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Noel

Optimizing fps on my new P4 - How to do it?

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Now that my P4 is up'n running, it is pretty stunning. I have a twin-view card and dual monitors. It is generally very smooth, but amazingly I still have to manage clouds (set to 50%), cloud densities, and AI traffic (also 50%) or else frames fall. With everything else maxed, the range using for example PSS 744s with default scenery is 16 to 26 fps, locked at 26. On ground at LAX in terminal area with trucks, etc., it may fall to 14-17; once in air, stabilizes quickly at 20-22, rising to cap of 26. Visual image is very smooth, not quite TV quality, but hugely improved over the P3. Is there a way to tweak things without getting too adventurous so I can raise the average fps? Also, should the cap be higher than 26?Appreciate any advice, thanks!JSSpex:DELL P4, 2.53 Ghz533 Mhz busTi-4600, nVidia 30.82 drivers512 Rambus RAM21" TRINITRON19" TRINITRONMS FFB2 stick1280x1024x32 bit res

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I cap at 35 fps on my Athlon 1900XP/Geforce3Ti500. Don't always get it of course, but I do prefer higher fps when possible. I don't feel that 35 fps seems to take away from other resorces. I also run in 1600*1200*32 on my 22" monitor. I doubt you would have any problems with higher res and fps limits! BTW--- the desktop or cfg. file within FS2002 might need to be changed to achieve the higher res on the menu.L.Adamson

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Does 35 fps cap result in anything being reduced or disappearing such as coastline or waves, etc? I wish I understood how this frame cap is supposed to really work!Thanks for responding.JS

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There's a GREAT article at www.lagoonline.com about how the frame cap actually works. Basically, if FS is not using your comp horsepower to produce more frames, it's working to load new textures, mesh, etc in the background. Setting the frame cap really high makes it work at nothing other than pure framerate, so you should set it somewhat conservatively - I have mine set at 25, and it works really well.I really hope MS dumps the FS engine and rewrites it from scratch soon... The renderer appears to be extremely ineffiecient - games like IL-2 and the upcomming LOMAC **scream** at a high FPS and look better than FS IMO. None of the new graphics technologies like pixel shaders, vertex shaders etc are taken advantage of in FS2002...

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I heard the human eye cant detect the diff any higher than 30fps...so to your eyes 30 and 100 would look the same...If this is true why would you want to set any higher than 30? i lock at 25 and it seem smooth enough for me.

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Roughly 72 FPS is where it starts to become undetectable to the human eye. You can see this just by setting your desktop refresh rate to 60Hz... You can clearly see the flicker from the screen redraw. Set it to 72Hz and the effect is MUCH less apparent - set it to 75 or 85Hz and it's completely undetectable and doesn't flicker. Your eyes will still be affected even though you can't see the flicker or sense the framrate though - I can't use 75Hz because my eyes start to hurt for some reason, so I use 85Hz, which "feels" easier on my eyes. Going higher that 85 also makes them hurt...

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Ryan:nVidia says you can detect the diff up to 60 fps or so, so you are probably correct. My refresh is set to 100 on the 19" and "Optimal" on the 21" TRINITRONs. No glare, no flicker.My fps is capped at 26 or 27 now and it works well. Perhaps I'll just leave it at that. Thanks to you and others for jumping in.JS

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F can mean 2 things....Fields and framesdo a search on persistance of vision....Richard GreenVATUSA4Events and VA Director

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I'm still running a lowly AMD Athalon 600 with an ASUS GeForce2 32Mb vid card and have it locked at 20 with hardly ever a stutter.I have read and do believe that anything much above 20fps is hardly noticed by the human eye. You will get your best frame rates using the window mode as opposed to full screen.Most of your CPU is being used to generate the auto-gen scenery and the higher you have your scenery settings the more hit on frame rates.

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A great trick on any computer is to reduce the visibility range. I use fsuipc for that. I limit visibilty to no more than 20-30 miles and 10 miles for overcast, just like real life. It makes a huge difference.Lee

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The Terrain Mesh Complexity slider is the most significant slider by far on my P3 1GHz machine. It is surprising to hear of what sounds to be not too robust performance on a machine roughly twice as potent as mine. I run FS at 1600 x 1200 x 32, or even higher at 1792 x 1344 x 32, and I have very steady performance locked at 22fps. Worse case scenario: certain kinds of clouds, winds, terrain density etc, it can bog down to 9 FPS, but this is rare. Taxiing around KLAS at dusk I get around 14-19. Taxiing around smaller airports it stays locked at 22. I have the Terrain Mesh Complexity slider to 80%. If I go to 100% I cut my FPS by 40% it seems. Other settings:Clouds 50%ATC 40%Autogen Very highScenery Complexity Very HighEverything else, including reflections, max exterior aircraft graphic quality, etc.I am stuck with lightweight GMAX aircraft to keep this good perf. PSS and DF stuff bogs it down too much.I am upgrading to P4 at over 3.00 GHz or morePC1066 RDRAMGeForce4 Ti4600 unless Radeon 9700 Pro proves to be a winner with FSNoel

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Noel:Your PC performance for FS2002 is about as good as mine. It's insane. I have massively more juice than your machine. How is this possible?Frankly, I had expected to get an average of at least 45 fps with my new P4 2.53Ghz in all modes, but seems no such luck. Is yours an Athlon? They do seem to work amazingly well. And I have the Northwood superfast chip! There is something crazy and inexplicable about these enormous inconsistencies, isn't there?That's why I posted here: to see how I could crank more performance out of my PC. I guess with default a/c, I can get much higher frames, but with PSS (and I haven't even tried POSKY yet), I may be stuck in the mid twenties fps.Last night I flew the FFG DC-10-30 into KSFO and texture reloading took place in SPOT view. I could NOT believe it! A 128MB video card and I STILL get visible texture reloading (forabout 1-2 seconds), it was umbaleevable!The sim does run smooth, real smooth, but I had expected to get TV like quality smoothness in any view and over any scenery, in any a/c and cockpit. Seems I was wrong!JS

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JS this is disheartening to hear as I am in the midst of putting together a similar machine as yours. No, mines a common old P3 1GHz with a 2 y/o Radeon 64 DDR card. I don't fly anything but default aircraft because all my add ons PSS and DF stuff is to taxing.I really am puzzled by your report. Bubba at SimHQ posted his 2.8GHz test system was the first to run FS2K at 28FPS with total smoothness everything maxed.1-2 sec of texture loading for a spot view?! Something is definitely wrong. I don't even have that with my set up, but again default aircraft are all this can handle. The problem I think for you is the non-default aircraft. They are too much for FS2K. I could actually run both the PSS 747 and DF 737 just dandy in FS2000 on this machine.I don't know if you read my (and others') posts about disabling AGP texturing in DirectX. This has dramatically improved smoothness on my machine and I only have 64m video ram. Yours should work great with AGP disabled hopefully.I'll bet there is some tweaking you can do, or it may be a tradeoff still betweeen scenery or aircraft quality.Dang this bothers me!The other thing I am doing different than your sys is using Seagate X15.3 15,000 RPM SCSI Ultra 160 drives. SCSI controllers interfere less with the CPU during the CONSTANT drive access FS uses despite high system memory amounts. A few have posted this improved smoothness dramatically and I want this drive system as it's way fast, though pricey.It is a dang puzzle though I agree. Your machine should be over twice the horsepower of mine. I'll bet some parts of FS reflect this, but some don't due to bottlenecks or syncronization problems. Noel

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Noel:I greatly appreciate your persistence and information. what you write about is JUST WHAT I NEED TO DO ! I need help in TWEAKING my PC but I've never tweaked anything and don't know where to start.For e.g., how do I disable the AGP stuff. Where is it for me to disable?Anything else I should be looking at doing?I will say that the sim IS totally smooth and gorgeous to watch in motion. If the fps counter were NOT visible, you would never guess that the fps are as low as 15 to 18 at the KLAX terminals because there is the perception of complete smoothness and motion. But I have become obsessed with fps like many simmers because , well,..... we are (or get) mostly obsessed with fps and PCs and simming !All that said, I was expecting to get massively greater fps on the ground at dense airports especially since my res is 1280x1024x32. On my 21" TRINITRON, I don't seem to even have the option of 1600x1200x32 which is puzzling. In fact, now that I have changed the second monitor and installed the default 19" TRINTRON that came with the DELL P4, I don't even have an option to set the refresh rate to OPTIMAL, I have only a choice of numbered Hz for the refresh rate. This stuff is enough to drive anybody nuts!I have a theory incidentally about PC's learning or adapting to routines. And so I am wondering if the add-on a/c will eventually run at higher fps. I know this sounds crazy but I am sure this happened on my P3 PC. However, the POSKY 744 series in particular was always a frame rate killer for my P3. I have not yet tried it on the P4. The PSS 744 model runs very well on the P4 and once in the air and away from dense airport scenery, frames in SPOT view of the entire a/c viewed from any angle rise to the cap of 26 and stay there. So that is encouraging.But the texture reloading of the FFG DC-10-30 was quite appalling to experience. Not that it was a long, but 1-2 secs is a major disappointment. I mean isn't 128MB of video RAM enough?!Anyway, thanks again for your posts and please at least let me know about disabling AGP.Cheers!JS

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Noel:While I'm at it, perhaps we should test things in FS2002 based on common parameters. It's all too easy to say that one gets XYZ frames but if a single parameter is not set, it can make a major diff. For e.g,. FSAA is a frame rate killer. Another one is water reflections. And so on.What about doing this for FS2002 and posting on the forum here? I'd be up for it.Here's the data for the Bubba test of the 2.80Ghz with Kingston RAM 1066 speed (I have PC800 Rambus ram). Frames for FS2002 are totally pathetic compared to the other games and my frames are actually very comparable, notwithstanding taking readings at KLAX and KORD terminals which are frame rate killers. Sorry about the misalignment, but the data is for 3 resolutions read from left to right:Game Scores 1024 x 768 1280 x 1024 1600 x 1200 Falcon 4.0 40 N/A 34 Flanker 2.5 27 N/A N/A CFS2 90 87 50 Ghost Recon 140 110 78 IL2 Sturmovik 60 N/A 36 Comanche 4 57.12 53.49 46.06 FS2002 27 27 27 JS

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I was also shaky about FS2k2's performace with my new system. It was a nice upgrade from my P4 1.3GHz, but FS2k2 still doesn't run as smooth and as fast as I'd like it to. I'd realy love to see Microsoft create FS2k4 on a new graphics engine, but I've learned to just appreciate what I have. :-)Ryan-Flightpro08 :-coolVATSIM Pilot/ControllerZLA ARTCC Controller 1 (C-1)SAN TRACON Lead [link:www.taxiwaysigns.com]Taxiwaysigns.com Scenery Designer-----------------------------My "Home Made" System Specs:Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz ProcessorTurbo Gamer ATX Mid-Tower with 420W Power SupplyEPoX 4G4A Motherboard with Intel 845G ChipsetVisiontek XTASY GeForce4 128MB Ti4600 (Det 40.41 Drivers)512MB PC2100 DDR RAM40GB Matrox 7200RPM Hard DriveWindows XP Home Edition*No CPU or GPU Overclocking*3dMark2001SE Score: 11298

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Those old PIII machines still have a lot going for them. My PIII 933 always ran FS2002 OK, but as Noel pointed out, I had to keep the terrain complexity down (I think around 25%) in order to maintain a consistent frame rate. I also found I really had to fly in fine weather otherwise again the frame rate would not be consistent enough, or I would have to set the maximum frame rate too low for my personal comfort.I put together an Athlon XP 1800+ machine last week, but kept all my old components bar the mainboard and CPU. There was certainly a new injection of vitality in the sim, but when it came down to the nitty gritty of setting the sliders, all I could really do was increase the terrain complexity and allow for more complex weather settings. Any more than this and the performance was back down to the level of the PIII. I did, however, notice a significant improvement in the smoothness of cockpit views, both 2D and 3D.As it turned out, my attempts over a week to get the Athlon setup running stable proved fruitless (yes, I tried every known stablising trick ever conceived although I now suspect the mainboard IDE controller is faulty) so at least for the moment, I am just going back to my old PIII setup. It's slow, simple, stable and fuss-free.Nevertheless, the experiment proved that FS will continue to keep scaling nicely, albeit slowly, and that every extra few hundred mhz or so will let you push a slider further right or activate a feature you didn't have on before, whilst maintaining your previous performance level. FS certainly happily gobbled up the extra 600 Mhz. Infact the scalability quite surprised me as many game seem to just "bottom out" after a particular point. The only caveat is that the returns are diminishing as clock speeds increase, meaning that imho, people should perhaps only bother upgrading to machine twice as fast or more as their old one.So Noel, I wouldn't be at all concerned about other people's experiences. When you have built your new machine, load up FS2002 with the exact same settings you had on your old machine. Then you can start pushing the sliders, adding scenery, whatever. You will notice a difference, because your own comparison is more valid to you than someone else. I can truly assure you FS will very happily munch on those extra 2 ghz. Mind you, before you know it, you will probably have FS performing at the same fps you did with your old PIII. But then, make a long list of all the things you've changed / beefed up / added in FS since you started running your 3ghz machine, and get back to us ;)

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Yes I beieve your summation is accurate Jon. People upgrade, and shortly thereafter begin increasing settings until they see what appears to be minimal performance improvement.Do you think scaling is directly proportional? For example, you double the throughput of PC, you double the performance of the sim, of course this presupposes keeping all settings identical. Do you think if I keep all settings identical, that fps will effectively double? If not, why not?I have always had the impression scaling was not directly proportional with FS2000 and 2002, which to me points to a bottleneck somewhere that has not effectively had its throughput doubled, along with the CPU and GPU doubling that is being accomplished. Perhaps this impression is an illusion caused by the failure to appreciate those inevitable addons and slider increases.I will do the experiment and see. I am still waiting for the dust to settle on a few components: I'll grab the 2.8 when it goes under 400 or 350. Radeon 9700 Pro appears to have problems with DirectX games, so we wait a while until that is resolved before taking the plunge. The image qual on Radeon appears much cleaner than with GF4 from what I've seen, but I know the Ti4600s run great and that is important to me.Noel

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>Do you think scaling is directly proportional? For example, >you double the throughput of PC, you double the performance >of the sim, of course this presupposes keeping all settings >identical. Do you think if I keep all settings identical, >that fps will effectively double? If not, why not? >>>Noel Definitely not. I feel the returns are going to be ever diminishing at least for the forseeable future. I suppose in theory it could get to a point where you would double the speed of everything you had and barely be able to tell the difference. But I think that is quite some time away and by then FS2002 will have well and truly been relegated to the Flight Sim Museum. If I had to try and quantify the sytem I was running this week, I would say I got 30% more performance for a 64% increase in clock speed. I wouldn't argue that another 64% clock speed increase over that may only give another 15% performance and so on. I think 32 bit architecture, bus speeds less than CPU speeds, the PCI bus, AGP bandwidth limitations, the use of motorised storage devices (ie hard drives) and the concept of components using interrupts is keeping a cap on what we can achieve in terms of system performance. Once 64 bit platforms have fully matured, we will see a higher plane of performance provided the software is coded to take advantage of these platforms. In that respect I guess my current attempt at upgrading is fairly sensible, as it isn't too much slower than the fastest gear around at the moment and it would let me hold on until the next architectural change comes to fruition. I certainly think even the cost of an Athlon XP processor and mainboard was easily worth it just to turn the terrain complexity and weather up. Thosw things (or the lack thereof) were really annoying me in the old PIII setup.Having said all that, I think my earlier post that I could happily use 20 Ghz to run FS2002 was a bit of an exaggeration, now that I have tried an Athlon XP. I reckon I could now get everything I wanted from only 19 ghz ;). Or to put it in a more serious light, I would have no qualms about continuing to upgrade hardware for a few years in order to keep drawing more out of FS2002, rather than upgrading to later versions of FS that will probably continue to require more horsepower than their predecessors. I certainly would never have contemplated this with any earlier version of FS, which itself says a lot about how well MS put FS2002 together.

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>I think 32 bit architecture, bus speeds less than CPU speeds, the >PCI bus, AGP bandwidth limitations, the use of motorised storage >devices (ie hard drives) . . . is keeping a cap on what we can >achieveWhich is precisely (sic? it looks odd!) why the system I am building will use PC1066+ (prob won't find dual channel DDR in time) which has the same theoretical bandwidth (4.2gb/sec) as the P4 I choose, and also why I am using the hot new Cheetah X15.3 drives which send a whopping 80mb/sec sustained, with less CPU interference. I don't think AGP 8x will come into play with its 2.1mb/sec limit since I am finding disabling of AGP texture acceleration to be a performance improvement on my sys. Perhaps that will not be the case with my new system I don't know. Anyway, my guess is disabling AGP tex acc with a 128mb video card should work even better than with my 64mb Radeon.It IS hard to wait! The new 3rd gen 15.3 Cheetahs are cool and quiet (see storagereview.com's new review), but will not be available til about the mid of October (checked with Seagate) which is my main hang up at this point. My case and PSS, CDRW, DVD and are assembled and ready to fly. And I panicked and bought Win2K the other day as I loathe the thought of dealing with XP's activation technology. The idea that if for some reason I can't connect to Bill's Place I may not be running my PC disturbs me to the point of buying an old, but acclaimed OS! I'm hopeful that since so many businesses have 2K, as well as a few individuals, they will support it for awhile, at least until 64bit computing has matured enough.It everything works as predicted (ha!) the system should be basically as good as it gets for now. I hope Radeon 9700 Pro matures by next month and Direct3D is functioning as it is supposed to as I do favor the image quality over the GF4's from images I've seen on line. If it isn't rock solid in d3d then it's Ti4600 we go!Noel

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Noel and Jon:I am continuing to test FS2002 and find that following a few hours of using the AFG 737, the default Cessna 182, and the PSS 744, I am able to consistently get completely smooth rendering in various weather and various sceneries. The PC is learning...!Initially, I did set the P4 to EXACTLY the same settings as my P3 for FS2002 and generally speaking, the fps with the P4 was about double that of the P3; in some cases, triple, in others, only about 50% higher. I have since cranked all sliders everywhere full right except for AI (which is now up from 50% to 58%--and makes a significant diff it seems in terms of a/c displayed) and cloud thickness (50%), running in 1280x1024x32 bit, and the rendering and fluidity are very good indeed. I got 26 fps everywhere 2000 feet above Chicago and ORD in a thunderstorm with heavy rain and probably could get more if I raised the cap, but I haven't fiddled further with that yet because the fluidity is excellent at that rate.I've taken the PSS 744 off from KSFO, KLAX, and KJFK and if I ignore the frames (range around 14 to 19 on takeoff roll and initial climbout), the visual image is very good and there are no stutters or hesitations anywhere. There is still texture reloading for about a half second or so with that a/c, but no stutters.I should mention that I have swapped the default sun, trees, moon, clouds, for add-on textures and the trees in particular are massively dense (Gerry's autogen trees), but the fps seem to be fine.So far, therefore, the testing is going nicely. I may fiddle with the fps cap at some point, but first I wanted to check how things look with a range of my fleet (which is pretty huge and diverse).I am going to load the Simflyers KIAD (my home airport, yay!) very shortly and see how that works. JS

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