One of the more consistent complaints about the PC version of Battlefield 2042 is how its performance varies greatly from one spot to another. But the main reason why this is driving many players up the wall is that turning down the game's visuals doesn't really help as much as you think it should.
This state has driven players to dig through the game's ini files in search of any hidden settings that can be turned on/off for a boost, given that the few available through the in-game menu don't do the trick. But the cause of this issue was never adequately explored - until today.
PC hardware channel Hardware Unboxed posted a video that benchmarks a large number of Intel and AMD CPUs across the most common resolutions, and in real-world multiplayer scenarios. The report offers an interesting insight into how Battlefield 2042 utilises PC hardware - including when it becomes CPU-bottlenecked - which explains why turning down visual settings doesn't do much to boost framerate.
In practice, this makes it difficult to get framerates above 100fps, even with the most powerful Intel i9/AMD Ryzen 9 CPUs. According to Hardware Unboxed's findings, Battlefield 2042 doesn't take good advantage of all of the higher-end CPUs' power, which results in low utilisation and less-than-satisfactory performance on those systems.
Unfortunately, as the report suggests, pushing for better utilisation on high-end CPUs could hinder performance on the lower-end ones. The push for a larger player count, and the inclusion of AI, make it really difficult to optimise for the low-end.
Essentially, the game appears to be stuck in the middle between limiting its ambition so it could run on weaker hardware, and not taking enough advantage of the higher-end to truly shine. Though some of these aspects could be improved with time, such as overall utilisation, it appears Battlefield 2042's technical innovation is the main culprit.