I have managed now to play a few hours with only one freeze. Unfortunately, there are still server crashes, so I can never be sure my game would not have frozen if the server hadn't crashed. What I finally did that seemed to help the most is to run the game in "Borderless" mode instead of "Fullscreen". You can change this option in-game under the video settings. However, I cannot be absolutely certain this is the ultimate fix; it just happens to be the most recent thing I tried before it started working.
In my research, I found a multitude of things seemed to work for other people, some of which are contrary to what I did (such as rolling back video drivers). I will not go into much detail on those; rather, I am simply going to list the things I tried in hopes that some part of this will help others get the game to a semi-playable state before a patch gets released.
- Updated to the latest video drivers (I have an AMD card, so it was version 13.11 beta 8)(go here for NVIDIA drivers)
- Manually updated Punkbuster
- Turned off the Origin overlay (the function that allows you to hit Shift + F1 to access Origin while in-game)
- Update to the latest drivers for my onboard audio (I thought I was updated, but my motherboard site did not actually have the latest drivers, so this took a little research)
- In the Battlefield 4 settings file, change the GstAudio.AudioQuality setting from 0 or 1 to 4. I am not sure this changed anything for me, but others have claimed this has fixed the sound that cuts out on the Lancang Dam map.
- Reinstall DirectX to be sure it is latest version
- Reinstall .Net to make sure it is latest version
- Repair the BF4 install (in Origin, right click on BF4 and select "repair installation")
- Disabled HDMI audio drivers in the Windows Device Manager because it is not used, and I was trying to eliminate all conflicts
- In the in-game console (accessed via the tilde "~" key), type "RenderDevice.RenderAheadLimit 1" (without quotation marks). This limits the number of frames your CPU pre-renders for the GPU, which can help cut the load on your CPU.
- Close everything - I went through the task manager and closed all non-essential processes
Despite all these things, I still experienced freezes until I changed to borderless mode. I played the game with HWMonitor running both before and after all these changes, and never found my CPU or GPU to be overheating, ruling that out as a cause for the freezing.
Hopefully, my game will continue to work without freezing, and the recent R7 update for servers will end the majority of crashes, and I can go on to enjoy Battlefield 4. If my game does freeze again, I will likely try closing AMD's Catalyst Control Center (I left it on as an essential process because my GPU gets too hot of the fan is not running 50% or higher). I remember having a similar sound loop and freeze issue with Bad Company 2 that almost completely went away when I uninstalled MSI Afterburner, so BF4 may be having a similar video device program conflict.
One thing I should add is regarding the in-game sound. After updating my sound drivers, I lost VOIP. I could see people speaking in my squad, but could hear nothing. I also had sound cutting out really bad. I went into my Windows playback device settings and changed the speaker settings from 44100 Hz, 24-bit to 192000 Hz, 24-bit. The next time I started the game, VOIP had returned, so it seems it does not come through on the lower frequency Hz. I still have sound occasionally cutting out (last night on Operation Locker, there were no gun or other environmental sounds, just the sounds of soldier's voices), so I am going to try changing GstAudio.AudioQuality back to 1 to see what happens.
Update: I played for quite some time last night. My game froze up a couple times within a out 3-4 rounds. I checked the settings and realized it had reverted back to full screen. I changed the setting and encountered no more freezes. However, BF4.exe stopped working a couple times, which really isn't any better than a freeze, though that thankfully seemed to happen between rounds, and may have been connected to me Alt + Tabbing out to use Battlelog to change my load out. Also, even with the audio setting change, Golmud Railway and Lancang Dam have serious audio cutout issues. I also kept hearing a squeal, like a locking noise, when I was not in a vehicle and no one was nearby to use a locking weapon.