ArmA 2 patch v1.02: Update test with Multisampling AA and AM3 benchmarks
Since patch 1.02 ArmA 2 is capable of Multisampling. PC Games Hardware checks the visual quality and adds a Phenom II with DDR3 to the CPU test array.
ArmA 2 Patch v1.02: Introduction
ArmA 2 is a special game - in several ways. First of all it hasn't been released everywhere yet. Nothing special actually, but it is rather uncommon that a game is released in a single European country weeks before the other EU markets are supplied. And in North America the game is still not available yet. In Germany ArmA 2 is on sale since early June and the developers have already released two patches for the military simulation. PC Games Hardware now checked if patch 1.02 for the German version of ArmA 2 has increased the performance.
ArmA 2 Patch v1.02: Benchmarks with AM3 Phenom II and DDR3
One thing in advance: According to our tests patch 1.02 does not increase the (CPU) performance - the differences in the framerates are within measuring tolerance. As revealed in our previous ArmA 2 CPU benchmarks AMD's Phenom II processors did surprisingly bad and we estimated (and still do) that this is caused by an limited incompatibility. Another possibility would be the huge bandwidth affinity of ArmA 2 - the Core i7's good results also hint at this. Due to the Triple Channel interface the Intel processor has a big memory bandwidth.
Therefore we tested the Phenom II X4 955 BE running at 3.5 GHz once more, but this time with increased Northbridge and reference frequencies (faster L3 cache, accelerated memory controller), faster HT Link (connection to the Northbridge) and overclocked DDR3 memory. And ArmA 2 reacts as expected. Due to the increased data throughput and the higher bandwidth (about 50 percent bigger) the AM3 955 is about 10 percent faster than the DDR2 955.
ArmA 2 Patch v1.02: Now with MSAA
In version 1.00 and 1.01 ArmA 2 used Supersampling Anti Aliasing with ordered girds (OGSSAA) to smooth the picture. SSAA cost a lot of fillrate (and performance as the ArmA 2 graphics card benchmarks revealed), since the picture is rendered at a higher resolution and afterwards scaled down to the needed resolution with a bilinear filter.
With version 1.02 ArmA 2 now gets Multisampling Anti aliasing (SGMSAA) that only smoothes the edges respectively the geometry and thus is less challenging for the hardware. In ArmA 2 MSAA is simply called Antialiasing and can be set from "deactivated” to "high” - this matches 1x to 8x MSAA.
Usually OGSSAA and Hybrid Modes of OGSSAA and SGMSAA were available to Geforce users only, and had to be activated with the tool Nhancer. But in ArmA 2 even Radeon users can get up to 32xS (2x2 OGSSAA with 8x SGMSAA) plus effective 64:1 AF. In our gallery you can find some screenshots that have been taken at 2,560 x 1,600 screenshots that have been downsized to 1,280 x 800 with a Lanczos filter. But at those settings even a HD 4890 with 1.0 GHz frequency reaches single digit framerates only.