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Fixing FS2004 stutters

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Here's my system:Dell 1.4ghz 8100256mb RDRAMnVidia3 Ti500Soundblaster 512WinMEI bought the system new to run fs2002, so it's 2 years old. I installed FS2004 today and after playing with it (thanks to the tip on Provantage!), I've noticed a progressive slowdown in the game to the point the frames begin to stutter.Anyway, after playing with the sliders, I see that most of the settings do not equate to the settings in FS2002. You have to move most settings back to the left to get decent frame rates (I have mine locked at 15).There are two types of stutters going on. The first freezes my sim for about 1 to 2 seconds and it appears the computer is locked up. I think it has to do with the 15 minute weather download. I haven't experimented enough yet to know for sure. The second type of stutter starts occurring about 10 to 15 minutes into the flight, or sooner if I do a lot of view switching, and it's a continuous stutter. I see it in turns, level flight, and it's in all views(cockpit, outside, virtual, tower). My frames are dropping into the 3 to 4 range and then jumping back to 8 or 10, but never getting back to 15. At first I thought it had to do with the autogen scenery, so I set autogen back to the minimum and I also flew in some remote areas with no autogen scenery. Still had the stuttering problem with the frame rate.I've found that the progressive stutter is related to the sound acceleration in DX9. If I move the sound slider to unaccelerated in the DX9 setup screen, the studders take longer to show up and they are not as bad. But the downside is the sound in FS2004 is now clipped and ATC is very hard to understand. When I return to accelerated sound, the clipping goes away, but the studders return.I've also gone into the /Windows/Applications/Microsoft/FS9 folder and editted the FS9.CFG file. I've played with the Cache_wav_files setting and doesn't seem to help.I did find that using my FS2002 settings in the graphics section of FS9.CFG helped to clean up the textures. The textures are much sharper now even though my global textures are still set to moderate.I also discovered the FS9.CFG has a section that lets you add more AI labels than are found on the AI options screen. It's pretty cool to see the flight plan, flight number, direction & speed flashing in addition to the make, model and altitude on the AI aircraft.I'll keep playing with this pesky studder problem. If I want the auto update weather, it appears I just have to be patient while the sim freezes and then comes back in a few seconds. But the progressive stutters are becoming annoying and I end up shutting down the sim and restarting to get rid of them. The unaccelerated DX9 sound setting is a big help, but the studders still seem to be there, just not as bad and it takes longer for them to show up.When I run FS2002, everything is very smooth, so I know I don't have a memory problem. I'll try upgrading to DX9b and see if it helps. I'd be interested to know if anyone else with a lower-end machine is having this problem and what they are doing to fix it. In the meantime, I'm going to load FS2004 on my P3-800 with XP to see if it runs better on XP, even if it's a slower machine.I love this new sim; the scenery is awesome, the weather is spectacular, but I gotta fix these studders!Bruce

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Hi!You should get more RAM, absolute minimum is 512mb best is 768 and ideal is 1Gb. Once you get the ram,turn off virtual memory, you should notice an improvement, later in time a new processor could't hurt ;) and in a more distant future a new graphic card...The main problem now as I've sayd, seems to be the RAM or the lack of it.Santos(LPAV)

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Maybe you RAM is too low.Fs2004 may be more demanding than 2002 in this regard.

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Just read this regarding fs2004 on another forum:"good fps, locked at 30, stays at 30, except inside clouds of course. goes down to 15-20 thenloads fast, and menus and dialogs seem to respond faster than 2002. RAM memory peaked at 416, but I have 1 GIG, so it could be my system trying to use as much as possible."

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Thanks for the advice Santos.It seems each new version of Flight Sim gets me to buy a new system. At least it's only every other year and not each year! :)

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HI Bruce, Windows Me is the problem for stutters and clearly add problems. Recommended to install windows Xp.You will get more stutters with the Ati 9800 Pro than the Gforce4 TI, we have tested this in depht.Normal slider value scenery/autogen in fs2004, is the max slider in fs2002, be aware of this. ThanksChris Willis[link:fsw.simflight.com/FSWMenuFsSim.html]Clouds And Addons For MsFs

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MORE RAM!!!! Seriously, I'd try that first before any other upgrade. It's cheap and the single easiest upgrade that one can do.Dave

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Hey, No complaining till the rest of us get FS2004. That looks to be the 29th, and I know many of our friends oversees have to wait longer.;)Tony

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After installing FS2004 on a lowly P3-800 with WinXP Pro and 256mb DIMM, the sim does not have the progressive stutters, but still exhibits the 2 sec freeze when updating the weather.It appears it's not necessarily the amount of memory that's the problem, but the operating system. WinME seems to have a problem with memory management. I've monitored the memory usage on WinXP vs. WinME when using FS2004 and WinME is not only depleting the memory pool faster than XP, but it's not releasing it!!I added MemoryMax (freeware tool) to the WinME system and while FS is running, I've recovered the used memory from the heap. The sim again runs smoothly after the memory is recovered.The max memory usable on WinME is 512mb, so it appears FS2004 is going to make all the holdouts step up to WinXP for better performance.For those people running WinME with 256mb or less, be prepared for some issues when using FS2004.Bruce

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Im using Win98 still, I hope that will not cause any problems for me with FS2004!

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Tony,I did mention that the sim is FANTASTIC! So many improvements in nearly all aspects of the sim.I really am impressed with it, but wanted to mention the problem to get confirmation that memory was the issue so others could take immediate steps if they are in a similar configuration and enjoy the sim right out of the tin (or box). :-) Bruce

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No problem Bruce, I was just teasing. I hope you get things sorted out. I run a Windows ME machine as well, though I upgraded from 256MB to 512MB Ram long ago. I noticed a pronounced improvement in FS2002 with the additional RAM. It made things smoother, decreased load times, and cut down on delays when changing views. Give it a try.I am intersted in upgrading to XP anyway, but everything works pretty good for me now, and as they say, if it ain't broke. . . I don't want to format and reinstall everything to upgrade to XP, with over 60GB of stuff on my drives, but from what I read, a direct upgrade to XP over ME can lead to problems.Tony

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Hi Bruce,I had the same problem with WinME. It was either the os or my sound card, Audigy2. I found that by turning the sound quality to "medium", under options, settings, sound, that this eliminated the stutters.Ed

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Bruce, get the powerleap and a 2.6 gig P4. All in all, should be under $300. It installs on a Dell 8100 in like 5 minutes.Marc

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Sorry Chris,You are correct, MemMax is a commercial program. I switched from a simple freeware program to MemMax because of its enhanced features. My mistake for mixing that up in the message.Bruce

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Tony,I'm in the same situation. Too many programs and configurations on WinME to reformat and install XP Pro. I've been hesitatant to undertake that big step forward. But now it appears I have a reason to do so. Or I can try plan B and get a new system and let my wife keep the WinME machine. That will avoid the reformat and get me a faster system! :-beerchug Bruce

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i am running fs2004 on the same system as fs2002 with exactly the same fps.no stutters, no issuesi have the fancy clouds on, autogen set on dense and most other settings 75% or sofps lock set on 20, never varies (so far)love the weather (reminds me of fu3 weather which was great)terrain textures are sharp and possibly better quality(?)overall feel (immersion factor)is better than fs2002 and i had zero issues with 2002 and loved it. will be removing 2002 tonite. donp4-3.061 gig ramti-4600

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Bruce....I'll add myself to the chorus--more memory... The good news, is just going from 256 to 384 megs solved my problems, and I've been running stutter (meaning "pause") free since gold was released to our team. The suggestion for leaving Win ME behind is sound, but you can layer your approach by first going after the memory. I'm running 98SE, which has a very similar memory management model to ME, and my stutters were gone after the upgrade to 384 megs...but (and this is a big "but), I limit my vcache so the 98 O/S doesn't run away and grab RAM for that purpose. With FS2004 and FS2002 the result is the same--if you run out of RAM, you'll get stutters.If you install XP, then 384 megs won't do--bigger memory footprint in XP. I'd say 512 megs at least.FS2004 uses on average about 50-70 megs more RAM than FS2002. And memory usage is fairly consistent--I haven't spotted any "leaks". I've flown as long as twenty hours in one session, and RAM usage didn't fluctuate more than +/- 10 megs. Same was true when I flew FS2002 with 256 megs--that's why 256 megs served you so well--you were right on the edge, so to speak, but you had enough.You may hit another issue, and the good news is it isn't your system--it's in the scenery detail. FS2004 had a lot of extra detail in its "max" settings vs. FS2002. If you fly an approach into any city with buildings (outside of autogen, that is), you may see your fps fall a bit if you've been flying over fairly generic scenery during the course of your flight. This is especially true of the cities that seem to have major sports facilities modelled, like Houston or Phoenix. Microsoft went to town in this release, and I am still finding some amazing additions added to the city skylines...Edit:This link is fairly interesting on an issue with ME, however:http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,10816,00.aspI don't know the validity of the link, but it adds an interesting spin on what I said above...Regards,

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Chris,you said that "You will get more stutters with the Ati 9800 Pro than the Gforce4 TI, we have tested this in depht." I have today a Gainward GF4 4200 128 MB Ultra card that I was about to get rid of and get a 9800 Pro 256 MB instead. But when you said that... Have you found any explanation to that? I figured the 9800 Pro would kick ******* with FS2004! Makes me think wether I should get the FX5900 ultra instead./Krister

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Good information John... Thanks!By the way, as I mentioned, I ran a test between my 1.4ghz WinME system with 256mb and a P3-800 with 256mb and WinXP Pro. Even with the bigger OS footprint, the P3 runs smoother at the exact same configuration settings in FS9 and I don't have to disable the sound acceleration in DX9.More memory is always the preferred way to go, but the test proves to me that WinXP Pro has a substantial improvement itself, even without adding memory.Bruce

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Suggestion, get more ram and upgrade to XP. SP handles memory much better than 98/Me and is much more stable. FS preforms much better with at least 512 Ram and XP as the OS. It's a proven fact that we saw in testing 04.Again it's just my humble opinion.FS04 rocks!:-wavehttp://fsgateway.com/frank/fs9paibeta.jpg

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