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  • Graphical settings experiments

    DUO 6600
    7900 GTO 512 memory
    2GB RAM

    Ok, upon installing the demo and playing the coop mission I set most of the settings to high and played the game fine.

    The frame rate has been alright, but now that I'm out of the learning stage of the game I wanted to smooth things out a bit to get that extra edge. I also noticed that playing CTI mode seemed to impact my frame rate quite a bit more than the coop mission.

    First off, this graphics engine is bizarre. I fiddled with all the settings for about an hour last night, and ALL had an almost neglible impact on frame rate.

    What I've learned:
    -This game is literally 90% CPU bound. The only way graphics settings will have much of an impact on your frame rate is if you have an older card that is truly bottlenecking.

    -Some of the graphics levels are odd in how they work. Setting my shadows to HIGH actually gave me a slight FPS boost over normal, and the shadows look much better.

    -Alot of the VERY HIGH settings literally do nothing to either appearance or performance.

    -Shading detail to medium lowers the grass count, but does not affect the bushes or trees. Setting it to low affects everything.

    -I get much better performance joining someone else's multiplayer server vs hosting my own (the demo is multiplayer only). Even if the server I create is locked and noone joins, I still take a large performance hit. This is either A) because of the CPU cycles going into running the server portion, i.e. listening to ports for connections, etc, OR B) because my computer is being held responsible for calculating the AI and ballistics. If I was able to test the true singleplayer mode I'd be able to determine which of the two it was.

    -I'm going to reiterate this again, graphics settings, INCLUDING VIEW DISTANCE EVEN had, at most, a 10% impact on my frame rate. Thats right, on my relatively good gaming computer, There was, at most, a 10% difference in frame rate between everything low, and everything completely maxed. That difference is almost wholly accounted for by shading detail and texture detail, as those two settings are what effect the foliage.

    -This game has, and I don't know how else to word it, a rendering flaw in the engine in dealing with bushes/trees/grass. I've never seen a game engine be so completely brought to its knees by one particular object in the game. My frame rate would be cut IN HALF by zooming or moving into one of these FPS BUSH OF DEATH.

    HOW TO MAKE ARMA RUN BETTER: BHACK'S RECOMMENDATIONS:

    1. Buy the fastest CPU you can afford

    2. Overclock your CPU

    3. Turn off any programs/services that might be using your CPU

    4. HARDWARE SOUND ACCELERATION ENABLED:
    -The game has a lot of bugs dealing with audio as well. I've been running the game on software mode up until now. In my tamperings last night, I set it to hardware.

    -Holy crap! the fly over the island menu is supposed to be playing music? Apparently music audio is muted if you don't have hardware acceleration enabled.

    -QUITE A NICE frame rate boost by using hardware acceleration. At the moment I'm using an onboard sound chip, but that framerate boost was literally better than anything possible using the video options settings on my PC. Obviously this is because, again, you are freeing up CPU cycles.

    -Using hadware acceleration on my PC caused it to randomly hard crash and automatically reboot. Had to set it back to software. Upon looking further into this issue, it appears it started happening to people when they updated to the december directx 10 release. I'm going to attempt to update my OpenAL (which ArmA uses) when I get home tonight by visiting openal.org and downloading the update to see if that fixes the hard crashes. If that doesn't work I'm going to check gigabyte's website for updated audio drivers.

    -If the previous update fails to remedy the crashing issue, I'm now seriously considering getting a dedicated sound card. I'd like suggetions as to what you people use and would be the best for gaming. I'm uninterested in EAX because I have a 4.1 system and don't have it setup properly to take advantage of it. I also would like a card with a LIGHT driver install that doesn't add a ton of windows services and startup programs all which have the purpose of letting me know what I sound like as Darth Vader in a bathroom with reverb.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Graphical settings experiments

    Excellent post Bhack. Very useful information and it's great to have a keen idea of just where this title will bottleneck people. Thanks.
    sigpic
    |TG-1st|Grunt
    ARMA Admin (retired)
    Pathfinder-Spartan 5

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    • #3
      Re: Graphical settings experiments

      2. Overclock your CPU
      BHack, excellent post,
      I too have a Duo 6600, and I am a total noob at oveclocking, could you perhaps enlighten me about the settings you are using? If I do it alone I KNOW I will corrupt the OS.

      EDIT: I also have 2gbs of DDR2 and a gigabyte motherboard.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Graphical settings experiments

        Great overview on systems/graphics/performance BHack. I really appreciate you taking the time to let us all know how your system is performing with this game thus far.

        I think ArmA is handled different by every system though. I have read hundreds of reviews already (prolly a small exaggeration) and alot of gamers are placing more importance on a video card than CPU. To illustrate, many reviewers kept the EXACT same system and just switched the video card and saw tremendous improvements. Of course, it all depends on the system. Each system will bottleneck at a certain point. Your bottleneck appears to be your CPU (Did you know that ArmA is not utilizing the duo cores very well yet?) while others may be the vid card.

        This still leaves me confused. I have an AMD 64 3400+ CPU and was going to spend my money on a BFG Tech GeForce 7950GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3. I still don't know if my weak CPU will bottleneck performance or whether the good graphic card with high vid ram will be enough to make the game play with acceptable visuals and performance.

        ---
        On a side note about the foilage. EVERY system seems to have a problem with it so far. I'm hoping they come out with an optimization soon...


        -

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        • #5
          Re: Graphical settings experiments

          Well, the video card is very important. I'm not saying it isn't. What I believe is that it only gets you to a certain point. Either your video card can hack it and get you to that plateau, or it can't. Once there, you become 100% CPU bound, ok 95%.

          I came to this conclusion because turning shadows off, then setting them to very high (shadows are probably one of the hardest things on your video card), had a neglible impact on my frame rate. I'm talking maybe 2-3fps. Now on a lower end video card, I agree that the difference would probably be much larger. But my card has enough grunt to get me to the level where it is almost taken out of the equation.

          I'm positive if you are running an nvidia 6xxx or the ATI equivalent, bouncing to a 7xxxx will be very dramatic. But for those of us already at 7xxx, the video settings should almost all be set to high, because setting them lower gives you almost NOTHING for the trade off.

          It should be noted that I did all my testing at 1154x watever... I didn't take resolution into account at all. That setting is another that is probably dictated more by your video card and memory subsystem than anything else.

          I believe a good sound card will really improve things.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Graphical settings experiments

            After reading this thread I was sure you where full of crap so decided to do some testing of my own. To my suprise you where right. I never would have tried it on higher settings. I have a P4 3.0 HT processon 1 gig of ram and a Nvidia 7600 GT OC. From maxed out to minimum at 1154x 864 ? I got the same frames in all catagorys except 2. - Visual distance and antiscopic filtering. This still has a noticable impact on my FPS. I suspect the problem would go away with 2 Gb Ram but can't be sure.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Graphical settings experiments

              Originally posted by en4rcment View Post
              Great overview on systems/graphics/performance BHack. I really appreciate you taking the time to let us all know how your system is performing with this game thus far.

              I think ArmA is handled different by every system though. I have read hundreds of reviews already (prolly a small exaggeration) and alot of gamers are placing more importance on a video card than CPU. To illustrate, many reviewers kept the EXACT same system and just switched the video card and saw tremendous improvements. Of course, it all depends on the system. Each system will bottleneck at a certain point. Your bottleneck appears to be your CPU (Did you know that ArmA is not utilizing the duo cores very well yet?) while others may be the vid card.

              This still leaves me confused. I have an AMD 64 3400+ CPU and was going to spend my money on a BFG Tech GeForce 7950GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3. I still don't know if my weak CPU will bottleneck performance or whether the good graphic card with high vid ram will be enough to make the game play with acceptable visuals and performance.

              ---
              On a side note about the foilage. EVERY system seems to have a problem with it so far. I'm hoping they come out with an optimization soon...


              -

              I still don't know if my weak CPU will bottleneck performance
              Just wondering how you figure your cpu is weak ? just wondering

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Graphical settings experiments

                Originally posted by Vitriol View Post
                After reading this thread I was sure you where full of crap so decided to do some testing of my own. To my suprise you where right. I never would have tried it on higher settings. I have a P4 3.0 HT processon 1 gig of ram and a Nvidia 7600 GT OC. From maxed out to minimum at 1154x 864 ? I got the same frames in all catagorys except 2. - Visual distance and antiscopic filtering. This still has a noticable impact on my FPS. I suspect the problem would go away with 2 Gb Ram but can't be sure.
                Yea, I didn't test these settings at a high point in the map, where view distance would have more into play. When I set it higher I should have climbed a hill to let it render more.

                BUT, I did set the view distance to 50m expecting to get an exponential increase in frame rate. Instead... 3-4 FPS.. ... bizarre.

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                • #9
                  Re: Graphical settings experiments

                  Good tweak info here //forums.tweakguides.com/showthread.php?p=58502 . Add http: to the front , sorry don't 15 posts yet can't link urls. Disabling vsync was a good tip.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Graphical settings experiments

                    I set everything to low and then everything to max and there is only a 5FPS swing for me. But I can't seem to get more than 30-34FPS. Then in all my wisdom I decided to update my Nvidia drivers (which were 4 months old). Now the demo crashes to desktop everytime I load. Any ideas!!??
                    Last edited by shakeyjake; 12-29-2006, 06:44 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Graphical settings experiments

                      Great intell B-Hack.

                      Thanks for sharing.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Graphical settings experiments

                        Originally posted by shakeyjake View Post
                        I set everything to low and then everything to max and there is only a 5FPS swing for me. But I can't seem to get more than 30-34FPS. Then in all my wisdom I decided to update my Nvidia drivers (which were 4 months old). Now the demo crashes to desktop everytime I load. Any ideas!!??
                        yea.. rollback?


                        In other news, I went ahead and found out I was out of date on my audio drivers for my onboard sound. Got the new ones and no more hard crash reboots with hardware acceleration on. booyah.

                        For anyone else with realtek onboard HD audio... the new drivers just came out today!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Graphical settings experiments

                          I've found this to be true as well - changing settings has no impact whatsoever. I'm stuck at 35fps max no matter what I do. Even dropping down to 1024x768, same deal. It seems that urban landscapes drop my frame rates to as low as 15 sometimes, but general play I'm at around 30, which actually doesn't seem all that bad, but it's weird to see no change when I decrease my settings.

                          What's weird is my 3.4G CPU is at about 10-13% util when the game is running. So if it's not load, it must be bound by clock speed? I'm also wondering how much memory the game really wants (above what it lists as recommended specs, 1G I think?)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Graphical settings experiments

                            Aw man, all I have is a piddly little 2.0GHz (worse, that is overclocked for 1.6Ghz!). Time to upgrade methinks. But that would mean a new motherboard as well, and I have little money left... Thinking about that, where did I put the twenty my grand parent gave me for Christmas... :\
                            |TG| Lorian
                            Member since 18th February 2006

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Graphical settings experiments

                              Well, the dell computers have their CPU's locked, so no overclocking :(. I'm guessing the upgrade from an X300 SE to an X1950XTX will be astronomical :row__523:. I got around 15fps with all settings on standard (whatever they are first set at), I think all low.

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