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ARMA 3 Tweak Guide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stronkie   
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 08:22



(Updated April 2013)


If you’ve picked up ARMA3 on PC, you may be experiencing some issues, or would simply like to optimize and enhance your experience. That’s why we’re putting together this guide to resolving common problems and tweaking your game to the max. 

 General Troubleshooting

Before breaking your head trying to figure out what’s wrong with your game, here are two simple steps to take to ensure you’ve done your due diligence.

Steam: If you cannot get the game to launch through Steam, make sure you’ve restarted your Steam client, then try again. You can also try verifying your game cache through Steam by accessing your Library, right-clicking on the game, selecting “Properties,” then the “Local files” tab, and clicking “Verify integrity of game cache.”

Drivers: Make sure your video card drivers are up to date.

Performance/Stuttering/FPS Issues with ATI Radeon Cards

If you’re experiencing FPS lag, stuttering, or generally poor performance while running ARMA 3 with an ATI Radeon video card, start by downloading and installing the latest beta drivers that match your system.

Reports indicate that these performance issues are related to DirectX 11, and that setting the game to run on DirectX 9 will resolve the problems, as well as disabling VSync in-game.


Random Crashes with an NVIDIA Card

If you’re experiencing random crashes while playing ARMA 3 and you have an NVIDIA graphics card — especially one from the GeForce 500 or 600 series — the latest beta drivers may help. You can download them here.




    1. General Guidelines
    2. Basic Settings
    3. Rendering Settings
    4. Quality Settings
    5. ArmA3Alpha.cfg
    6. Startup Parameters
    7. ARMA 3 & GTX 500 Series Cards
    8. STEAM performance troubles and how mitigate them
    9. Field of View (FOV) Settings
    10. RAMDISK


1. General Guidelines

- No-one can really tell you the best settings for you as it is up to your computers build and your personal preference,this is meant as a guide only to help you make decisions.

- When using a High+ setting generally the load will be switched from CPU to GPU,this is why you can experience better frames per second (FPS) at higher settings.

MSI Afterburner (MSI AB) is a good tool to help you tune your settings when you enable the Memory Usage for the On-Screen Display (OSD).

MSI AB can also show your FPS to help you discern if a particular setting is giving you a gain or a loss.
- After changing a setting and waiting a few seconds your FPS OSD will catch up so you can quickly see if you get a gain or loss.


2. Basic Settings

Display Mode:   Use Fullscreen window if you are streaming, else Fullscreen is fine.
Resolution:   Max this, it is almost always better to run at native resolution.
Aspect Ratio:   Change this to match your monitor.
Interface Size:   Up to your is personal preference.

Overall Visibility:   Use about 2500 for Standard or 1600 as a Low setting.*
Object Visibility:   Use about 1500 for Standard 1100 as a Low setting.*
Shadow Visibility:   Leave at 100 or lower.
Brightness:   Up to your is personal preference.
Gamma:   Up to your is personal preference.

* you can set these values exactly in .ArmA3AlphaProfile in your C:\Users\\Documents\ArmA 3 Alpha\ folder.

They are viewDistance=; and preferredObjectViewDistance=; but note that they are locked in a ratio so they cannot be set to the same number.

full-9082-52858-arma3 settings1



3. Rendering Settings

Rendering Res:   Set this to 100%, don't try to be cheap and lower this value as it will only make it blurry.

VSYNC:   Set to DISABLED unless you are experiencing screen-tearing or somehow have a high spec 60+ FPS computer. 

HDR Quality (GPU):   Low has better performance.
Anisotropic Filtering (GPU):   High to Ultra, will most likely not impact or increase performance.

Antialiasing (GPU):   Set to 2x, 4x or DISABLED, 4x may make your scope lag.
PPAA (GPU):   Use SMAA High to Ultra, smooths edges at distance, doesn't seem to impact and makes it look better.
AToC (GPU):   Set to DISABLED or Trees only, Grass may make your scope lag.
PIP (GPU):   DISABLED, consumes a lot of frames while driving for a cosmetic effect.
Dynamic Lights (GPU):   Low or High, Ultra seems to have no effect on frames but is probably not good on older graphics cards or in multiplayer.

Postprocesses (GPU) Low, Very Low or DISABLED, up to you.

full-9082-52859-arma3 settings2


4.  Quality Settings

Texture Quality (HDD/GPU):   High to Ultra, High stops a lot of the building pop-in Ultra basically eliminates it.
Objects Quality (CPU/GPU):   Standard to High, having this on a higher setting will reduce pop-in from terrain features but comes at the cost of frames.
Terrain Quality (CPU/GPU):   Standard to High, higher means more frame lag for not much gain visually or otherwise.
Cloud Quality (GPU):   DISABLED, you are on the ground not in the clouds plus it stops them from rotating.
Shadow Quality (GPU):   DISABLED or High+, lower settings seem to be worse.
Particles Quality (GPU):   Standard or High, Ultra seems to have no effect on frames but is probably not good on older graphics cards or in multiplayer.

full-9082-52860-arma3 settings3


 5. ArmA3Alpha.cfg

Located in C:\Users\\Documents\ArmA 3 Alpha\

GPU_MaxFramesAhead=4;   This may help smooth your frames and/or increase performance, try settings 1-4.
GPU_DetectedFramesAhead=0;   This may help smooth your frames and/or increase performance.
refresh=120;   This will make VSync work better if you need it.




6. Startup Parameters

You can also use the startup parameters to increase performance slightly by right-clicking ArmA 3 in Steam > Properties > Set Launch Options and entering the following.

-cpuCount=   set this to however many physical CPU's you have, usually either 2, 4 or 6.*
-exThreads= Use only if you have a Hyperthreaded Intel CPU. If you don't have hyperthreading you don't need this setting.*
-high sets   ArmA 3 as a high value CPU process.
-maxMem=   set this to 4096 or about 1GB (1024) less than your maximum RAM, I am not sure if higher values have an effect as I'm pretty sure 4GB is the maximum.
-noPause   Does not pause the ArmA window when alt-tabbed in Fullscreen window mode, good for multi-taskers and streamers.
-noSplash   gets rid of the intro stuff at startup.
-world=empty Starts up the game faster as it loads empty level.

startup parameters look like:

-exThreads= is option to define extra threads.

All file operations go through a dedicated thread. This offloads some processing from the main thread, however it adds some overhead at the same time. The reason why threaded file ops were implemented was to serve as a basement for other threads ops. When multiple threads are running at the same time, OS is scheduling them on different cores. Geometry and Texture loading (both done by the same thread) are scheduled on different cores outside the main rendering loop at the same time with the main rendering loop.

Ex(tra)threads table
NumberGeometry loadingTexture loadingFile operations
0 0 0 0
1 0 0 1
3 0 1 1
5 1 0 1
7 1 1 1

-cpuCount=4 -exThreads=7 -high -maxMem=8192 -noPause -noSplash -world=empty

* cpuCount and exThreads can help smooth the game by letting it know to spread the load properly.



7. ARMA 3 & GTX 500 Series Cards

Our very own L2TG found the solution to this fix for nVidia GTX 510/20/30/45/50 Ti/55/60/60 Ti/70/80/90 cards that are experiencing a black screen, while still hearing full sound

(and likely full function, without screen), with or without SLI function.


8. STEAM performance troubles and how mitigate them

From my own experience this is what eats most CPU from highest to lowest
  1. STEAM friend-list (even while online, just closing friend-list saves most CPU usage)
  2. STEAM chats (the more of them active the worse the overall load)
  3. STEAM updating (as uses checksums it needs some CPU and I/O, so make sure nothing is updating)
  4. STEAM overlay
  5. STEAM IM (switch yourself to OFFLINE for lowest CPU usage)
  6. STEAM website (if you keep website open and minimize, it still keeps playing the flash animations for example, so ideally you visit e.g. your profile page as last)
+ then set STEAM to lower priority than arma3.exe


9. Field of View (FOV) Settings

 Use these ratios. Open .ArmA3AlphaProfile in your C:\Users\\Documents\ArmA 3 Alpha\ folder.

70 FoV Default.

fovTop=0.75;  fovLeft=1.34;

75 FoV for 16:9 screens.

fovTop=0.82;  fovLeft=1.46;

75 FoV for 16:10 screens.

fovTop=0.80;  fovLeft=1.46;

80 FoV for 16:9 screens.

fovTop=0.89;  fovLeft=1.58;

80 FoV for 16:10 screens.

fovTop=1.0;  fovLeft=1.59;

85 FoV for 16:9 screens.

fovTop=0.96;  fovLeft=1.71;

85 FoV for 16:10 screens.

fovTop=1.06;  fovLeft=1.70;

90 FoV for 16:9 screens.

fovTop=1.03;  fovLeft=1.83;

90 FoV for 16:10 screens.

fovTop=1.13; fovLeft=1.82;


10.  Ram Disk:

You can obtain noticable increase in frame rate by copy the game to an 8gb ramdisk using the free open source ramdisk utility imdisk

and using link shell extension to setup the junctions

ive created an 8gb ram disk formatted ntfs and assigned it to drive letter R: and configued it save the image when done to:

"c:\ramdisk\arma3" and to startup loading that image when windows started.

+ copy "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arma 3" to "R:\Arma 3"
+ rename "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arma 3" to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arma"
+ pick link source "R:\Arma 3" drop as junction in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\"

+ copy "C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Arma 3 Alpha" to "R:\l\Arma 3 Alpha"
+ rename "C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Arma 3 Alpha" to "C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Arma 3"
+ pick link source "R:\l\Arma 3 Alpha" drop as junction in "C:\Users\\AppData\Local\"

+ copy "C:\Users\\Documents\Arma 3 Alpha" to "R:\d\Arma 3 Alpha"
+ rename "C:\Users\\Documents\Arma 3 Alpha" to "C:\Users\\Documents\Arma 3"
+ pick link source "R:\d\Arma 3 Alpha" drop as junction in "C:\Users\\Documents\"

if you cant create a ramdisk try doing the same with an ssd, all you need is 8gb which is reasonable and you do get noticable improvement. 


This guide was put together by Stronkie (images and content) and incontrovertible from

You can find an updated version here.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:05