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hawkhero

How do you like PMDG 747-400X -8i/F?

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Hi, I was thinking of buying the 747-400X -8i/F add-on. Any opinions on the add-on?Thanks,Greg

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I assume you already have the original 747? If you do, then there is no real difference in operation.As for the 8i version, i really like it. Thats the only version i use now.Do yourself a favour and go for it! :-)

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Unless you are running a 64-bit operating system with a crap load of RAM, don't bother...I've been having the infamous "Out of Memory" errors after about 1 hour of flight or when approaching my destination airport. Seems like this plane is just too big of a drain on the system to run under a 32-bit application. I purchased the B747-400X a couple of weeks ago and still haven't been able to complete a flight without getting the OOM error. I've gone through the forum trying other peoples suggestions and nothing worked, even the "Save" did not work. Seems like when your addon scenery kicks in, there isn't enough memory to continue and then it pukes. And PMDG's suggestion on how to fix the problem is to go out and buy Windows7(64bit). Sorry, that's not always an option for a lot of people. Let's everything run out and purchase Win7-64, and then backup/reinstall everything onto the new OS hoping that nothing gets lost on the way. Just so that we can spend hundreds and many hours doing this to be able to use their $50 plane that they can't make run on multiple operating systems. Don't get me wrong. I love this plane. It's just going to have to sit on the shelf until I upgrade. Maybe I can run it without my addons and flying into an area with default scenery... :( My system is as follows:Windows XP Pro (32bit)Intel Quad 95504GB Dual Channel PC2-6400 low latency RAM1TB WD Black hard DriveATI 5850 Video CardDual Monitor SetupWhen I fly I use the following:- FSX (SP2)- PMDG 747-400X- EZDOK- FSPassengers- FSCommander- ActiveSky Evolution- REX2 (only textures, not software running)- Payware Scenery- Airport Enhancement Services (AES)I know it's a lot to have running. And I know that WinXP will only use 3GB minus the video card memory. But why is it only this plane that gives me the OOM error. Why doesn't the JS4100 give me OOM errors that I purchased? To me it is a lot more graphically enhanced over the 747. Maybe it's the technology behind the 747 that requires the hefty load? Is there a setting within the 747's menu that can lower the load? Can there be a "Lite" model added for people who spent the $50 on a plane that they can't use? Maybe not having a virtual cabin? Maybe that would help?Sorry, just had to get that off my shoulders. I fell better now... :( I'm hoping that the 737-NGX doesn't suffer the same issue? Been waiting to buy this one for a looooong time... :(

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Unless you are running a 64-bit operating system with a crap load of RAM, don't bother...I've been having the infamous "Out of Memory" errors after about 1 hour of flight or when approaching my destination airport. Seems like this plane is just too big of a drain on the system to run under a 32-bit application. I purchased the B747-400X a couple of weeks ago and still haven't been able to complete a flight without getting the OOM error.....
Greg,I bought the 744X back in Sept and have never had any issues with it at all including OOM's or anything of that nature and I only run a 32bit system with 2GB RAM.I also fly it with a variety of addons like ASA, REX, GEX, UT2, and airports from FSDT/FlyTampa/Aerosoft, etc, and have never had an issue. In fact, one day I flew it from FSDT's KDFW to KJFK, then onto FSDT's LSXH and had no problem the whole flight.The one thing I will say though is that I only use DXT textures from REX and all my addon a/c from PMDG and other devs only sport DXT textures and no 32 bit textures at all. In fact, any addon a/c that I buy, the first thing I usually do is convert the textures from 32bit to DXT if they aren't like that already.In short the 744 is a great bird and has an option menu that allows you to adjust many features to enable you to gain FPS.I dont own the expansion for it, but I am very happy with the 744-X/744F-X and fly it splitting time between it and the LDS 747 and PMDG JS4100.Regards,Sean Campbell

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Hi Shawn,If you don't mind me asking. What software are you using to convert the textures? I'd be willing to give it a try in hopes that I can solve this issue and complete a flight. I'd really like to fly this plane but cannot at the moment unless I do something to clear some memory to avoid the OOM error. I was wanting a bigger challenge in flying after using the Wilco Airbus for almost 2 years. So I was debating going with the PMDG MD-11 or the B747-400X. So I said that being I am going to be grabbing the 737NGX when it comes out. I'd might as well get familar with the Boeings. I am getting familar with the 747 using the FMC and autopilot, but am not getting much practice with landing...lolI think there are options in REX2 to lower the texture type and size. It's odd when it's about to crash. Everything starts to lag and then if I were to look at my plane from external view. All I see is the 747's skeleton, just the frame and seats, no shell... Kind of creepy... Then moments after I am pleasures with the error window.Maybe if I can lower the texture quality I can complete a flight. It seems to happen when I am entering visual range of the airport. I'll have to try flights to default airports to see if it still happens.Thanks, Big%20Grin.gif

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Hi Shawn,If you don't mind me asking. What software are you using to convert the textures? I'd be willing to give it a try in hopes that I can solve this issue and complete a flight. I'd really like to fly this plane but cannot at the moment unless I do something to clear some memory to avoid the OOM error. I was wanting a bigger challenge in flying after using the Wilco Airbus for almost 2 years. So I was debating going with the PMDG MD-11 or the B747-400X. So I said that being I am going to be grabbing the 737NGX when it comes out. I'd might as well get familar with the Boeings. I am getting familar with the 747 using the FMC and autopilot, but am not getting much practice with landing...lolI think there are options in REX2 to lower the texture type and size. It's odd when it's about to crash. Everything starts to lag and then if I were to look at my plane from external view. All I see is the 747's skeleton, just the frame and seats, no shell... Kind of creepy... Then moments after I am pleasures with the error window.Maybe if I can lower the texture quality I can complete a flight. It seems to happen when I am entering visual range of the airport. I'll have to try flights to default airports to see if it still happens.Thanks, Big%20Grin.gif
Hi Steve,I used two different converters depending on the scenario. Usually .dds textures I convert to DXT5 with DDS Converter 2 which is freeware, however sometimes you will get a .dds texture that wont open using DDS Converter 2, in that case I use DXTBmp which is also a freeware tool. DXTBmp can also be used to work on .bmp files as well. The thing thats nice about DDS Converter 2 is that its really easy to do a batch conversion all at once, were as DXTBmp you need to do each texture one by one, which isn't that big of a deal if your only doing 1 aircraft, but if your converting addon scenery textures or adding mip maps to 50 different .dds files, then the batch comes in handy. Another nice thing about DDS Converter 2 is that when you open a .dds file it shows if it already has mip maps and how many, as well as an alpha channel. In the case of a/c textures already being in DXT format I will usually go ahead and add mip maps as well to take away the shimmer look. I do the same for AI a/c and after market airports that dont come mip mapped, namely Aerosoft stuff, which shimmers like mad on my rig even with high levels of AA and AS. Adding the mip maps helps take some of the load off the GPU when trying to render objects in the distance.As far as your skeleton plane, have you tried adding the HIGHMEMFIX=1 to your FSX.cfg in the [GRAPHICS] section. I used to get the skeleton textures once in a while, but after adding that line to the fsx.cfg it cured those problems. Here's more from the main PMDG page on that topic http://forum.avsim.net/topic/280688-graphics-corruption-in-fsx-update-possible-solution-found/ , its 22 pages long, but the HIGHMEMFIX=1 seems to be the conclusion that fixed that problem.Lastly, on REX, you dont necessarily need to select lower res textures, just make sure to use the DXT textures and not the 32 bit ones since they consume a lot more memory. Frankly, I run the 1024's because running the 4096's or 2048's I cant really tell that much of a difference anyways. The 2048's or 4096's maybe better for screen shots, but I am more into flying and not so much into making art work, hence I can save some resources by going with the 1024 DXT's.Hope this helps. I've spent a lot of time in the past few years in FSX adding mips, converting textures from 32 bit to DXT5,3, and 1's. You will learn that you can pickup a lot of extra performance by doing a lot of little things like that. A recent example for me was a scenery I got from Aerosoft called NiceX (LFMN). I got about 20 FPS and shimmers like crazy when I would fly to that airport, but after some experimenting I ended up converting the majority of the textures to DXT1 which didn't have alpha channels built in and the rest to DXT3. Now I have no more shimmers at that airport and I also now get 3o FPS and higher, lol. Just goes to show what can be done just by manipulating textures that haven't be completely optimized by the developer. Anways, let me know if you have more questions on that stuff. Those two tools DDS Converter 2 and DXTBmp can be found via a google search.Sean CampbellPS: Before you go converting anything make sure to make backups first of the originals in case you mess something up. I once stripped out some alpha channels from some textures and didn't make a backup first and had to go and reinstall the scenery I was messing with to get the original textures back. Also prior to converting anything, open each texture first and see what format its in, like 32 bit, DXT 5, DXT 3, or DXT1. Then seperate them by format, then convert all the 32 bit to DXT 5 or DXT 3. The reason I mention that is because if the textures are already in DXT format you dont need to convert them unless you want to add mip maps, and if a texture is DXT1 you dont want to increase its size by accidentally converting it to DXT5, so check the formats first. Also dont convert any textures to DXT1 unless they dont have an alpha channel, otherwise if it has an alpha channel you will strip it out when you make it DXT1.

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Thanks for the reply and the help. I copied your info down and will make it a project for the weekend when I have spare time. I've used DXTBmp many times before with aircraft painting and scenery design. So I shouldn't have many problems.Nail%20Biting.gifIf it doesn't solve the OOM error. I'm sure it'll for certain make things run smoother. Never hurts getting more frames.ps. Sorry I spelled your name wrong in the last post. I know many Shawn's and popped that one in there without verifying. :Sleepy:Thanks Sean

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Hi Steve,Usually .dds textures I convert to DXT5 with DDS Converter 2 which is freeware, however sometimes you will get a .dds texture that wont open using DDS Converter 2, in that case I use DXTBmp which is also a freeware tool. DXTBmp can also be used to work on .bmp files as well. The thing thats nice about DDS Converter 2 is that its really easy to do a batch conversion all at once, were as DXTBmp you need to do each texture one by one, which isn't that big of a deal if your only doing 1 aircraft, but if your converting addon scenery textures or adding mip maps to 50 different .dds files, then the batch comes in handy. Another nice thing about DDS Converter 2 is that when you open a .dds file it shows if it already has mip maps and how many, as well as an alpha channel. In the case of a/c textures already being in DXT format I will usually go ahead and add mip maps as well to take away the shimmer look. I do the same for AI a/c and after market airports that dont come mip mapped, namely Aerosoft stuff, which shimmers like mad on my rig even with high levels of AA and AS. Adding the mip maps helps take some of the load off the GPU when trying to render objects in the distance.
Hi Sean, like yourself I make it a point to mipmap AI and scenery bmps to eliminate shimmering. Now I have started to notice the shimmering in the PMDG 747 with .dds textures, and I'm hoping to convert those to dxt5 bmps with mips just to get rid of the shimmers. I have windows 7 64bit and apparently DDS Converter 2 doesn't play well with my OS, or even Vista. I found a workaround to get it working, but even then I am unable to see a preview of the dds image. So instead I have tried DXTBmp for the conversion, which worked, at least it appears to when I view the output bmps with ImageTool. The bmps saved in the correct format with the alpha file intact. But when I open FSX and preview the 747, the textures are messed up, it appears they are inverted/gray. As always I kept a backup of my work, and had done the test on just one livery (Lufthansa). I am hesitant to use DDS converter because of the OS incompatibility, but can you provide step by step instructions for this process? I don't know if I'm missing a step or not.For while last year I was flying the PMDG MD-11 and and downloaded the excellent Lee Marrow HD paints, and marveled at how they were shimmer free even though they are in fact dds format. Is it possible to add mips to dds files, or did he convert to bmp and add mips, and then convert back to dds? This is all new to me, I have lots of experience tinkering with bmps but not dds.Thanks

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Thanks for the reply and the help. I copied your info down and will make it a project for the weekend when I have spare time. I've used DXTBmp many times before with aircraft painting and scenery design. So I shouldn't have many problems.Nail%20Biting.gifIf it doesn't solve the OOM error. I'm sure it'll for certain make things run smoother. Never hurts getting more frames.ps. Sorry I spelled your name wrong in the last post. I know many Shawn's and popped that one in there without verifying. :Sleepy:Thanks Sean
No problem with the name. Its an easy name to get wrong since there are so many versions, Sean, Shawn, Shaun, Shone, Chone, Xi'an (Shon), lol.Let me know how it turns out for you when your done.Sean Campbell

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But when I open FSX and preview the 747, the textures are messed up, it appears they are inverted/gray. As always I kept a backup of my work, and had done the test on just one livery (Lufthansa). I am hesitant to use DDS converter because of the OS incompatibility, but can you provide step by step instructions for this process? I don't know if I'm missing a step or not.
I've never had that problem when using DXTBmp to work on .dds files after adding mip maps. Usually I just open the texture in DXTBmp and make sure the "Map Maps - Include when saving" boxed is checked, then resave it as a DXT5 .dds file and it has worked everytime for me. Then only thing I can think of is that your not re-saving it correctly, or you need to "flip the image" before you resave it. Although in all the times I have used DXTBmp for only adding mips I have never had to Flip the image. You could try it and see if it makes a difference.
For while last year I was flying the PMDG MD-11 and and downloaded the excellent Lee Marrow HD paints, and marveled at how they were shimmer free even though they are in fact dds format. Is it possible to add mips to dds files, or did he convert to bmp and add mips, and then convert back to dds? This is all new to me, I have lots of experience tinkering with bmps but not dds.Thanks
I think you are confused a little on the .bmp and .dds. The only difference between the two is the way they are packaged so to speak.Just because a texture is in .dds format doesn't mean that it will shimmer or not shimmer. If you take the same to textures without mip maps and save it as a .dds or .bmp file, it will shimmer just the same in FSX. I have downloaded many textures that were in .dds format that DID shimmer. The only reason the ones you downloaded might not be shimmering is because the author who did the paint might have already uploaded them DXT format with mip maps included. You can usually tell by the file size as textures that are 1024 X 1024 that have mips are 1366 kb and ones that are not mipped are 1025 kb.You shouldn't have any problem doing .dds or .bmp conversions or adding mips using DXTBmp as long as you make sure to save the file in the right format ie .dds DXT or .bmp DXT. I dont do anything with the alpha channels when adding mip maps in DXTBmp. Assuming you are working on a .bmp or .dds file, I just open DXTBmp, then drag and drop the texture into it (a short cut if you didn't know, you can just drag the texture and drop it into the window instead of locating it using the file menu), then once its loaded I just resave it as either a .dds file in DXT5 or a .bmp file in DXT5. That's too bad that DDS Converter 2 wont work right in Win 7 or Vista since its much faster to do batches than one at a time in DXTBmp. If you have another computer in your house on Win XP you could always put the textures on a zip drive and work on them on that computer?Hopefully this cleared up any question you have. It's really late at night were I am and am pretty sleepy while I wrote this, so if I missed something or didn't explain right let me know.Regards,Sean Campbell

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Sean is correct on all...a couple of notes:The guy who did DXTBMP also created an image converter that you can get from here: http://www.btinternet.com/~mnwright/ called CONVIM. Works very nicely IMO.Also, regarding 'flipping' of the image here is the deal: - A texture bitmap that works properly on a model will need to be 'flipped' when converted to .dds. - A .dds texture that already works, you re-save without flipping.

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The only reason the ones you downloaded might not be shimmering is because the author who did the paint might have already uploaded them DXT format with mip maps included. You can usually tell by the file size as textures that are 1024 X 1024 that have mips are 1366 kb and ones that are not mipped are 1025 kb.
Makes perfect sense Sean, I looked at the dds files in the PMDG Lufthansa folder and they are 1025kb non mipped. Knowing that I can easily add mips to these files with DXTBMP, I opened them in that program, saved AS DDS (not bmp), and it worked. They are now 1366kb mipped dds, akin to the format Lee Marrow used by mipping his dds files. I loaded FSX and I'm happy to report that by simply adding the missing mips to the PMDG repaint did the trick, no more shimmers on the external paint, just what I was hoping to accomplish!I'm still puzzled by why my conversions from dds to bmp messes up the paint in FSX, but I think I found the solution at least for the non mipped PMDG birds!

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I'm still puzzled by why my conversions from dds to bmp messes up the paint in FSX, but I think I found the solution at least for the non mipped PMDG birds!
Glad to see that you were able to get it working.BTW, you shouldn't be converting .dds to .bmp, that's like taking a step backwards since from what I have read .dds load faster. You probably should always keep .dds file as .dds files and .bmp files as .bmp files when converting them from 32 bit to DXT or adding mips.As an example, if I download a paint and its in dds format then when I add the mips I save it as a dds file, not a bmp. Or visa versa, if a paint I download is all bmp's then I save the files as bmp's not dds since that was the format that they were designed in. Although I have never tried it, it might me ok to go from .bmp to .dds, but I wouldn't go from dds to bmp. Probably best just to keep them in the orginal format they were created in, ie dds or bmp.Sean Campbell

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Good advice, I agree with your explanation. The reason I initally tried to convert the DDS to BMP was because I thought DDS would not allow mips. I learned something new from that experiment and your feedback, which is to not change the native format of a image file. When converting the DDS to BMP, in the back of my mind I was curious if that would downgrade the quality of the image.....i'm fine with the image downgrade for my AI from 32bit or DXT3 to DXT1 for daytime bmps since IQ is not as crucial as it is with user flown a/c like the PMDG heavies. The only reason for me to mip the 747 textures is to get rid of shimmers, whereas for AI I also do it to improve performance/reduce file size hence the downgrade to DXT1. After mipping my AI and some airport scenery, I have found myself noticing the little details in the FSX world that I ignored before, and the intense shimmering of the paints on the PMDG birds when viewed at some angles or from afar became glaringly obvious, and I needed to do something about that!Learn something new everyday :(

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I didn't get a chance to convert the textures yet. But I manage to get a 1.5 hour flight in last night and it didn't give me the OOM error. The difference was that I took off and landed at default airports. I did not come close to an addon scenery airport. So i guess it is like everyone says. When you come into visual range of the airport and it starts loading textures and objects, it is just too much to handle for an WinXP machine with the amount of applications and addons that I have running. I still have to find time to try to do some texture converting (after backing up everything that I will modify first). I think your suggestion will be the one that might have me landing into a big airport with addon scenery loaded for that place.Thanks again. I'll give you an update when i get a chance to get it all done and put a couple of flights in. :(

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When you come into visual range of the airport and it starts loading textures and objects, it is just too much to handle for an WinXP machine with the amount of applications and addons that I have running.
I wouldn't necessarily blame it on WinXP. Look in my sig, i'm on WinXP 32 bit with only 2GB of RAM and I continually fly into FSDT's KDFW, KJFK, etc, with ASA running weather, UT2 providing traffic, and REX textures and I never had an OOM. Granted like I mentioned before, I am unsing REX 1024 DXT textures and I usually keep autogen set to only Dense, plus all the texture converting I have done to keep 32bit textures away if possible. Sometimes a developer will put 32 bit textures in sceneries or textures for aircraft paint, so anytime I install a new paint or scenery the first thing I do is check the textures.If I remember right, you said that you have 4GB of RAM, so if I can get by on 2GB surely you can do it.Here's something else to consider, did you ever apply the 3GB switch in your boot.ini for x32 systems (x64 Windows doesn't need this)? Have you ever used NickN's setup guide? Here's the link to it and it can provide some valuable info in getting everyting set up to par. http://www.simforums.com/forums/setting-up-fsx-and-how-to-tune-it_topic29041.htmlOn the boot.ini
Thanks again. I'll give you an update when i get a chance to get it all done and put a couple of flights in. :(
Yes, I am interested to see how you do after you work on your textures. Please let us know.Regards,Sean Campbell

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