Battlefield 3 is finally here for anxious gamers, but with it comes hefty PC specs that are sure to make gamers squirm and popular hardware retailers smile.

Battlefield 3 is powered by the Frostbite 2.0 engine, which is based on the previous engine that powered Bad Company 2, Frostbite 1.5. The new engine brings a lot of visual improvements and optimizations; however, please note that Battlefield 3 will NOT support DirectX 9. That means it’s finally time the hold-outs release their iron-grip from their XP operating systems and come into the present. For those still on Windows 98? There’s always Minesweeper. I hear it’s quite lovely.

NVIDIA has put together instructions for how to build a gaming PC for Battlefield 3 so you can play it the way it’s meant to be played. First, here are the Battlefield 3 system requirements:

Minimum requirements for Battlefield 3

  • OS: Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Althon X2 2.7 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Graphic card: DirectX 10 or 11 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card, ATI Radeon 3870 or higher, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or higher.
  • Graphics card memory: 512 MB
  • Sound card: DirectX compatible sound card
  • Hard drive: 15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version

Recommended system requirements for Battlefield 3

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Graphics card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or ATI Radeon 6950.
  • Graphics card memory: 1 GB
  • Sound card: DirectX compatible sound card
  • Hard drive: 15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version

NVIDIA ran three custom built machines through an intense Battlefield 3 test. Already having a baseline comparison with the Battlefield 3 beta that was very popular, they installed the game’s day-one updates for performance-enhancing drivers and optimizations, loaded up the graphically demanding Caspian Border multiplayer map and watched the fur fly.

Battlefield 3 Graph 1

The testing machine for these cards in the graph above was an Intel Core i7-2600K with a P67 Motherboard, 8GB DDR3 RAM, running Windows 7 64-Bit.

The graph is self-explanatory, showing the performance of the cards during the single player introduction. With this testing, high quality presets were used and forty frames per second and up was designated as the ‘sweet spot,’ the level of performance where any temporary frame rate loss should not drop below 30 FPS (resulting in a negative gaming experience). The GeForce GTX 285 was the first card to enter the sweet spot, and the GTX 560, the developer’s recommended graphics card for the high quality preset, sits comfortably within this benchmark, coming in at 52 FPS.

Battlefield 3 Graph 2

Using the same test machine, the second test was on the aforementioned system-demanding 64-player Caspian Border multiplayer map. Here, where there are large draw distances, masses of effects, and more details, the story was quite a bit different. The GTX 560 resides within the sweet spot, though its performance dips to 41 FPS, while the previously mentioned in-the-sweet-spot GTX 285 drops to only 31 FPS. What does this mean? Yes, the developer knows what they are talking about. While lower cards will run this demanding map, the GTX 560 is really the baseline for graphics card for this game. If the card can handle Caspian Border, it can handle all of Battlefield 3’s graphical scenarios.

The third graph here is the data for the optimal playable settings for the best overall performance when playing Battlefield 3.

Battlefield 3 Graph 3

They then ran some independent tests on their own machines outside the testing lab, testing the cards for the Ultra presets. Their results showed that the GTX 580 (not 560) will remain in the sweet spot above 40 FPS, but when the action picks up and the frame is overloaded, the frame rate could get very close to the Mendoza line of 30 FPS. In line with DICE’s information before the launch of Battlefield 3, they recommend dual GTX 580’s in SLI to ensure the very best frame rate in the ultra setting.

Considering the requirements, it is a testament to the game’s engine that some of these cards will run the game fairly decently without a tremendous loss of visual detail. That being said, gamers will be expected to shell out big bucks if they want the best rig to run this game at its peak performance. Personally, I prefer eating on a daily basis.

Loyal readers, what are you current PC specs? Are you upgrading your rig to play the game, or are you going the console route?

Battlefield 3 is available now for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @mattrowland1

Source: GeForce

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