Battlefield Hardline Benchmarked
1, 2, Police. Hardline is a breath of fresh air for the Battlefield series: the single-player experience is radically different from that of the predecessors. Our focus will be on the hardware requirements of the new first-person shooter.
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For the original German article, see here.
Unlike Battlefield 4, Hardline was not developed by DICE. Visceral Games, the studio which delivered the Dead Space series, developed the majority of the new FPS. Although the series has changed developers, Hardline employs the same engine which made its predecessors a success: Frostbite 3.
In comparison to other ego shooters, the game is very detailed: characters, levels, etc. The effects are wonderful as well: whether it be water, particles, reflections or lighting. In fact, Hardline is a step ahead of the competition in almost every category. The only games which have a chance of standing their ground are Ryse: Son of Rome and Crysis 3.
Fans of the Frostbite 3 engine love its destroyable environment. Skirmishes will often result in broken windows and walls, which make firefights quite intense. This feature sets the Battlefield series apart from the rest of the commonplace games belonging to the action genre.
The Battlefield series has long been applauded for its jaw-dropping sounds and the latest installment carries on this proud tradition. The amazing sound system of Hardline promises to fully immerse the gamer in a way that few other competitors can. The cinematic cutscenes and explosive gameplay are brought to life by the realistic soundscape. Sadly, the campaign of Hardline cannot match the standards set by the engine and sound system. At first, the story is quite interesting and the game has a lot of potential, but as we progress through the virtual world, we feel like the story becomes "worn out." All-in-all, the single-player campaign is neither a full-blown success nor a failure.
The graphics should satisfy most gamers. At first glance, the video options are almost identical to Battlefield 4. The left side offers controls for the resolution, the brightness, the field of view and special features, which are not to be found in most ego shooters (for example, a colorblind mode). The right side offers options to regulate around 10 graphics settings, which includes: Ambient Occlusion (SSAO, HBAO), Anti-aliasing (MSAA), textures, etc. Thanks to the 4 presets "Low," "Medium," "High" and "Ultra," the gamer can quickly find suitable game settings.
Annoying: according to the menu, most settings require a restart. This would not be quite so bad if the game would load faster on HDDs. Furthermore, the cutscenes are limited to 30 fps and cannot be skipped (harder to find suitable benchmark sequences).
The main flaw would be the lacking Fraps support. Here are the steps required to make the recording software work: open Notepad, type in "RenderDevice.PresentAsync 0" (without quotes) and save the file as "user.cfg" in the main directory of Hardline (file type: All Files, not .txt). After these tweaks, Fraps should run fine.
As previously mentioned, it was quite hard to find a suitable benchmark sequence which would be easy to run for our technical writers (when they check how well the game runs during their notebook reviews) and would deliver consistent results (multiplayer is not an option). In the end, we decided to use the start of the sixth campaign mission: "Out of Business." After a long cutscene, the player is sent to inspect a car dealership. Our benchmark runs a total of 30 seconds and leads up to the entrance of the building. To ensure consistent results, we followed the path of our companion (see video).
Considering the great visuals of the game, the hardware requirements are quite reasonable. If you have an entry-level device, with a graphics card ranging from the HD Graphics 4600 up to GeForce GT 740M, then you can run the game at low details and a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. New all-rounder notebooks boasting graphics cards like the GeForce GT 750M and above will be able to run the game at the preset "Medium" and 1366x768 pixels.
For the FHD resolution of 1920x1,080 pixels and the "High" preset we recommend at least a GeForce GTX 850M/765M. It would be easier to run at these settings with a GTX 860M. Ultra details and 4x AA will require a high-end GPU such as the GeForce GTX 870M/GTX 780M or higher. The benchmark sequence runs at above 35 fps with these top-notch GPUs.
Hardline is not very demanding on the CPU - at least in the campaign. In multiplayer, the CPU is required more. Overall, we find Frostbite 3 to be very well optimized. Other engines (Assassin's Creed Unity?) are far more demanding.
Note: owners of AMD GPUs can enjoy the Mantle API. We only use DirectX 11 to record the performance with Fraps.
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 3770K|
92.9 (min: 84) fps ∼53%
129.7 (min: 118) fps ∼66%
167.4 (min: 156) fps ∼85%
182.5 (min: 168) fps ∼92%
|AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K|
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
84 (min: 74) fps ∼48%
122 (min: 112) fps ∼62%
179 (min: 149) fps ∼90%
176 (min: 147) fps ∼89%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ|
67 (min: 60) fps ∼38%
103.9 (min: 96) fps ∼53%
161.1 (min: 148) fps ∼81%
175 (min: 159) fps ∼88%
|AMD Radeon R9 280X, 3770K|
62 (min: 55) fps ∼35%
94.4 (min: 84) fps ∼48%
126.9 (min: 107) fps ∼64%
149.5 (min: 119) fps ∼75%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ|
51.4 (min: 45) fps ∼29%
83.4 (min: 77) fps ∼43%
146.2 (min: 134) fps ∼74%
169.8 (min: 150) fps ∼86%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ|
45.9 (min: 41) fps ∼26%
73 (min: 67) fps ∼37%
144.1 (min: 134) fps ∼73%
173 (min: 154) fps ∼87%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ|
41.9 (min: 38) fps ∼24%
65.8 (min: 60) fps ∼34%
130.2 (min: 122) fps ∼66%
168.3 (min: 157) fps ∼85%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ|
36.4 (min: 33) fps ∼21%
59.3 (min: 54) fps ∼30%
124.7 (min: 117) fps ∼63%
163.2 (min: 150) fps ∼82%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ|
27.2 (min: 24) fps ∼15%
43.4 (min: 39) fps ∼22%
90.3 (min: 84) fps ∼46%
123.2 (min: 114) fps ∼62%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ|
26.5 (min: 23) fps ∼15%
44.5 (min: 40) fps ∼23%
96 (min: 88) fps ∼49%
133.1 (min: 125) fps ∼67%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M|
20.8 (min: 15) fps ∼12%
34.8 (min: 31) fps ∼18%
82.9 (min: 75) fps ∼42%
114.7 (min: 106) fps ∼58%
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ|
20.7 (min: 18) fps ∼12%
34.2 (min: 31) fps ∼18%
72.4 (min: 68) fps ∼37%
100.6 (min: 92) fps ∼51%
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ|
11.9 (min: 10) fps ∼7%
19.6 (min: 17) fps ∼10%
42.3 (min: 38) fps ∼21%
60.6 (min: 55) fps ∼31%
|Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ|
8.6 (min: 6) fps ∼5%
17 (min: 13) fps ∼9%
38.7 (min: 29) fps ∼20%
54 (min: 39) fps ∼27%
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, 2637M|
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
8.3 (min: 3) fps ∼5%
15.1 (min: 12) fps ∼8%
32.7 (min: 29) fps ∼17%
45 (min: 35) fps ∼23%
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, 4200M|
HP Envy 15-j011sg
7.9 (min: 6) fps ∼4%
14.1 (min: 11) fps ∼7%
32.2 (min: 29) fps ∼16%
45 (min: 41) fps ∼23%
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M|
9.7 fps ∼5%
22 fps ∼11%
31.3 fps ∼16%
|AMD Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M|
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
5.1 (min: 3) fps ∼3%
9 (min: 7) fps ∼5%
21.1 (min: 18) fps ∼11%
30 (min: 25) fps ∼15%
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM|
5.5 (min: 4) fps ∼3%
8.9 (min: 7) fps ∼5%
18.5 (min: 15) fps ∼9%
29 (min: 23) fps ∼15%
|Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ|
5.3 (min: 3) fps ∼3%
9.2 (min: 7) fps ∼5%
22.1 (min: 18) fps ∼11%
32.1 (min: 27) fps ∼16%
|Intel Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U|
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
5.9 (min: 4) fps ∼3%
9.2 (min: 7) fps ∼5%
23.6 (min: 20) fps ∼12%
31.9 (min: 28) fps ∼16%
Four of our test systems are from Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):
- W504 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 860M, GTX 870M, GTX 880M, GTX 970M, GTX 980M, Radeon R9 M290X)
- W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M)
- M504 (Core i5-4340M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 850M)
- M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M)
These notebooks run Windows 7 (64-bit).
Three test systems were provided by Nvidia:
- HP Envy 15-j011sg (Core i5-4200M, 12 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 740M)
- MSI CX61-i572M281BW7 (Core i5-4200M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 720M)
- Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG (Core i7-2637M, 4GB DDR3, GeForce GT 640M)
Intel adds one more:
- Schenker S413 (Core i7-4750HQ, 8 GB DDR3, Iris Pro Graphics 5200)
The desktop PCs use CPUs/APUs from Intel and AMD, SSDs from Micron, Intel and Samsung, motherboards from Intel and Asus and graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD.
GPU drivers: Nvidia 347.88, AMD 14.12, Intel 18.104.22.168.4156