.8
30.4
11.1
 172Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
62.9
45.5
28.5
9.7
3.9
 173*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
31.62
24.32
16.252
5.62
 175NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
49.75
33.95
21.95
8.13
 176NVIDIA GeForce 930M
57.652
39.452
26.62
 177*Intel Iris Graphics 550
59.8
43.5
30.8
9.6
 178NVIDIA GeForce 830M
54.3
36.8
25.6
9.5
 179Intel Iris Graphics 540
47.42
31.752
21.352
10.4
 184NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
48.4
33
23.2
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 186NVIDIA GeForce 825M
51.2
34.7
24.7
 195AMD Radeon R7 M260X
48.5
32.6
22.6
8.2
 197AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
50.3
39.1
26.1
 199NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
52.5
34.6
24.2
9.1
 203AMD Radeon HD 8750M
49.152
35.452
25.22
8.1
 206AMD Radeon R7 M265
34.482
26.42
26.7
 210NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
50.3
34.7
23.5
9.9
 211AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
19.92
172
6.2
4.9
 212AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
37.32
29.152
23.652
9.552
 216AMD Radeon R7 M360
45.73
34.53
21.93
7.13
 226NVIDIA GeForce 920M
51.4
35.1
24.5
9.6
 227AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
40
27.7
17.6
6.5
 228Intel HD Graphics 530
44.82
30.12
20.72
6.52
 231AMD Radeon R7 M260
21.52
15.82
10.152
3.352
 232AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
29
19.9
14
5.4
 240AMD Radeon HD 8670D
52.4
37
23.6
7.9
 263Intel HD Graphics 5600
46.9
30.9
18.6
6
 264AMD Radeon HD 8570D
37
26.5
17.8
6.2
 266AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
35.1
24.5
15.8
 269AMD Radeon HD 8670M
33.6
24.8
17.1
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 270AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
34.2
21.9
16.5
 271AMD Radeon HD 7660D
41.9
30.1
19.6
7
 289AMD Radeon HD 8650G
27.72
19.952
17.1
5.6
 294NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
32.52
21.1
14.8
6.3
 295AMD Radeon HD 7560D
35.8
25
16.9
5.9
 299AMD Radeon R5 M330
40.53
29.13
193
6.42
 300AMD Radeon R5 M255
51.3
36.2
24.7
7.8
 302NVIDIA GeForce 820M
38.8
26.3
18.7
 303Intel HD Graphics 520
34.714
24.814
15.4514
4.310
 304Intel Iris Graphics 6100
35.1
26.8
17.2
6.4
 305NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
30.4
21.4
15.2
 307AMD Radeon R5 M240
26.8
22.4
17.7
 309AMD Radeon R5 M230
38.6
26.1
17.4
 315Intel HD Graphics 6000
32
22.2
15.6
5.6
 318Intel Iris Graphics 5100
36.1
26.1
15.3
5.7
 323Intel HD Graphics 4600
36.6
24.8
15.3
5.5
 325Intel HD Graphics 5500
24.23
15.23
10.33
42
 327AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
16.5
12
9.2
 330NVIDIA GeForce 710M