Battlefield 4 Video Card Performance and IQ Review

Battlefield 4 is this holiday season's blockbuster from the Battlefield series. It features the brand new Frostbite 3 game engine which provides a higher level of realism in the game. We strap 8 video cards to the test bench to see what kind of gameplay experience is delivered under Windows 8.1.


Earlier this year, Electronic Arts and DICE introduced Battlefield 4 to the world as the next title in the long running Battlefield series. With that introduction, a new graphics engine called Frostbite 3 was announced. The new engine builds upon Frostbite 2, which was introduced two years ago with Battlefield 3. The improvements include enhanced tessellation technology and improved in-game destruction capabilities. The engine will also power other upcoming titles including Need for Speed: Rivals, Star Wars: Battlefront, DragonAge: Inquisition and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

Frostbite 3 also brings additional CPU multi-threading by being capable of using up to 8 CPU cores and can run as a 64-bit executable. The improved destruction offered by the engine is being branded as "Levolution" which allows various large objects and buildings within the environment to be destroyed as the game progresses. Water simulation and dynamic weather have also been added to the game engine to provide a more immersive and interactive experience.

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 Beta opened its doors on October 1, 2013 to those who had earned an early access pass, and later on October 4, 2013, the unwashed public was allowed to join the beta which was available until October 15, 2013. We took the beta for a test drive and offered our initial feedback about the gameplay experience across a pair of mid-range cards. We found a rather unpolished experience running under Windows 7 along with some glaring performance issues to go along with it. We quickly figured out this game is going to definitely challenge lower-end video cards, and high resolution BF4 gaming performance.

On October 29, 2013, the full version of Battlefield 4 was released in its full glory. From a multiplayer perspective, it includes 10 new maps and 7 modes of game play. Commander mode has returned from Battlefield 2 and a spectator mode has been introduced. A single player campaign was also included, however it is quite obvious that the focus of this release was the multiplayer experience and the Frostbite 3 engine.

System Requirements

Several weeks ago, Electronic Arts announced the minimum and recommended PC system requirements for Battlefield 4. The minimum requirements specify at least a Radeon HD 3870 or a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of video memory. Most any discrete GPU purchased in the past several years should be sufficient to meet the minimum requirements of Battlefield 4.

Diving further into the recommended requirements, we found that EA asking for a rather challenging set of requirements, including the use of an AMD Radeon HD 7870 (now known as the R9 270X) and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660. The requirements also recommend at least 3GB of graphics memory to be available to the game. While many cards have been equipped with this much memory for a few years, it is still not the norm to find cards other than the AMD Radeon HD 7970 or AMD Radeon HD 7950 to have 3GB of RAM.

There are also higher than usual CPU and memory requirements. For AMD processors, a six-core CPU is recommended and with Intel processors, merely a quad-core processor is recommended along with at least 8GB of system memory.

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New System Specs

For our testing today, we are not going to skimp on hardware or software. We want to strive to get the best out of BF4. For the first time, we will be running this entire review under Windows 8.1. In addition, we will be running with HT enabled on our i7 3770K at 4.6GHz and 16GB of RAM and all of this running off of an SSD. These components will ensure we get the best possible GPU experience under BF4 and let all of these video cards shine!