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Well, 1024 RDRAM does squat !

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OK, well, not totally, but I went from 512 RDRAM on a 2.53Ghz P4 to 1024 RDRAM recently and I honestly see no diff at all. Performance was good before, I was just curious as to whether 1024 would send me to heaven. Alas, no.At KJFK with default scenery and EXTREMELY DENSE scenery and autogen, etc., clear skies, 60% ATC, FSAA 2x, high monitor res, I get an average of 15 fps sitting on 31L in a MelJet 777 with PSS cockpit, and about 17 fps in most other big iron (POSKY, PSS, etc.). It's OK, but not amazing. In the air, after liftoff, I get 20 to 24 (my cap) quickly. But I got that with 512 RDRAM and get the same with 1024 RDRAM. Nothing loads faster with the extra RAM. There is an odd bit of scenery texture loading from time to time as it "settles down" in view at lower altitudes, as I had before loading the extra RAM.This is pathetic. I sure hope FS2004 will be optimized to allow us to actually use the insane amount of RDRAM some of us have been driven (addicted? obsessed?) to instal.Comments welcome!JS

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Well JS, once again, you've helped to prove that adding more RAM will never increase the framerate. This is one of the Great Truths of MSFS. But WinXP will love it :-) .Trip

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Not really. First of all Windows 2000 and XP both split ram usage between physical RAM and virtual, in some cases nearly 50%. In my experience of using 512MB RAM and 1024MB amounts of RAM, 512 was the most economic way to go, and made it much easier for your chipset to run in "turbo" modes (which is more useful than 1024MB of RAM). FS won't use that much RAM because Windows 2000, XP, or any other future OS won't allow FS to use huge chunks like that to be taken out. Its stressful on the OS and on your chipset.-Matt

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So I was planning on upgrading ram and video card with the next release. Currently running a 2 gig P4 512 ram Gforce3. looking to go up to 1024 with a top line video card (whatever is considered the best at that time). After reading what you wrote I might just want to do the video card?Kil~

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For the past 6 - 8 months or so, I've been battling a "stutter" in my setup. A stutter that I did not have before. Today, in a fit of housecleaning, I took my PC from 1024 PC800 to 768 PC800. Two things changed, one of which removed my stutter, and returned the PC back to its former self:1. One set of sticks were "thick" the other "thin". Now both sets are thin.2. When I had the 1024 installed, my mobo always informed me on boot that I should have ECC memory installed. I was not aware they even made RIMMS with ECC.So...for me, 768 is MUCH better than 1024, and Sandra sez I'm hardly not using any of it anyway...bout a third for OS and services.Cheers,bt

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Unless you have some sort of CAD or graphics need which requires large amounts of memory I wouldn't worry much about anything over 512MB of physical RAM. If the primary concern is MSFS, you'll never see the difference between 512 and 1024.

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Hi JS,The only time 1024 would help FS is when large, PhotoReal sceneries are used. Otherwise, FS would never "need" that much memory.On the other hand, WinXP can most certainly use as much memory as you can throw at it. If you don't do heavy development (such as large photo editing, rendering, video-music editing, etc), you can actually turn off the page file in XP and get great performance with 1GB of memory: no "swaping" to the HD will happen at all.I don't know who gave you the idea that memory size would affect general framerates in any app/game: it can't. It will, however, help remove any stuttering and improve load times when using large datasets in any program or game.Take care,Elrond

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Elrond:Thanks to you and all others for posting.I knew that extra RDRAM would not enhance fps, but I was expecting things to load faster and I had hoped that it would enable all default scenery and a/c textures to load in a flash when going to SPOT view. But it makes no visible diff at all. Annoyingly, when going to SPOT view with very heavy texture a/c (incl. Gmax'ed) after a long break from such a view, the textures refill, albeit very fast.I also got the additional RDRAM because from time to time, the Task Manager would advise me that FS2002 was using well over 200MB and with all the other apps Windows XP has open plus my utilities, I was using up to 375-390 MB of the 512 RAM available. So I thought another 512 MB wouldn't hurt. Well, OK, I was hoping it would HELP. But as I said, no diff. I guess I shall hope that FS2004 will make better use of all our hardware, including the RAM and video card capabilities.Thanks again to all here. Cheers!JS

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To Kil: Yes definetly get a new video card, that will do you the greatest amount of good. I currently run an ATI Radeon 9500 Pro, packs a wallop for only $199, though you said want a top-o-the-line model.Elrond, I'd be very suprised to see Win2K or XP let FS have all the ram it wants in regards to large photoreal scenery, most likely it will just page it out to the VM on your hard drive, which brings me to an interesting tip (for those who don't know what virtual memory is):In Windows 2000 or XP, Control -> System, Advanced Tab, Performance Options, Change, you can configure which drives and how much space is used for the system page file. This is a very handy setting for those of you who have large 7200RPM drives. I currently have mine set to 384MB and a maximum of 512MB. With the way these operating systems are, a large quarter gig, to half gig page file can help performance quite a bit. Windows 2000 and XP both put emphasis on using the page file for applications. In most cases, even though I mentioned a 50% split between usage of physical and virtual, the operating system will allocate far more virtual memory than physical for large applications or games. (Use the task manager when hitting alt-ctrl-delete in 2K/XP to check memory usage).It comes right down to it, the best performance enhancements from what I have experienced are:512MB of blazing-fast RAM (mobo. set to "turbo" mode if applicable)7200RPM UDMA-133 Hard DriveHigh-end 3D Acclerator (gF4, Radeon 95P/97P, gFX)AND the most important enhancement: DEFRAG REGULARY, FS consantly accesses the hard drive for texture and scenery data, keep that s*** organized. I use "O&O Defragmention V4 Server Edition", not the default Micro$haft defragmentor.One Question: I see a reply which talked about disabling the page file, can you even do that? Last time I tried windows 2K yelled and reset it automatically.-Matt

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Hi Matt,"Elrond, I'd be very suprised to see Win2K or XP let FS have all the ram it wants in regards to large photoreal scenery, most likely it will just page it out to the VM on your hard drive"I think you must have a different memory model confused when it comes to active memory management - more specifically when it comes to NT's memory management. While NT does indeed pool physical and page memory into the same address space (completely transparent to an application), there is nothing inherent in the amount of physical memory that an application can allocate. I'll skip the details of why this is since this isn't a technical forum, but all it takes for you to see this is to load up your favorite image editing program and open a gig or better image (assuming you have more than a gig of physical memory) - with all paging files disabled. The NT kernel is specifically designed to handle huge amounts of physical memory in an intelligent fashion - but that most certainly doesn't mean it limits any program to its availability. That would indeed make the kernel supremely useless."One Question: I see a reply which talked about disabling the page file, can you even do that? Last time I tried windows 2K yelled and reset it automatically."Yes, you can: NT does not balk at the lack of page memory. There is, however, a very few poorly designed applications that do so of their own volition. These poorly designed applications assume that a system without paging enabled won't have enough memory to work properly, and thus check the paging system to verify it is enabled. Thats a falicy on the programmers part, not a limitation in OS design. Its always a poor choice to program with the lowest common denominator as the target - and this is exactly what these few programs do.For those who have a gig+ of memory and don't use anything more than games, internet and office type applications, disabling all paging files is a great way to improve performance. Once can also choose to limit NT's (2K, XP, etc) internal use of paging but keep a page file enabled for large scale application datasets when required... This is an alternative method for a speed boost for those with large amounts of memory.Take care,Elrond

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Elrond, with 512 ram do you recommend disabling the page file in XP Pro, or only those with 1G or more of ram?TIA, great discussion! :-wave---Banners? We don't need no stinkin' banners!---Visualize PAI sig banner here.

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Hi Frank,Actually, I didn't quite express the above properly:"Yes, you can: NT does not balk at the lack of page memory." I should have said NT (and 2K, XP, etc) don't balk as long as they can load their own datasets in physical memory.XP Pro has a fairly large dataset requirement of its own for when it came out (depends on system, but on average of about 160MB on load and 230-350MB general usage). Because of that, if you disable paging with less than 1GB, you'll hit the wall of not having enough physical memory for many applications and games.I wouldn't recommend disabling paging on systems less than 1GB+. You can always try it and see if it meets your own application needs, but be ready to re-enable it if it does not.Good luck,Elrond

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Hi Elrond:-) I'm glad you joined in on this thread. A poster pointed out that, despite dollops of memory, FS often seems reluctant to take a big enough slice of it. In my own case, I recently upgraded to 512 Mb of RAM (from 256) in Win98. The reason for the upgrade was that I could see (from running sysmon) that FS could use a little more memory than the 256Mb I had. As it turns out, that reasoning was correct - including the core OS, FS and the vcache, it uses somewhere between 300 and 400 Mb - maximum. Under no circumstance have I ever seen the stock product use more than this, no matter how long the flying session.But what seems frustrating to a lot of us is that there is still spare memory on our machines that FS just doesn't want to touch. I'm just wondering if you could explain to us how a given application "decides" how much memory it is going to use and how much control the program writer has over this as opposed to the OS itself? I think a lot of people, including myself, would like to see FS use more real memory than it does. It really is annoying for someone with 1 Gig of memory to see half of it unused, when FS still happily keeps performing ongoing (albeit small) hard drive I/Os.

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Hi Jon,For all intents and purposes, and to keep this topic easy, a programmer has control over how much memory his/her application uses. While there *are* some technical limitations (2-3GB apps with XP since its a 32-bit OS, XP's refusal to allocate certain amounts of memory depending upon specific circumstances, etc), in relative practice the OS places no limit on the size of an application's memory requests - when memory is available (physical and virtual).As a rule today, however, almost every application is written to limit the amount of memory used to the smallest amount possible - to run on the widest variety of systems possible. FS is no different. While it would be nice if they had built in a greater "sliding scale", so to speak, where FS memory allocation depended more on the amount of physical memory available: they didn't. Indeed, beyond fluctuation in some scenery design, FS's memory use is fairly constant.The good news is: not every performance enhancement in FS comes from the application itself. If a person has a lot of memory in XP that "looks" unused , they can be guaranteed it is not. XP has a smart "System Cache" methodology that can use up every scrap of memory on a system to bypass HD seeks - the single largest system bottleneck todays boxes have. Indeed, as long as XP is set to optimize the System Cache (which is basically the same as 9x's VCache, just named different), FS can greatly benefit because of its thousands of texture reads in a complex scenery. FS has its own cache system of course (thats what the load time in a scenery is filling, etc), but because of its hard-coded memory limits, not all memory can be utilized from within. Using the OS itself is the second best way to take advantage of the rest: even if its not quite as efficient as FS doing so itself.For those interested in optimizing large memory systems on XP, a fair read can be found in this article:http://www.techspot.com/tweaks/memory-winxp/index.shtmlHope that helped,Elrond

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