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
    1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS     1366x768 High Preset     1366x768 Medium Preset     1024x768 Low Preset
HD Graphics 4000, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
4.7 fps ∼2%
12.2 fps ∼6%
19.7 fps ∼10%
32.2 fps ∼16%
Radeon HD 7660G, A10-4600M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
AMD Pumori Platform A10-4600M
5.2 (min: 4) fps ∼3%
13.4 (min: 6) fps ∼7%
20.9 (min: 12) fps ∼10%
27.9 (min: 11) fps ∼14%
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
5.5 fps ∼3%
15.3 fps ∼8%
24.8 fps ∼12%
36.6 fps ∼18%
GeForce GT 640M, 2637M, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
9.9 (min: 8) fps ∼5%
23.5 (min: 21) fps ∼12%
34.7 (min: 27) fps ∼17%
50.3 (min: 38) fps ∼25%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
9.7 (min: 6) fps ∼5%
28.5 (min: 24) fps ∼14%
45.5 (min: 37) fps ∼23%
62.9 (min: 49) fps ∼31%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
11.2 fps ∼6%
28.7 fps ∼14%
45.4 fps ∼23%
66.8 fps ∼33%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
14.9 fps ∼7%
34.8 fps ∼17%
53.4 fps ∼27%
77.7 fps ∼39%
Radeon R7 250, 3770K
Desktop-PC
14.9 fps ∼7%
42.7 fps ∼21%
66.7 fps ∼33%
98.2 fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
18.6 fps ∼9%
44.9 fps ∼22%
68.8 fps ∼34%
98.4 fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
19.7 fps ∼10%
49.4 fps ∼25%
75.4 fps ∼38%
109.9 fps ∼55%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23.9 fps ∼12%
53.2 fps ∼27%
80.1 fps ∼40%
109.1 fps ∼55%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
26.5 fps ∼13%
62.2 fps ∼31%
94.2 fps ∼47%
126.8 fps ∼63%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
31.1 fps ∼16%
69.7 fps ∼35%
91 fps ∼46%
111.1 fps ∼56%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
35.3 fps ∼18%
53.3 fps ∼27%
61.9 fps ∼31%
73.8 fps ∼37%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
37.7 fps ∼19%
57.4 fps ∼29%
67.4 fps ∼34%
80.7 fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
40 fps ∼20%
88.7 fps ∼44%
109.2 fps ∼55%
131.1 fps ∼66%
GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
42 fps ∼21%
90.4 fps ∼45%
107.2 fps ∼54%
126 fps ∼63%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
50.6 (min: 41) fps ∼25%
86 (min: 60) fps ∼43%
90 (min: 67) fps ∼45%
108 (min: 80) fps ∼54%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
58.5 fps ∼29%
101.7 fps ∼51%
114.2 fps ∼57%
137.3 fps ∼69%

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 Titan X Pascal
199.5
199.5
199.6
198.7
126.2
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI (Laptop)
200
170
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
200
200
200
176
90
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
172
90.2
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
199.6
199.5
198.9
176.8
91.6
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
1502
72.42
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
199.8
199.6
192.23
135.354
67.33
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
136
70
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
199.3
199
197.9
124.8
 11AMD Radeon R9 Fury
101
56
 12AMD Radeon R9 Nano
100
53.6
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
179.7
162.7
157.4
93.4
51
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
2002
2002
199.952
992
52.72
 16AMD Radeon R9 390X
198.3
189.3
172.4
89.7
49.9
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
199.6
199
196.6
104.3
48.7
 19*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
180.1
167.2
151.4
962
45.4
 20AMD Radeon RX 480
82
41.9
 21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
171
147.9
136
89
 22NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
199.8
199.7
195
88.62
45.32
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 23AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
77
38.3
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
194.4
179.3
155.8
84.5
 27AMD Radeon R9 290X
783
46.6
 30AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
152.4
132.2
120.6
77.2
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
196.23
193.73
156.254
71.74
36.052
 36AMD Radeon R9 280X
137.3
114.2
101.7
58.5
 37AMD Radeon R9 380
194.3
176.1
148.9
59.5
25.3
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
198.8
193.2
147.5
58
 39NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
66
30.2
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
198.83
178.13
134.154
56.654
27.1
 43NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
172.5
153
120.8
49.7
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
153.62
138.852
114.752
57.452
32.4
 50AMD Radeon R9 M295X
105.2
93.4
89.2
39.9
21.7
 55AMD Radeon R7 370
185.64
166.33
131.09
52.89
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
166.92
137.352
112.13
46.23
 58NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
199.7
176.7
123.4
48
23.4
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
126
107.2
90.4
42
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
176.4
141.7
104.6
49.3
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
131.1
109.2
88.7
40
 63NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
169.65
122.64
89.51
36.5
19.8
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 65AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
38.6
19.2
 66AMD Radeon HD 7870
91.6
76.5
68
43
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
1563
1353
1043
43.13
21.52
 68NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
1413
1193
90.94
36.64
 69AMD Radeon R9 M290X
93
81.6
73.9
38.7
 70AMD Radeon HD 8970M
1242
104.12
83.32
43.252
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
181.1
136.9
101.9
40.3
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
111.1
91
69.7
31.1
 81AMD Radeon HD 7970M
73.8
61.9
53.3
35.3
 82*AMD Radeon R9 M390
168
121
91
37.6
19.5
 83NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
162.3
116.3
81.8
33.3
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
1446
110.156
80.87
33.47
16.22
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
126.8
94.2
64.952
27.152
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
136.154
1026
72.758
28.858
 97NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
95.1
71
31.9
 100NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
109.1
80.1
53.2
23.9
 103NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
110.87
78.67
57.527
23.57
10.9
 105AMD Radeon R9 M385X
66.8
56.1
52.5
26.2
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
104.86
81.17
56.49
20.49
 108AMD Radeon R9 M280X
42.2
33
28.6
21.3
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 113NVIDIA GeForce 945M
111.9
78.3
54.4
21.6
 114NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
125.582
97.262
70.312
28.152
 136NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
108.4
75.4
55.4
24
11.7
 138AMD Radeon R9 M370X
97.1
59
41.5
16.6
 139NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
98.4
68.8
44.9
18.6
 141NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
100.852
68.72
46.752
18.82
 149AMD Radeon HD 8870M
46.7
39.1
35.3
15.1
 160AMD Radeon R7 250
98.2
66.7
42.7
14.9
 161NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
57.3
41.1
17.9
 162NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
77.7
53.4
34.8
14.9
 163NVIDIA GeForce 845M
56.4
37
27.1
10.9
 164AMD Radeon HD 8850M
40.7
30.6
 166AMD Radeon R9 M265X
98
63.82
42.42
16.252
 175NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
65.073
45.43
30.13
123
 177NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
67.156
43.87
29.97
11.96
 178NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
59.4
40.2
29.6
12.3
 179NVIDIA GeForce 940M
61.084
40.354
28.154
11.892
 181AMD Radeon R9 M375
43.8
30.6
11.9
 184AMD Radeon R7 M370
68
46.7
33.2
12.8
 188NVIDIA GeForce 840M
64.12
43.82
29.052
11.2
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 189AMD Radeon R7 M275DX
48.1
41.2
32.9
13
 190NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
45.8
28.9
11.2
 194AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
62
45.8
30.4
11.1
 195Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
62.9
45.5
28.5
9.7
3.9
 197NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
49.75
33.95
21.95
8.13
 198NVIDIA GeForce 930M
57.652
39.452
26.62
 199*Intel Iris Graphics 550
59.852
38.452
27.82
8.92
 200NVIDIA GeForce 830M
54.3
36.8
25.6
9.5
 201Intel Iris Graphics 540
47.42
31.752
21.352
10.4
 202*Intel HD Graphics 620
40.65
26.15
19.55
6.14
 207NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
48.4
33
23.2
 209NVIDIA GeForce 825M
51.2
34.7
24.7
 218AMD Radeon R7 M260X
48.5
32.6
22.6
8.2
 220AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
50.3
39.1
26.1
 221*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
54.5
37.8
26
11
 222NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
52.5
34.6
24.2
9.1
 226AMD Radeon HD 8750M
49.152
35.452
25.22
8.1
 229AMD Radeon R7 M265
34.482
26.42
26.7
 233NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
50.3
34.7
23.5
9.9
 234AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
19.92
172
6.2
4.9
Pos      Model                                     Battlefield 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 235AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
37.32
29.152
23.652
9.552
 236*AMD Radeon R7 M460
59.4
38
23.9
7.8
 239AMD Radeon R7 M360
45.73
34.53
21.93
7.13
 241*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
31.62
24.32
16.252
5.62
 244AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
48.72
35.752
22.92
7.62
 245AMD Radeon R7 M440
51.6
37.5
23.7
8.1
 252NVIDIA GeForce 920M
51.4
35.1
24.5
9.6
 253AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
40
27.7
17.6
6.5
 254Intel HD Graphics 530
44.82
30.12
20.72
6.52