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Battlefield 4 Benchmarked

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
    1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS     1366x768 High Preset     1366x768 Medium Preset     1024x768 Low Preset
HD Graphics 4000, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
4.7 (0min) fps ∼2%
12.2 (0min) fps ∼6%
19.7 (0min) fps ∼10%
32.2 (0min) fps ∼16%
Radeon HD 7660G, A10-4600M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
AMD Pumori Platform A10-4600M
5.2 (4min) fps ∼3%
13.4 (6min) fps ∼7%
20.9 (12min) fps ∼10%
27.9 (11min) fps ∼14%
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
5.5 (0min) fps ∼3%
15.3 (0min) fps ∼8%
24.8 (0min) fps ∼12%
36.6 (0min) fps ∼18%
GeForce GT 640M, 2637M, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
9.9 (8min) fps ∼5%
23.5 (21min) fps ∼12%
34.7 (27min) fps ∼17%
50.3 (38min) fps ∼25%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
SCHENKER S413
9.7 (6min) fps ∼5%
28.5 (24min) fps ∼14%
45.5 (37min) fps ∼23%
62.9 (49min) fps ∼31%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
11.2 (0min) fps ∼6%
28.7 (0min) fps ∼14%
45.4 (0min) fps ∼22%
66.8 (0min) fps ∼33%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
14.9 (0min) fps ∼7%
34.8 (0min) fps ∼17%
53.4 (0min) fps ∼26%
77.7 (0min) fps ∼38%
Radeon R7 250, 3770K
Desktop-PC
14.9 (0min) fps ∼7%
42.7 (0min) fps ∼21%
66.7 (0min) fps ∼33%
98.2 (0min) fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
18.6 (0min) fps ∼9%
44.9 (0min) fps ∼22%
68.8 (0min) fps ∼34%
98.4 (0min) fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
19.7 (0min) fps ∼10%
49.4 (0min) fps ∼24%
75.4 (0min) fps ∼37%
109.9 (0min) fps ∼54%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23.9 (0min) fps ∼12%
53.2 (0min) fps ∼26%
80.1 (0min) fps ∼40%
109.1 (0min) fps ∼54%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
26.5 (0min) fps ∼13%
62.2 (0min) fps ∼31%
94.2 (0min) fps ∼47%
126.8 (0min) fps ∼63%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
31.1 (0min) fps ∼15%
69.7 (0min) fps ∼35%
91 (0min) fps ∼45%
111.1 (0min) fps ∼55%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
35.3 (0min) fps ∼18%
53.3 (0min) fps ∼26%
61.9 (0min) fps ∼31%
73.8 (0min) fps ∼37%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
37.7 (0min) fps ∼19%
57.4 (0min) fps ∼28%
67.4 (0min) fps ∼33%
80.7 (0min) fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
40 (0min) fps ∼20%
88.7 (0min) fps ∼44%
109.2 (0min) fps ∼54%
131.1 (0min) fps ∼65%
GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
42 (0min) fps ∼21%
90.4 (0min) fps ∼45%
107.2 (0min) fps ∼53%
126 (0min) fps ∼62%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
50.6 (41min) fps ∼25%
86 (60min) fps ∼43%
90 (67min) fps ∼45%
108 (80min) fps ∼53%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
58.5 (0min) fps ∼29%
101.7 (0min) fps ∼50%
114.2 (0min) fps ∼57%
137.3 (0min) fps ∼68%

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
PosModel< PrevNext >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
AMD Radeon 610M
AMD Radeon 740M
AMD Radeon 760M
AMD Radeon 780M
AMD Radeon 880M
AMD Radeon 890M
AMD Radeon RX 6450M
AMD Radeon RX 6550M
AMD Radeon RX 6550S
AMD Radeon RX 7600M
AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT
AMD Radeon RX 7600S
AMD Radeon RX 7700S
AMD Radeon RX 7900M
AMD Radeon Steam Deck 8CU
Apple M2 Max 30-Core GPU
Apple M2 Max 38-Core GPU
Apple M2 Pro 16-Core GPU
Apple M2 Pro 19-Core GPU
PosModel< PrevNext >Battlefield 4
low med. high ultra 4K
Apple M3 10-Core GPU
Apple M3 8-Core GPU
Apple M3 Max 30-Core GPU
Apple M3 Max 40-Core GPU
Apple M3 Pro 14-Core GPU
Apple M3 Pro 18-Core GPU
Apple M4 10-core GPU
Intel Arc 7-Core iGPU
Intel Arc 8-Core iGPU
Intel Arc A310
Intel Arc A530M
Intel Arc A570M
Intel Arc Graphics 130V
Intel Arc Graphics 140V
Intel Graphics 4-Cores iGPU (Arc)
Intel UHD Graphics 24EUs (Alder Lake-N)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 6GB Laptop GPU
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 Laptop GPU
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU
PosModel< PrevNext >Battlefield 4
low med. high ultra 4K
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon X Adreno X1-85 (3.8 TFLOPS)
Qualcomm Snapdragon X Adreno X1-85 (4.6 TFLOPS)
(-) * Smaller values are better. / n123 Number of benchmarks for this median value / * 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
60Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 58fps
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.
?Uncertain – 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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Florian Glaser, 2013-11-13 (Update: 2021-05-18)