Building the Best PC for Battlefield 1


Last updated: February 2017

Battlefield 1 is a multiplayer first-person shooter set during World War I. It’s the first main entry in the Battlefield series since Battlefield 4 in 2013. In the game, players take a side in the historic conflict and wage war across a number of maps and scenarios, with up to 64 players competing in a match.

This guide takes a close look at Battlefield 1's graphical settings and the impact they have on the game. We'll also give you a good idea of the kind of PC hardware you'll need to run Battlefield 1 to your satisfaction. If you just want to know what to buy without all the in-depth analysis, you can skip to the Recommendations Section.

If you already have a PC but want to know what settings to use for best performance, check out the Graphical Settings section.

Battlefield 1 is built on EA’s Frostbite 3 engine, the same engine used for Battlefield 4, Battlefield: Hardline, and Star Wars: Battlefront. Considering how impressive the game is visually, Battlefield 1 runs very well on the average modern PC gaming setup.

To get started, let's take a look at what Logical Increments tiers are best for playing Battlefield 1.


What to Buy

At Logical Increments, we recommend PC builds in "tiers," with each tier containing the most powerful, most reliable, and least expensive combination of parts for that price. We don't list the individual parts in this guide because they change frequently based on local prices and new releases. You can see the latest individual part choices for each tier at the main guide page, which is updated regularly. Open it in a new tab to compare: Logical Increments PC Parts Guide.

The following performance metrics are based on playing the game at Ultra, also known as maximum settings:

Tier 1600x900 1920x1080 2560x1440 3840x2160
Destitute ($170) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Poor ($220) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Minimum ($310) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Entry ($375) Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable Unplayable
Modest ($420) Playable Playable Borderline Unplayable
Fair ($450) Smooth Smooth Borderline Unplayable
Good ($550) Very Smooth Smooth Playable Unplayable
Very Good ($650) Very Smooth Very Smooth Smooth Playable
Great ($750) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Playable
Superb ($850) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth Playable
Excellent ($1100) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Smooth
Outstanding ($1250) Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Silky Smooth Smooth
Exceptional ($1700) Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Silky Smooth Very Smooth
Enthusiast ($2100) Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Silky Smooth
Extremist ($3600) Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Silky Smooth
Monstrous ($4300) Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Buttery Smooth Silky Smooth
Explanation
Below 20 FPS Unplayable Jerky animation, "lag" and "stutter".
20-30 FPS Borderline Ok for some, too "laggy" for others. AKA "Cinematic".
30-45 FPS Playable Acceptable to most people. Not very good though!
45-60 FPS Smooth Fluid animation, no "lag".
60-90 FPS Very Smooth Very smooth is very smooth to almost everyone.
90-144 FPS Silky Smooth Criminally smooth. For hardcore and professional players.
144+ FPS Buttery Smooth The smoothest of smooth. When you need a constant framerate on the fastest monitors available (144Hz).

A Note About Frame Rate (FPS)

Frames per second (FPS) measures the number of images your computer can produce every second. Higher frame rates mean that your screen will show more images per second, which means that you will see a smoother animation. Lower frame rates cause a game to appear to stutter, which is generally not enjoyable for the player.

A comparison of 50, 25, and 12.5 FPS.

For the purposes of our PC build guides, we recommend computers that will achieve 60 FPS in your game of choice. Some gamers are satisfied with frame rates as low as 30, but that depends largely on the gamer and the game.

For more information and animations explaining frame rate, please check out our Frame Rate page.

Higher Resolution for Better Gaming

A comparison of several common resolutions.

Resolution refers to the number of pixels on a screen. High resolution means more pixels and generally more space and detail, while low resolution means fewer pixels, and often less space. If you are using a typical (not high-end) laptop or an old screen, you likely have a low resolution. When comparing screens with a similar aspect ratio, it is always better to get a higher resolution screen. Higher resolution will always looks better, as you have more real estate and a sharper picture. The image below shows the difference in real estate between common resolutions.

For more information on resolutions, check our Screen Resolution page.

Battlefield 1 Hardware Requirements and Performance

Before we discuss how various PC components influence Battlefield 1’s performance, let’s take a look at the game’s Minimum and Recommended specifications, according to EA:

Minimum System Requirements:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 660 or AMD HD 7850 (modern equivalent RX 460)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K or AMD FX-6350 (modern equivalent i5-7500)
  • Memory: 8GB RAM

Recommended System Specifications:

These official specifications are quite intense for a modern PC game. However, it looks like EA is pretty safely overcompensating in these requirements. In reality, you can still play Battlefield 1 fairly well with computer specs below the minimum. Particularly when it comes to the CPU requirements, we have found in our own testing that the game runs quite well on CPUs weaker than the i5-6600K. In fact, the i5-6600K is incredibly powerful compared to the AMD FX-6350, to the point that we’re not really sure why they would be considered in the same class.

That said, if you are looking to build a PC that roughly matches the minimum requirements detailed here, we would recommend our Fair tier at logicalincrements.com, priced at roughly $450. To match the recommended specs, we’d turn to the Superb tier, with the i5-7600K.

Recommended CPUs for Battlefield 1

Make no mistake: To play Battlefield 1 as intended, you will need a decent CPU. The Frostbite 3 engine is well threaded, and will take advantage of more than 4 cores. But you don’t need as powerful of a CPU as EA suggests.

For gaming on Ultra settings at 1080p with 60 FPS, we would recommend at least a dual core hyperthreaded Intel CPU, such as the Pentium G4560. That said, you will get better performance with a recent quad-core Intel CPU, such as the Intel i5-7500.

For gaming at Ultra on resolutions above 1080p (i.e. 1440p or 4K), we recommend at least an Intel Intel i5-7500 -- or even better, an i5-7600K or Intel i7-7700K Or AMD Ryzen 7 1700.

Recommended GPUs for Battlefield 1

Considering how impressive Battlefield 1 looks visually, the game is very well optimized to squeeze the most out of your graphics card’s power. That said, you do need a relatively powerful graphics card to run the game well.

For gaming on Ultra settings at 1080p with 60 FPS, we recommend at least a NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB or AMD RX 470 4GB.

For Ultra settings at 1440p with 60 FPS, we recommend a GTX 1060 6GB or AMD RX 480 4GB. To get close to 60 FPS on Ultra at 4K resolution, you’ll need a GTX 1080.

Battlefield 1 Graphical Settings

Battlefield 1 has 11 graphical settings that influence the game’s appearance and, by extension, affect how the game performs on your system. In addition, it includes a Resolution Scale setting that adjusts the game’s rendering resolution, which means you can render the game at a higher or lower resolution than your native resolution.

In this section, we’ll examine how each graphical setting affects the game’s visuals and performance.

Graphics Quality Presets

For those who don’t want to bother with individual graphical settings, the game offers presets that adjust each of the other settings at once.

In our testing, we found that going from the Ultra preset down to Low results in a 70-75% performance improvement. Of course, that also came at a significant cost to the game’s visual appeal.

In general, we’ve found that you’re better off adjusting the individual settings to cater your performance and visuals to your particular needs and tastes.

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Drag the cursor to compare Graphical Presets on Low and on Ultra.

Resolution Scale

Resolution Scale downsamples or supersamples the rendering resolution of the game. In other words, if you have a 1080p monitor, you can still play the game at “4K resolution,” which will make the visuals look more smooth, with fewer pixelated “jaggies,” at a serious performance cost. Lowering the setting will make the game look more blurry, but will improve performance dramatically.

The Resolution Scale setting is on a spectrum from 0 to 100. For reasons unclear to us, the default setting for your native resolution is at 42. Turning the setting above 42 will increase the rendering resolution, while lowering it below 42 will decrease it. Because the setting has such a dramatic impact on the game’s performance, we recommend keeping it at 42.

Of course, if your hardware’s potential greatly surpasses your current performance, feel free to turn it up. On the other hand, if the game feels sluggish, it might be a good idea to turn lower this setting.

Performance impact: ~25% improvement lowering from 42 to 0. ~65% performance loss when increasing from 42 to 100.

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Drag the cursor to compare Resolution Scale set to 42 and 100.

Texture Quality

This affects the appearance of the game’s textures, which cover the game’s characters and environment. Higher-quality textures eat up VRAM, which can affect performance on lower-end graphics cards.

Performance impact: ~2-3% between Low and Ultra.

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Drag the cursor to compare Texture Quality on Low and on Ultra.

Texture Filtering

This setting relates to how the textures are applied to 3D models. Higher settings minimize the blurring and blocking of textures on models.

Performance impact: ~4-5% between Low and Ultra.

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Drag the cursor to compare Texture Filtering on Low and on Ultra.

Lighting Quality

Don’t be fooled by the name: The lighting quality setting primarily affects the game’s shadows, as well as (probably?) other lighting effects. On Ultra, shadows look incredibly detailed and precise. On Low, they’re much less detailed, but still don’t look that bad.

Performance impact: ~8-10% between Low and Ultra.

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Drag the cursor to compare Lighting Quality on Low and on Ultra.

Effects Quality

You guessed it: This setting governs the visual quality of effects in the game, such as explosions, fire, and... other explosions. Honestly, even the low quality explosions looked pretty good to us. We couldn’t tell a huge difference between the Low and Ultra setting, and the performance difference reflects that.

Performance impact: ~3-4% between Low and Ultra.

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Drag the cursor to compare Effects Quality on Low and on Ultra.

Post Process Quality

This setting affects certain effects after their initial rendering, such as light blooms, depth of field, and color correction. Basically, turning this setting up makes the game look prettier at a moderate performance cost. If you can afford to turn it up, expect to express more “Ohhhs” and “Ahhhhhs” as your eyes are dazzled by pretty things.

Performance impact: ~10-12% between Low and Ultra.

Mesh Quality

This setting affects the model detail of objects far away from the player.

Performance impact: ~5-7% between Low and Ultra.

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Drag the cursor to compare Mesh Quality on Low and on Ultra.

Terrain Quality

This setting influences the appearance of the ground. It is fair to assume that the effect of this setting could vary quite a bit depending on the map you’re playing.

Performance impact: ~8-10% between Low and Ultra. (Could be lesser or greater depending on the map.)

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Drag the cursor to compare Terrain Quality on Low and on Ultra.

Undergrowth Quality

This setting influences the appearance of the brush and undergrowth on the terrain, including its shadows. It is very reasonable to assume this setting will have a great impact on maps that feature more terrain undergrowth.

Performance impact: ~4-5% between Low and Ultra. (Could be lesser or greater depending on the map.)

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Drag the cursor to compare Undergrowth Quality on Low and on Ultra.

Antialiasing:

Antialiasing smooths out edges of geometric objects in the game, eliminating jaggedness.

Performance impact: ~10-12% between Off and TAA.

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Drag the cursor to compare Antialiasing Off and on TAA.

Ambient Occlusion

This setting affects the shading of the game’s environment. Turning it up can add a lot of detail and depth to the game’s visuals, but at a fairly significant performance cost.

Performance impact: ~10-15% between Off and HBOA.

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Drag the cursor to compare Ambient Occlusion Off and on HBAO.

Choosing the Best Settings for Battlefield 1

IIf your computer can achieve a steady 60 FPS with all the settings turned up at your desired resolution, then we recommend keeping things as they are.

However, if you’re not reaching 60 FPS, or if you have a specialized monitor with a higher refresh rate and want to get even better performance, there are certain settings you can lower to improve your framerate without sacrificing too much in the way of visuals. Unfortunately, lowering multiple settings will not have a cumulative effect on framerate: If a setting give 10% improvement, and another gives 10%, lowering both will not give 20%, but possibly between 10-15%.

Improve FPS considerably with little to no impact on visuals

  • Set Post Process Quality to Medium or Low
  • Set Terrain Quality to Medium or Low

Improve FPS by larger amounts with moderate impact to visuals

  • Set Effects Quality to Medium or Low
  • Set Lighting Quality to Medium or Low

Last Resorts

If doing all of the steps above still does not achieve your desired framerate, try some of the following:

  • Lower Antialiasing
  • Set Ambient Occlusion to Off
  • Very last resort: Lower the Resolution Scale to 30 or even 20. Lowering the Resolution Scale will make the game look more pixelated, but it will significantly improve performance.

If you try all of the above and still can’t run the game, you need to set the game to the Low preset, or upgrade your hardware.


Logical Increments Tiers and How They Fare

To determine how your PC will perform Battlefield 1, you’ll need to consider three things:

  1. The resolution you want to play at (usually your screen’s native resolution)
  2. How much graphical detail you want
  3. How smoothly you want the gameplay to run

For our purposes, we aim for a very smooth 60+ FPS with the graphical settings turned all the way up (in other words, the Ultra setting). If you’re willing to lower any graphical settings, or you’re happy with framerates lower than 60 FPS, you can get by with an even lower-tier PC.

Below, we list the the tiers on our parts list that would achieve that 60 FPS baseline on Ultra graphical settings at a range of progressively more demanding screen resolutions.

1600x900

The Good tier, featuring an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti and i3-7100, will get you very smooth performance in Battlefield 1 at 1600x900 for around $550. Downgrade the CPU to the Pentium G4560 to save $60, and get almost as much performance.

1920x1080 (1080p)

The Very Good tier, featuring the AMD RX 470 4GB and i3-7100, will get very smooth performance at 1080p for around $650.

2560x1440 (1440p)

The Excellent tier, featuring the GTX 1070 and i5-7500, will get very smooth performance at 1440p for around $1,100.

3840x2160 (4K)

To get 60 FPS at 4K with Battlefield 1, you’ll need an Exceptional tier PC, which features a GTX 1080, and an i7-7700K, for roughly $1,700. Upgrading the GPU to a GTX 1080 TI would get a little above 70 FPS.


Conclusion

To play Battlefield 1 to its full potential, you need a fairly powerful PC. But that’s mainly because Battlefield 1 is so visually impressive, and considering its AAA-quality looks, the game is pretty well optimized. Less powerful PCs can manage to play the game with lower graphical settings, which results in a game that’s still very visually appealing.

We hope this guide has helped you understand the necessary PC hardware for running Battlefield 1 to your satisfaction. If you want to do further research on PC hardware, please visit our main PC parts list on our homepage.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below, or email us at contact@logicalincrements.com.

About Us

James is the content manager for Logical Increments. He’s not very good at the Battlefield games, but he keeps playing them anyway, and he has been building PCs for more than 15 years.

Logical Increments helps more than a million PC builders each year with hardware recommendations for any budget.

Sources

  1. Source used for making the table of contents
  2. Source used for making the image comparison slider
  3. Battlefield 1 System Requirements
  4. GameGPU: Battlefield 1 Benchmarks
  5. PCGamesHardware.de Battlefield 1 Benchmarks