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.

ADATA First to Market with Single 8GB Modules

Here’s something new and worthy of mentioning, and it’s ADATA’s new XPG Gaming Series memory. This, however, isn’t your typical RAM as they’re 8GB single modules and are low voltage (1.35V) with rated frequencies of 1333MHz. These modules have 9-9-9-24 timings and complies with JEDEC specs, while the company also mentions that every single memory chip on the module is also strenuously inspected.

“With the popularity of 64-bit operating systems, high-density memory is a prerequisite in many gamers’ minds. We are the first to launch DDR3L 1333G high-density 8GB memory modules, achieved in the XPG Gaming Series,” ADATA DRAM product planning department project manager Alex Wu explained. “This product adopts a 1.35 volt design, to offer gamers excellent stability and efficiency and also reduce waste heat and power consumption costs.”

Currently there’s no word on pricing, but these will come in single 8GB sticks or a paired pack.

Crucial Extends the Ballistix series with Tactical and Elite Options

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything coming from them since March, but Crucial recently revamped their memory lineup with a completely new logo and heat spreader designs. Frequencies range from DD2-800MHz to DDR3-2133MHz with various densities for each module. Their Ballistix Tactical line is tailored for gamers and enthusiasts alike offering low latencies and faster speeds. Not only did they take reliability and performance into consideration, but also great style as well. The modules sport a signature black PCB and new heat spreaders with improved thermal dissipation.

On the other hand, we have the Ballistix Elite series aimed at extreme power users with the product spec’d for compatibility with the latest platforms. They also bear advanced timings and speeds, on-board thermal sensors, and gone through a brand new heat spreader treatment as well.

Expect these to hit shelves as early as September this year.

Early Benchmarks for AMD’s “Llano” Platform Surface

Apparently somebody got their hands on the AMD A8-3800 Quad-Core APU along with Gigabyte’s GA-A75-UD4H motherboard and they did exactly the right thing. Ran several benchmarks. Aside from the two feature parts, other parts used were 4GB (2x2GB) of GSKILL DDR3-1600 RAM, a standard 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HDD, and note that the graphics is the on-board Radeon HD 6550D that’s on the same die.

What we found fairly darn impressive (for an integrated solution) were the benchmarks in the gaming department with these scores (at 1080p):

  • Street Fighter 4: 50.32 FPS
  • Hawx: 54 FPS (DX9) / 22 FPS (DX10)
  • Hawx 2: 46 FPS (DX9) / 34 FPS (DX11)
  • Resident Evil 5: 29.0 FPS (DX9) / 27.4 FPS (DX10)

OCZ Adds ZX Series to its Power Supply Lineup

It’s good to see that they’re still working on other products in their catalog despite stepping out of the memory market, but on the flip side we’re bound to see better products they’ll be coming up with (ahem, SSDs?). Looks like they’re starting out with PSUs, and with the new ZX series announced (more or so intended for enthusiasts), it looks like it’ll likely be packed into high-end builds.

Reason is that this lineup starts off with a fairly high 850W, but there’s also 1,000W and 1,250W models if you’re looking for more power. They all also achieved 80+ Gold Certification and managed to offer 92% efficiency on typical workloads (89% on a full one), despite the high wattage – which is outstanding. Other specs feature a 140mm ball-bearing fan, single +12V rail, and a completely modular design (a first for OCZ). Still no word on pricing or availability though.

For Pros: Patriot 12GB DDR3-1600 Viper Extreme Kit

When it comes to video and image post processing, the typical amount of RAM (say 4GB or so) found in most PCs may not simply be enough (not to mention for some of you that run virtual machines as well). On a X58 board, for example, you can simply add more memory to the existing modules to achieve larger capacities. However, having a total of six 2GB sticks may not be as practical and can be fairly inefficient when it comes to overclocking. So, you probably guessed already – why not just use a kit that has three 4GB modules? Patriot Memory recently introduced a lower latency Viper Extreme kit and the timings are 8-9-8-24 at 1600MHz. A 12GB triple channel and 1600MHz kit like this is looking pretty good for a product of its type.

Specs:

  • PC3-12800 (1600MHz) – 12GB, 3x4GB Tri-Channel
  • Low Latency (8-9-8-24)
  • Voltage: 1.65V
  • XMP Ready
  • Equipped with an extruded aluminum shield build around a copper core to provide improved cooling
  • RoHS Compliant
  • Tested on Intel® X58 chipset w/ Intel® Core i7 CPUs

MSI’s P67 Motherboard Supports 8GB DIMMs

It all stacks up to quite a bit of RAM! With Intel’s highly anticipated P67 chipset boards featuring the Sandy Bridge processors coming after the start of 2011, a brand new level of memory capacity is to be introduced.

Boards will still use a standard four slot, dual channel setup however screenshots (below) of CPU-Z shows a MSI P67A-GD65 with a total of 32GB memory. This means that all four slots can in fact take high density 8GB modules.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is that there’ll be LGA 2011 boards that will have 8 slots that may be able to max out with 64GB of memory. That will make current standards look like nothing!

Roundup: Memory and Portable Storage

This is harder than we had thought! Totally laughable, but at least we made the effort. As the title implies, we rounded relevant posts on new memory (RAM) products and portable (external, different from last roundup if you were wondering) storage. Something that caught our eyes this week was the new DDR3 kit Corsair announced recently, a series dubbed “Vengeance” and the heat spreaders look very unique and interesting to us. They appear very space consuming height-wise, however the giant heatsinks are in fact much thinner than their coolers found on the well known Dominator series.

Also to note is that Tom’s Hardware has an article regarding memory upgrades and whether it’s time for you to add more RAM, so do us (and them) a favor by checking that out! As usual, we’ll add to this list when more related articles surface.

UPDATE: Added two links to the mix. Happy reading!

Super Talent 8GB DDR3 (R-DIMM) Modules Now Available

Well this isn’t exactly the consumer type thing, but Super Talent has recently started shipping these massive capacity 8GB sticks. They’re known as Registered-ECC DDR3 DRAM modules, also referred to as R-DIMMs, and are designed to cater low-voltage Intel Westmere platforms. Specs comply with the JEDEC standard of 1.35V and 1333MHz with 9-9-9 latencies.

“Going Green has always been associated with considerable trade-offs; not so with our new generation of 1.35V server memory. Our 8GB capacity boards enable higher capacity with higher efficiency and with a real measurable effect on operating costs,” said CH Lee, COO of Super Talent.