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Sidney Schwartz

FS 2004 on Lower End System - First Impressions

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For the benefit of those of you with lower end systems, who are wondering if they should take the plunge, here are my first impressions:My system: AMD 850 Duron, 256MB Ram, Geforce 2MX 400 32MB, 30G HD;have used FS2002 for two yearsI started out at my home airport of Chilliwack BC (rural area surrounded by mountains). Everything ran smooth (12-15fps) flying the cessna with most sliders set to medium. Detailed 3d clouds at 20% coverage did seem not affect framerates too much in that particular area of the world - even severe weather was flyable, from a framerate perspective.There now are bridges where roads cross water - nice, the clickable virtual cockpit works great and does not seem too slow things down at all.Sky, Horizon & Sun also look much better than in FS 2002That was yesterday. Tonight, I tried a flight from Vancouver Int'l to Boeing Field. Different story. Take off and climb out and cruise ok, enjoyed the sky and scenery, but then came my first approach into a more built up area. Even with blue skies, the system literally crawled. My old rig was not even able to render the ground textures, it was so strained - Every available computing cycle was needed to maintain the 2fps I was getting - ouch!So on my systems it is a mixed bag. If I had to choose between 2002 or 2004 on my system, I would go back to 2002. However, sooner or later I will upgrade again so I don't regret having made the purchase and in the meantime I can experimentIf any of you are running the sim with similar specs - let me know how it's working for you. I am especially interested in the effect a different video card or more memory would have on performanceGood Tailwinds,Daniel

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I'm running on a 600Mhz Celeron, and I have to make some compromises as well.Remember that Autogen, Scenery Complexity, and Mesh Complexity do not have the big hit that they did in 2002. If is possible to run those up to very dense, or extremely dense with little or no hits. Likewise, running them down doesn't do a lot either.The HUGE frame killers in this are the 3d Clouds, (even in small doses) and AI traffic.It sounds to me, that you got nailed by some AI traffic as you approached a major city (Seattle.)Try dropping back the traffic to 33% or 25% or perhaps even 20% and you will find a huge performance gain. Also, dropping Clouds to 10 percent, or even going to 2D clouds will also give you back some frame.I pulled an approach with the Hong Kong at Dusk on my Celeron 600 with 25% traffic, 2D clouds and the Scenery and Autogen at Very Dense, with the Mesh at 80 and only rarely dropped below 10FPS.Don't give up yet, you will find the sweet spot and going back to FS2002 will seem like a definite step backwards.

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Hi Daniel,You didn't say which operating system you're using. I was running win98 on my 1ghz Athlon system with 512mb ram and a geforce ti4200. FS2002 ran pretty well, although a busy airport with lots of ai traffic would really slow things down. FS2004 ran better than I thought it would. Fps were pretty much comparable to what I was getting with FS2002, but the overall perception was less smooth, and approaching an airport really tanked the fps to an unacceptable level.Several FS2004 beta testers had commented that FS2004 ran better under Windows XP. I'd been thinking of upgrading anyway, so I went ahead and did it. I was hoping for a modest improvement in FS2004...what I actually got was jaw-dropping. Fps are 2-3 times what they were under win98. I have my fps slider set at 30, and they almost always stay at or very near that. Approaching a busy airport like KPDX they will drop to 15 or so, but even then the overall performance and perception is very smooth. I increased my weather settings from the old "flat" clouds to the new 3-D clouds and didn't see any drop in fps. Even flying in overcast and rainly conditions doesn't slow it down.The only other change I made to my system was to replace my existing hard drive cable with a higher-speed one. I had to do this in order to get XP to install. I'm also now able to use a more current video driver than I could with win98. I would guess that these were minor factors, if they even made any difference at all.Guess I don't have to buy a new computer after all. :-hahSidney Schwartz [KPDX]Horizon Air flight plans & scenery:http://sidneyschwartz.homestead.com/index.html

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Thanks for the tips. I will have to adjust my settings and try again.However, I am concerned about my Video Card being a bottleneck.I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Sidney,You were correct in your suspicion - I am using Win ME.This is only day three, so there is more tweaking ahead, but I have the feeling that there may be an upgrade ahead.Happy Simming,Daniel Muehlebch

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I just got FS2004 this afternoon. I must say WOW! because mainly how well it runs on my lower end system. Just running a Radeon 7200,1.2GHz and 256MB RAM, fps are ~20 with a lot of sliders up high (clouds is min though LOL). Just flying around my hometown, fps stayed much higher than FS2002's. I turned down several options too (like terrain settings, AI, and some others) to keep fps up. Even with some options turned down, im still impressed on how the sim looks and performs. I'll update this when I get some more flying time, I think im still in the "oooooh ahhhhh" mood :-lol.

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I'm really glad I made the switch to xp. Everything seems to run faster, not just FS2004. It's much more stable than win98, but that's not a very difficult achievement. :)By the way, I believe that MS has always said that processor speed was the primary performance factor with FS, not the video card.Sidney Schwartz [KPDX]Horizon Air flight plans & scenery:http://sidneyschwartz.homestead.com/index.html

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I am very impressed with FS9. My frame rates are worse than fs2002, but it seems to run very smoothly so I'm getting used to it. I've stayed away from the major cities though.My system: P3, 1.0 Ghz, 512 MB ram, Radeon 7000.I'd thought that I'd still do a lot of simming on FS2002, but now I'm not so sure. That DC3 is fantastic and the flight dynamics and sound seemed to be much improved on top of all the weather improvements.I did upgrade to XP from ME before installing and recommend it highly. Much, much more stability in the system.BlairCYOW

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Update:Went ahead and installed geforce fx 5200 video card. FS2004 plays much better now. Able to set texture and effects sliders higher and getting better (playable) framerates ( 9 fps in built up areas and 12-15 in rural). I am happy now - with new graphics cards the sim definitely looks better than fs 2002, in all aspects.Next stop more memory and upgrade to Windows XP!!Happy Simming and thanks for the replies!Daniel Muehlebach

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