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Country: ca
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#176415 Posted at 2015-02-08 23:27        
Hi guys, I'm gonna be honest, I'm not technically savvy so here I am.

I recently built a PC for playing ARMA 3. I'm having some serious issues and I'm hoping for some help (I actually barely ran Arma3 in the tutorial/training portion because I don't want to play it until I can run it optimally). I'm going to post my specs as well as benchmark scores from 3DMarks. I was hoping to play at 1080p with ULTRA settings for the best gaming experience AT HIGH Frame rates... My hope today is to a) find a solution to my problem, and b)find out if I can actually get the performance I'm hoping for, or what the highest settings I should play at will be.

First off, I have two video cards for 2-way crossfire utilization. #1 is plugged into a PCIEX16_1 slot. My motherboard manual says #2 needs to be plugged into PCIEX16_2 to work properly. Makes sense to me. BUT... the video cards is too thick for them to sit side by side (so tight the bottom card's fans can't even spin). Get ready to shudder, but out of curiosity, I held the two cards apart with 4 quarters I slid in between them so the fans could run and I ran Crysis 3 at the highest video settings at 1080p. If I remember correctly (I tried it two weeks ago or so), it got stuck in limbo dropping to the windows desktop and then bouncing back into the game to a black screen (I could hear the audio), and back to the desktop and again into the game, rapidly probably performing a cycle of this per second until it crashed. Obviously not a good idea (but the fans were running)

Here's an img to help you picture it:

I've also ran Cyrsis 3 with one card in the pciex16_1 slot (obviously), and it ran pretty smoothly (maybe 40-50 fps??) but jittered a bit when performing calculations as enemy appeared or things blew up, etc.

I then tried running it again with the SECOND card in the PCIEX4_2 slot which is the nearest slot it fits in (it won't fit in the pciex8 slot, and the performance seemed marginally better. I know from years past that a second card usually only gave a small boost in performance, but I figured nowadays it would be considerable with advances in technology. The difference was maybe 5 or so frames and the jitters continued so that the game truly would not be playable (I have not bothered to test the game at lower settings yet BECAUSE I see no point doing that if my issue is trying to run the second card in a slot that is not utilizing it properly for Crossfire anyway - and yes, in Catalyst I AM able to Enable Crossfire). Googling the difference between pciex16 and 4, it seems obvious to me that it will not work well because there's more bandwidth with 16 (lanes), isn't that correct? If the manual says slot 1 and 2 work together for crossfire, obviously that's what I'm meant to do because that's how they designed it to work. For 3 way SLI or crossfire for a third card, I'm to use the pciex8 slot that sits alone at the bottom of the row (my second card would not fit in there). It seems clear to me that my motherboard will not get out of the two cards in this setup that it could in a different motherboard.

I'm not above turning the settings down slightly and would even play at 720p, but I was really hoping for a sharper even more immersive gaming experience than on my xbox one (that looks pretty darn good but obviously will not do what a well configured PC can do). Also, it seems futile to me to settle with a motherboard that isn't completely compatible with my two cards and can not utilize their full potential if there are motherboards that will...

Here are my specs according to my online purchasing invoice, what 3DMark detected, and what my system build list would look like at

== Specs according to my Invoice ==

Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 AMD990FX ATX AM3+ DDR3 5PCI-E16 1PCI-E1 1PCI SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard
AMD FX Series FX-9590 8 Cores AM3+ 4.7GHZ Turbo 5.0GHZ 16MB DDR3-1866 Processor No HSF
2 x ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II OC 1000MHZ 4GB 5.0GHZ GDDR5 2xDVI HDMI DisplayPort PCE-E Video Card
AMD Radeon RP1866 Performance Series 16GB 2X8GB DDR3-1866 PC3-14900 2R CL9 1.5V Dual Memory Kit
2 x Plextor M6S 2.5in 128GB Internal Solid State Drive (running them mirrored as a single drive)
Corsair AX1200I 1200W Digital ATX 12V 80 Plus Platinum Modular Power Supply 140mm Fan
Cooler Master Seidon 120V Aluminum Radiator 120mm Fan Rifle Bearing CPU Water Cooling Kit
Cooler Master HAF 912 Black Mid Tower ATX Case 4X5.25 1X3.5 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB Sound

== Specs according to 3Dmark==

Graphics Card - AMD Radeon R9 290 (R9290-DC2OC-4GD5)
# of cards – 2 SLI / CrossFire
OnMemory4,096 MBCore clock1,000 MHzMemory bus clock1,260 MHz
Driver nameASUS R9 290 SeriesDriver version13.251.0.0
Processor - AMD FX-9590 Reported stock core clock4,700 MHz
Maximum turbo core clock4,720 MHz
Physical / logical processors1 / 8# of cores8PackageAM3+Manufacturing process32 nmTDP220 W
Operating system64-bit Windows 7
Motherboard - Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. 990FXA-UD5
Memory16,384 MB Module 18,192 MB AMD DDR3 @ 800 MHzModule 28,192 MB AMD DDR3 @ 800 MHz
Hard drive - model 128 GB PLEXTOR PX-128M6S ATA Device system build link

I used the following free demo benchmarking utility:

Now here are my benchmark results first with 2 cards, then with 1. I am perplexed as to why sometimes 1 card seems to get a better score. I had nothing running in the background for both series of tests.


10941 with AMD Radeon R9 290(2x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 17237
Physics Score 8423
Combined Score 3325


15854 with AMD Radeon R9 290(2x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 18547
Physics Score 9094
Combined Score 16287

3DMark Score15854
Graphics Score18547
Physics Score9094
Combined Score16287
Graphics Test 173.91 fps
Graphics Test 299.15 fps
8 threads163.37 fps
24 threads96.62 fps
48 threads55.8 fps
96 threads30.56 fps
Combined Test67.03 fps


15737 with AMD Radeon R9 290(2x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 28861
Physics Score 6073

3DMark Score15737
Graphics Score28861
Physics Score6073
Graphics Test 1114.48 fps
Graphics Test 2138.83 fps
Physics Test19.28 fps


109045 with AMD Radeon R9 290(2x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 186274
Physics Score 44489

3DMark Score109045
Graphics Score186274
Physics Score44489
Graphics Test 1848.79 fps
Graphics Test 2774.4 fps
Physics Test141.24 fps

========================= 1 x card, CROSSFIRE NOT ENABLED ===================

8013 with AMD Radeon R9 290(1x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 10228
Physics Score 7620
Combined Score 3147


22741 with AMD Radeon R9 290(1x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 34444
Physics Score 9078
Combined Score 17625


18262 with AMD Radeon R9 290(1x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 63532
Physics Score 5227


108972 with AMD Radeon R9 290(1x) and AMD FX-9590
Graphics Score 213341
Physics Score 40178


Here's an error message I copied after one of the times Crysis crashed while using two cards, one being in the 16 slot and the other in the 4 slot (or maybe this is from when I tried them right together with the quarters prying them apart..)

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7601.
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 116
BCP1: FFFFFA800D5614E0
BCP2: FFFFF8800554DD88
BCP3: 0000000000000000
BCP4: 0000000000000002
OS Version: 6_1_7601
Service Pack: 1_0
Product: 768_1

Files that help describe the problem:

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After reading all this, does it look like I need a new motherboard? Whether or not I need a new motherboard, am I going to get the performance results I'm hoping for with ARMA 3? Being able to see far and detailed is integral for this game, and it's got to be smooth as it is a tactical shooter, not to mention all of the lighting effects and units that need to be calculated. I bought these parts based on a page I saw that listed the "recommended specs" (, but I'm not sure now if that was accurate for ULTRA settings...

Another question I have is: What settings do I lower first to improve performance while maximizing how good the game looks? AntiAliasing seems like the first to lower (from 16 to 8 for example), but certainly there are other settings that likely can be dummed down and the game still look incredible and play smoothly. Advanced Warfare on XBOX One looks pretty darn good but I am certain it's been built for that console system with an engine that would not be pushing a gaming PC like crysis 3 and arma 3 CAN...

Thank you all for your help! I hope my post was clear and easy enough to work through in order to make assisting easier. Have a good day.