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Guest DaveKDEN

FS2004 Performance feedback for those with a P4 1.7Ghz.

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Hello Gang!A good frined of mine has a "Gold Version" of FS2004 and I have been able to observe the performance of the simulator on the following machine:Pentium 4 1.7Ghz512MB of RDRAM PC-800Nvidia GeForce-2 Ultra 64MBSoundblaster Live Platinum Audio with Boston Acoustics Speakers80GB Hard Drive with 8MB of cache40 GB Hard Drive with 4MB of cacheCD-RW / DVD-ROM / 3.5" Disk Drive5 Cooling Fans22" Super VGA VX-1120 MonitorWindows XP - Professional EditionWith this rig, the simulator performs at a pretty low level if the sliders are maxed out. I found that in order to get the simulator to run at an acceptable level (12 - 15 fps), you have to restore to the default parameters, otherwise the machine will beg for mercy.On the positive side of things, clouds do not seem to tax the machine as heavily as many originally thought. This simulator is fabulous but it does require a beefy rig to run it with all the goodies turned on. I will continue to test and report my findings. I will be upgrading 4 components on my machine:1. I will upgrade my motherboard to an Asus P4S800, 800MHz FSB , with cpu - Pentium 4 3.0GHz 800 MHz CPU FSB Socket 478, w/Heatsink & Fan, Complete Combo kit.2. I will upgrade / change my RAM from 512MB of RDRAM PC-800 to 1GB(2x512MB) PC-3700 DDR466 RAM Dual Channel SPD Enhanced PC3700 DDR.3. I will upgrade my video card from an Nvidia GeForce-2 Ultra 64MG to a Giga-byte ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB DDR-II / CRT, DVI, TV-Out.The whole upgrade is going to put me down about $1,200.00, but it beats purchasing a new rig.Any recommendations are welcome.Sincerely,Dennis D. Mullert

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This isn't meant as a flame Dennis--it's more of a general post responding to the many threads opened regarding FS2004 performance...:My experience (first hand and for some time now, being a tester) is completely different. In the screenshots forum, the day the NDA restrictions were eased, I posted several shots. One was of the sky variation, but the other item of interest was the detail in the shots. Autogen was at full, mesh was at full, AI was at full, Terrain and scenery detail was at full, clouds were 100 pct. 3d (no imposters), cloud distance was 50 miles (meaning the clouds are drawn in a 50 mile radius around the aircraft). FPS with the autogen and some moderate clouds--20-22 fps. Without--25-30 fps. Having said that, I've flown with a 7/8's deck of T-Storms in the flight levels, with autogen off (who needs it in the flight levels)...and I've maintained 15fps.... IOTW, the sky was full of clouds (as Rainman would say, "lots and lots of them").All on a P3/800, GeForce 2/TI, 384megs cheapo CAS3 RAM, with Windows 98SE for good measure.So what gives, if I had all those sliders maxed?First, I dumped the shadows. Next, water reflections (which I'm sorry to say, aren't available for GeF/2 TI users anyway). In FS2002, they ate framerates. Last--I limited my screen res to 800x600x32, and used anti aliasing to compensate, and only for screenshots.IOTW, I scale the sim to what I am going to do, rather than scale the hardware to everything I expect the sim to do. Doesn't mean I am going to run on a P3/800 forever, but it gives me options, and a chance to stretch out my budget. And others with systems similar to mine should feel like they have room to breath.Sure--if you max all sliders on my system, then you're talking single digit framerates. But if you configure the system so you get max. visual quality vs. your target framerate, you can be amazed what a low end system could do. I encourage people to wait--don't think it's all for nothing, and FS2004 isn't for you, or you'll need a Cray. Buy it, and scale it to what you have, then upgrade where and when you see the need to. Take FS2002's scenery sliders, and match them up against FS2004. Then start adding weather piecemeal--learn how to configure it for best performance. Next--configure Autogen at "Normal" first. Normal in FS2004 is equiv. to max Autogen in FS2002. Max Autogen in FS2004 is something else--now my Microlight has something interesting to fly over, and I can stop for chicken on the way :) Edit: I forgot to add--I will make myself available to anyone who wants my help in tweaking performance, while maxmizing detail, on a lower end system once FS2004 is in general release.

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Hey thanks for the info, I was giving up the idea about getting FS2004 because of the specs on my machine:Athon 1.3RAM 512MBGeforce 2 MX 64MB (this one I'm about to upgrade, possible ATI 9800 or equivalent)Win XP HomeNo hope about upgrading the rest of My machine, As a newbiew about Computers I Bought a crappy COMPAQ 2 yrs ago for a HUGEEE amount of money, and for what I know so far this machine cant be upgraded.

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Great info there! >"...Next, water reflections (which I'm sorry to say, aren't available for GeF/2 TI users anyway). In FS2002, they ate framerates..."I've found (on my antique PIII-1GHz) that water reflections and aircraft reflections eat up resources more than about anything else. I've turned them both off, and though I miss aircraft reflections, I can live without it as more and more models are incorporating "dynamic shine." I never really liked water reflections in FS2002 and suppose I can live without them in FS2004 (though they look to be better implemented).Dave

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I would also suggest you consider just a cpu upgrade at this time. You might be disapointed with the upgrade you are considering. Today's top rigs can't handle FS 2002 with a full slate of AI, realistic weather with partly cloudy skies, a complex airport and a complex airplane without slowing down appreciably - twenties and teens if AA and Anitstropic filtering is being used.If you have 423 pin P4 on your old machine you can buy an adapter from Powerleap that will allow you to put a P4 up to 2.8 (2.6 400 fsb if you currently own a dell) on your current motherboard, and you won't have to give up the Rambus memory which you probably paid dearly for and performs just as well as dual channel DDR. The upgrade is painless - 10 minutes, no re-installation of your files and you will be pretty close to the specs you noted above in performance, though out of pocket only about $250. Also, I'm also not sure the 9800 is worth the extra money for MSFS. Reviews I've read have shown no appreciable performance increase with the extra memory (programs are not written to use it) and you can get a 9700 Pro on E-bay for around $270. Just a thought. Colin

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Only difference between your machine and mine is I've got a GF3. FS2K2 runs quite well with everything maxed out, AA, etc, usually between 10 - 20 FPS (10 being highly congested airports with loads of AI, 20 usually above 3000 AGL, regardless of weather).Definitely looking forward to FS2K4, even if it is mostly eye candy. :)

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I have a P4 1.9 GHz 256MB RAM 57.27 GB hard drive and a GeForce2 MX/MX 400 grafic card. I currently have ALL sliders for FS2002 maxed out (except for FPS, which I have locked at 20) and I'm getting frame rates in the mid teens to low 20's (which is good for me)So I'm think FS2004 will run a bit better than FS2002 runs on my computer.(the only thing I been thinking of upgrading is my graphics card)

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Hey Colin!Thanks a lot for the tip! I didn't know about the adapter!Sincerely,Dennis D. Mullert

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Gabrial,My system is a Athlon 1.2Ghz, 512MB ram, Win98SE, with a 128MB ATI 9700 Pro video card and I keep most sliders max'd out and the performance I'm receiving with FS2004 is very good, much better than FS2002 was with similar settings.Bear!

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Hey Dave!You make a good point! I only had a short period of time to test a bunch of stuff, but over the weekend, I'll have more time and the reflections is definitely something I'm going to be looking at in detail. Stay tuned!Sincerely,Dennis D. Mullert

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>Geforce 2 MX 64MB (this one I'm about to upgrade, possible ATI)Without a better CPU and motherboard that video card isn't going to give you any better performance.Ryan

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Try turning down "terrain mesh complexity" a bit as well (assuming FS2004 still has that option). There's an amazing graphical enhancement (blurries eliminated for me - for the most part) from simply adjusting it down to 80%-90%. Based on my experience, all this option does is lower the mesh complexity at farther distances from your present position. As you close in, the mesh fills in just fine.Dave

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