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Written by Olin Coles   
Saturday, 01 October 2011

Battlefield 3 Beta: Hardware Requirements Tested

Very recently, EA and Dice released an open beta for Battlefield 3. Preceeding this release was the announcement of minimum and recommended system requirements. Since the beta is now open to the public, Benchmark Reviews uses high-end PC hardware to take a closer look at what gamers should expect to be real-world computer system hardware requirements for their CPU and RAM components.

Here are the minimum and recommended computer system requirements for the upcoming Battlefield 3 video game, as published by Electronic Arts:

Minimum System Requirements

    • Note: Microsoft offers a free DirectX 11 update for Windows Vista, but your video card must support the API
  • MEMORY: 2 GB
    • Note: Sufficient to run the Operating System and game, but 2GB is not enough for add-on applications such as Team Speak and FRAPS.
    • Note: Not required for PC download


Recommended System Requirements

  • OS: WINDOWS 7 64-BIT
    • Note: 32-Bit will support up to 4GB of RAM, 64-bit allows beyond 4GB.
  • MEMORY: 4 GB
    • Note: BF3, Origin, and Battlelog consume nearly 2GB of RAM, so observe memory usage with other applications and OS.
    • Note: Not required for PC download

Benchmark Reviews has tested memory consumption using the following computer system:

Intel X58-Express Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58/ICH10R/Marvell SE9128)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-930 Nehalem 2.80 GHz Quad Core
  • System Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR3 KHX2000C8D3T1K3 (3x 2GB @ 1333 CL6-6-6-18)
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 (772 MHz GPU/1544 MHz Shader/1002 MHz vRAM - Forceware 285.38 Beta)
  • Monitor: 26-Inch Widescreen LCD (up to [email protected])
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Battlefield 3 Beta was configured with 'Ultra' video settings. Based on the high-end gaming system above, here are the processor and memory usage statistics we recorded:

  • Battlefield 3:
    • Memory = 1070-1680 MB
    • CPU Usage = 40-50% (38 Threads Avg)
    • CPU Cores = 8 Available/8 Used
  • Origin:
    • Memory = 69-74 MB
    • CPU Usage = 0-1% (37 Threads Avg)
    • CPU Cores = 8 Available/1 Used
  • Battlelog (Internet Explorer 9):
    • Memory = 81-84 MB
  • Battlelog (FireFox 7.01):
    • Memory = 115-145 MB
  • Battlelog (Chrome 14.0):
    • Memory = 55-65 + 26-29 MB (81-94 MB)

Considering our tests used the ultra-powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 video card, it's rather astonishing to find that so much CPU resources have been tapped by Battlefield 3. The Intel Core i7-930 processor is no slouch, it has four physical cores and eight virtual processor cores all running at 2.80 GHz. Yet, when simply spawning or in the middle of a fire-fight the CPU generally wavered between 40-50% usage across all eight cores. Memory usage was also quite high, requiring 1070 MB to simply open the game, and reaching nearly 1.7 GB during action play. If you're running a dual-core processor with a lower-end graphics card, don't expect to enjoy high-quality video settings unless you like slow frame rates.

Of course, there are also the support applications to take into consideration: EA's Origin interface, which then launches the web browser of choice for Battlelog. The CPU demand is almost non-existent for both applications, but memory usage piles on. In our testing Origin used up to 74 MB of RAM, while Battlelog's memory consumption reached over 100 MB with some browsers. Our testing did not use browser extensions, so your usage may actually be higher - especially if you have other browser tabs open.

In summary, while it's possible to play Battlefield 3 with maximum settings, but it's more likely your computer system will require some compromise to ensure fluid video frame rates. Gaming consoles, which offer DirectX 9 level graphics, will never reach the same graphics quality of PC, and beta performance for PS3 and XBOX360 has been rather disappointing thus far. If you want BF3 with all the bells and whistles, plan to upgrade that aging video card while adding some system memory.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For this article Benchmark Reviews did not go into detail regarding graphics performance, simply because the beta version of BF3 does not apply some video settings that will be activated in the final retail version. We've noticed that the difference between 'Low' and 'Ultra' video quality settings in BF3 beta with our GeForce GTX 590 were very small, leading us to suspect that anti-aliasing and other settings are not being applied once adjusted. The frame rates taken at several static spawn points were:

  • Low = 66-70
  • Med = 62-64
  • High = 58-59
  • Ultra = 58

Benchmark Reviews will test and publish GPU-based video graphics quality performance results when the retail version of Battlefield 3 becomes available, and all video graphics quality settings are activated. From our initial observations however, it appears that graphics card requirements are substantially more demanding then what is needed for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, so be prepared to upgrade.

UPDATE 03 October 2011: NVIDIA has recently published their own Battlefield 3 beta performance guide using a special beta release with full-version graphics. Read more here:

UPDATE 10 October 2011: EA Has ended the Battlefield 3 Beta program. The full version of the game will be released October 25th.

Are you playing Battlefield 3 beta? Share your thoughts on this article with your game name below.

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# Can i run battlefield 3 at medium SettingsKashif 2011-10-02 03:24
Hi ur article was really helpfull. OK my system specs are:
Win 7 32 bit
Intel dual core @ 2.66 ghz
1 GB Nvidia Geforce 9600 gt
460 Watt Cooler master power supply unit

Now i m wondering can i run battlefield 3 at medium settings with good fps. Quick reply will be very much appreciated
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# RE: Can i run battlefield 3 at medium SettingsOlin Coles 2011-10-02 07:56
You've got enough system memory, but your video card will be the weakest component followed by the processor. The NVIDIA Geforce 9600 GT
is a DirectX 10 video card, so your best hope would be Low or custom settings. Since the beta isn't activating all video quality settings, we can't estimate the true impact. Still, I would consider looking into better video card.
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# RE: Can i run battlefield 3 at medium SettingsKashif 2011-10-02 08:15
thankyou very much. Yeah u might be right. But really till now i havent got any problem running any game at medium and high settings. The fps are also always very much playable. And for me 30-35 are very much playable. Once again thankyou.
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# what sort of settings would give me a comfortable frame rate?Justin 2011-10-02 22:31
I have a i5 450m dual core with a hd5870 1gb ddr 5 and 4 gb of ddr 3 ram, what sort of settings could I run bf3 with and expect a consistantly good frame rate with?

Great article btw.
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# RE: RE: Can i run battlefield 3 at medium SettingsOlin Coles 2011-10-03 13:53
NVIDIA has recently published their own Battlefield 3 beta performance guide using a special beta release with full-version graphics:
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# RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedDoug Dallam 2011-10-09 19:59
Well, finally my 920 is beginning to be challenged. I'm sure my GTX295 can handle it, but I'll not be able to see DX11--sad. I wish I had around 1500.00USD laying around. pft.
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# RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedFeralshad0w 2011-10-09 21:49
You and me both. I built my comp about 3 years ago. Phenom II 940 OCed to 3.6 gh, GTX 285 OC'd to 690 mh, and 4 gb ddr2. I really can run most games at 45-60 frames with maxed setting on my 1920x1200 monitor, but I am starting to see the slowdown with games that have come out this year.
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# Not too bad..Bob 2011-10-09 21:58
Considering the preview drives both camps released and considering neither have had ample time as of yet to fully maximize potential with drivers, I think there is a lot of room for improvement. I think anyone with a quad-core and a GTX260 or HD4890 or better will suffice fine with graphics.
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# RE: Not too bad..Olin Coles 2011-10-09 22:04
Most quad-core CPUs should be fine, but I'm not so sure a GTX 260 will reach more than low-med graphics with no AA at 1920x1200, and medium quality with 1680x1050.
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# Well -Bob 2011-10-10 09:33
I think it's down to being resolution dependent. At lower resolutions the GTX260 performs beautifully. It can handle BFBC2 on High with 16XAF no AA/HBAO and with Bloom On quite well. Even in DX10. In DX9 more so, and at 1680x1050. What I'm trying to say is - even though they are considered old cards by now, they have a lot of life left in anyone who has one should still feel fine with current games. Even if you need to reduce the eye-candy a bit!
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# RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedDoug Dallam 2011-10-09 22:13
I had a 260 and 285 before my current 295 and the 260 would not run the Far Cry benchmark too well on high at 1920x1200. And that was a bit ago.
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# RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware Testedtim 2011-10-10 12:47
i have an old gtx BFG max core and on my old dual core far cry run like crap but with my new i5 im able to scream threw games like bfbc2 max settings 1080 res. when upgraded to 570 i could finally enable bloom on bfbc 2 and explosions didt drop frames but really the 260 holds its own just in dx10...and the 260 was a way better OC than my new non refrence EVGA 570
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# RE: RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedDoug Dallam 2011-10-10 14:11
I think I noticed that too, but it's been too long. Lower resolutions the card ran fine. If I had a 260 and could run in 1600, I'd probably keep it and wait for the 500 series cards to drop in price.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedOlin Coles 2011-10-10 14:23
Graphics cards will always perform better with lower video resolution because their are fewer pixels to process. 1920x1200 requires 2,304,000 pixels to be processed, compared to 1,764,000 for 1680x1050... a 31% difference.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedDoug Dallam 2011-10-10 14:29
That's kind of obvious, isn't it Olin? Unless I'm missing something.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedOlin Coles 2011-10-10 14:59
As obvious as screws that secure a case bezel to the chassis, Doug. Not everyone knows that resolution impacts performance.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedDoug Dallam 2011-10-10 21:18
LOL. I see what you were doing now, making sure more information gets in for readers.
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# ActuallyMergatroid 2011-10-11 15:26
You're right, not everyone. But anyone with enough knowledge to purchase a video card and not use on-board GPUs should know that. (that's basically anyone reading this thread)
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# can i run BF3 with my systemJames 2011-10-09 22:39
Hi i wanted to know if my system would be able to run BF3
win 7 64 bit
intel core 2 quad cpu Q8300 2.50Ghz
4Gb ram
Nvidia Geforce Gtx 460 1Gb ram
Antec 850 watt psu
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# RE: can i run BF3 with my systemFeralshad0w 2011-10-13 21:25
This is just a guess of course, but based on card benchmarks you should be good. Now if you are like me and run 1920x1200 resolution you will see the card start to struggle at max settings, but it will probably be playable at around 30 frames, DX11 allowing. My gtx 285 performs similarly to the gtx 460 so we are in the same categorie I think (other than the DirextX).
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# RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedAlireza 2011-10-10 04:05
Hi I wanted to know if my system would be able to run BF3
win 7 32 bit
Intel core i5 760 2.8 GHz stock
2*2Gb of physical ram 1600 MHz Corsair XMS3 (4GB)
Sapphire HD 5770 1GB (overclocked to 990 and 1330 stable in crysis and other games)
Motherboard: MSI P55-GD80
Maximum resolution= 1600*900
Can I play with high settings?
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# RE: RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedFeralshad0w 2011-10-13 21:31
I think you got a great build... other than the graphics card. Based on other DX11 games like BF2 and AVP, you won't be playing at high setting on that resolution. You'll prob need to turn down the shaders, AA and etc. I think the game will still look good and be very playable, but you won't be getting all the eye candy.
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# Radio Show HostComputer Ed 2011-10-10 04:21
You know I am getting some great comedy materials from a lot of the tech sites and BF3. It seems everyone is publishing an article about performance and how to make it happen and what hardware does what. Folks this is a BETA! That means it is not done, not ready for prime time and thus not OPTIMIZED! To make it better the drivers being put out for it are BETA!

Have I played BF3, sure. What do I think? It is an FPS what more is there to think? Sure it is fun but none of the sequels have captured the fun and innovations of the original 1942. They are but pale shadows.

I also think trying to predict how hardware will perform on a final product with a beta is the signs of a slow news week.
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# RE: Radio Show HostOlin Coles 2011-10-10 08:16
Computer Ed, I presume you've noticed that this article doesn't talk about graphics performance at all. In fact, it talks about processor and memory performance, which do not use beta drivers and will likely remain consistent into the final retail product.
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# RE: RE: Radio Show HostComputer Ed 2011-10-11 05:29
I would argue about it remaining consistent, this is still a beta meaning there is is a chance to see optimization which could help performance across all aspects of the game.

I just think any testing of a beta with an effort to look at it's performance is just missing the boat. Will it remain consistent, possibly but that is a chance, not a fact.

There is no way to give accurate performance information on any any product without the final release version in hand.
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# RE: RE: RE: Radio Show HostDoug Dallam 2011-10-11 16:34
Computer Ed--Your argument is completely valid if, and only if, Olin's information is incorrect: that the beta will use the same drivers in the final. So sure, there is a chance, however, it may be very, very improbable.
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# More CPUsMergatroid 2011-10-10 14:49
Come on guys. The subject of the email was "Battlefield 3 Beta Hardware Tested". It should have said "Battlefield 3 tested on one set of hardware".

You should test it on different degrees of hardware. Just testing it on one computer is pretty much useless for people who don't share that same hardware. I don't think I'll have any problems as my system is GPU heavy with 2 x 2GB HD6970 in Crossfire, but my CPU (which will be upgraded this winter or spring) is a Core 2 Quad at 3.3GHz with 4G of RAM in Win 7 64. I would be interested in knowing how the Core 2 Quad would fare. I've heard there are some problems with Crossfire or SLI, how about something on that?
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# RE: More CPUsDoug Dallam 2011-10-10 21:23
How many different stations would make it a valid test? I'd be interested in how all processors play the game. Maybe other sites will review it also, and we can compare that way? My point is that no matter how many systems you test with, someone will want another. As always, we just have to make judgment calls based on hardware that is, in fact, being tested.
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# CurrentMergatroid 2011-10-11 15:46
I'm just saying that testing it with one computer isn't much of a "PC Hardware Tested" which, IMAO, implies testing on more than one sets of hardware. Maybe it doesn't, but I was expecting a little more testing and was disappointed when I saw there was no page 2. Maybe I'm expecting too much.
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# RE: CurrentOlin Coles 2011-10-11 15:50
If it were more than a two-week long beta, perhaps. This article was simply meant to set general expectations, and we plan larger articles once the game goes to full retail.
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# StupidBah 2011-10-10 17:27
This is stupid just like the rest of 'Beta Performance' review. First off, did you have the server on your own? you cant do 1:1 always. What if someone crossed your path, or bunch of smoke comming out of a random explosion.. that would equate to higher onscreen polygon
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# RE: StupidOlin Coles 2011-10-10 17:40
Your answer is yes, I had a server all to my own. I even spawned at the exact same location, and pointed at the exact same trash can every single time. Thanks for your otherwise ignorant statment, .
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# RE: RE: StupidBah 2011-10-11 16:12
your welcome, 'Olin Coles'.
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# my AMD/Nvidia PC loves this gameterracide 2011-10-11 06:39
The game (or at least the Metro Level anyways) runs without any flaws on my box, and runs at very high framerates. Running a quad core AMD cpu (Phenom II x4 955BE) and Asus motherboard and gtx580 graphics card. I have to admit I'm actually a bit underwhewlmed by the games graphics, but will save my judgements until I have played some of the other levels after release and hopefully see some more DX11 eye candy and graphical options..

AMD Phenom II x4 955BE cpu
Asus crosshair V Formula motherboard
2x Gskill PC3 2133 DDR3 dimms
Asus Matrix GTX 580 Platinum graphics card
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# AMD card wil handle which setting?TGen 2011-10-25 09:36
Im on the fence on wheter to buy this for my xbox or for my desktop. Dont know all my PC's specs to well but i know i got an i7 quad core, 8 GB RAM, and I believe my video card is a ATI 6870 1G ddr5 ram. Will this allow me to run a decent amount of frames on a higher video setting (not ultra) or would the console version be safer.

Side note I bought Rage for my PC and on high resolution it plays relatively well.
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# RE: AMD card wil handle which setting?Olin Coles 2011-10-25 13:26
It depends on how good you want the game to look. BF3 on console looks like trash, but even the low setting on PC looks better. With your hardware, you should be able to do Medium or better.
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# RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware Testedwonderdog1 2011-10-26 05:35
i bought a acer predator g5900 rig recently as my old setup was terrible. only problem is that my graphics cards isnt the best for bf3 from what ive been reading, and i wonder if ill need an upgrade. ive got

i5 650 @ 3.20ghz
4gigs ram
nvidia GT 340 1 gig
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# RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware Testedjameel 2011-10-31 07:18
i use gateway laptop.. specs are
core i5-430M 2.25 ghz
ati radeon 5470HD, 512 mb
3 gb ram,
Win 7 64 bit...
can i run and play this game on my laptop??
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# Yeah, it should be OKMergatroid 2011-10-31 15:22
You will have to turn some of the graphics down a bit, but I think your laptop should be OK. 512Mb is minimum video memory for BF3.
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# Core 2 Quad doesn't cut itMergatroid 2011-10-31 15:19
I have picked up BF3. Sweet game, very well done. It automatically set all the graphics settings to their top levels. The game plays very well, but I have found that during the busiest graphical content, with lots of explosions and lots of soldiers on screen, one time, my CPU bottle-necked the entire system and it started chopping. The cores were all at 100%, while the video cards were only hitting close to 50%. This is the first game I've bought that tasks my CPU to the limit, and has me looking at Sandy Bridge.

This is just for anyone with the same CPU wondering if their system will work OK on BF3. I'm basically using two HD6970 2Gb cards in crossfire which are hardly being taxed at all (50%). Time for the mobo/cpu/memory upgrade.
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# systen reguirment for BF3lukush 2011-11-09 23:46
hi i want to know if my system is copatible or not win7 dualcore 3ghz 3gb ram graphic Gt430 nvidea please tell me can i run bf3 in low in this system
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# Maybe on low settingsMergatroid 2011-11-10 22:20
You should go to the BF3 website and read the minimum system requirements. Your system looks like it would need the graphics turned down....way down.
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# please tell me about bf3manipur 2011-11-10 00:11
i like 2 know is my system can run battlefield3 or not my system has window 7 32bit dualcore 3ghz 3gb ram video graphic g-force nvidea gt430 please tell me can i run this game in low or medium mode please tell me i want to know this as soon as possible please
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# RE: please tell me about bf3Olin Coles 2011-11-10 08:29
The GeForce GT 430 should be enough to play Battlefield 3 with LOW settings.
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# system requirments1337 2011-11-13 08:05
Win 7 32 bit
Intel core 2 duo @ 2.33 ghz
1 GB amd radeon hd4870

this will be enough to play on what settings? Thanks a lot
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# RE: system requirmentsOlin Coles 2011-11-13 08:26
Your video card would be best with custom settings. I think that medium settings for everything except shadows (low/off) and low post processing would work best.
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# Rigzee 2011-11-23 00:15
amd athlon x2 250 3.1ghz
ati radeon 5450 1gb gddr3
4gb ddr3 memory
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# RE: RigOlin Coles 2011-11-23 07:59
Zee: that hardware will allow low settings, but you might get a few to medium if you drop shadows, AA, and post processing down to their lowest. You can test your hardware here:
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# can i run it ?measusual 2011-11-29 06:39
phenom 2 x 4 3.4 ghz 965 black edition
6850 1 gig
4 gb ddr3 corsair
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# RE: can i run it ?Olin Coles 2011-11-29 08:33
Test your hardware here:
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# can i run it???Rahul 2011-12-19 05:24
cpu: intel core2duo e7200 2.53 ghz
gpu: amd radeon 6450hd 1gb ddr3
ram: 2gb
os: window 7 32-bit
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# What do I need to upgrade to run BF3 more smooth?Zar 2011-12-29 04:13
UPDATED version:

CPU Manufacturer:Genuine Intel
Number of CPU: 1 (2 Core(s)/CPU, 1 Logical(s)/Core)
CPU Type: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8600 @ 3.33GHz
CPU Speed: 137.4 MHz
Cache size: 6144KB
O/S: Windows 7 (WIN64)
Mother Board: P5Q-PRO
Total RAM:4095.0 MB.
Video settings: 1680x1050x32
ATI Radeon HD 4850 x 2 in Crossfire.
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# RE: What do I need to upgrade to run BF3 more smooth?Olin Coles 2011-12-29 08:32
With two ATI Radeon HD 4850 in Crossfire you should be able to play medium settings smoothly. I suggest using the latest AMD drivers with this game, as they've been optimized.
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# All depends on settingsMergatroid 2011-12-29 18:08
You didn't say what setting level you want for smooth play.

Using max settings in 1080p my Core 2 Quad 3.3 GHz would choke with 2 x HD6970 in crossfire during the most intense, graphic hungry portions of B3. I upgraded my CPU to an i5 2500k 4.5 GHz and I can play everything maxed out with the two 6970 cards but B3 still taxes the cards. Skyrim gets my cards running warm at about 85% usage on both cards but I don't see a CPU bottleneck any more.
It still depends on your settings. 1680 x 1050 is helping your video cards out right now so perhaps a cpu upgrade would be worth considering.
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# RE: Battlefield 3 Beta: PC Hardware TestedGigabyte 2012-01-07 03:23
can i play bf3 in core 2Duo E7400 @2.8GHz with 4GB ram DDR2 and 1gb amd Radeon HD 4650 GDDR2 ??
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# :)???? 2012-01-07 03:29
yeah yo got it in core 2Duo E7400 @2.8GHz with 4GB ram DDR2 and 1gb amd Radeon HD 4650 GDDR2
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# Can I run battlefeild 3 with a playable fpsIvan penalizes 2012-01-13 07:07
I use an hd radeon 4670 1gb card with a dual core processor and 4gv of ddr3 ram. Can I play with a decent fps?
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# can i run that???nedim 2012-04-30 12:59
ok i have Intel Extreme Edition Core i7-990X Hexa Core Processor

3.46GHz, 12MB L3 Cache, 6x256KB L2 Cache, 3200 MHz Bus, Socket LGA 1366 - MPN: BX80613I7990X,,,,,two gpus nvidia gtx 490 and 8 gigs of ram with os 7 64 bit with lot of coolers and that #..
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