Battlefield 4 Windows 7 vs. 8.1 Performance Review

Is in-game real world Battlefield 4 gaming performance better on the Windows 8.1 operating system or on Windows 7? We look at video card performance between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in this game and find out if upgrading to Windows 8.1 is worth it or not for the much rumored performance advantage.

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AMD Radeon R9 290X Performance

First we are going to start with the AMD Radeon R9 290X and look at performance on Windows 7 versus Windows 8.1 in BF4. The AMD Radeon R9 290X is being run in "Uber Mode."

We are going to run two testing scenarios. First, we are going to run BF4’s "Test Range" mode. This places the player on a multiplayer map, but with no other players in the game. All multiplayer aspects are there, with the ability to test out all weapons and vehicles, but there are no other players on the map. This will allow us to get a precise run-through without the influence of the dynamics of multiplayer gaming. This removes the variability of multiplayer gaming, and stresses pure graphics performance. However, this is not very graphically demanding, since there aren’t other players on the map causing chaos. Still, it will give us a point of reference that is precisely repeatable.

Next, we will do a run-through on a 64 player server in Siege of Shanghai with no less than 60 people playing on the map. This will represent a real-world multiplayer gaming session. Naturally, this will mean the map and players are very dynamic, and run-throughs will not line up precisely. However, we have been very cautious to repeat the same steps in each run-through, and stick to the same path in each run-through. It doesn’t get any more real-world than this test. Naturally, this one is the more graphically demanding test.

We will run at 2560x1600 with 4X MSAA enabled and all "Ultra" settings. We have turned Post AA Off (no FXAA). Note also that there is a current bug in this game related to the "Terrain Decoration" game option. The values are reversed, when set to "Ultra" you are really getting "Low" terrain decoration. When set to "Low" you get "Ultra" terrain decoration. The values are backwards. We are aware of this, and in this review the setting is set to "Ultra," but that is set to the same value across all tests, so the comparisons are valid using the same apples-to-apples settings. We are testing performance between Windows, not video cards. We also tested at 1080p in the "Test Range" map.


Test Range 2560x1600

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On this first graph, we are looking at a run-through on the "Test Range" map at 2560x1600 with 4X MSAA and "Ultra" settings. Your eyes are not deceived, performance is generally higher on Windows 8.1 versus Windows 7. The performance advantage under Windows 8.1 is 3% over Windows 7. It’s small, but it is consistent across the run-through.

Test Range 1920x1080

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Now we are looking at the "Test Range" again, but this time at 1080p. Once again, we see that performance is generally faster under Windows 8.1 versus Windows 7. This time, it’s a little less at 2% advantage in performance with Windows 8.1. The delta is tiny, but consistent.


Multiplayer 64 Player Siege of Shanghai 2560x1600

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Performance is lower, overall, in a real multiplayer match. Interestingly though, the performance advantage of Windows 8.1 over Windows 7 is still very consistent. Here we are seeing a consistent performance advantage of 3% with Windows 8.1 over Windows 7. These numbers are small, but these do exist and are consistent in every test.