Battlefield 4 Windows 7 vs. 8.1 Performance Review

Author:Brent Justice

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Sunday , November 24, 2013

Is in-game real world Battlefield 4 gaming performance better on the Windows 8.1 operating system or on Windows 7? We look at video card performance between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in this game and find out if upgrading to Windows 8.1 is worth it or not for the much rumored performance advantage.


Battlefield 4 is a unique game, pushing PC gaming forward by challenging video card performance. It is also pushing PC gaming forward in other ways; in terms of API and OS. With AMD’s Mantle on the horizon, this game may shake up the industry even more.

We've recently evaluated BF4 video card performance in our gameplay performance and image quality review. We ran all of those video card tests under the new Windows 8.1 64-bit. The reason for this is that BF4 supposedly, from the Beta onward, was said to run better on the newer Windows 8/8.1 versus Windows 7.

DX11.1 can only be found in Windows 8. Windows 7, as of right now, is not getting this DirectX update. Windows 8 already has DX11.1 built in.

Reports abound about this game performing better in many aspects under Windows 8. We therefore made sure we did our Battlefield 4 Video Card Performance and IQ Review under Windows 8.1 so that we would be giving BF4 and all our video cards the best performance possible. The question remains though, "Is BF4 real world gameplay actually better under Windows 8.1 versus Windows 7?" We are going to find out today.

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8.1 in BF4

In the two above screenshots, you can see the two video cards we are using in this evaluation. The GeForce GTX 780 on the left side shows you the feature levels supported on the GTX 780 under Windows 8.1. You will find 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 10.0, 10.1, and 11.0. On the right side screenshot is the Radeon R9 290X, it supports 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 10.0, 10.1, 11.0, and 11.1. The DXDIAG tool shows you the 290X cards supported for the new DX 11.1 feature set. The GeForce GTX 780 does not support the 11.1 feature level in DirectX.

How we are testing is simple. We are going to run each video card under each OS in a few different scenarios. First, we are going to utilize BF4's "Test Range" to remove the randomness of Multiplayer gaming. This will allow precise run-throughs and only stress pure GPU performance. Second, we will then show you a real-time 64 player multiplayer 5 minute gaming session with real people on a real public server. This will show us how a real multiplayer game performs between the two operating systems. Of course we did more real world gaming to base our opinions on that are not shown in graphed charts.

On our test system, we are running the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems on an SSD with 16GB of RAM. We've removed the system as a bottleneck as much as possible. We made sure to optimize the SSD on both operating systems before doing our run-throughs by running the TRIM command. We are using the latest drivers for both video cards at the time of testing. Our install of Windows 8.1 was from a pure 8.1 DVD, not an updated version from the Windows store.

We think the results on the next few pages will be very revealing. On the first page we'll show you the Radeon R9 290X, then on the second we will show you the GeForce GTX 780. Then on the third we will show you both cards together between the operating systems.

Battlefield 4 was running the latest patch released on November 14th. We are running the 64-bit version of BF4.

Test Setup

For the AMD Radeon R9 290X we are using AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2.

For the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 we are using NVIDIA 331.70 Beta.