Bohemia Interactive has been around for more than a decade, earning awards including "Best PC Game Developer of the Year" for its 2001 PC exclusive Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, but you're probably most familiar with the developer through its Arma franchise, which has just received its third major entry.
Like most of its previous releases, Bohemia Interactive is offering Arma 3 exclusively for PC, and the studio has no doubt been working tirelessly to ensure a smooth launch. As part of its development process, the company held lengthy alpha and beta phases that ran for more than six months starting back in March.
Built with Real Virtuality 4, Arma 3 expands on its predecessors' realistic military experience with features including an enhanced mission editor, DirectX 10 and 11 support, improved physics across the board, underwater environments, volumetric clouds, better lighting and a 20km view distance with photo-realistic terrain.
Arma 3 offers the largest official terrain of its franchise, with ground area covering approximately 270 km² across the Aegean islands of Altis and 20 km² on the Greek island Stratis. Between its expansive world and graphical advancements, it's no surprise that the developer's recommended specifications are set relatively high.
Although you can purportedly get by with a dual-core Intel or AMD processor, 2GB of memory and a 512MB GeForce 8800 GT or Radeon HD 3830, the developer recommends playing with at least a Phenom II X4 980 or Core i5-2300, 4GB of RAM and a 1GB GTX 560 or HD 7750 if you intend to play with DirectX 11 effects.
Naturally, that's precisely how we intend to test the game as we explore the performance of more than two dozen DX11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia. We'll use the latest drivers and each GPU setup will be driven by an overclocked Core i7-4770K (4.0GHz) to remove the potential of our CPU bottlenecking the GPU(s).
We will use Fraps to measure frame rates during 90 seconds of gameplay footage from Arma's Infantry Showcase. Before starting the test, we plan to turn the difficulty down to the easiest level ("Recruit") and then further handicap the AI by setting its skill level to 0. This should let us pass the AI without dying for consistent results.
Our test begins in a hilly wooded area with four fellow soldiers who accompanied us down the hill and out from the cover of trees, through a valley and toward a small town before taking enemy fire, which we'll ignore in the interest of continuing the test.
We'll run Arma 3 in DX11 mode at three common desktop display resolutions: 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. For the ultra-quality test, we'll set the visual quality to ultra without changing anything except disabling v-sync. Our very high-quality test was conducted using the very high preset, again with vsync disabled.
As usual, we'll be looking for an ideal of 60fps or faster.