Battlefield: Bad Company 2 GPU Performance Review

By on March 8, 2010, 6:07 AM
PC gamers are no strangers to the Battlefield franchise, making its first appearance in 2002 with the multiplayer focused Battlefield 1942. Several other titles and expansion packs have followed in recent years, though Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is the direct sequel to a game released in 2008 that only made it to consoles. In terms of visual quality and gameplay Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is highly impressive and in my opinion provides Crysis-like graphics on a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 type feel.
Any game that looks this good is going to be demanding. What we experienced is that tuning down visual settings along with the resolution still hurt budget and even some mid-range graphics cards. DICE recommends at least a GeForce GTX 260 or Radeon HD 4780 graphics card to play Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and it is rare to find this kind of high performance GPUs falling under the recommended specifications. Read on for our in-depth findings on GPU performance and CPU scaling. Read the complete article.




User Comments: 124

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Kovach said:

I was thinking that new Crysis 2 will set new parameters in benchmarking tools and testing, but this is going to "hurt" our GPU performance. It's a good game and I think this part will not dissapoint us. Thanks for the review.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Those CPU scaling results make for some interesting reading - at 1920x1200 you pretty much get a 30% boost in performance for a 30% overclock on the default frequency. But mind you it is using 2x 5870's which most of us can only dream about...

rpsgc rpsgc said:

"Like many first person shooters the CPU doesn't play a huge role in this game's performance, therefore a decent dual-core processor should be enough to power even the latest graphics cards at full speed."

I disagree. Countless tests and benchmarks have been made by users comparing dual-cores to quad-cores and it's pretty obvious. Dual-cores suffer in this game.

They don't recommend a quad-core for nothing.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Interesting article. The CPU scaling was definitely nice to see for those who OC their CPU's and although I don't play this game yet, know how the different GPU's perform is very helpful when it comes time to upgrade.

Guest said:

How can you conclude that a dual core CPU should be fine without even having tested with one?

It would have been very interesting to perform a shoot-out between a dual-core and quad-core CPU with a high end graphics card, there is much debate around this on forums be no reliable answers.

Serag said:

I agree with previous comments and I expected to see dual-core / quad-core benchmarking included in this article to settle it,

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Okay guys I will add dual-core vs. quad-core asap. However just so we are clear I said that you would be fine with a decent dual-core and you will be, I have disabled all but 2 cores on the Core i7 and the game runs much the same but I will get some performance numbers.

I agree with previous comments and I expected to see dual-core / quad-core benchmarking included in this article to settle it,

wow aren't you guys easily pleased.

Captain828 Captain828 said:

Good to finally see a performance review on something that actually taxes out a modern GPU.

Geek4life said:

I have a 8800 Ultra with a Q9550 4GB~1066ram and gaming on a 24". Will I be able to run on high settings? I think my 8800Ultra is on par with GTX 260.

natefalk natefalk said:

captain828 said:

Good to finally see a performance review on something that actually taxes out a modern GPU.

I agree, I just got a 5870 and haven't had any graphic intensive games that used the full potential of the card. The bad thing is that there are a bunch of awesome games coming out this month (FFXIII tomorrow). And I am still trying to finish Dawn of War 2 before the expansion comes out on Thursday.

Guest said:

Why no 295 tested surely better to see the speed than a 285?

Ian

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Okay for those that were concerned about the dual vs. quad battle here is a little more info before I get some sleep.

The game does appear to use all four cores when available. Here we used a standard Core i7 920 processor at 2.66GHz for this test, please note HyperThreading has been disabled and a single Radeon HD 5850 graphics card was used. As you can see none of the cores are working very hard.

[link]

Here is the same Core i7 920 processor with two cores disabled as well as HyperThreading. As you can see neither core is maxed out but the CPU utilization is much higher.

[link]

So again in conclusion a decent dual core processor such as a Core 2 Duo E8xxx or Phenom II X2 should be enough to get the most out of your graphics card in this game. While it is quad-core optimized the game is not demanding enough on the CPU to warrant it based on what I have seen so far. Still quad-core processors are ideal but not entirely necessary.

Finally the Radeon HD 5850 produced the same average frame rate with 2 cores enabled as it did with all 4. I admit more testing needs to be done with real actual dual-core processors and I promise I will do my best to collect more data for you guys. Also thanks for all the feedback so far its great!

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Thanks for the added information Steve. That was really nice of you to go back and check on this on the request of the site users.

bludfist said:

This games looks very promising. I'm considering buying it. I am not sure whether or not I would buy it for my PC though. I'm afraid it would be to demanding.

megrawab said:

Bad Company 2's GPU performance looks really promising to its users. The graphics are very clear essential for an enjoyable gaming experience. The visuals presented here proves it. This article is written in in-depth approach yet it is easier to understand since words are not very technical and the images almost presents everything.

tim074 said:

The game looks good and promising. Graphics looks good and can't wait to get my hands on that game. I'm looking forward to buying it along with upgrading my PC.

z0phi3l said:

Been playing it on Medium settings so far on my PC

Running a GTX260 and it looks really good, going to try a higher setting and see if my System can handle it fine

Su47GoldenEagle said:

i played the Beta of the game it was awesome .

i bought the game for my PC .... i have to be fair the Campaign sucks ! .... cause the AI is too stupid and the story is not good ... normal ..... and there is too many mistakes in it ..... the MW2 is way better campaign .... in the story and in the AI ......

In the Multiplayers side the BadCompany2 ROCKS !!!! it's just awesome and so much fun ..... unlike the MW2 multiplayers ... cause it's sucks in the servers problems ... full of cheaters .......

and the graphics is not that much great :S not as just i expected ..... i mean how the weapons looks is not cool .... the BattleField 2 was better ....

but the gameplay is so much realistic .... u really feel that u r in a war zone ... u need to stick with ur squad mates .. u can't hide in a building ... cause they will make it collapse on ur head .... ur not Rambo like in MW2 and u can have a sniper and an assault rifle !! every kit has a purpose and u should know how to use it ...

i say what i have

i am waiting for the BattleField3

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I see, this is good for gaming, has been a while since something pushed our hardware. Have an ATI Radeon HD2600XT with 256 DDR3 and it has worked with every game I've had.

yorro said:

This is probably the first time in three years a game made a high-end system fall it its knees, last time was Crysis. But Bad Company is probably excellently optimized, so consistent frame rate all over is expected.

Bad Company 2 is way better than Modern Warfare 2 on so many levels. I am not saying Modern Warfare 2 was bad, if fact it is awesome which makes Bad Company 2 even more awesome.

All I am saying is: This is the year PC gamers will never forget.

PvillePiper said:

I am running an E6300 Pentium Dual-Core running at 3.4 ghz in a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UDR3 motherboard, 4 gigs of DDR2 1100 ram and an MSI Twin Frozer GTX-260 OC and at medium settings playing online I average upper 30's on most maps. I see very little lagging at these settings. I am using the Afterburner software program to get the framerates. I am thinking of getting a Q9550, do you think I will see much of a boost in frame rates?

Orionlocke said:

I had no idea the graphics on this game were so good. I've been wanting to pick it up but I think I'll definitely have to get it now! I'm running a GTX 285 so hopefully I'll be able to run at hight settings without problems. My brother has been playing this game and said it's definitely a blast to play!

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Good to see such an article for a a high profile game so soon after launch, good work TechSpot.

Good to see the commitment of Steve regarding the dual vs quadcore CPUs.

Now can anyone please hurry up the delivery of my copy so I can jump into a multiplayer server?

Instead we received Battlefield 2142 in 2006, the cartoon-style free to play Battlefield Heroes, and Battlefield 1943 last year.
1943 hasn't actully been released for the PC yet has it? According to EA, Wikipedia, Gamespot it hasn't. Seems to be implied you are talking about the PC version, can this be clarified please?

Puiu Puiu said:

The computer i want to buy has a core i5 750 and a 5830 with a 23" monitor. it should be more than enough to play at high.

BTW how does it scale from using 2GB of RAM to 8GB? I believe 4GB should be more than enough, but will i see some kind of gains when using 8GB (2-4 fps)?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

PvillePiper said:

I am running an E6300 Pentium Dual-Core running at 3.4 ghz in a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UDR3 motherboard, 4 gigs of DDR2 1100 ram and an MSI Twin Frozer GTX-260 OC and at medium settings playing online I average upper 30's on most maps. I see very little lagging at these settings. I am using the Afterburner software program to get the framerates. I am thinking of getting a Q9550, do you think I will see much of a boost in frame rates?

Dude, you will probably get 10-15fps extra and less gerkeness while in game play. plus an overall computer speed boost.

EduardsN said:

I'm really surprised that it had such a big impact on performance when overclocking the i7 920 cpu to 3.7Ghz, but at 2560x1600 there was no difference

levar said:

This game graphics are amazing and I agree with you its really like as you said "Crysis-like graphics on a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 type feel." Awesome review I've played this on my 9800 and performance was kinda slow but I'm definitely getting this for the 360 from what I've heard from everyone this game is a lot better than MW2 especially the multi-player which I have yet to play, always go through the story first.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

humm, if i can build my new PC soon, will go for the PC version instead of the PS3 one. I played the demo & really liked it to even start liking the genre.

cheers!

CMH, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I am running an E6300 Pentium Dual-Core running at 3.4 ghz in a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UDR3 motherboard, 4 gigs of DDR2 1100 ram and an MSI Twin Frozer GTX-260 OC and at medium settings playing online I average upper 30's on most maps.

I have a similar system (E6420@3ghz and Gigabyte GTX260 SOC), and I can't seem to get it to run well on high setting, and getting similar results on medium setting.

Given the results posted in the review, I'm thinking we've got a bottleneck at the CPU here. Give me a week, and I should be able to confirm that as I'm upgrading my mobo + CPU then.

Guest said:

Why no Gtx 295 performance?In some times with all settings to high,resolution 1920x1080 i noticed some delay with this game even with the recent patch,always talking about the single player.Using latest drivers with rig details:

Intel i7 920 3.2Ghz OC

6Gb Ram DDR-3 Corsair dominator 1600Mhz

Asus P6T

Intel SSD 80GB second generation

bp2921 said:

Great article. I'd like to add an honest review with my 'outdated' system.

My dual core system runs this game okay with a few (1-5) players on medium to low settings. Anymore than 5 players, it's horrible.

So yes, dual core running less than 2.10 mhz may not be a pleasant experience.

My system is AMD Athlon X2 +4000@2.10 / 9800GT / 2gb RAM // Win Vista -- yes, it's pitiful.

Kovach said:

[-Steve-] said:

So again in conclusion a decent dual core processor such as a Core 2 Duo E8xxx or Phenom II X2 should be enough to get the most out of your graphics card in this game. While it is quad-core optimized the game is not demanding enough on the CPU to warrant it based on what I have seen so far. Still quad-core processors are ideal but not entirely necessary.

I agree with you Steve, completely. Nowdays, you just need, for gaming instead, fast dual core processor. Quad-core processors are for highly demanding applications, and you will hardly find a high end game, that will use your quad-core processor as it would be situation with highly demanding applications. Software designed to be multithreaded -- that performs task parallelism -- does well in systems with mutlicore processors.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Good write-up and thanks for the follow-up on the dual vs. quad core. Those screenies look exactly like it's something out of Crysis. This is one game I don't have, but I'll put it into the queue.

Guest said:

I noticed on your Medium settings, HBAO was on. Is there any reason to have this on as it impacts performance by roughy 30%. I have tried comparing screenshots I took of this game with HBAO on and off and can't find any difference (running DX10).

A 30% hit on performance is rather significant for a setting that is hardly perceptible.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

z0phi3l said:

Been playing it on Medium settings so far on my PC

Running a GTX260 and it looks really good, going to try a higher setting and see if my System can handle it fine

I'm also running it on a GTX 260 with a Core i7 920. The only settings I had to knock down from high were the AA down to 1x and turn off the HBAO. I'm now getting about 40 fps, which in my opinion is very playable.

fref said:

Obviously, Radeon 5850 and 5870 cards come out on top. I wish the Fermi was in there too, but I know nVidia won't allow it yet. Oh well, the wait is almost over!

Guest said:

thanks for this review. it is very helpful.

how do you think , is there any hope to get reasonable FPS (50 or more) on high settings with this configuration: core-duo E8500, GTX275?

Guest said:

Are you sure you have got the graphs correct? The Radeon 4830 for example delivers 32.3 fps on the high setting at 1680x1050 and then apparantly goes down in performance to 28.5 fps on the medium setting. Any explanation for this or why this discrepancy wasn't mentioned in the article?

Guest said:

I suggest you re-test disabling the HBAO (Horizon based ambient occlusion) option.....

You left it enabled for high, medium and low settings. I think that you will find this setting fairly irrelevant at any quality and you will add an extra 30fps to your test results.......

I believe that it is this setting combined with poorly optimized drivers that is creating what appears to be extremely low frames per second.

For example with HBAO disabled and at high quality at 1920x1200 my Powercolor 5850 PCS easily manages an average framerate of 90+ However as I play (not test) with Vsync on to stop tearing and triple buffering I get 60fps all the time and fantastic visuals with 2 x FSAA and 16 x AF.....

Take a look at this setting yourself...

thatguyandrew92 said:

Im running all high. 2x AA 2xAF i believe and i get ~38-67FPS. 8800GT 512MB Q6600 3GHz, 4GB DDR2.

iamstarfox said:

Thanks for posting this article. My friends and I are enjoying Bad Company 2 on the PC very much, though some of them are considering getting new graphic cards specifically for this game.

I do have to ask, though... How did you benchmark a game that doesn't have a demo record and playback option???

Fraps will give you an average FPS rating over a set amount of time, but you still need to be playing back the exact same pre-recorded demo file each time you run a test to get numbers that are useful for comparison.

Is there a way to do this in BF:BC2, that I'm not aware of?

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

skitzo_zac said:

1943 hasn't actully been released for the PC yet has it? According to EA, Wikipedia, Gamespot it hasn't. Seems to be implied you are talking about the PC version, can this be clarified please?

My bad skitzo, I jumped on it too soon and you are right, Battlefield 1943 was released for consoles only last year and there's a pending launch for the PC. The title shouldn't be missed a lot though now with BC2 out --- 1943 seems to be more of the casual shooter kind, at least that's how it made it big on consoles through digital distribution.

wolfram wolfram, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well I don't know about you guys, but I find 30 FPS to be perfectly playable for BC2 (and Crysis too).

So as long as a GPU can manage 30 FPS, I'm a happy man

drasho said:

this will be a good test for the new rig im building =) Not sure if i should wait for the new nvidia card coming out... (that gonna take all my money =P but probably worth it)

seefizzle said:

My eyes will bleed for a week straight when I get this game.

ludoboss said:

I'm not a fan. I think that when one do a job, two makes it better. When software use all hardware power we have the top, and we see the result. We can say "wow" but also "damn why MS and others dont use this?".

Geek4life said:

Thanks again Steve for going back and clearing that Dual verses Quad core debate up. Now I just hope my 8800 Ultra can play on high settings.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Guest said:

I suggest you re-test disabling the HBAO (Horizon based ambient occlusion) option.....

You left it enabled for high, medium and low settings. I think that you will find this setting fairly irrelevant at any quality and you will add an extra 30fps to your test results.......

It was stated in the review that we simply tested using the inbuilt quality presets. The screen shots were taken with the advanced setting so we could show what settings were used, or at least what we thought the game was using. If you select the low preset for example and then hit advanced all the low settings remain intact or at least that is how it appears.

EDIT: I just checked the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 quality presets with the patched version which we did not test with as it was not released yet and selecting the medium or low quality presets now disables HBAO. In fact the presets are all different now and medium uses "high" quality textures so it looks like they have tweaked the quality settings.

Guest said:

Thanks again Steve for going back and clearing that Dual verses Quad core debate up. Now I just hope my 8800 Ultra can play on high settings.

Make sure HBAO is set to disabled.

Deso said:

Ooooo Awesome !!!! judging by this benchmark my new computer with a 5850 can run this game on highest settings I've been laning Battle Field 2 with friends for years now, we never made the jump to Bad Company 1 because our computers couldn't handle it and when they did the game was old already, we are however planning to buy bad company 2 and start the madness

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