Battlefield 3 MP Beta Date and System Reqs

Above title says all. The beta will take place on Sept. 29th (next Thursday) and will be available for all three platforms (360, PS3, and of course the PC). Players will play in the Operation Metro map that’s set in Paris with the mode being Rush. It’s essentially attacking/defending of respective M-COM stations for those of you who haven’t played Bad Company 2. Here’s what EA had to say:

“Gamers who pre-order the digital PC version of the game at Origin (powered by EA) will be granted early access to the beta starting on September 27, 2011,” EA said Tuesday. “In addition, all customers that pre-ordered a Limited Edition of Medal of Honor will also receive early access to the beta starting on September 27, 2011.”

We instantly snapped a screenshot of the specs needed for the game when we saw it, and they should be nearly identical for the final release. Check out the beta landing page here for more details.


Upgrading Your Rig for Battlefield 3 (Feature)

We’ve been getting quite a few questions lately regarding whether your (VS)PCs are “Battlefield 3 ready”, so we decided to write up a feature article to address most of your concerns. First off is how the new Frostbite 2 engine looks from footage EA/DICE has been releasing of gameplay and it’ll surely keep everyone guessing whether they can run it without a hitch especially if you want the full experience (on DirectX 11, Tessellation enabled, etc.). Check out the latest trailer following if you haven’t already, BUT something to keep in mind is that they always mention that the actual gameplay footage is based on ALPHA code. This means that it has yet to be optimized for performance and cleaned up for final retail release.


So far we’re well under two months in before BF3 hits, and any system requirements for the game? No, not really. About a few months back in June, Atomic PC Magazine interviewed Patrick Bach – Executive Producer at DICE. He obviously wasn’t keen on going into the specifics at the time, but he did mention that the demo system used to run everything had “standard high-end components” and a single GeForce GTX 580 graphics card. Again this is being run on early code as mentioned before, so there’s definitely a direct correlation of better hardware being used to showcase the demo. Then he continued mentioning that if your PC is able to match the same “output” of current game consoles (we believe many modern systems out there would) then you should meet the minimum requirements.

GameStop almost had us when they released a set of minimum and recommended PC specs about two months back, but unfortunately they were deemed simply false. It started with DICE’s Senior Gameplay Designer, Alan Kertz just saying, “We have not announced any specs.” through Twitter when being asked about it. While Johan Andersson at DICE declared on the Beyond3D forum, “FAKE. We haven’t announced any system requirements yet.” He did later say, “But highly recommend a quad core, just as with Bad Company 2.”

Now for the question that we all wind up asking at the end of the day: “So, should I upgrade?”

What we know for sure is that the Frostbite 2 engine has no support for DirectX 9 thus Windows XP, so if you are still kicking the hardware/software then it looks like you’re due for quite an upgrade if you want to get in on the latest Battlefield action.

If you have an ATI Radeon HD 4800 series or NVIDIA’s GeForce 9800 family based card or later then you should be able to run the game on DirectX 10 settings, however the previous generation products for both companies also support the tech and are ones where they first introduced support for DirectX 10 – having those parts handling BF3 well is in fact questionable and somewhat out of the picture.

DirectX 11 performance on the other hand gets a little tricky with more variables and settings, a mid to high end graphics card like something from at least the ATI Radeon HD 5800 family or NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 460 series might be able to get you very reasonable frame rates. This also depends on the video settings in-game. Note that we can’t make any guarantees however at this stage yet, as it’s just our thoroughly analyzed forecast in terms of game requirements.

Bottom line is that you should sit tight if you are already running any of the above mentioned (or newer) video cards, and see how everything plays out as we get more info. As always, we’ll be striving to keep you all posted as this matter develops.

UPDATE: Some of you mentioned whether memory (RAM) was something to consider for an upgrade. While the minimum of 2GB and recommended 4GB requirements posted by GS are simply inaccurate, so we can’t base our feedback off of that. Although the amounts do similarly translate to the ideal memory capacities a typical system should have today, 2GB being the bare minimum and 4GB as the “de facto” or more common amount. With RAM prices at an all time low and continuing to drop throughout this year, upgrading shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

NVIDIA’s GTX 595 (Dual-GPU) Sneak Peek

We already saw this coming of course, as NVIDIA would probably want to take on the HD 5970 that AMD currently has. This is just a early concept of their reference design, so the final product may not appear like this without any of the cooling components hooked up.

Specs are currently sitting at 3GB of memory, single SLI-connector, and two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. On top of that there should be three DVI ports, and it looks like we may have 3DVision Surround support.

Of course, mum’s the word on pricing and release date. We’ll keep you guys posted on any updates or other details.

Via eNet China.

AMD Catalyst Profile, Now 10.9a

This is a must for all of you with ATI (AMD) Radeon multi-GPU setups, as AMD released a new ATI Catalyst Application Profile (10.9a) this week. Update covers CrossFire performance boosts for quite a few titles including:

  • Mulitplayer Medal of Honor CrossFire update (DX9)
  • Darksider performance and CrossFire AA update (DX9)
  • NBA 2K11 CrossFire update (DX9)
  • Stone Giant CrossFire update (DX10/11)
  • Multiplayer Medal of Honor CrossFire update (DX10/11)
  • Civ V tweak Crossfire update (DX10/11)
  • Hawx 2 CrossFire update (DX10/11)
  • F1 CrossFire update (DX10/11)
  • World of Warcraft DX11 version CrossFire update

Grab the new profile via this link (AMD Downloads).

XFX Dropped by NVIDIA as an Approved Partner?

Don’t take our word for it, but after we saw NVIDIA selling their own reference design cards at stores like Best Buy, figures that the GPU maker would have some competition with its AIB (add-in board) partners.

“I was told today that XFX is no longer an approved NVIDIA partner,” says HardOCP founder Kyle Bennett.

There weren’t many details, however there were rumors going on since early this year in January and you may have recalled XFX was longer an exclusive NVIDIA partner since late 2008 when they started selling AMD (ATI) cards as well. Both BFG and XFX weren’t invited to the Fermi party for reasons unknown.

AMD Radeon HD 6700 Series Details Emerge

Should NVIDIA even be afraid at all? If these spec sheets are actually legitimate, it looks like they’ll have quite the concern and will definitely have to scramble to get all caught up.

From the looks of it, there will be two varieties of the soon-to-be-released 40nm Barts chip based on independent sources online, and we’re seeing quite a gain from the previous generation. The “all new” HD 67X0 cards do apparently seem much quicker than their predecessors in terms of higher clocks, more texture units, and more ROPs (Raster Operators) – something to be all hyped up about is when you compare these models to the HD 5870 and 5850, AMD’s current flagship cards. Memory bandwidth and pixel fillrate are exactly the same between the HD 6750 and 5850, the HD 6770 on the other hand manages to beat the formerly dominate 5870 in some areas.

This is all unconfirmed information, but if Barts is only considered an “upper midrange” chip then we should be seeing some wonders coming from the featured Cayman chip when it arrives. We wouldn’t want to get all excited from just rumors and leaks now do we? In the meantime, check out the supposed company’s slide below and we’ll let you be the judge.


Click on the image for a larger view.


AMD Phenom II and Athlon II Lineup Refresh

So there’s been a lot going on for NVIDIA with the release of several mid-range and entry level graphics cards lately, but look’s like AMD is now making a move in the CPU (not a typo) department instead. The six separate processors AMD recently released targets high-end enthusiasts to mainstream users alike, and here’s the full list of what’s being offered and their MSRP’s (in USD):

  • 3.0GHz (Turbo @ 3.5GHz) Phenom II X6 1075T – $245
  • 3.5GHz Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition – $185
  • 3.3GHz Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition – $105
  • 3.1GHz Athlon II X4 645 – $122
  • 3.2GHz Athlon II X3 450 – $87
  • 3.3GHz – Athlon II X2 265 – $76

Despite AMD’s recent price cuts, the new chips are actually a bit more expensive than the previous lineup, however they are being introduced at similar price points. Bear in mind that all the newly launched CPUs are based on existing processor cores, and the only difference are model numbers and frequencies. All this is great and all AMD, now how about more on those new Radeon cards?

Brands Behind the Builds

Earlier we introduced some of the main parts of the new Valor series, but we’ll list all the manufacturers that make the components for this line and also the custom builds that we put together for clients as well (not to mention our own personal systems too!). You may be interested in the links that are provided.

This will be an ongoing list that we will add to if we were to use any other preferred parts for my builds. Please keep in mind that these are quality brands that we would recommend and use for the systems that we assemble, but experiences may vary as we have not had any major problems with them.

Note that we’re not affiliated or endorsed by the above mention brands, and all names or trademarks belong to their respective owners. The items in the list are simply arranged in alphabetical order for reference only, and not placing them in a favored order.

Valor series (EOL)

Please note that this particular custom build is no longer available, but is still listed for archival and comparison purposes.

Everything’s got to start somewhere, so here’s the beginning to a value oriented series (Valor, Portuguese for “value”) that was well thought out ahead of time.

May not be exactly as shown. Monitor and operating system extra.

Highlights of the system:

  • AMD Athlon II X4 Quad-Core Processor
  • AMD Radeon HD 5770 DirectX11 Graphics
  • Motherboard with 8-Channel audio and Gigabit LAN
  • DVD Writer with Lightscribe

It all comes at just $649 with all other necessary components and assembly. Of course this configuration can vary based on any requests or suggestions whatsoever coming from you.