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Guest Ian_Riddell

Phoenix Rises From (Computer) Ashes

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Well, it looks like my computer wasn't so badly damaged after the "barbeque".... I replaced a bit here, readjusted a bit there, cleaned a bit somewhere else... and lo-and-behold it fired up and... most importantly... stayed fired up.... So, it's back to business as usual ;-)I think I've read every message on the Board since the NG was released... but just in case I haven't... Has anyone come up with a fix for very slow loading times??? I'm still waiting 6 minutes for PMDG to fire up and six minutes to shut down.... Which eats into a lot of my simming time. BTW, FS2002 shuts down almost immediately when you hit the small "X", in the corner of the FS Window, but the computer itself won't shut down. You can see in the Task Manager that FS2002.exe is still winding down... at a very slow rate... like an airbed slowly deflating (20Kb a second if I'm reading the numbers properly). Only if I force it to close will it shut down straight away.... but then I get those horrible Windows warnings telling me that all my data may be lost if I do this (it never seems to get lost, but you never know what will happen the next time you click the "Go Ahead... Make My Day" button).I have a very mediocre Athlon 1800+ with 256MB of RAM (although I did borrow another 256 and it didn't make any difference).Is there something I'm missing?Thanks.Cheers.Ian.

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Hi Ian,I had exactly the same problems as you describe while I was still working with 256MB. I went out and bought 512MB extra and the problem is gone, not just for starting PMDG but also for loading the overhead and other panels which also took quite a lot of time and are now almost instantaneous, as well as for closing down FS2002 (and FS2004) itself. So if you ask me what you're missing I'd say 512MB of memory :-)Don't understand why the extra 256MB didn't work for you, though. I really think they should.Leo BakkerPS. Aren't you guys down under taking this BBQ craze a bit too far :-)

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"Don't understand why the extra 256MB didn't work for you, though. I really think they should."I'll give it another go, Leo... Maybe I put it in backwards like the last time :-lol Unfortunately my third slot is unsalvgbel... unsalvlageble... oh, what the heck... STUFFED!... so I can't add any more after that without replacing the Motherboard.Ka-ching goes the cash register again :~P"PS. Aren't you guys down under taking this BBQ craze a bit too far"Not funny LEO! (Much) :-lolCheers.Ian.

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Ian,A 256 Meg machine is going to be seriously hurting.(a) AGP aperature = 64 Megs gone right off the bat.(texture cache)(:( FS9 (in my case) = 172 Megs gone for basic function with a Cessna 172.© Operating system = 80 Megs gone (ballpark).Now add PMDG & the navdata & FSUIPC to the mix and you quickly understand that even 512 Megs is just about borderline.I would suspect that your long loading time is caused by the amount of swapping going on to get things loaded. As I don't have FS2K2 still installed, I can't tell you the numbers specifically from it, but I would expect them to be in the same ballpark.You can try disabling the AGP aperature (performance hit) to free up the 64 Megs for the application itself. It might trade off well in your case.Playing with some basics here:FS9 absolute minimal configuration Cessna (all sliders to the left) = 133,620KLoading PMDG -700 2D panel only to this configuration: 336,016KThat means the Aircraft + FSUIPC = 203 Megs.Now, I don't know whether this is correct or a problem with FS9 & PMDG because there is no baseline of what it should be using. It does seem a tad on the high side but that could be due to the paint jobs with all their textures and not due to the actual systems. I can push that 336 Megs into the 400 Megs range with FS9 options under display with very little effort. It is possible that your options settings because you have a faster machine then mine are pushing you far enough that going to 512 Megs just is not enough to help.Obviously only we can do is point out the numbers, only PMDG can comment on whether or not they are correct. I'd be curious to see yours (just ctrl-alt-del and read 'em out of task manager) as you have FS2002 running.Ray

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>>You can try disabling the AGP aperature (performance hit)<http://www.vinscimone.com/dancnkid.gif

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Vin, you understand just how scary what you said is right?That pretty much points to a fundimental flaw in FS9 at the very basic level of the kernal.What we are talking about here is the old classic 4 FPS bug in Fly/Fly II where by exceeding one of the reserved texture slots you killed your performance. You were around in those days so should fondly remember that sillieness.Basically if this works, it means Microsoft found no solution either and simply went down the path of caching textures within the application instead of in the texture cache which means leaving the texture cache enabled just results in double caching and wastes memory which could be used to improve the performance by allowing a larger application cache.Rayedit:After turning off the AGP texture & Panel as Texture:The above 336K dropped to 231K which is obviously a huge difference in memory use and overall performance especially on a machine that is short on memory to begin with. This obviously explains the folks who are stating they got a massive increase in performance by making these changes.

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Hi,If I use PanelAsTexture=0 in my FS9.cfg, I get a serious performance(FPS) decrease when in the 2D panel. I'm pretty sure that turning off the AGP Texture didn't make any difference on my system, but the Panel one sure does.Jim Richards

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Ian,On my 512MB machine, it's taking about 15-25 seconds for the plane to load once you select it. I've been told this is the panel bitmaps being loaded into memory. The reason it takes so long if you have a low amount of RAM is being the OS has to start swapping out to virtual memory, once that happens you get disk thrashing and the ridiculous load times ensue. Just to let you guys know too, on a 1GB machine, there is no load time at all, it loaded up instantly when I tried it.How do I disable the AGP texturing to test that tweak out?Ryan

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Load and exit times are much improved with SU1 for my 512MB system. Ian, do you have SU1? Still, I concur that 512MB is marginal, and 256MB is definitely too small for this aircraft.Lee Hetherington (KBED)

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I'd be interested in that AGP setting, where do I find it?

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Jim, you really shouldn't see any difference on your machine as you have 1 GB of ram installed and are unlikely to be swapping anything out to disk like the folks with 256 MB will. These two little tweeks will make folks who have 512 MB more comfortable, and should be a bombs gone leap for folks who have only 256 MB. On a system like yours, all that will happen is that you will gain a little extra memory for disk caching (hardly cause a flicker in performance).The reason you see a slowdown with PanelAsTexture disabled is because you actually have the memory to keep everything loaded in texture form. For folks who do not, it is exactly the reverse effect, as that texture information now has to be swapped in and out of the memory swap file (disk).Ray

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Ryan,Open up your FS9.CFG file (I presume you can find it).Add the following two lines:[DISPLAY.Your.Video.Card]Mode=1024x768x32MipBias=8TriLinear=1TextureAGP=0PanelAsTexture=0The PanelAsTexture may or may not help, it depends on whether you are using any form of Anti-Aliasing.Not sure what it would be for FS2002, check the FS forum.Ray

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>Ryan,>>Open up your FS9.CFG file (I presume you can find it).>>Add the following two lines:>>[DISPLAY.Your.Video.Card]>Mode=1024x768x32>MipBias=8>TriLinear=1>TextureAGP=0>PanelAsTexture=0>>The PanelAsTexture may or may not help, it depends on>whether you are using any form of Anti-Aliasing.I'm using 4X AA, will that panel fix help?

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Greg,Give it a try, it might help, it might also result in a completely unreadable dash ;) Easy enough to chop out that one line if such is the case. No permanent harm with FS9, just always keep track of what you changed so at some future point you have the ability to reverse the settings back to the original.Nice thing about FS9 & PMDG, if you really mess up, run the PMDG remove tool, Run the FS9 reset defaults option and just reload the puppy. No harm done.Ray

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Ray,Just wanted to say thanks for explaining what those options do. :)Jim Richards

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Thanks, Ray et al....Now I'll just read all of what you said a few times... and see if any sinks in ;-)Get RAM. RAM is GOOD. (Got that bit) :-)What I don't quite understand is why PDGM runs quite nicely (2D panel) in FS2002 with most of the sliders maxxed out, even though it takes so long to boot up the panel. You may have already told me in this message thread.... but it may take me a while to realize that :-lolThanks again.Cheers.Ian.

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Ian, think of your memory as a shopping cart. You pile all the stuff in it at the store. You go to the checkout and they nicely bag it for you. Easier moving the bags around then all the separate little goodies you put in the cart right?Loading is like standing at the checkout, gotta sort through and price everything then put it in bags so you can get at the stuff quickly. The more smaller items you have, the longer it takes (consider these detail settings).Once it has been bagged, it is quick to move the goodies around (swapping in and out of memory - Windows swap file).When you get home, it takes time to unpack the bags and put things away (gotta clean out all that swapped stuff in order to exit the program).Thats your situation as it sits now.Add to that that FS9 (not sure if you are running 9 too) seems to have a silly setting that throws away 1/4 of your ram for nothing (AGPTexture=1) and you can see just how much the prep work is going to take (the checkout clerk is one handed now).Ray

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A marvellous analogy, Ray :-)Unfortunately, it looks like the cashier didn't like colour of my money when I tried to check out... I just bought an extra 512 of DDR RAM... to add to the existing 256.... It made absolutely no difference to loading times.So far I've spend almost A$300 on replacement RAM, $A65 on the product and about A$80 on the Bulfer 737NG FMC Users Guide. PS1 is starting to look more and more economical every minute :( I think I'd need an awful lot of encouragement to go to 1 Gig of RAM. I may have to bite the bullet and re-download the NG files.... even though, last time, it took about 4 days on my wobbly internet connection. I might have to blackmail PMDG into sending me a hard copy! :-lolCheers.Ian.

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If any of you are using Windows XP either Pro or Home try this.... For users of Windows 2000 or XP you actually have to tell the OS what size L2 cache your processor has otherwise it won't be used properly! Luckily it's fairly easy to fix. Click on the Start button then go to run. From there type REGEDIT and press the "Ok" button. After it opens the Registry Editor follow this path. hkey_local_machine, System, CurrentControlSet, *Control*, Session Manager, Memory Management Once you're in the Memory Management folder look for the DWORD value secondleveldatacache. Right click on that and go to modify. Very important you have to change the Base from Hexidecimal to Decimal before modifying the values. After that's done just punch in your L2 cache size so if you're using an AthlonXP since the CPU has 256KB L2 Cache you enter 256. For Duron's enter 64 and for P4 Northwood's enter 512. After that's done you should notice your programs now have quite a bit more zip and the system is less sluggish because Windows now knows how to use your L2 cache properly. I will CAUTION those of you who have no clear idea exactly how to mess with this to not attempt it! If you are comfortable you will reap some added benifits =)[h5]Best Wishes,Randy J. Smith [h4]P M D G 7 3 7 NG[/h4]http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-8/196432/mineimage.jpg [h3] Realism on the horizon [h5]AMD XP 2200 |MUNCHKIN 512 DDR RAM |ECS[/b ][i] K7S5A MB[/i] |GF2 MX 32 MEG and still runs GOOD!|WIN XP PRO |MITSUBISHI DIAMOND PLUS 91 19"[/h5]

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"I will CAUTION those of you who have no clear idea exactly how to mess with this to not attempt it!"Tried it in spite of this, Randy :-lolDidn't work, but it was a noble effort. You explained it well.Thanks anyway :-)Cheers.Ian.

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Well you should notice an increase in windows ie opening etc....[h4]Best Wishes,Randy J. Smith [/4]P M D G 7 3 7 NG[/h4]http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-8/196432/mineimage.jpg [h3] Realism on the horizon AMD XP 2200 |MUNCHKIN 512 DDR RAM |ECS[/b ][i] K7S5A MB[/i] |GF2 MX 32 MEG and still runs GOOD!|WIN XP PRO |MITSUBISHI DIAMOND PLUS 91 19"[/h3]

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Ian, mail me a couple of screen shots of what you have running on your task manager pages. Something fishy here as there really is no way that ou can double your memory and get nothing out of it without something else going on ...You wouldn't by chance have some AntiVirus program running with real time file protection?I know just what you mean about PS1, I went through the same thought process with FS2000 & PIC, the cost of putting a machine together that could actually run them well make me buy PS1 instead as it was much cheaper ;-)Rayemail: raymond.gardner@sympatico.ca

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"Well you should notice an increase in windows ie opening etc...."I think you may be right, Randy. I just noticed it. That's going to make PMDG look even slower, tho' :(Cheers.Ian.

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Ray,Thanks so much!! I got an average of 8 fps more with that tweak, and no decrease in visual quality. I think I'll actually enjoy FS9 now. :-D

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Hello Randy Smith,I'm just curious. Where'd you hear about the Registry Tweak for the L2 Cache size? I know of quite a few tweaks myself, but not that one. Just curious is all. Btw, I just punched it in. :) I guess the hardware must not report this item to the OS when installing the OS, or else MS didn't program WinXP to pick it up eh.Thanks,Jimmy Richards

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