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Ray Proudfoot

frame rates and 3rd party panels

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My system is approaching 2 years old, with the only addition being an updated video card. I hope the details appear below, but in case the first attempt at this doesn't work: - Pentium 4 2ghz, 512mb RDRAM, nVidia FX5900 128mb video card, Windows XP. Oh, and an unregistered FSUIPC version 3.04.Having moved up to FS9, the overall results are pretty good considering my system spec, particularly if I stick to the default aircraft, apart from a bit of the stuttering which seems to have come forward from Combat Flight Simulator 3.For more sophisticated aircraft, frame rates are reasonable for external views, even if Weather and Scenery are turned up to High or even Ultra High. Like other people have reported, these settings don't seem to make a whole lot of difference to frame rates.For example, I get 18-25 fps on the ground in a thunderstorm at Gatwick on an external view of the ifdg MD-11 and 22 to >30 fps for the FFX Boeing 738 with Weather and Scenery set to High.However, frame rates collapse when I use internal cockpit views with certain third party panels.I've worked through most of the tweaks for frame rates generlly I've found in this forum but the problem persists.For example, using the FFX Boeing 737-800 with an internal 2D view of the new Precision Panels/Kevin Sparkuhl panel I'm below 10 fps, whilst the same place, same plane, same weather, same settings gives nearly 20 fps with the default B737-400 2D panel.Obviously the Precision Panels panel is a lot more sophisticated than the default one, and I'm not having a go at it specifically.However, I am wondering whether a) my video card is still not up to the job (don't think so, it does OK on the external views) or :( I need a new computer (this makes FS9 one of those

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I don't know how far back you've searched, but I've written on the subject. Here's the short answers on my research:1) FS2002 had the same issue, but it was concealed as our systems generally had to work less to do everything else--display scenery, weather, autogen, etc.... I found that certain 3rd party panels did hit my performance only after I removed my fps lock and compared fps with and without the panel displayed.2) In FS2004, although the complexity of the gauges may come into play, more important is the amount of real estate the 2-d panel takes up on the screen and the number of "windows" it does this with. It may not be obvious, but even some default panels like the 737 panel are made up of multiple "windows" or sections. Close one of the sections, and sometimes performance can jump 15-20 pct. With the 737 panel, I close the bank of light switches and gain performance.I designed a very simple panel for my Microlight release that was just killing my fps in FS2004. Why? Because the bitmap (including the transparent mask) took up the whole screen. I didn't need a bitmap that large as the actual panel came up only about a third of the way, so I chopped the bitmap accordingly and rewrote my panel.cfg. I gained a good 5-6 fps when flying that aircraft.3) Any panel which displays the FS2004 gps in a window is good for a performance hit. I don't believe any third party gps's have shown up yet...most 3rd party suppliers have "patched" their products by placing the FS2004 gps on their panels. I've seen such a hit with this, that I have pasted a static pic of the gps into such panel bmps, and instead I hotkey to pull up the real thing and hotkey it closed again. Savings--another 15 to 20 pct. in performance.FS2004 also changed the way panels are "seen" in the sim, and displays them as textures. I was the one who originally suggested the "PanelAsTexture=0" hack after I browsed the display.cfg, although it yields inconsistent results. I know Microsoft had their reasons for making this change--I suspect one of them had to do with graphics card compatibility since PanelAsTexture=0 can cause the 2-d panel to vanish altogether under certain driver/config settings.To be honest, more memory, vidram or mainboard ram, will likely not help in the least. I see these issues even with memory to spare--I generally have 130-140 meg of unused memory running FS2004. What I suggest above may help at least...-John

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I do have "PanelAsTexture=0" set by the way.I did notice that displaying the GPS knocks the framerate on a lot of panels, although as you say, this is only critical if you are at a lowish level already.The Precision Panels B737 panel is a great piece of work. The second CRT on the panel itself can show VOR's, airports, IFR route, coastlines etc as per the display normally seen in the GPS. This is the first time I've seen that. It has switchable range, a wind indicator, switchable radio and ILS displays and all sorts of gizmos. It can also be switched to a conventional "rose" navigation display, but interestingly switching the GPS type display off in favour of the "rose" doesn't give me the frames back. And it has a functioning, but switchable, HUD. This knocks the best part of 1 fps off when displayed, but this reverses when the HUD is switched off. Switching off the window pillar and overhead display gives me up to 2 fps!Unfortunately, I'm also having the similar trouble with Lonny Payne's B757 panel with the Posky 757. This has a load of sub-panels including large and small overheads, a "failures" panel, an FMC panel which is partially operative, a panel of icons to control the other panels and others I haven't worked out the function of yet! However, it doesn't have as much "glass cockpit functionality" as the 737 panel.I was pinning my hopes on the Precision Panels 737, as the FFX plane itself is relatively easy to run, in terms of frame rates and how quickly the external textures load.The logic of what you are saying is that nobody can run the Precision Panels 737 panel satisfactorily................

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"The logic of what you are saying is that nobody can run the Precision Panels 737 panel satisfactorily................"Kind of touches on something else I've discussed. I've often seen long time simmers content with fps in the low teens in exchange for the realism such panels offer. Others like myself offset poorer performance in some panels/aircraft by flying away from the dense scenery areas--the 20 or so cities that offer more detail than the rest of the MSFS world. I kind of use 20fps as a cutoff for performance. If I can't get that consistently, I sacrifice detail or flying into a dense area. But I don't have any panel nearly as complex as those you describe.Back to RAM--when I purchased Eaglesoft's 400a, I had a terrible time initially with panel performance. After upgrading my RAM to 384 megs, performance improved. Some panels do use more RAM on top of the other issues I describe. You should run a RAM monitor to see whether your RAM is dipping to low levels, and also to do a comparison with and without the panel... If so, then your original thought of adding RAM could be the best.-John

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Hello,Your own experiences mirror mine albeit with different panels. The final straw on poor frame rates was with the PMDG737 panel which on my 18 month old Athlon 2000XP, 1Gb RAM, Ti4600 system was giving frame rates in single numbers admittedly with heavy cloud cover and in 3rd party airports.I have come to the conclusion that 3rd party panels and their associated gauges - especially those with an FMC/CDU - are now so complex and demanding of resources a single PC is no longer a suitable solution.A few weeks ago I downloaded a demo version of Project Magenta Boeing software and was hugely impressed with its capabilities. This software is not for the faint-hearted or those with shallow pockets. But, if you have invested in the excellent Aerosoft 747MCP it is totally wasted on default aircraft and I felt that using it on a single 3rd party aircraft (the PMDG737) was not using it to its full potential.Until DirectX9 arrived 3D acceleration was only possible with a single application. Now, with DX9 it's possible for two (possibly more) applications to be accelerated. The good news from this is that Project Magenta's glass cockpit gauges are still accelerated even when FS2004 has the focus and vice-versa.So, for now I'm running PM and FS2004 on a single machine with dual screens and although the frame rates take a hit once I setup a second PC to run PM my frame rates in FS will double without the drain of 3rd party gauges slowing things down.In short, it's time to separate the complex gauges in sophisticated 3rd party panels from FS and the best way to achieve this is to dump the 3rd party panel and use software such as Project Magenta. Although a second PC is required this can be extremely modest in comparison to the flying PC and will not require upgrading every 2 years. Meantime the performance of your flying PC will increase enormously. In my own case an extra bonus is that I can use my Aerosoft 747MCP with any Boeing aircraft using the PM MCP software. You can find out more about PM here... www.projectmagenta.com/Cheers,

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eeeeeekkk 2 PC's.................. I take your point, but that will make good reading on the Minimum Requirements panel on FS 2005! I want a good looking aircraft I can fly into Heathrow or Schipol at 5pm on a Friday!I've resorted this afternoon to my lovely FS 2002 Project Fokker Fokker70/100. They are very quiet over there and I hope they are not busy modelling an FS9 aircraft with a flushing loo..............Lets have a workable 2D cockpit and a virtual cockpit so I can look out of the windows at the clouds and scenery and forget about anything inside the aircraft behind that.As regards an FMC and other sophistications, I had the World Airsim B757 in FS2000. Very realistic, but I soon found I could set up the flight plan and go down the pub. I'm not sure we are going in the right direction, pardon the pun.

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I may be suffering from wishful thinking, in wanting to substitute 0.5gb of memory at

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I'm sure you are right about the number & size of windows.The question is, which hog space even when the "pilot" isn't looking at them and which don't?Is having the main panel and the stub overhead in two panels more burdensome than having it as one bitmap?Perhaps I should be posting in the Panel Designs forum.........

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Hi Ray, Project Magenta software is very good indeed. Note that they are running with OpenGL, not DirectX, and this explains why when ran on the same computer than FS the performance suffers. This is because the computer and video card constantly between a DirectX drawing context to an OpenGL drawing context.For smoothness, good performance, all in any FS aircraft, you may consider Reality XP's Jet Line 2 or 4: www.reality-xp.comThey are not only as smooth as with OpenGL, but they are true gauges which can retrofit any panel. And there are many panels available for some of the most popular aircrafts:http://www.reality-xp.com/community/files.htm (FS2004)http://www.reality-xp.com/community/files2002.htm (FS2002)Also, they come at a much more interesting price!In addition to the post above, if you want to transition to a rendition of the 500 model, to an actual 100% simulation of the 530 model, there is no other supported and as integrated solution:http://www.reality-xp.com/products/FL5/index.htmSome will mention a freeware alternative, but running a Garmin simulation, and actually offering a real GPS integration to any default FS panel / gauge / aircraft make a real difference for many users.http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_post...p?TID=5445&PN=3http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_post...p?TID=5577&PN=1http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_post...p?TID=4962&PN=8Hope this helps!

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Hi,To be fair to Microsoft if you use the default aircraft and panels the frame rates stay very respectable. It's only when 3rd party heavy duty panels come along that performance really suffers and you can't really blame MS for that.<>Not if you use it in conjunction with Radar Contact or fly on-line with VatSim etc. It all depends on what you want out of your sim. getting airborne and going down the pub is not totally realistic but of course not everyone wants to spend 8 hours in front of a PC.I've never seen World AirSim products but to me the two most realistic products for FS are the 767PIC and Project Magenta. Once used - rarely bettered.Happy flying!

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Hi JeanLuc,The frame rates do suffer somewhat - FS frame rates but not PMs to the point where they can't be used. Those stay in the 30's which is more than acceptable. Once installed on a separate PC they will rise to 60+ which is as realistic as possible. Perhaps I didn't make it clear but I have already bought Project Magenta as I fly the large jets almost exclusively (Concorde on occasions too). So I'm not in the market for any other software.Looking at the links you provided the gauges are clearly an improvement on the default panels but are some way short of PMs. Price is a consideration - I accept that and these will be a good affordable alternative. The PM software is for the totally committed and to that I plead guilty :-)Cheers,

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Thought I might add my input on the situation as well.I'm running an AMD XP1900+ (1.6 GHz, roughly the same as your P4 2.0 GHz), 768 MB DDR PC2100 RAM, GeForce 4 Ti4400 128MB, WinXP Home yada yada yada. Overall we both have very similar setups. I haven't used any of the panels you mentioned, except for Lonny's 757 panel. Indeed, Lonny's panel yields a whopping 8 fps (6 fps on the ground.....with no AI!). Yet when I switch to Spot plane view, 15 to 20 fps (locked at 20).I might add, that back in FS 2002, I used 767 PIC, PSS 747 and PSS 777. All of these use some very complex guages, including all the complex HSIs with VORs, waypoints, Flight plan etc you describe on the 737 panel. Yet, none of these affected my frame rates in FS 2002. After none of these worked in FS9, I tried Lonny's panel in place of PIC, but my frame rates crashed with that.I'm also using Eric M's airbus panel and as of today, Allain capt's updated MD11 panel. Neither of these affect frame rates either (at least not much), and I would argue they are reasonbly heavy and complex panels. Anybody's guess is as good as mine why one seemingly complex panel will run fine, while another won't.Also, I do experience the same delays loading textures when switching views on the iFDG MD11, POSKY 757, and a few others. That never happened in FS 2002 either.In any event, I'm planning on getting a new system early next year, then we'll see what happens.Joe Wagner

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I'm not getting at MS, but somebody made the point elsewhere that the reviews of FS9 suggested it ran better than FS2002. That's true as long as you don't want to add aircraft!Neither am I getting at people who are willing and able to pay for ultra high level arrangements. But we now have an aircraft (can't remember which) wherein a stewardess appears to shut the cabin door. Spurious accuracy or what, as what would the H&S people say about an unguarded door at that height?And we now have to pay for ActiveCamera to enter a Virtual Cabin so we can lower the armrests and see the in-flight movie screens? Paleeeese!Hence my remark that I'm not sure of the direction we are going in. I say we, although of course I've never published anything in my life!All the added sophistication (e.g. working FMC's) doesn't necessarily add to the overall satisafaction from the product. Surely the design of mainstream add-ons should take into account a reasonable ability on the part of users to run the products offered?As I said elsewhere, get the Fokker F70/F100 from www.avsim.com/fokker/ before they ruin that too!

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What frame rates are you getting with the MD11 panel (how long is a piece of string)?I'm getting low to mid teens with Scenery and Weather on High and in Fine Weather at Seattle.That's only midway between the Precision Panels B737 and my benchmark, the Project Fokker F70/F100.http://www.avsim.com/fokker/I mention the latter because it's a good looking panel, which works, on a good looking aircraft, which works.PS I have no connection whatsoever with Project Fokker, except that I've flown on that type of aircraft regularly in real life, and I like shorter haul aircraft to maximise the number of take-offs and landings!As regards the delays loading textures, it must be either a) the type of texture or :( the propensity to cache the textures (given their relative size versus the memory available) rather than hold them in memory. What we need is somebody who knows something about computers to tell us which.

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Hello again :-)I agree that FS9 runs very well when you consider how complex the clouds are. I was pleasantly surprised. As far as adding aircraft is concerned I'm not sure if you're talking about 3rd party aircraft you intend to fly or Ai aircraft for visual effect and realism. If the former then yes, it's down to the quality of the gauge programmers and providing you have a start-of-the-art machine you should be okay - just!OTOH, if you're referring to Ai aircraft I've just bought Ultimate Traffic and I'm very pleased with the effect on frame rates - it has minimal impact considering how many aircraft are displayed.I also agree with you on some of the 3rd party addons many of which I never use. It's nice of the designers to create them and make them available and they will please many but it's all a matter of choice.I have to disagree with you on the subject of working FMCs which I find add enormously to the realism. Isn't that how real world aircraft navigate from A to B? Suitable for a large Boeing or Airbus of course but not for all aircraft.Finally... <>It all depends on what you consider to be reasonable :-) If you turn down many or all the options you can get these addons to work very well with FS9. Personally I hate having to reduce from the maximum setting for scenery but at present it's a necessary evil. Bear in mind many of these better products are commercial offerings and there's some good money to be made. Ultimately it pushes us into getting faster and faster machines so we can enjoy flying even more. Some day it will end but probably not in my lifetime :-(The Fokker? Too small for me I'm afraid ;-)Cheers,

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I meant adding 3rd party aircraft to fly - I brought foward the collection of Project AI and Aardvark AI aircraft I had built up in FS2002 into FS9 and they work fairly well - a bit of a problem with the Aardvark B732's, which picked up a tendency to taxi with their tails on the ground and nosewheels in the air, but I've fixed that.In fact I have so many AI aircraft & flightplans that I have the ATC percentage turned down to about 15% because of the limit imposed by the gates available at the airports.Despite that, I can run several of the new aircraft which have come out for FS9 at reasonable frame rates i.e. the MD-11 and the B757 (although the textures are still slow to load initially).The Posky A330 is hopeless for me and I've given up on it.But the first 2 panels (the B737 and the MD-11)are killers, particularly the former. And neither have FMC's!And it's not a question of turning all the sliders down: that doesn't make a noticeable difference to the framerates for the internal 2D panel views.So back to the original problem: if I can get reasonable external view framerates for quite sophisticated 3rd party planes with the Weather and Scenery at the higher end, what can I do if anything to speed up the panels?

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Hi,<>It did ocur to me that having discussed the merits or otherwise of these 3rd party panels I hadn't actually answered your question. I think your options are very limited. The PMDG737 does have an option to alter the rate at which the gauge info is refreshed. Check if the panels you're using have that option. Failing that I think you're scuppered. This is why Project Magenta is such a good package. It moves all the gauge processing to another computer freeing up the flying PCs processor to concentrate on scenery processing.Sorry I couldn't give you the magic formula :-(Cheers,

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The merits of the panels aren't in question, particularly the Precison Panels B737 looks great and worked almost straight out of the box!Maybe I do need to upgrade my computer when I can, but I may try some extra memory anyway.Thanks for trying to help, even if the problem is insoluble short of 2 computers!

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If it's any consolation I generally upgrade my flying PC every two years and will be upgrading my Athlon 2000XP next spring when I can double my processing power. FS is at the cutting edge of system requirements and if you want to have most of the option near or at maximum getting a new PC six months or so after FS comes out will generally give you that option.Happy hunting!

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