Arma 3
1,105 ratings
Optimization and Improving FPS
By >Freak On A Leash.exe
A Guide for optimizing ArmA 3.

Introduction and Information
In this guide i will show you all the options you have to improve your FPS and general performance in ArmA 3.


For reference, my specs: ( At the Time i was writing this Guide )
  • Intel i5 4670k @4x3.4ghz
  • Nvidia GTX770
  • 16 GB Ram

Average FPS and performance before Optimizing:
About 25 - 30 FPS (Sometimes drops down to 20) in cities and about 30 - 35 outside of cities.
Heavy stuttering and loading lag when moving with high speeds.

Average FPS and performance after Optimizing:
Smoother 30-40 FPS inside cities and smooth > 60 FPS outside of cities.
No loading lag or stuttering when zooming in / moving fast at all.

All this was tested on several public servers. Incuding King of the Hill, Wasteland and Altis Life servers.

Best specs?

Well... i would say at least some newer stuff. if you want nice graphics.
But! ArmA 3 consumes more CPU Power than GPU.
The mix between a good CPU (at least a quad core, i5 or i7) and a newer GPU is crucial.
Ingame Settings
In my experience, some of these settings have a great impact on your FPS. While other settings don't. I'll only cover the ones that have a big performance impact.

Here are my settings: (Tuned for my system of course)

If your system is more powerful than mine, then go ahead and set what ever you want.
But the two things you dont want to mess with are:
  • Sampling
  • Maxing out visibility
Sampling will render your screen x times the selected value (in percent)
Basically at 200% sampling, your GPU needs to render twice as many pixel per frame than your native resolution. Which needs of course a lot more performance. Make sure that this stays at 100%.

Visibility is the distance in game at which the engine will fade out objects in the distance.
The higer the visibility the further you can see objects at the horizon.
I prefer 2500 for objects and overall. Just because my framerate is still very good and I can see enough to scan the enviroment for enemy snipers or vehicles. Also most servers are capping the visibility of the connected clients anyway, so 2500 should be enough.

Anti Aliasing

You'll notice there are two AA sliders. (Excluding ATOC)
  • FSAA
  • PPAA

FSAA - Full Screen Anti Aliasing is a internal GPU render which has the biggest impact on performance of these two AA settings. Basically it renders an upscaled version of the current frame and scales it back down to the native resolution. This results in smoother edges. The higher the setting the more performance it will need.

PPAA - Post Process Anti Aliasing is an Anti Aliasing method which takes place after the current frame is processed. (post process) It's much, much cheaper in terms of performance. but can look blurry or can cause small artifacts.
You have 3 main options for PPAA with each of them has Pro's and Con's
  • SMAA: - Needs more performance than FXAA + Sharper edges and best looking.
  • FXAA: - Blurry and can have small artifacts + Least performance impact
  • CMAA: - Small artifacts + Middle between FXAA and SMAA, Optimized for Integrated GPU's

Startup Parameters
Here i'll explain and show you the startup parameters that will improve your performance.

You have 2 options to set the parameters. Through Steam's "launch options" menu or through the offical ArmA 3 Launcher (Or any other third party ArmA launcher that has support for that)

List of all avaiable parameters[]

Startup Parameter List

-maxMem= (in MB)

This sets the max allowed amount of Ram that ArmA is allowed to use. Set this to half of your Ram

-maxVRAM= (in MB)

This sets the max allowed video card ram ArmA can use. Set it about the max ram of your card, but leave about 100MB for the OS.

-cpuCount= (1-4)

Sets the number of cores used. You want to set this to the number of cores you have.

-exThreads= (0-7)

Set this to 7 if you have a Quadcore. and to 3 if you're running a Dualcore.
Although, this valure is autodetected, you can set i manually to be just really sure.


Just set it to system. This works just as it is.

Optimizing outside of ArmA 3
There are many ways to improve your performance though expernal applications, .cfg's and setting outside of ArmA.


You'll find the Arma3.cfg inside your "Documents/Arma3" folder (C:User/Documents/Arma 3)

Open it with a text editor and search for the key:
"GPU_MaxFramesAhead=" and "GPU_DetectedFramesAhead=".
Change thier value to "1"
Like this:

After that search for refresh= and change it to "120"

And if you haven't done it in engine then you also want to change "vsync=" to "0"

Nvidia Control Panel
(Sorry AMD/ATI guys)

Open up the Nvidia control panel and select Arma 3 in 3D Settings

Change "Power management mode" to "Prefer maximum performance"
and "Multi-display/mixed-GPU acceleration" to "Single display performance"

You also want to change "Maximum pre-rendered frames" to "1"

Leave everything else as it is.

Setting ArmA to high Priority

When ArmA 3 has loaded. Alt-Tab out, open your task manager.
Under "Processes" rightclick the arma3.exe and hover over "Priority".
There select "high"

This prioritizes ArmA 3 over the steam services and can lead to a small performance boost.

Warning: Setting it to "realtime" can cause system freezing if ArmA can't keep up.

CPU Unparking

Another way to boost performance is to "unpark" your CPU cores.
To understand what CPU Parking is, read this.[]

Simply explained: Unparking CPU Cores means disabling Win7's CPU power saving feature.

You can visit the website from above and download a CPU unparking tool.
Or click here[] to downoad it directly.

Or use any other CPU unparking tool.

Changing some settings in your BIOS/UEFI

Some mainboards offer a simple and easy way to boost your systems performance by having a "turbo" mode setting in the BIOS/UEFI. Asus has a Triangle with "Power Saving", "Balanced" and "Turbo"/"Asus performance mode". Mostly "Balanced" is selected by default.
So boot into your BIOS/UEFI and change that setting to "Turbo" , "Performance" or whatever it's called mode.

Another great thing is to change your fan settings to "Turbo" (If you have a CPU fan installed)
Or if you have an external fan control, crank it up, so your CPU is cooled well.
Some CPU's and Mainboards are decreasing the performance of the CPU automatically when it's getting hotter.

So keep your CPU cool!
CPU Overclocking
Personally i think this will give you the biggest performance increase.
ArmA 3's engine is single threaded optimized.

Means: More power on a single core = Better performance.

ArmA runs on all cores by default, but the 3 main operations are done on 3 single cores
  • Geometry Loading
  • Texture Loading
  • File operations

By overclocking your CPU you directly givie those 3 operations more power and increase your ingame performance by a significant amount.

Here is a little explanation[]


Since not everyone has a overclockable CPU and not everyone has the same CPU i cannot write a step by step guide for overclocking.

Google your mainboard and CPU. Try to find some tips and tutorials in the internet and try it by yourself.
Other Improvements
Now to the last part of this guide.
We only worked with configs and CPU/GPU based improvents so far.
But you can also improve your performance by:
  • Installing ArmA 3 on a SSD instead of a HDD
  • Keeping your drivers up-to-date
  • Don't overmod your game
  • Keeping your System partition Clean
  • Disabling your Virus Scanner while playing (Unsafe)
All those small things can all together increase FPS and reduce stuttering and long loading times.

Installing your game on a SSD reduces loading times, stuttering from moving fast or zooming in (faster asset loading)

Also you want to avoid playing on servers with VERY high playercounts.
Since ArmA 3's Playermodels are very polygon rich and detailed, many players can cause your FPS to drop. Every player has high detailed weapons, clothing, backpacks and probably other stuff on them. Even tough everything has LOD's, it all summs up.

In cities, this problem even becomes bigger. Since ArmA 3 doesn't have a good occlusion culling system ( blending out object that are occluded by something ) every player and object is still rendered when it's behind a wall or inside a house. Even when you cannot see it directly. (As of the time writing this Guide)

Thanks for reading!
Really! Thank you!

You can help me improving this guide by pointing out errors and mistakes.
I wait for your comments! :)
< >
Wynter the Loaf of Foxx Jun 7 @ 7:02pm 
Glad to see this does have a positive effect for others at least.
Novaxine Jun 7 @ 3:33am 
Holy hell my fps jumped from 57FPS average to 120FPS :D :headbash:
loki1944 Jun 3 @ 8:25pm 
This guide is bunch of nonsense resulting in virtually no change to performance outside of just lowering settings. Emperor's New Clothes and all that.
ZILLA [PT] May 31 @ 9:46am 
hello, in command like -maxVRAM= (in MB) I keep the () or not ?
Wynter the Loaf of Foxx May 29 @ 8:02pm 
Needless to say this ruined my FPS. Likely because the change in pre-rendered frames.
Dark Demise Apr 21 @ 4:57am 
Just wanted to say the sampling thing is heavily dependent on your system. I know this post is older but I get better performance lowering AA and turning sampling up to 114%. 1060 6GB. Bonus is it even looks better.
Anoahmous Apr 4 @ 3:15pm 
Nice guide, my dude. Gave me 40+ fps in forests and 10-20+ fps in cities.
John Madden Sosa Mar 5 @ 4:06am 
i owe u alot men
gilgameh Feb 19 @ 1:58pm 
You're the man.
▶🈁ALL🌟MIGHT🈁◀ Feb 2 @ 5:48am 
Thank you so much, this has literally helped my fps from 20 on low settings now up to 70 on ultra.