Do you remember that special feeling of waking up on Christmas day to unwrap the goodies that Santa dropped off? Millions of gamers around the globe were probably having that familiar feeling while downloading their 24.4GB copy of Battlefield 4 on Origin. It’s one of DICE’s biggest blockbuster games of the year after all. So let’s suit up our PC to play this baby!
This installment features an improved and modern storyline and more interesting characters than its predecessor. But, let’s face it. We didn’t buy BF4 for the single player campaign. The chaotic and intense 64 man multiplayer mayhem is what got us sold on this game. Today we’re going to take a look into just how hard multiplayer can tax our Haswell system.
Test System Okay. So this is what we’re packing under the hood:
Thank you Seasonic for providing one of your premium power supplies to power our test system!
Graphics Settings Used Battlefield 4 is a beautiful game. Everything from the buildings falling down to the movement of the ocean waves. God knows how many man hours and cups of coffee were invested in all the spectacular eye candy in the game. One thing’s for sure. If you’re not playing this the way it was meant to look, you’re missing out big time. So to do this breathtaking game justice, we have no choice but to use the Ultra preset as a way of showing DICE that we appreciate all their hard work!
Here’s a summary of the settings that we used.
Testing Methodology We tested each of the ten multiplayer maps on 64 player servers. We play each round from start to finish while recording the important statistics like CPU, RAM and GPU usage for each map. Since some maps are more demanding than others, there will be a certain discrepany between results of each map. In order to balance out the more intensive maps with the lesser intensive ones, we used the median result of all ten maps which should provide a good representation of real world usage.
First things first: The CPU Battlefield 4 is one of the very few games that actually takes advantage of hyperthreading. So for all you i7 owners out there, rest assure that your CPU won’t be bottlenecking your system anytime soon.
As you can see from the results, it utilizes all eight threads that are on our i7-4770k. The average usage per thread varies between 40% and 60%. So if you’re gaming at higher resolutions, expect the usage to increase even more. Thus more heat will be generated.
Temperature wise, all four cores are just a little below 60C during our multiplayer rounds. Mind you, we were benchmarking at default speed. So if you’ll be playing with an overclocked CPU or if you live in harsh climates, you would definitely want to invest in an aftermarket heatsink to keep the heat down.
Second up to bat: The RAM If you’re one to look at the system requirements before purchasing a game, you’d notice that Battlefield 4 is a little more demanding than its previous installment. It was something to be expected considering the whole game was built on the new and polished Frostbite Engine 3. You can’t expect to run amazing graphics with slow hardware, can you?
One of the more controversial topic was the amount of RAM recommended. So we decided to see for ourselves just how much juice does BF4 needs.
DICE was right. Your system should definitely have 8GB of RAM as a minimum if you want to enjoy this game fully. Battlefield 4 alone uses as much as 4.4GB and that’s not even taking into consideration all the other processes that are running on your system. So you’d want to have at least 16GB present if you’re gaming at insane resolutions greater than 1080p.
We tested four different 8GB memory kits at different frequencies. And we discovered that there is a substantial increase in FPS when using higher frequency RAM. The sweet spot is 2133MHz. But if you’re a hardcore enthusiast who strives to get as much FPS are you can, then 2400MHz is for you.
Special thanks go to G.Skill for providing the different memory kits for our testing!
Last but not least: The GPU Our last-gen GTX 670 was capable of running BF4 with the Ultra preset with a resolution of 1920x1080. It was able to get a constant 60FPS in each benchmark run. A GTX 670 is roughly on par with the newer GTX 760. If you’re on the market for a new GPU, consider GTX 760 as a minimum.
Even at 1080p, the game was constantly using an average of 1.9GB of VRAM out of the 2GB available. Logic says that higher resolution will consume more VRAM. If the resolution of you display is greater than 1080p, do yourself a favor and invest in a GPU with more than 2GB of VRAM on board.
By now, you probably have noticed that this game is very demanding on the GPU. And yes, it will put your GPU’s cooling solution to the test. So make sure there is adequate airflow in your case especially if you’re running a SLI or Crossfire configuration.
Thanks for valuable information! It's really nice to know that BF4 is actually ht capable. I would like to add that on some Russian forums folks stated that they got HUGE (Yeah, "huge" they said) performance boost on Windows 8.1 vs Windows 7. I can't confirm that, because I don't own BF4 (yet) nor Windows 8.1. Can somebody check that info?
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