As with previous Medal of Honor titles, I found myself wanting to play through Warfighter rather than benchmark it. Although I haven't had time to experience the game the way its developers intended, its single player campaign seems engaging and exciting from what I have seen so far (other gamers may disagree). More importantly, at least for the purpose of this article, the game looks solid and takes advantage of the latest PC hardware.
Although Warfighter isn't compatible with DirectX 9 hardware, as the Frostbite 2 engine doesn't support this old API, the visuals can be reduced for lower-end DX10 and DX11 hardware. We achieved playable performance when playing on high quality at 1680x1050 with affordable GPUs such as the HD 5830 and GTX 460, while current-gen budget GPUs like the GTX 650 Ti ($160) and HD 7770 ($130) managed 51fps and 41fps.
Those hoping to play EA's latest modern military shooter on ultra at full HD (1920x1200 in our case) will want at least an HD 7870 ($250) or GTX 660 Ti ($300), which hit 45fps and 48fps. Playing at resolutions of 2560x1600 or greater will require one or more current-gen flagship cards from AMD or Nvidia, with the HD 7970 ($400) being a better pick over the GTX 680 as it retails for 15% less and performs better in this game.
That gap may close with future driver updates and it's worth noting that AMD's latest Catalyst 12.11 release is said to provide a 20% boost in Battlefield 3, which happens to share engines with Warfighter (both use Frostbite 2). We can't say if this is a factor for sure. Overall, driver support from both camps seems solid. We didn't find any glitches, while both Crossfire and SLI worked fine in our informal testing.
Like Battlefield 3, Warfighter seems optimized for four threads, as seen with the performance difference between the many dual and quad-core processors we tested. However, there's virtually no difference in performance between high-end Intel and AMD chips, as the i7-3960X was only 2fps faster than the A10-5800K APU. Additionally, overclocking processors from both companies results in only a minor boost in frame rate.
Given the prevalence of graphically-neutered console ports these days, it's nice to see a game that actually taps into the latest computer hardware, requiring a top notch modern graphics card and a quad-core processor to play at its highest settings. At the same time, Medal of Honor: Warfighter does a fine job of scaling down to offer playable performance on budget and mainstream cards that support DX10 and DX11.