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What more do I need for this game:)


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I have had it. For the past a few months, I have been keeping this to myself, but I want to speak up now. The game in question is FSX. The system I have is as follows:

 

CPU: Q6600 G0 Stepping 3.6 Ghz - 50% overclock.

Memory : 4 x 1024 MB Crucial Ballistix 5-5-5-15 2.2V 1066MHZ.

Video Card: 8800 GTX 621/1013/2026 15% overclock.

Hard disk: 2 x 150 GB RAPTOR X (RAID 0) + 2 x 500 GB SATA 3 GB/S (RAID 0) + 1 x 320 GB SATA 3 GB/S.

Sound Card: SB Audigy 2.

Monitor : 24" Samsung LCD 1920 x 1200 + 21" Samsung LCD 1600 x 1200.

Controllers : Saitek Yoke + Throttle + Pedals

PSU : 850W PC Power + Cooling

 

FSX Settings:

 

Resolution : 1920 x 1200 x 32

Everything in ALL tabs are max except scenery and traffic. They are as follows:

 

Scenery:

 

Everything is max except detail is dense and autogen is 1 bar.

 

Traffic:

 

Airport traffic is max, boats/cars/etc. are %20.

 

In NVIDIA control panel I have AA set to 16Q override, AF set to 16X, Vsync on, every other setting is set maximum.

 

I have the latest drivers, my system doesn't overheat (max CPU temp I get is 51C, max GPU temp I get is 65C).

 

Now, I know it is not THE best system in the world, but for an FSX user, I can say I'm probably in the top %1 in the world. I am not trying brag here (as you will see from the rest of my post I'm quite not impressed), just sharing my feelings.

 

I see all these cool looking FSX videos in the youtube. People usually give a standard response by saying "WOW that looks amazing!". Yes it does, in fact, I can have better looking graphics, BUT there is a catch. All these videos are either against very low or none air traffic in very very less populated areas. I see these people showing how FSX runs on their PC at MAX settings - ha ha. They show videos at MAX settings landing at St. Marteen, how nice, how about landing to KSFO or KLAX with real time VATSIM traffic and those video settings? That's why I'm writing this post right now!:)

 

My problem is, if I ever DARE to fly in NY or LAX, I'm in a world of trouble. Starting at JFK is simply horrible with my settings. I get amazing stuttering, very low frame rates. This gets even worse when I land to these airports. What usually happens is I take off from less populated areas like KPHL or KLAS, even though I get a frame rate hit, FPS stays around 30-40 and the game play is smooth enough for me to fly. On air, it's awesome, the graphics, lens flare, AA, everything is perfect. When I start my descend and get close to the ground, it gets horrible. When I'm above 1000 ft, it's simply slide show! Most of the time I have to go to my display options and 'tune down everything. Heck, even turning off the auto gen and putting scenery detail to low doesn't help. Changing resolution to 1024 x 768 also doesn't make much difference.

 

I was initially crashing to desktop when I had 2 GB ram with the error saying I don't have enough RAM. 1 hour into the flight my FSX uses over 1.5 GB RAM. So I bought 4 GB, I did the 3 GB switch, now FSX uses around 2 GB of RAM for good in long flights.

 

Anyways, the bottom line is, I can not take this anymore. I look at FS2004, please don't be offended but it just looks unacceptable for me. Yes, I can get the payware for VC, but the scenery and the effects and more importantly the flight dynamics and physics (very easy compared to FSX imho) are just not great.

 

So, I am willing to put my hands into my pocket and do more upgrade. I look around, there is a faster CPU than mine which costs $1,500 which I believe will give me "maybe" %20 performance increase due to FSX not being optimized/compiled for the particular ISA (Instruction Set Architecture). Then I look at the video cards, very disappointed, I see NVIDIA came up with this "hack" of sticking 2 8800 GTSs together and made this [Mod - lovely stuff]py 9800 GX2 which benchmarks prove give you 2-4 fps gain over an overclocked 8800 GTX.

 

My question is simple, will SLI improve my gaming performance? I don't care how much does it cost as long as it's reasonable (I can't pay $5000 for an upgrade lol), I love VATSIM and I love FSX, and I just can not stand going to display options every 2 minutes to tune my settings with a computer like I have. Please share your experiences and your feedback too.

 

If there is a way of sticking 2 Q6600 on one mainboard and 2 8800 GTXs together, and if I know that'll help me, I'll seriously do it:) Some people like to buy cars or playing golf, this is my hobby so It doesn't really hurt that much to spend some money from time to time (last upgrade was over 8 months ago).

 

Thanks,

 

Matt

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Wow. You're PC is pretty nice. Don't quote me on this but maybe an even more powerful CPU would help. I am considering the Intel QX 9650 or QX9770 for my next system.

 

If getting a Quad core, which I wouldn't even advise in the first place, there's no point getting anything above the Q6600. Especially since they can be easily clocked to speeds beyond the QX9770 in a matter of minutes.

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Wow. You're PC is pretty nice. Don't quote me on this but maybe an even more powerful CPU would help. I am considering the Intel QX 9650 or QX9770 for my next system.

 

If getting a Quad core, which I wouldn't even advise in the first place, there's no point getting anything above the Q6600. Especially since they can be easily clocked to speeds beyond the QX9770 in a matter of minutes.

 

The QX9770 is outrageous but I think prices may go down. The QX9650 would be nice to have though.

 

This was an interesting thread I just read.

 

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=78216&page=57

ZLA I11

VATCAF S1

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If the poor performance is noticeable only when connected to VATSIM, it may be network delays or architectural issues with the pilot clients (which periodically stop the sim, driving frame rates down). Sometimes my frame rates are cut in half by starting up a pilot client or connecting to the network. No amount of CPU or GPU horsepower can change this, as the delays are caused by waiting on network events rather than waiting on processor or GPU activity.

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The trick with FSX is to tune the performance for being near airports with traffic. If you can't get decent frames in the crucial stages of flight then it's never going to be any fun. For smooth flight near other traffic when you need it (t/o and landing) then you HAVE to accept compromises in eye-candy, no choice there, it's a must.

 

Lose the boats, cars and seagulls. They eat LOADS of FPS and who has time to admire them when on a 4m final with one in front and one behind? Reduce the aiport traffic for the same reason, very pretty but it's wrecking your flying experience so why have it?

 

Other traffic uses more FPS than anything else so you need to manage it. I'm willing to bet that your multiplayer range in FSInn is set to the default 150 miles. That means that your sytstem is rendering and tracking a/c 130-140 miles beyond visual range. M[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es of FPS lost for absolutely no reason at all. Reduce it to less than 40 miles, even less if necessary, it makes NO difference to what you can see! On that subject, if you've got your visible MP aircraft set to more than 14 then your system will be unstable, have you ever seen more than 14 other aircraft within visual range anyway?

 

What's your weather refresh rate set to? Is there any point at all refreshing weather more than once every 10 minutes? It's only got to a)Download it and then b) Draw it. Result = more lost FPS for no benefit.

 

Have you followed the usual FSX tweaks about trees and buildings per cell? MS themselves say they are ludicrously high. Those tweaks can be found in seconds using Google and make a BIG difference without affecting your visuals at all.

 

Overall you do need to work at it, you simply cannot expect to max everything and get smooth FPS at a busy detaild airport. Ask yourself which is more important - eye-candy or a smooth satisfying flying experience on Vatsim. Your post suggets the latter so the solutions are a bit obvious, reduce the eye candy. FYI my system is an absolute dog compared to yours. AMD 4400 X2 CPU, X850 256MB vid card and 2gb RAM, single HDD. At a busy airport with detailed scenery and plenty of traffic about I get 20-30FPS as an average with no stutters and there is very little difference between on and offline. Many people blame "the network" for poor performance yet in fact it is all within ones own control provided one is realistic about what can and can't be done.

Bill Casey

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It won't do a single thing for you - FSX doesn't use SLI.

Not true, there's nothing a game needs to do to use SLI, it's all in the driver. FSX is simply so CPU bound that it rarely makes a difference. See here (note that that post is pre-SP1).

 

Matt, are you running any service packs for FSX? SP1 especially made a huge difference in performance for multi-core machines, and SP2 had a small fix for quad-core specifically iirc.

Creator of VATSIM Monitor, a sidebar gadget for Windows Vista.

 

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It won't do a single thing for you - FSX doesn't use SLI.

Not true, there's nothing a game needs to do to use SLI, it's all in the driver. FSX is simply so CPU bound that it rarely makes a difference. See here (note that that post is pre-SP1).

 

Matt, are you running any service packs for FSX? SP1 especially made a huge difference in performance for multi-core machines, and SP2 had a small fix for quad-core specifically iirc.

 

A game needs to be optimised and correctly set up for it to work with SLi, and that isn't the end-consumer's doing; it would have to be done by Microsoft. Norman is right that FSX doesn't take advantage of SLi and the reason being is that SLi would do nothing for FSX. Although FS9/FSX under DX9 is very CPU dependant, under DX10 that's quite different in FSX, it's much more balanced between CPU and GPU, because with the DX10 architecture you have much better use of GPU Memory and Clocks, which reduces the need of the CPU.

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Matt

 

You do not need to spend any more money on your machien. You have a very healthy machine. You haven't mentioned whethere your using VISTA or XP.

 

The only reason I mention tis is because of the DX10 facility, DX10 does require FSX to run. FSX was really written fro VISTA and as sceptical as I was and a devoted XP user VISTA does make a heck of a difference.

 

As bill has so eloquently put it, it's all in the optimisation of the sim and just whacking everything to the right is not going to help.

 

One also must remember that FSX is optimised to give perfectly smooth and operational flight at 17fps.

 

My advice would be to read Bills post carefully and instead of chasing the FPS devil, lock your pc at 25/30fps and enjoy a far better experience.

 

cheerio

 

Wycliffe

Wycliffe Barrett: C3 Controller

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"if god meant for us to fly, he would have given us tickets" Mel Brooks

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My advice would be to read Bills post carefully and instead of chasing the FPS devil, lock your pc at 25/30fps and enjoy a far better experience.

 

Errr no. For some inexplicable reason and contrary to the advice for all previous versions of FS, this one does not apply to FSX! People having FPS issues do find that they get a better average when frames are set to unlimited. It sounds perverse but it is true this time, I used it myself and it works. You are however correct in your [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ertion that Matt does not need to throw more money and hardware at the issue, that is not where his problem is. The fact of the matter is that you could spend $10,000 on a PC and still have FPS problems if you don't tune your setup properly.

 

Btw, that reminds me of one item I missed from my list in my previous post. You also have to be realistic about what one runs in the background when using FS. Examples below:

 

If one has an anti-virus constantly checking every file as it is opened then you will lose LOTS of resources; if you have MSN/Yahoo/Outlook (anything like that) checking for messages then you'll lose more resources; anything you have running that likes to phone home periodically for updates will also eat more resources and at the worst possible time in your flight (e.g. Adobe, Real Player, Antivirus, Firewalls etc etc ANYTHING that tries to update itself without warning). Yes, even Windows set to automagically go to Windows Update is guaranteed to do it when on a 2 mile Final, it's one of the Unwritten Laws of Computing. You can forget any [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ertions as to Vatsim "network delays" until you've sorted out ALL of the above.

 

You see, there's lots of work to be done to get the best out of any FS version. It's not just FSX. You can trace the history back to FS-whatever and find the exact same stories of FPS-hunting..... with very very similar solutions

Bill Casey

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Bill,

 

I appreciate your comments. I will try your advice and as a matter of a fact I will get a copy of a VISTA 64 bit (now XP SP2) and try FSX with it. Some points:

 

1 ) My machine has just been formatted recently and at no time I have over 20 processes.

2 ) I tried playing FSX with antivirus off and same thing happens, and no its not just a VATSIM thing. If I create similar AI traffic and fly in JFK, I have the same problem.

3 I have multiplayer range in FSInn at 30 miles and aircraft count at 20.

4) I do not use FSInn weather due to weather bug.

5 ) I have no other plugins installed other than LDS + PMDG + FSInn.

6 ) I have no other background processes.

7 ) FSX utilizes all 4 cores at 100% (I wrote a small C++ app to track down CPU usage during gameplay since alttab is not realistic).

8 ) I had already tried pretty much all known .cfg hacks especially POOLSIZE and the AUTOGEN stuff. They make a little difference (5-6 fps, not 20).

9 ) I get around 30-35 fps around jfk. That is not smooth. You guys are so used to playing FSX like this you say 20-30 fps is good. Nope, nothing under 60 fps is "smooth".

10 ) I can play Crysis/BF2/BF2142/Supreme Commander/All source games/Company of Heroes and many other games at MAX settings everything maxed out and I never have anything like this. As you may know, supreme commander is another game that utilizes quad core (FSX and SC are the only 2) and even in that game with 2000 units playing I get nothing under 45 and the game play is smooth (and I use dual monitors in that game, one for minimap).

 

I agree my PC is good enough, I am just out of ideas. The one thing I did not try was the VISTA and the reason I didn't do that was for programming reasons. It is simply very very hard for a programmer to work on VISTA operating system. However, I learned that you can do dual boot, so I will do that.

 

On a side note, I just thought of something about the harddrives. Like I said in my initial post over here, I have 2 RAPTOR X 10,000 RPM 150 GB on RAID0. Stride size is set to 64 kb (if you guys don't know what that means don't worry), I am thinking if that may have any effect. I know FSX does a lot of I/O (go to task manager, view, columns, show I/O stuff, play FSX, in an hour, see how much bandwidth it used) and I'm wondering if keeping the size of the strides in RAID high or low would have any effect.

 

Thanks,

 

Matt.

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The eye generally can not discern a framerate of above 30fps as it is. Might you notice it a touch if you're in an Extra 300s pulling a full G turn? Sure. In a commercial carrier or Cessna in normalized flight - likely not.

 

I have played FPS games for more than 10 years and I can pick the difference between 30 fps and 100 fps from a mile away. Please DO consider the fact that running game at 1920 x 1200 x 32 with 16xQ AA and 16x AF does make a huge difference. I would go into detail and write paragraphs about how anti aliasing work and how rendering loop changes based on over a hundred different settings, but we don't want this to become a debate:) I made this post simply to ask around to see IF by any chance someone having a SLI or dual CPU system to post their comments or any other feedback about FSX display.

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It is simply very very hard for a programmer to work on VISTA operating system.

Really? I've been running Vista since it was in beta and I'm a programmer, and I never experienced any difficulties.

 

Matt, you have yet to confirm whether you have FSX SP2 installed. I suspect you have, but it would help if we know for sure.

 

Cutting down on anti-aliasing might help too. On my system (which is not nearly as fast as yours) I've got it set at 2x, recently reduced it from 4x. While 4x looks much better, the difference in framerates was huge, especially with the PMDG (all other aircraft were fine with 4x, but the PMDG virtual cockpit just kills my performance). 16x seems a bit excessive to me, so reducing it won't hurt too much I think.

Creator of VATSIM Monitor, a sidebar gadget for Windows Vista.

 

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It is simply very very hard for a programmer to work on VISTA operating system.

Really? I've been running Vista since it was in beta and I'm a programmer, and I never experienced any difficulties.

 

Matt, you have yet to confirm whether you have FSX SP2 installed. I suspect you have, but it would help if we know for sure.

 

Cutting down on anti-aliasing might help too. On my system (which is not nearly as fast as yours) I've got it set at 2x, recently reduced it from 4x. While 4x looks much better, the difference in framerates was huge, especially with the PMDG (all other aircraft were fine with 4x, but the PMDG virtual cockpit just kills my performance). 16x seems a bit excessive to me, so reducing it won't hurt too much I think.

 

I have FSX+SP1+Acceleration(SP2).

 

Try doing stuff dealing with unmanaged C++/winapi/directx you will have so many issues with the VISTA's security systems and such. A simple example is you can't do basic registry operations due to that permission system that asks user to approve a request. Things like that, it's just glitchy and slow.

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Try doing stuff dealing with unmanaged C++/winapi/directx you will have so many issues with the VISTA's security systems and such. A simple example is you can't do basic registry operations due to that permission system that asks user to approve a request. Things like that, it's just glitchy and slow.

I disagree completely. I do all those things (except DirectX), and don't have trouble.

 

The only scenario in which I need to work around Vista's security is when I'm working on an ASP.NET site on my local IIS installation. Only administrators (which in Vista means elevated) can debug processes hosted in another user account so I need to elevate Visual Studio to do that. Note that this was the same in XP, if you run XP as a limited user, which I did for years. I did that (and still do, even in Vista) because I believe that developers should always run with as few privileges possible so they know what it's like and can make sure that their own apps work properly in those circomestances.

 

If you're running into issues with registry permissions then your app is writing to keys it probably shouldn't be writing to in the first place. There is only an extremely small cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] of applications that actually require write access to HKLM and HKCU. 99.9% of applications that currently require those permissions could easily be written to not need them. It could be that you're developing an admin tool that actually needs those permissions though, in which case this rant doesn't apply.

Creator of VATSIM Monitor, a sidebar gadget for Windows Vista.

 

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Try doing stuff dealing with unmanaged C++/winapi/directx you will have so many issues with the VISTA's security systems and such. A simple example is you can't do basic registry operations due to that permission system that asks user to approve a request. Things like that, it's just glitchy and slow.

I disagree completely. I do all those things (except DirectX), and don't have trouble.

 

The only scenario in which I need to work around Vista's security is when I'm working on an ASP.NET site on my local IIS installation. Only administrators (which in Vista means elevated) can debug processes hosted in another user account so I need to elevate Visual Studio to do that. Note that this was the same in XP, if you run XP as a limited user, which I did for years. I did that (and still do, even in Vista) because I believe that developers should always run with as few privileges possible so they know what it's like and can make sure that their own apps work properly in those circomestances.

 

If you're running into issues with registry permissions then your app is writing to keys it probably shouldn't be writing to in the first place. There is only an extremely small cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] of applications that actually require write access to HKLM and HKCU. 99.9% of applications that currently require those permissions could easily be written to not need them. It could be that you're developing an admin tool that actually needs those permissions though, in which case this rant doesn't apply.

 

You CAN disagree all you want, but there is simply a reason why all major corporations both tech and non-tech still prefer XP in terms of development. I have never seen any company who work on VISTA to develop applications. VISTA is the biggest disappointment of the software world, even the average joe knows this. I would never buy it, the only reason i think of buying is because of FSX.

 

Anyways, please let's not go off topic, if you want to discuss windows VISTA there are plenty of forums, or if you want to argue with me, there is a handy functionality called private message.

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