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Sanders54's ArmA 2 optimization, how to force SLi/Crossfire and other FPS tweaks

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 


Hey guys.

I read that many people have problmens with CF + SLi and low framrates in ArmA 2.

I gathered various tricks from other forums and compiled them.

Few things before starting:

- CPU OC helps much. From 2.6 GHz to 3.2 GHz I gained 10 FPS
- Game can not use more than 2gb RAM
- Beatiful engine, altough unoptimized
- Game uses DX9 for XP, and DX9x for Vista
- Apparantly the game runs better on XP and W7 than Vista
- Game uses 4 cores of CPU, this is where high clock CPUs shine
- Disable HT for i7 CPU's (HT confuses Arma 2 engine)
- Download latest ATI drivers here
- Download NV drivers here
- Official Demo download here

First up is the specifications needed to run ArmA 2

Code:
System Requirements

Minimum:

OS: Windows XP or Windows Vista 
Processor: Dual Core CPU (Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz, Intel Core 2.0 GHz, AMD Athlon 3200+ or faster) 
Memory: 1 GB RAM 
Graphics: GPU (Nvidia Geforce 7800 / ATI Radeon 1800 or faster) with Shader Model 3 and 256 MB VRAM 
Hard Drive: 10 GB free HDD space 

Recommended:

OS: Windows XP or Windows Vista 
Processor: Quad Core CPU or fast Dual Core CPU (Intel Core 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ or faster) 
Memory: 2 GB RAM 
Graphics: Fast GPU (Nvidia Geforce 8800GT or ATI Radeon 4850 or faster) with Shader Model 3 and 512 or more MB VRAM 
Hard Drive: 10 GB free HDD space
As you can see the requirements are pretty heavy for recommended.

And at last before starting:

Patches.

Download the official patches before trying anything of the below.

1.2 - Armaholic.com download link

Quote:
Description:
This file will update your Arma 2 installation to version 1.02. It updates both from 1.00 and 1.01 version.

Version 1.02.58134 highleights:
* Improved AI driving skills
* Lowered enemy AI skills for regular and recruit difficulty levels
* Improved Micro AI tactics, attack in pairs, path limiting to avoid passing through walls.
* Fixed multiplayer session NAT negotiation
* Improved game stability (various crash opportunities fixed)
* Multiple save slots supported
* Improved terrain shape beyond map borders
* Various campaign and localisation fixes and improvements
* Modules (F7) support added in the Mission Editor
* Antialiasing enabled in Video options
* Different logic of fillrate optimizer: separate settings for 3D Resolution and UI Resolution implemented instead

...
1.3 - Armaholic.com download link

Quote:
Version Highlights:
* Major AI tweaking and balancing (especially AI infantry can hear much less)
* Improved multiplayer and cooperative campaign (saving games, connection issues)
* Numerous fixes and improvements in the Harvest Red campaign

...

1.4 - Armaholic.com download link

Quote:
Version Highlights:
* Mouse controls: Improved mouse handling and responsivness
* Stability: Fixed CTD caused by Voice Over Net when many players were speaking simultaneously and other stability problems
* Sound: Fixed speed of sould simulation and other improvements
* Multiplayer: fixed scoring, multiple mission parameters added and various other MP-related improvements

...
Graphical corruption with large amounts of RAM

This happens sometimes when more than 4GB is present. I'll explain in detail how to limit RAM so you can play ARMA without corruption.

First, let's give Vcheez a big hug for finding this out .

Quote:
Originally Posted by VCheeZ View Post
This may sound weird, but can you do me a favor? Pull 4gb out of your system and try. My ArmA2 does the same thing when I run 8gb. NONE OF THE TEXTURES WILL LOAD if I have more than 4gb of ram installed. I want to see if you are having the same issue or if it is just me.
1. Open MSConfig (Start -> Run -> MSCONFIG)
2. Go to "Boot" tab then proceed to "Advanced Options"
3. Now you should see some options. Start by going into the memory size and limit it to 4093(untested) or 2047
4. Reboot and play Arma 2

Picture of how it would look:

(Don't mind the norwegian, should be located at same place on english Vista)

Config file tweaking

The best way to setup graphics in ArmA2 is actually the config file.

You can find it:

XP: C:\\documents and settings\\user\\<login account>\\My documents\\ArmA 2
Vista: C:\\users\\<login account>\\documents\\Arma 2
Windows 7: C:\\users\\<login account>\\my documents\\Arma 2
The filename is "ArmA2.cfg"

Below is an example:
Code:
language="English";
adapter=-1;
3D_Performance=-180000; 
Resolution_Bpp=32;   
Resolution_W=1680; (your desired resolution)
Resolution_H=1050;  (same as above)
refresh=60;             (refreshrate...doh)
Render_W=1680;      (This adjusts your fillrate, set to same as resolution your screen is) 
Render_H=1050;       (Same as above)
FSAA=0;                 (Anti-Alising, I can't change this in-game so the CFG helped me)
postFX=2;               (Post processing)
HDRPrecision=8;
lastDeviceId="";
localVRAM=924188672; (DO NOT CHANGE THIS, VARIES FROM TO PC)
nonlocalVRAM=1475895296;
After you have tweaked your CFG file:

REMEMBER TO SET THE FILE AS READ ONLY SO ARMA 2 DOES NOT CHANGE IT!!!!

Part 1. Let us take a look at NVIDIA performance.

Many users have been reporting low framerates on a lot of NVidia chips, especially G80 chips (8800 GTS 320/640mb, 8800 GTX and 8800 Ultra)

Let's start with single GPU configurations.

Something worth doing:

1. Max pre rendered frames to 8 in the advanced 3d settings for global or ArmA 2. This improves performance vastly.



2. Disable PhysX. Yes, many reports that PhysX actually does more harm than good in the ArmA 2 engine.



To disable PhysX: Right click on desktop > NVIDIA Control Panel > Set Physx configuration > Select "Disabled" > Click on "Apply"

3. Force Vsync OFF
Vsync doesn't play well in this game, so it's recommended it that you set Vsync to "FORCE OFF" in the Nvidia control panel.




4. Windowed Mode
ArmA 2 actually playes a lot better with windowed mode with the 186.11 drivers than in fullscreen mode. Don't ask me why.

Part 2: SLI

The next part is intresting for those with SLi setups.

ArmA 2 did not support SLi out of box and this infuriated a lot of users with 295s. Altough some of the old tricks works.

A lot of people have reported that the EVGA SLi Patch gives them a lot of FPS. Download link is in attachments. I haven't confirmed the patch works with other brands but it is definality worth a try.

Quote:
Enable SLI in the latest games - NOW!
EVGA has now released the first version of the EVGA SLI Enhancement! This unofficial patch enables temporary SLI support in the latest games. In order to quickly enhance SLI Profile issues that come up with any new demo or game release; EVGA has decided to publicly release this update to patch add any SLI profiles so you can take full advantage of SLI right now!Check this page often for any updates or support for the latest games and demos!
Version 13 (06.26.09) - Based on NVIDIA 186.18 Driver
Changelist:

New SLI profiles from EVGA SLI Enhancement Patch:

Enables SLI support for ArmA 2 game and demo

Supports Windows Vista 32/64bit and Windows XP 32/64bit

FAQ:
How does this enhancement work?
New games/demos are released all the time, and often times they need an SLI profile in order for SLI to work, the goal is to create a 1 day turnaround time from new demo release, to SLI enhancement so you can be gaming in SLI as soon as possible.
Do I need this enhancement if I do not play the above games?
No, you only need this enhancement if you run SLI, and are playing one of the above games.
I have a single dual GPU card (7950GX2, 9800GX2, GTX 295) should I use this enhancement?
Yes, this enhancement will benefit dual GPU cards as well.
I have created custom SLI profiles, will this enhancement remove them?
This enhancement will reset all the profiles, so it is recommended to either not use this enhancement, or re-create any custom SLI profiles after this has enhancement has been installed.
Do I still need this enhancement when a new driver is released?
Often times a new driver can add the profiles needed, this page will be updated when this is done, or if any new games need an SLI profile.
What drivers do I need to install to use this enhancement?
Although it is possible that this enhancement may work with older drivers, it has not been tested, thus is only recommended to use with the above driver.
How do I remove this enhancement?
If for whatever reason you need to remove this enhancement, please uninstall your display drivers from Add/Remove programs, then reinstall.
If I apply this enhancement are the drivers still WHQL certified?
No, if this enhancement is applied, the drivers are no longer WHQL certified.
-OR-

Quote:
Version: 1 BETA
Release Date: 2009.07.07
Operating System: Windows Vista, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows XP, Windows 7
Language: English (UK)
File Size: 0.23 MB

This version of the NVIDIA SLI profile patch should be used with v186.18 display driver. It adds support for the following PC games:

•Anno 1404 (Dawn of Discovery)
•ARMA II

Supported by: All NVIDIA SLI PCs

http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/nvidi..._patch_uk.html
(Courtesy of jimbonbon, thanks for link )

Please only use with the 186.11 or newer drivers, or unexptected results will occur

I have found a rumour that NVIDIA is working on new drivers with a large performance boost to ArmA 2.

Known Issues(NVIDIA)

- White trees (FIX: Turn Vsync OFF, update drivers)
- Many random CTDS (no FIX)
- Menu crash (FIX: Update drivers)
- Very low FPS on G80 cards (no Fix yet, but some of these tips might do the trick as Phat_fail pointed out)



Part 3: ATi/AMD GPUs single + CrossFire

There has been numerus problems to NVidia GPU's but ATI hasent had the same fate tough. As for single GPU I haven't seen any troubles, but the CF setups I have seen a lot tough.

Since ATI doesn't have any fast solution patch like NVIDIA. We need to do it the hard way.

New information regarding ATI Crossfire

ATI released the 9.7 drivers which added native Crossfire for ATI card.

WHQL ATI 9.7 dl here.

It increased my FPS a LOT.

Worth downloading and checking out, it really helps.
Thanks to MakubeX for beta links.



DISCLAIMER: This is the OLD method. Use on older driver then 9.7. This fix oosts FPS on HD 4870 and HD 4870 X2 configurations most (CF + single) Also works a bit for HD 3K series, and little to no effect on HD 2K

For those who bought ArmA 2 at Steam:

1. Right click ArmA 2 in Steam
2. Go to properties
3. Press "Set Launch options"
4. Add the following parameters:
Code:
-winxp -maxmem=2047 -cpuCount=4 -nosplash
5. Press "OK"

Sceenshot of how it would look:



For those who bought ArmA 2 boxed:

1. Copy Arma2.exe and rename it to Crysis.exe
2. Make a shurtcort to crysis.exe
3. Add the following parameters:
Code:
-winxp -maxmem=2047 -cpuCount=4 -nosplash
NOTE "-cpuCount=4 or 2" depending on CPU (for I7 use 4, not more)
UNCONFIRMED: I havent tested this method on NV cards, but should work.

Sceenshot of how it would look: (don't mind the norwegian)



After this fix I saw load on both my GPUs, which means it worked. The FPS increased by a whole 30 fps.

Known Issues(ATI)

- Arma 2 sees 4870 X2 as one GPU (no FIX yet, wait for newer drivers/patches)
- White trees (Turn V-sync off, or use older drivers, 9.5 works like a charm)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ArmA 2 benchmarking
Want to stress test your system with ArmA 2 engine? Download the ArmAmark II here, and post you're scores.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My config is the following while gaming, avrage around 20-30



Thanks for reading guys, hope this helps you/benefits you. Most of this stuff is not mine or my fix. I just compiled it all to ease of convinience.

Also, got ANY type of problem with ARMA2 engine wise I'd be happy to help.

And at last, feel like I missed anything? Info uncorrect? Feel free to post and correct me

Also, visit the **ArmA2 Club** by VcheeZ.

Credits:
Big thanks to:

- Phat_Fail for G80 testing
- Harrier for NVIDIA CPL screens
- jimbonbon for NVIDIA SLi patch
- MakubeX for ATI drivers which fixes CF
- VCheeZ for the **ArmA2 Club** and graphical corruption fix.

And the rest of you that gave me such warm toughts
Edited by Sanders54 - 5/9/11 at 2:43am
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post #2 of 103
nice guide
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post #3 of 103
Thread Starter 
Thank you
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post #4 of 103
Nice one. Noticed the low fps on G80 cards... I know my card isn't great but I did think it should run it better... 25fps on all low is a bit odd.
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post #5 of 103
I should also note that there is a huge FPS drop when going from XP to Vista or Win7. Also set texture memory to default if you have over 512mb as Very high is for 512mb. I didn't realise it only used 2gb of ram though... I may take some out and get a higher OC just for ARMA
Edited by Unstableiser - 7/1/09 at 7:30am
post #6 of 103
Rep + for that, should help out some people.
post #7 of 103
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys
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post #8 of 103
Nice guide, Rep +

I am looking forward to playing it when my rig is back up.
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post #9 of 103
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the warm toughts I really appriciate it, folks
Edited by Sanders54 - 7/1/09 at 10:16am
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post #10 of 103
Wow, thanks. It got rid of the lag and made the visuals much better on my G80 8800 GTX! Thanks man!

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