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NitroWare.net - Intel 4th Gen 'Haswell' real world gaming performance
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Battlefield 3 Frame-Analysis and Gameplay Performance at 1366x768

To test BF3, we used real gameplay with V-Sync enabled and automatic details selected in-game and played through the game progressively for 15 minute single player sessions which were recorded by FRAPS.

Fraps captures the time taken for each frame (at the highest lowest measurable point in the graphics pipeline), as well as the total minimum, average and maximum frame rate.

For ease of comparison, we tested at only 1366x768 and 1920x1200 for both Intel HD Graphics 4600 and NVIDIA GTX460 Graphics; with automatic details selected in game.

Our measurements cover the reported frame rate as monitored by the GPU and the software, not the actual observed frame rate that the user sees on the monitor. Our measurements include loading screens and save-game reloads.

We did not ‘benchmark’ Battlefield 3 per se, but we recorded the performance during gameplay and our actual progression through the single player campaign in blocks of appropriately 15 minutes. We feel this is an accurate representation of real world gameplay and experience of this popular title on Intel.

By not repeating the same exact test case on Integrated and DIscrete graphics, we replicate the scenario where an end user will upgrade their GPU during the progression of their favorite game and notice the changes. Some users will of course, replay the same level to get a AB comparison but depending on the game, different game levels can either present similar performance or varying performance.

Sites such as PC Perspective, Tech-Report and other Tier 1 & 2 media who were sampled by NVIDIA have the necessary specific capture card and guidance to perform independent measurements of frame rates (‘frame rating’) at the display output stage.

While we do not have this equipment, we constantly strive to adopt industry best practise. NitroWare.net is 100% owned, operated and hosted in Australia and as such Australia Specialist Tech media do not have the same in-depth access to hardware vendors other regions have. ‘Frame rating’ requires several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars worth of display and storage hardware to store terabytes of game captures as video files, plus the system horsepower to analyse these video streams.

Looking 'inside the second', a term coined by The Tech-Report's Scott Wasson is the next best thing to frame rating. What this means is our Battlefield 3 charts show every frame presented to the graphics hardware for display.

Battlefield 3 : Operation Guillotine: Secure the Bank with Intel HD Graphics

In-Game Screenshots on Intel HD 4600 at ‘auto’ details, 1366x768

This first chart plots frame-times over the length of game-play

A frame-time is a slice of frames-per-second. For example, 60 Frames per Second gives us 16.7 milliseconds to each frame, and 30FPS gives us 33.3ms per frame. Consistent frame times give us smooth motion.

Remember, FRAPS only reports the time it takes the software to generate the frame, not the total time the GPU takes to process and output the frame.

Our wide plot is all over the place and reflects the slow, stuttery gameplay we experienced on Intel Graphics. We desire a narrow and tight plot, bounded within average lines for 30 and 60FPS. The noticeable gaps in the plot are loading screens.

Another representation of the same data set is Instantaneous reported frame rate over time

The rank plots the percentage of which particular frame times make up the entire data set. Again we desire a narrower tighter plot to signify smooth game play, where more frames of similar times take up the majority of the rendered frames.

Mission Comrades with NVIDIA Graphics at 1366x768

Progressing through the game, we switched over to NVIDIA GTX460 graphics for subsequent gameplay and the results speak for themselves.

Our frame times chart is the same scale as our Intel one, notice how tight and smooth the frame time plots are, ideal gameplay and this is only with a 3 year old, 3 generation old GPU.

Our alternate view, shows similar, a relatively narrow frame-rate plot.

A perfect, smooth compliant plot, frame times remain consistent throughout the gameplay session and do not vary.


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