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[Guide] How to set up your graphics properly

gfx graphics settings configuration fps lag performance gpu cpu guide

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#1 Nahaz

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 07:18 PM

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A guide on how to set up your graphics properly

If you like it or have any feedback, please tell me so I can improve the guide!


This guide covers the settings you can change to improve your graphics and/or FPS. Keep in mind that the server you play on can be the culprit in your FPS issues. I suggest that you benchmark on several different servers or in singleplayer on classic arma missions with lots of action and characters running around, they should give you a decent pointer on how your computer will perform in DayZ since it's a little bit more heavy than standard arma.

First up, don't be ingame while setting this up as the game might ask you to restart your game and someone might attack you while you're in menus.

Head into Options and then Video Settings and then hit the Advanced button in the lower left corner.

You will see this:

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Let's start from the upper half settings:

Visibility
This setting determines your maximum viewing distance. This can greatly effect your performance if set too high.

Brightness
This is the brightness of colors, this rarely needs to be adjusted, it helps to increase this during nighttime.

Gamma
This affects overall lightning and contrast. Increasing this during nighttime will greatly enhance your vision but will cause your colors to almost go away completely.

Quality Preference
This is just a collection of presets for the settings in the lower half.

Interface Resolution
This is your actual screen resolution. This should match your desktop resolution.

3D Resolution
This one is a bit tricky. If you want to keep it simple, just set this to the same as your interface resolution.

What this does is controlling at what resolution the ingame 3D world will be rendered at. If you set it to a lower resolution than your interface, you will see a performance increase at the cost of visual clarity, your image will be slightly blurred. If you set this to higher than your interface resolution you will get a "Antialiasing" effect causing edges to be smoother. This is actually less of a performance hit than increasing Antialiasing in ARMA 2.

And now the lower half:

Texture Detail
This determines how textures will be looking. Textures are used on characters, houses, weapons etc. This can often be set quite high without too much of a performance hit.

Video Memory
If you have a graphics card with 512MB of memory you can set this to high, if you have more you might gain some FPS by setting this to default as it is supposed to use more VRAM then. The biggest change this setting has is on the textures so if you have a card with more than 512mb VRAM you won't see a big improvement, you might gain a little fps if you have the setting on default but it won't be a major change from Very High.

Anisotropic Filtering
This controls how textures and terrain are rendered at a distance. If you have this setting on low, textures will seem diffused at a distance. Depending on your card this might not cause a performance impact at all, most people can set this to high or very high.

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Antialiasing
This setting, in my opinion, should always be turned off. What it does, simply put, is that it multiplies your image to smooth out edges and that causes a great performance hit. You can achieve the same effect by turning this off, increasing your resolution and possibly increasing your 3D resolution. (I prefer interface and 3D on the same)

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ATOC
Alpha to Coverage affects antialiasing on trees and grass. This setting doesn't do major changes but affects photorealism of trees and the like. If you use antialiasing you will have the best results if you set this to "All trees + grass", otherwise leave it at disabled.

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Terrain Detail
This controls how detailed terrain will be, meaning how trees and grass will be rendered. This can impact performance greatly combined with a high Visiblity setting.

Note: This image is from the Editor and DayZ isn't loaded. DayZ overrides the removal of grass on Very Low so grass will still be rendered when playing DayZ

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Objects Detail
This is how detailed weapons and people, some house details will be. This can in most cases be set fairly high without a FPS drop.

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Shadow Detail
This controls if shadows will be a black blob or an actual shadow of a person/object. This takes quite alot of power from your gfx. A normal or low setting will help you alot if you have FPS issues.

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HDR Quality
This is affecting lightning quality and bloom effects. Setting this to high will give you better lightning effects but can cause a FPS drop. HDR on high can greatly enhance your visibilty during nighttime.

PPAA
Post Processing Antialiasing is a filter which affects objects in the world. I prefer the sharp filter (FXAA(Sharp Filter), the others makes everything look a little blurred on the edges in different variations. If you use AA I suggest you play around with this setting to find what you like as some filters are better suited on different monitors.

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Postprocess effects
This is mostly annoying, this is the setting causing the world to "blur" when you run and move. I recommend setting this to Disabled.

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Interface Size
This controls the size of menus and icons on your HUD.

Aspect Ratio
This controls your aspect ratio, or in other words, your viewable angle space. Most monitors have 16:9 or 16:10.

Vsync
This causes your FPS to match your refresh rate on your monitor. Disabling this will probably increase your FPS if it is constantly at 60. (Most screens have a refresh rate of 60hz)

Balancing between CPU and GPU
Any setting lower than high will use your CPU instead of GPU (graphicscard) and this can be very useful if you don't have a powerful GPU. Sometimes, setting values to high can actually improve fps since a GPU is alot faster on some types of calculations compared to a CPU.

Advanced Settings
I just found this out and it can GREATLY increase your FPS. It doubled for me, I was at a steady 30+ before while now I get a steady 60+.
Go to your documents folder, in there you find an Arma 2 folder (you can also go via start -> run and then type "%userprofile%\Documents\ARMA 2\" without quotes in windows 7 or vista). In that folder are Arma2.cfg and Arma2oa.cfg, edit those files and change the 2 corresponding lines to this:
GPU_MaxFramesAhead=1;
GPU_DetectedFramesAhead=1;

A Note on servers and performance
Servers can affect your clients FPS so if you still have poor FPS after tweaking, try changing server and find one with good performance. The easiest way is to hop on to one with low population, say 10-20, no more. Or if you know of a good server that can handle the load with max players without issues, there aren't too many of those around though.

To sum it up:

Turn off Antialiasing, Vsync and Postprocess

Shadow detail can cause a quite large FPS drop

The other settings don't impact that much on FPS and can often be set quite high.

Note:
The PMC (Private Military Company) DLC is needed to get high resolution textures on character models. If you don't have it they will be blurred and smeared looking.

Without PMC:
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With PMC:
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Reference image for my settings
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I feel this guide is complete. If you think I have missed something please tell me.

Edited by Nahaz, 18 August 2012 - 04:01 PM.

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#2 Zexis

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 07:27 PM

Thanks for the tips :) I'm hoping I can get my laptop with integrated graphics to scrape by at 20-30 fps.

Do you have any other recommended settings, like maybe target parameters for the executable?

#3 Miki

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:06 PM

Thanks, this helped me with the FPS lags abit, pretty old graphics card, nVidia GeForce 9400 GT :|
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#4 bad-r0b0t

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:25 PM

Bookmarking it. Clearly worded and easy to understand. You could include cfg and profile settings but there are 2 threads about that as well as ingame settings.

#5 Nahaz

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:23 AM

Thanks for your comments!

Thanks for the tips :) I'm hoping I can get my laptop with integrated graphics to scrape by at 20-30 fps.

Do you have any other recommended settings, like maybe target parameters for the executable?


I believe I saw some post about that before, what I have not seen is how to properly start arma beta with steam so I might write a post for that. Anything certain you have had issues with or do you only want optimization?

#6 Tops

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:52 AM

Thanks going to try this when i get home, DayZ runs pretty smooth for me but when i started playing it the servers would be the largest cause of fps problems for me so i never got around to finalizing it. This will help me a lot, thanks for posting.

#7 Blaf

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:57 AM

Dont forget that setting shadows to "Low" will force them to render on CPU, instead of GPU, this info might be quite useful for some...
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#8 Flying On Fumes

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:02 AM

Any setting below HIGH will use your CPU instead of your GPU :)
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#9 AnonDayZ

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:03 AM

Great guide!!!
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#10 skunky1340

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:19 AM

Any setting below HIGH will use your CPU instead of your GPU :)


This is also interesting

#11 Blaf

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:31 AM

Any setting below HIGH will use your CPU instead of your GPU :)


True, i wrote it wrong .)

#12 MadTommy

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:34 AM

One thing to note, Visibility is set server side and cannot be adjusted in Dayz... so this setting only works in regular Arma.

(I assume this is to give a level playing field in PvP gaming, otherwise some would have 10k and others 1km view distances.. not really fair)

Edited by MadTommy, 12 July 2012 - 11:34 AM.

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#13 CrazyAirborne

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:46 PM

awesome thanks for this guide. I had my postprocessing effects on very high and couldnt figure out why everything was so blurry, turned this off, and its all crispy now!! awesome!

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#14 Hawc

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:45 PM

Any setting below HIGH will use your CPU instead of your GPU :)


Awsome, didn't know this. I only have a dual core so this might help me.

#15 TEMPMarine

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:59 PM

Thx do much this fixes my blur probs *facepalm

#16 Axwell

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:08 PM

Any setting below HIGH will use your CPU instead of your GPU :)


Hmm... That is fucked up.

So some ppl can actually get a better framerate by setting the graphics higher? Ofcourse, that depends on your hardware, and how its blanced gpu vs. cpu. I might gonna have to mess around a whole friggin' lot now..

If anyone have a computer that performs somewhat close to mine , it would be awesome if you could post your settings! :)

Intel Core i5 750 @ 3,8Ghz
AMD Radeon 5870 x2 (Crossfire)
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#17 Skinman

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:10 PM

To anybody that hasn't played any arma or 'take on' games, high settings render to GPU, lower force the CPU to do the work..

It's actually quite usefull, because you can balance the load across both CPU and GPU, if one is being bottlenecked, and the other spinning free..

Another tip, DON'T alter the video memory setting, unless you know what you are doing.

Also, set AA to low or off, and increase the 3d res to one step higher than your screen res.. it will give you a sudo-AA, with less overhead; Caveat - all results are dependent on your hardware, and may not always be better

AND, if you are using a multicore intel (I5 or I7), then disbale hyperthreading in your BIOS.. you don't need it if your not running servers, and it can cause microstuttering in games..

Edited by Skinman, 12 July 2012 - 03:19 PM.

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#18 khknight

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:52 PM

what about 3d resolution, is that controlled by cpu too? I have my resolution at 1920x1080(1920x1080 monitor) and 3d resolution at 67%

edit: yeah... after tinkering around with it and doing different combinations, the frame rate only got lower so i guess im keeping it on low settings for now.

Edited by khknight, 12 July 2012 - 04:32 PM.


#19 Nahaz

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:47 AM

Any setting below HIGH will use your CPU instead of your GPU :)


I did not know that!

This is very useful since most people have much more cpu than gpu.

One thing to note, Visibility is set server side and cannot be adjusted in Dayz... so this setting only works in regular Arma.

(I assume this is to give a level playing field in PvP gaming, otherwise some would have 10k and others 1km view distances.. not really fair)


Yes it is controlled somewhat in the dayz mission, but in my testing (i'm also a server host) there are always room to adjust the visibility without hindering your vision too much if you can't play with it maxed out.


#20 UndeadAssassin

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 01:25 PM

i hope that it will work with my nvidia geforce 230m :)
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