Results: Arma 3
FCAT says Arma 3 averages 73 FPS on a pair of Radeon R9 295X2s; Fraps says 72 FPS. I’d say that’s pretty close to a consensus.
This chart reflects performance a fair bit higher than what was original reported. Previously, scaling was around 20%. Here, it’s 46%. We can’t say for sure why the new number is so much higher. However, all of the benchmarks going into today’s piece are run with the side of our Erebus test platform’s side panel off, allowing maximum airflow.
Why? As it turns out, the Hawaii GPUs on AMD’s Radeon R9 295X2 have a 75 °C limit necessitated by the liquid cooling hardware. It’s not hard to trigger throttling using a workload like GUIMiner. However, it’s probable that the closed case and heat runs we used in the original version of this piece forced performance in Arma down as well.
We’ll keep an eye out for similar behavior as the evaluation continues. Although you wouldn't use a pair of Radeon R9 295X2s like this in the real-world, AMD is also clear that its radiators need to be set up in a specific way for optimal thermal performance, and company reps say that wasn't the case for the system we initially reviewed.
The hypothesis is bolstered by a far less frenetic frame rate over time chart (the original looked like this). Instead, two Radeon R9 295X2s sustain their performance for longer, nosing up over 75 FPS, and not dropping below 65.
Frames are delivered more smoothly as well, and a pair of 295X2s only trail the individual dual-Hawaii board in worst-case frame time variance.
The twin 295X2s are plagued by a handful of frame time variance spikes that are noticeable on-screen, but behave themselves otherwise.
Arma 3 isn’t one of the games we originally took issue with. It makes sense then, that the results on this page don’t flavor our ultimate opinion much. We’re glad to measure additional performance in a best-case cooling/airflow scenario. And if this game is the only one you’re worried about playing, $1500 might be worth an extra 40-something-percent performance.
Let’s leave the editorialization there for now and continue on with the hard numbers.