DCS 2.5 Optimisation Guide - ED Forums


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Old 02-04-2018, 07:50 PM   #1
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Lightbulb DCS 2.5 Optimisation Guide

Update 09-02-2018: I’ve completely re-written the entire guide!
My guide is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, omitting details. Also check out other guides:
https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=202092 (Sideslip's guide for 4K users, with a lot of screenshots and details)
https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=200906 (Snacko's guide, with tweaks outside of DCS that may or may not work according to specification)
https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=201196 (anti-aliasing guide by Repsol2k)

Hey, DCS 2.5 is here and here’s my DCS 2.5 Optimisation Guide to go with it!

My 5-year-old computer with a 1060 graphics card runs DCS 2.5 with almost all options at maximum while maintaining an absolute minimum 30 FPS. The aim with this guide is to give you a choice of 100%, 60%, 40%, or 20% performance, which corresponds to 150 FPS, 90 FPS, 60 FPS, or 30 FPS on my own 1920x1200 machine (a 10% margin in 1920x1080). I fly the Warthog over Vegas in my performance benchmarks as I believe it is one of the most graphically cumbersome scenarios in DCS. I’ve optimised all options and created four presets. Simply set all options to the Minimum preset first and upgrade to the Low, Medium, or High preset, depending on what performance you want.
Download this guide as a PDF here:

Minimum preset: (100% performance: 167 FPS in 1920x1080, 150 FPS in 1920x1020)
Textures HIGH
Terrain Textures HIGH
Civ. Traffic LOW
Water LOW
Visib. Range LOW
Heat Blur OFF
Shadows OFF
Res. of Cockpit Displays 1024 EVERY FRAME
Depth of Field OFF
Lens Effects DIRT
Deferred Shading ON
Clutter/Grass 750
Trees Visibility 100%
Preload Radius 100
Chimney Smoke Density PERSONAL PREFERENCE (Recommended: 0)
Gamma PERSONAL PREFERENCE (Recommended: 2)
Anisotropic Filtering OFF
Terrain Object Shadows OFF
Global Cockpit Illumination OFF
Disable Aero Interface PERSONAL PREFERENCE (Recommended: OFF)
Vsync OFF
Full Screen ON

Low Preset: (60% performance: 100 FPS in 1920x1080, 90 FPS in 1920x1020)
Minimum preset with the following changes:
Civ. Traffic HIGH
Heat Blur HIGH
Lens Effects DIRT+FLARE
Clutter/Grass 1500
Anisotropic Filtering X2
Terrain Object Shadows FLAT

Medium preset: (40% performance: 67 FPS in 1920x1080, 60 FPS in 1920x1020)
Minimum preset with the following changes:
Water HIGH
Visib. Range HIGH
Shadows HIGH

High preset: (27% performance: 44 FPS in 1920x1080, 40 FPS in 1920x1020)
Minimum preset with the following changes:
Water HIGH
Visib. Range EXTREME
Shadows HIGH
Anisotropic Filtering X4

Customisation Guide (for advanced players):

A few points:
  • The same ideas should apply to 4K/VR users in general, but 4K users won't want excessive anti-aliasing and VR users will want higher framerates.
  • Players with a 1050, 960, 770, or equivalent cards with only 2GB VRAM may run out of VRAM in 1920x1020, which is something I've had difficulties benchmarking, but Textures, Terrain Textures, MSAA, Shadows, and Visib. Range are the options that you can probably decrease to minimize VRAM usage. I'm playing with 3GB VRAM and it works perfectly fine with 1.8-2.8GB VRAM depending on options.
  • I haven't fully benchmarked Caucasus or Normandy yet.
  • I haven't benchmarked action, with explosions and stuff.
  • I haven't fully benchmarked Res. of Cockpit Displays and Heat Blur yet.
  • I haven't fully benchmarked all minor options for the Low/Medium recommendations yet.
  • I haven't experimented with 3rd party anti-aliasing methods yet.
  • Activating MSAA X8 currently only activates MSAA X4 because of a glitch.
  • Deferred Shading should always be ON, I recommend. If it's OFF, all data in this guide becomes very wildly inaccurate. I also recommend a Gamma of 2.0, but that depends on the brightness of your monitor. How to get the right brightness? If you have an iPhone, turn the volume off, then increase it again with the button four times bringing it to 25% (4/16), then enter the control centre and use the volume bar as a reference to set the brightness to 25% and hold it out in front of your monitor. Match the monitor brightness of white on white. This will be about the same brightness that is commonly recommended for office environments around the world and with that brightness, Gamma 2.0 looks just about right.
  • Vsync is best enforced from outside of DCS.

Last edited by D.Va; 02-26-2018 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:59 PM   #2
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I was hoping to find something exactly like this, thanks so much!

Do you happen to have any experience with the effects of playing around with the Nvidia graphics control panel or ReShade? Things like FXAA.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:26 PM   #3
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OP> good man.
Hopefully people with issues will read this first, as against simply open another "my frame rate is naff" thread.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:34 PM   #4
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This is a super nice first post. Great job. Thanks
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:38 PM   #5
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Thank you, and welcome!
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:40 PM   #6
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This is just gold! Thank you very much D.Va
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:41 PM   #7
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Wow, awesome analysis I love this stuff
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:50 PM   #8
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Great post!! Thx for the tests .

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Old 02-04-2018, 09:17 PM   #9
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Thank, we optimisation need the game now, the Caucaso map, the FPS drop heavy
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:23 PM   #10
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