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Here's how I got ARMA2 to perform smoothly using RAMDISK


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#1 qwertz

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 04:30 PM

UPDATE: I have created a little tool that let you analyze your own ArmA 2 disk performance - please feel free to try it out and post the results here!

Download: http://www.mediafire...lysis_v0.22.zip

Further reading (benchmark/results thread): http://forums.bistud...ead.php?t=88629
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Since I have bought ARMA 2 a few month ago, I was unhappy with the performance of the game. Besides ample hardware power (i7 @ 4Ghz, 12GB DDR-12800, GTX280 Hydro Copper, 2 Vertex 120GB SSD in RAID0, etc.) I was suffering rather low frame rates and - more annoying - stutter and texture LOD trashing.

I have done a crazy amount of testing to find a solution to these problems, and now have finally reached a stage where I am happy with the results, which I want to share.

All these tests were done on 1920x1200 resolution (both 3d and display), and with 3000m view distance and everything on very high, and post processing off.


1) Selecting the best OS

I have tried Win7 in 64bit/32bit, Vista in 64/32 bit, and XP in 64bit/32bit. In terms of performance, ARMA 2 works best with XP32 - here's the ranking (from good to bad):

1) XP 32bit
2) XP 64bit
3) Win7 64bit and 32bit (no big difference)
4) Vista 64bit and 32bit (no big difference)

ARMA 2 seems to make no use of the increased capabilities of an x64 bit OS - it is a pure 32bit application. Running a 32bit application in a 64bit Windows in theory should not cause significant performance hits (thanks to WOW64), but in case of ARMA2, it does actually cause issues. This is most true for what I call the "smoothness" of the game: In 32bit, there was less stutter (i.e. if you make a 360 degree turn, it was a smooth turn without hiccups).

In terms of framerates, XP beats all other Windows versions, and 32 bit comes out best.

Stutter was also least apparent with both XP versions, and best with the 32 bit version.

No difference was found in my testing in terms of texture/LOD trashing - in all cases, after some minutes of gameplay, textures would visibly pop when you move fast, which I found very annoying.

Which leads me to my second point.

2) RAM disk

I wanted to find out what the reason for the texture trashing is. Do narrow down the problem, I monitored memory and disk usage during gameplay.

To make a very long story short: the hard disk is a major culprit here, as there is ~8GB of data and textures that is getting streamed as you move around the game. Both the occasional "Hiccup" as well as texture popping happen when ARMA 2 starts to stream from disk.

To solve the problem, I created an 8.5 GB RAM disk with SuperSpeed RamDisk plus (there is a 14 days trial version. The reason I chose this software over others is that is can adress the memory space above 4GB on 32 bit systems, it supports auto save/load of the RamDisk so it is persistent, and supports large RamDisks).

I then moved the whole ARMA 2 folder (Steam Version) into the RamDisk (please note that you have to start ARMA 2 using the arma2.exe within the moved directory. Alternatively, you can create a symlink to the folder - pls google it).

The result was - for the first time - a smooth game experience. It is hard to describe, but without all the stutter and texture popping, the game reaches a new level in perceived visual quality. Everything is smooth, LOD's draw instantly, and the whole game play feels a lot more fluent. For the first time, I feel happy with the performance of ARMA 2.

Let me know if you have any questions, and pls try it out yourself and share some of your results if you want !

qwertz.

Edited by qwertz, 30 March 2014 - 11:31 AM.


#2 neokika

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 04:58 PM

Sounds good.
I have steam version, do I have to install again or like you said, just move the folder?
Thanks
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#3 JuggernautOfWar

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:10 PM

Thanks a lot for these suggestions! Could you please help us idiots setup a RAM disk? I've got 6 GB of memory, 4 of which ArmA II never touches, so that may help.
Windows 8.1
Intel Core i7-4710MQ CPU @ 2.50GHz-3.50GHz
3072MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
8GB DDR3 RAM
Yes, I have a gaming laptop.

#4 randir14

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:17 PM

So this only works for people who have a shitload of ram, or does it use hard drive space?

#5 yanquis

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:26 PM

ya, ive got 'only' 8GB which is about 2x as much as i ever need, how do people with less that 12 make use of this? sounds like u need 8.5GB free which 99% of people wont have.

#6 PogMoThoin

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:27 PM

What size is Your Arma II folder? My Arma II folder is 11.4GB with a few addons and the CAA1 mod

Main pc: (Windows 7 64bit)
Asus P5Q Pro, Core 2 Quad Q9550 E0 @ 3.8Ghz, 1024MB XFX HD6870, 4x 2GB GSkill PC2 8000, 40GB Intel X25-V SSD, 2x 36GB Raptors Raid 0, 2x 1TB Samung F1 Sata, 2TB Samung F3 Sata, Corsair TX850W Psu, Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty, Lian-Li V2000, Dual loop custom watercooling, Samsung Syncmaster 245B, 600W Technics 5.1 Surround, Saitek Eclipse II Keyboard, Saitek GM3200 Mouse, Saitek X52 Flight Controller, TrackIR5

#7 JuggernautOfWar

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:27 PM

Okay so wouldn't this method delete everything in the RAM disk when you turn off your computer, including the ArmA II folder? So does the RAM disk take away from your virtual memory or hard drive space?

Edited by JuggernautOfWar, 14 October 2009 - 05:42 PM.

Windows 8.1
Intel Core i7-4710MQ CPU @ 2.50GHz-3.50GHz
3072MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
8GB DDR3 RAM
Yes, I have a gaming laptop.

#8 tcp

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:42 PM

It loads it into RAM on every restart, which is fairly quick since it is RAM. He must have at least 16GB of RAM if he is able to use 8.5GB just to cache the game files.
The poor man's version of this tweak is to move the Windows paging file to a secondary drive.

#9 JuggernautOfWar

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:45 PM

The poor man's version of this tweak is to move the Windows paging file to a secondary drive.


So could we create a RAM disk to put the paging file only on it or how would that work?
Windows 8.1
Intel Core i7-4710MQ CPU @ 2.50GHz-3.50GHz
3072MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
8GB DDR3 RAM
Yes, I have a gaming laptop.

#10 MattXR

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:49 PM

I also went from Win Vista to Win 7 then to XP and found that XP gave me the best performance ever! far supriour to that of the other 2 operating systems.


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#11 thales100

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:08 PM

The poor man's version of this tweak is to move the Windows paging file to a secondary drive.


Yes, thats it. :D

#12 WMike20052

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:22 PM

Does it matter which drive?


I have 1 physical hard drive split into 3. Around 240 gigs each i think.

Anyway so just move the paging file to either one?

Can this permanantly mess up my computer?

#13 AndresCL

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:26 PM

I think ill wait for SSDs to develop more

#14 KillaALF

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:28 PM

Does it matter which drive?


I have 1 physical hard drive split into 3. Around 240 gigs each i think.


Actually it should read secondary physical drive, moving the page file to another partition on the same drive is kinda counter productive, as the read/write head has then to move quite a bit (=slower) whenever stuff is read/written from it.

Can this permanantly mess up my computer?


Nothing a format c:/ can't fix.

#15 Fincuan

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:29 PM

I have 1 physical hard drive split into 3. Around 240 gigs each i think.


I'm pretty sure it has be on a separate physical drive to be of any big help. Putting it on a separate partition won't probably do much.

#16 JuggernautOfWar

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:29 PM

Can this be done with one hard drive in 2 partitions?
Windows 8.1
Intel Core i7-4710MQ CPU @ 2.50GHz-3.50GHz
3072MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
8GB DDR3 RAM
Yes, I have a gaming laptop.

#17 thales100

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:30 PM

Can this permanantly mess up my computer?


No way, its safe.

#18 WMike20052

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:35 PM

Okay so i cant do it then since i only have 1 physical drive?

#19 Himmelsfeuer

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:36 PM

I want your machine TS.....:)
well i have to say,for my system,ArmaII runs pretty smooth so far.
E8400 3.00 Dualcore
HD4850
4GigRam

ArmaII runs best on a fresh installed XP 32 Bit,yes.And only Mods and ArmaII stuff going on my ArmaDrive now.
u had a point for me talking about the popping up textures.
this is a pretty annoying thing for me..
Is this caused of the only 512Mb in my graphics or more likly the CPU?
Also i wonder if i could change the HD4850 with same model with 1024RAM..
Maybe i could do this without spending some money,but it would be some effort...

#20 Doxshund

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:38 PM

so basically you need another hard drive and win xp.
which means spending an extra $200-$300 dollars to get a single $50 game to work properly