Battlefield 1 RAM Benchmark - Frequency & 8GB vs. 32GB

By Published November 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm
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We've been through Battlefield 1 a few times now. First were the GPU benchmarks, then the HBAO vs. SSAO benchmark, then the CPU benchmark. This time it's RAM, and the methodology remains mostly the same. Note that these results are not comparable to previous results because (1) the game has received updates, (2) memory spec has changed for this test, and (3) we have updated our graphics drivers. The test platforms and memory used are dynamic for this test, the rest remaining similar to what we've done in the past. That'll be defined in the methodology below.

Our CPU benchmark had us changing frequencies between test platforms as we tried to determine our test patterns and methodology / bench specs for the endeavor. During that exploratory process, we noticed that memory speeds of 3200MHz were measurably faster in heuristic testing than speeds of, say, 2400MHz. That was just done by eye, though; it wasn't an official benchmark, and we wanted to dedicate a separate piece to that.

This content benchmarks memory performance in Battlefield 1, focusing on RAM speed (e.g. 1600MHz, 1866, 2133, 2400, so forth) and capacity. We hope to answer whether 8GB is "enough" and find a sweet spot for price-performance in memory selection.

Two main platforms are being deployed for this test. The i7-6700K with an MSI M7 Z170 motherboard will be our main platform, with the i7-6700K overclocked to 4.4GHz. Memory used is 32GB of Corsair's Dominator Platinum DDR4 ($280), easily capable of speeds up to 3200MHz with its first XMP. A kit of 32GB HyperX Savage DDR3-2400 ($250) was additionally used for testing on an FX-8370 platform, just to look at another architecture's dealings with BF1 and memory performance.

Test Methodology

We manually tune the speeds in BIOS before each set of tests, then run 6-8 test passes per device. DirectX 11 will be the focus for this test, since we've already shown that Dx12 has some optimization issues with Battlefield 1 that will sort of override any lacking RAM performance. We did execute a few Dx12 tests, though.

The GPU used was our EVGA 1080 FTW Hybrid, so we don't have much in the way of bottlenecks when operating at 1080p and with Ultra settings. The most likely components to choke will be the CPU and RAM, and we've already shown CPU performance in previous tests.

The point here is to show scaling in memory. Keep in mind that as resolution increases and graphics workload intensifies, we will begin taxing the GPU more heavily and the memory frequency will become less relevant.

We tested using our GPU test bench, detailed in the table below. Our thanks to supporting hardware vendors for supplying some of the test components.

GN Test Bench 2015 Name Courtesy Of Cost
Video Card EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid EVGA $730
CPU Intel i7-6700K @ 4.4GHz OC GamersNexus
$330
Memory Corsair Dominator 32GB 3200MHz Corsair $240
Motherboard MSI Z170A M7 Gaming MSI $170
Power Supply NZXT 1200W HALE90 V2 NZXT $300
SSD HyperX Savage SSD Kingston Tech. $130
Case Top Deck Tech Station GamersNexus $250
CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken X41 CLC NZXT $110

Game settings were manually controlled for the DUT. All games were run at presets defined in their respective charts. Our test courses are all manually conducted. In the case of our bulk data below, the same, easily repeatable test was conducted a minimum of eight times per device, per setting, per API. This ensures data integrity and helps to eliminate potential outliers. In the event of a performance anomaly, we conduct additional test passes until we understand what's going on. In NVIDIA's control panel, we disable G-Sync for testing (and disable FreeSync for AMD, where relevant). Note that these results were all done with the newest drivers (375.76), including the newest game patches, and may not be comparable to previous tests as a result. Also note that tests between reviewers should not necessarily be directly compared as testing methodology may be different. Just the measurement tool alone can have major impact.

We execute our tests with PresentMon via command line, a tool built by Microsoft and Intel to hook into the operating system and accurately fetch framerate and frametime data. Our team has built a custom, in-house Python script to extract average FPS, 1% low FPS, and 0.1% low FPS data (effectively 99/99.9 percentile metrics). The test pass is executed for 30 seconds per repetition, with a minimum of 3 repetitions. This ensures an easily replicated test course for accurate results between cards, vendors, and settings. You may learn about our 1% low and 0.1% low testing methodology here:

Windows 10-64 Anniversary Edition was used for the OS.

Please note that we use onPresent to measure framerate and frametimes. Reviewers must make a decision whether to use onPresent or onDisplay when testing with PresentMon. Neither is necessarily correct or incorrect, it just comes down to the type of data the reviewer wants to work with and analyze. For us, we look at frames on the Present. Some folks may use onDisplay, which would produce different results (particularly at the low-end). Make sure you understand what you're comparing results to if doing so, and also ensure that the same tools are used for analysis. A frame does not necessarily equal a frame between software packages. We trust PresentMon as the immediate future of benchmarking, particularly with its open source infrastructure built and maintained by Intel and Microsoft.

Battlefield 1 has a few critical settings that require tuning for adequate benchmarking. Except where otherwise noted, we disabled GPU memory restrictions for testing; this setting triggers dynamic quality scaling, creating unequal tests. We also set resolution render scale to 100% to match render resolution to display resolution. Field of View was changed to 80-degrees vertical to more appropriately fit what a player would use, since the default 55-degree vertical FOV is a little bit silly for competitive FPS players. This impacts FPS and should also be accounted for if attempting to cross-compare results. V-Sync and adaptive sync are disabled. Presets are used for quality, as defined by chart titles. Game performance swings based on test location, map, and in-game events. We tested in the Italian Avanti Savoia campaign level for singleplayer, and we tested on Argonne Forest for multiplayer. You can view our test course in the above, separate video.

Note that we used the console command gametime.maxvariablefps 0 to disable the framerate cap, in applicable test cases. This removes the Battlefield 1 limitation / FPS cap of 200FPS.

CPUs Tested

  • i7-6700K @ 4.4GHz w/ Corsair Dominator Platinum memory, Gaming M7 Motherboard
  • FX-8370 @ Stock w/ HyperX Savage memory, ASUS 970 Pro Gaming Aura motherboard

Continue to page 2 for the results.


Last modified on November 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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