We won't be writing an article for this one, so just wanted to run a quick post on our new DLSS comparison in Battlefield V. This was easier to relegate to video format, seeing as it required more detailed visual comparisons than anything else. Some charts are present, but the goal is to compare DLSS on vs. off across two GPUs: The RTX 2080 Ti and the RTX 2060, each of which has different allowances for DLSS enablement.
The RTX 2060 can run DLSS at 1080p or 1440p, whereas the RTX 2080 Ti can only run DLSS at 4K, as an FPS which is too high will not allow for DLSS processing to complete before frame present (and so the 2080 Ti cannot step lower than 4K). Comparisons primarily try to find where the major upsides might be with DLSS, and they seem to mostly exist with very thin objects that have limited geometry in far distances, where DLSS can create a smoother image and eliminate some of the "marching ants" effect. On the flip-side, DLSS seems to introduce some blur to the image and doesn't outperform natively running at the lower resolution instead.
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.
This benchmark took a while to complete. We first started benchmarking CPUs with Battlefield 1 just after our GPU content was published, but ran into questions that took some back-and-forth with AMD to sort out. Some of that conversation will be recapped here.
Our Battlefield 1 CPU benchmark is finally complete. We tested most of the active Skylake suite (i7-6700K down to i3-6300), the FX-8370, -8320E, and some Athlon CPUs. Unfortunately, we ran out of activations before getting to Haswell or last-gen CPUs, but those may be visited at some point in the future. Our next goal is to look into the impact of memory speed on BF1 performance, or determine if there is any at all.
Back on track, though: Today's feature piece is to determine at what point a CPU will begin bottlenecking performance elsewhere in the system when playing Battlefield 1. Our previous two content pieces related to Battlefield 1 are linked below:
The goal of this content is to show that HBAO and SSAO have negligible performance impact on Battlefield 1 performance when choosing between the two. This benchmark arose following our Battlefield 1 GPU performance analysis, which demonstrated consistent frametimes and frame delivery on both AMD and nVidia devices when using DirectX 11. Two of our YouTube commenters asked if HBAO would create a performance swing that would favor nVidia over AMD and, although we've discussed this topic with several games in the past, we decided to revisit for Battlefield 1. This time, we'll also spend a bit of time defining what ambient occlusion actually is, how screen-space occlusion relies on information strictly within the z-buffer, and then look at performance cost of HBAO in BF1.
We'd also recommend our previous graphics technology deep-dive, for folks who want a more technical explanation of what's going on for various AO technologies. Portions of this new article exist in the deep-dive.
Battlefield 1 marks the arrival of another title with DirectX 12 support – sort of. The game still supports DirectX 11, and thus Windows 7 and 8, but makes efforts to shift Dice and EA toward the new world of low-level APIs. This move comes at a bit of a cost, though; our testing of Battlefield 1 has uncovered some frametime variance issues on both nVidia and AMD devices, resolvable by reverting to DirectX 11. We'll explore that in this content.
In today's Battlefield 1 benchmark, we're strictly looking at GPU performance using DirectX 12 and DirectX 11, including the recent RX 400 series, GTX 10 series, GTX 9 series, and RX 300 series GPUs. Video cards tested include the RX 480, RX 470, RX 460, 390X, and Fury X from AMD and the GTX 1080, 1070, 1060, 970, and 960 from nVidia. We've got a couple others in there, too. We may separately look at CPU performance, but not today.
This BF1 benchmark bears with it extensive testing methodology, as always, and that's been fully detailed within the methodology section below. Please be sure that you check this section for any questions as to drivers, test tools, measurement methodology, or GPU choices. Note also that, as with all Origin titles, we were limited to five device changes per game code per day (24 hours). We've got three codes, so that allowed us up to 15 total device tests within our test period.
1080p remains the most popular resolution in use today, with more than 80% of the market sticking to existing 1920x1080 displays. Just a few years ago, a fairly beastly rig was needed to run games at 1080p with High to Ultra settings. AMD and nVidia have released new video cards nonstop this year, each enabling 1440p gaming at the entry-level market, or bolstering 1080p to max game settings. These new releases include the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 $200-$250 options, both of which we've reviewed.
You no longer need a $1200 gaming PC to game at 1080p/ultra, and 1440p now comes as a "free" add with these mid-range GPUs. This $800 gaming PC build targets ultra settings in Overwatch at 1440p, and will be capable of high settings in Battlefield 1 (and likely Titanfall 2).
In the paragraphs below we’ll go over our parts list and why we chose the parts for this rig like we did:
EA and Dice seem to be having trouble counting. Yesterday, EA launched a campaign blitz for the next Battlefield title -- “Battlefield 1.” Presumably, the title refers to the game’s setting which was previously confirmed World War One. The newly released trailer, as well as the two-hour livestream celebrating the franchise, finalize the setting that had been accidently leaked months ago through NeoGaf.
Breaking news from Germany -- Duke Franz Ferdinand is dead.
Well, maybe -- a NeoGAF listing by EA re-confirmed Battlefield 5, a game we already knew would ship from a recent EA earnings call. While this isn’t shocking, the setting is: according to the store listing, the Battlefield franchise will go back in time to World War 1. This rumor starts with the listed description of the game (now redacted), which states auf Deutsch that the game in question is “Mehrspieler Taktik Shooter im 1. Weltkrieg.” In the language of the victors, that’s “multiplayer tactical shooter in WW1.” If the unintentional leak is true, this would be a first for the Battlefield franchise and takes us back farther than its 1942 - Vietnam roots.
We just reported on WD & Seagate's fiscal year 2Q16 earnings, both hard drive companies showing a decline in both revenue and income. Not to be left behind, publicly-held EA Games recently released its shareholder earnings call transcript with a roadmap for the next year.
The company is currently developing and publishing “Mass Effect 4” (official title – Mass Effect: Andromeda), the next Battlefield game, and “Titanfall 2” (name TBD). All three series will deliver their refreshments in 2017, with Titanfall and Mass Effect updating prior to 2Q17 (before April). Titanfall 2 is known to be multi-platform and will retain its focus on fast-paced, parkour-inspired gameplay.
Raptr has just posted its Most Played PC Games for June 2014, and from the looks of it, EA’s first Origin “On the House” deal with Battlefield 3 was a huge success. The 2011 FPS jumped 30 spots on the list, resting now at #12. Raptr's latest research into the most-played PC titles of 2014 comes in the aftermath of the Steam Summer Sale, giving us unique insights as to how heavily sales impact gaming performance.
Aside from Battlefield 3, the other deal-influenced title was Payday 2. Payday 2 piqued newcomers’ interests during last month’s Steam Summer Sale and earned its fan base’s time with the release of the Big Bank Heist DLC. It climbed 28 spots to #14.
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