Battlefield 1 Video Card DX12 Performance Preview

The anticipated new game Battlefield 1 is now official released. In this Performance Preview we take the AMD Radeon RX 480 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and find out how DX11 and DX12 compare. We also compare both video cards together in DX11 and DX12 to find out which one rocks this game.

Introduction

Battlefield 1, to say this game has been highly anticipated this year doesn’t cover the entire scope of hype that has been building. The game, while hyped for its World War 1 era combat this time around has also been hyped because this is one game on a very short list right now that has actually launched with DirectX 12 support. Video card enthusiasts have been highly anticipating the ability to support both DX11 and next generation DX12 in this game and find out once and for all if AMD or NVIDIA wins at DX12.

Today’s preview is just that, a very short preview of performance gathered over this past weekend from the official gold launch of the game on Friday, 10/21/2016. We will have a more in-depth evaluation to follow once we have had time to test it.

Article Image

Naturally we think the main focus for gamer’s is going to be on the multiplayer experience, and we want to be able to evaluate that experience and performance for you. We haven’t yet had enough time to dive into each map thoroughly and find the best one for testing and construct a repeatable and consistent multiplayer run-through.

Therefore, for today’s preview we will use the Campaign mode of this game, and we use that word lightly. The campaign mode is barely a campaign, it’s short, with no story really, however it does allow us to do one thing, perform a consistent and repeatable run-through in quick order for performance comparisons.


Game Settings

We will be using the War Stories mission "Through Mud and Blood" with the first one "Over the Top." We proceed through all capture points, A, then B, then C, capturing the point and taking out enemies along the way in our tank. This run-through has a lot of graphical visual effects as well as a lot of large and heavy explosions with dirt and rubble flying everywhere. It is quite a chaotic and active run-through.

Note that the game version we are running is the official launch, it is "release-bf1-day0 1.7719" according to the info screen.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

Article Image Article Image Article Image

In the first "Basic" graphic setting you will find the ability to select the fullscreen mode, fullscreen device and resolution. From here you can disable VSYNC and control Weapon Depth of Field, Motion Blur and Field of View. We left all settings at default for this menu except we did disable VSYNC.

In the "Advanced" menu is where you will find the brand new "DX12 Enabled" option. If this is switched to "Off" then the game runs in DX11 mode. If you turn this to "On" then DX12 will be enabled, a restart is required. There is a warning that says that using DX12 can offer better performance on some systems, but it will not beneficial on all.

You will find settings very similar to Battlefield 4 despite this being the newer Frostbite Engine compared to Battlefield 4. In fact, you would think by now the improved NVIDIA HBAO+ mode would be supported instead of plain ole last generation HBAO found in Battlefield 4, however it is not. There is no higher or better form of Ambient Occlusion, just the same type as the last game.

Even all the graphics settings are similar, with similar options and selections with "Ultra" being the highest. In fact, in terms of AA we have even less options now. You will find FXAA Medium and High and a TAA option, and that is it. In our experience TAA offers the best aliasing quality. FXAA poorly reduces aliasing in this game. For our testing today we have used all "Ultra" settings with TAA And HBAO enabled at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440.

What We are Testing

Since this article today is a preview we are going to be very focused on a goal. We are asking a question, and hopefully answering it. The question is: What DirectX mode should you use in this game for the best experience, DX11 or DX12? The second question is: Which video card offers the better performance in this game, AMD or NVIDIA equivalent at DX11 and DX12?

The above is our focus. In order to do this we will compare an AMD Radeon RX 480 to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 both reference models. We will first take each video card and compare itself to DX11 and DX12 to find out if DX12 is faster or slower on each video card. Then we will compare the video card together in DX11 and DX12 to find out who wins in performance overall. We will be running the tests at 1920x1080 (1080p) and 2560x1440 (1440p) to verify results.

Drivers

You need to be aware there are new drivers from AMD and NVIDIA for this game, use the latest ones for the best experience. We did for this evaluation.

Our standard video card testing system is being used, shown here.

From AMD get the Crimson Edition 16.10.2 Hotfix driver dated 10/20.

From NVIDIA get the GeForce 375.63 dated 10/23.