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Jacoba

Okay... so talk to me about the benefits of a SSD for FSX.

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Folks are telling me to get one for any new system I order, all the top tier builders offer them and from what I can glean from various forums its the in thing these days. So, for someone like myself... a bit technologically challenged what exactly is this critter, how's it work, what benefits are there and any feeding and caring tips I need to be aware of? Is it accessed like any other extra drive as far as Windows is concerned, like using an external plug in drive? Do I need to simply select it when installing FSX as the destination, and Windows and the FSX installer does the rest? Will I see any performance increase or simple faster start up times? How does it affect such things as scenery? And which one is the best/better one to buy?


A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Okay solid state drives aren't mechanical. They're like your USB chips and contain actual memory chips instead of a disk (like a ram stick.) the benefit of no moving parts is less noise, no defragmentation and super fast access. A top quality mechanical 7200RPM hard drive (such as the SATAIII 6GB/s Caviar Blacks) have read times of about 100 MB/s. A SATAII SSD has read times about 250MB/s. A SATAIII SSD has read times of about 550MB/s. So obviously a SATAIII is the one to go for. Corsair's Force 3 series is a good quality option. They work like any other harddrive. You plug it into a SATAIII or SATAII socket on your motherboard, attach a power connector from your PSU to it, boot the computer and It will show up just like any other drive. The best SSD's to look out for are the ones with Sandforce drivers and Trim support. In FSX you will see:faster start times/load timesfaster texture loadingless stutters caused by loading textureswhen switching views (ie spot to VC), the change will be quicker and there will be a lot less performance drop caused by loading the panels/VC textures etc.


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Okay, many thanks! smile.png


A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Only faster load times in my personal experience. No reduced stutters, no percieved faster texture loading.

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Most have found the benefits to be small or none. But much depends on what you are coming from.

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Jim is correct the benefits in terms of FSX are quite small. The problem lies in the 4K block random read and write and here a standard HDD can operate up to 4 times faster than an SSD and as 4K blocks are the bread and butter of FSX and windows. They are getting better in this area but they still can't compare wrt bang (GB) for buck with a conventional HDD or even better a VRAP.From PC Tech Autority:"But, thanks to the page-level and block-level limitations, SSDs still fall behind when it comes to non-sequential operations on small files. At least one whole 4KB page must be read into cache and then back out (or vice-versa) for the smallest read or write operation. This means small, random-access operations often take far longer on an SSD than they do on a conventional spinning-platter drive. Our A-Listed mechanical drive, for instance, the Samsung Spinpoint F3, can hit over 80MB/sec with random reads, whereas the 120GB Intel 510 drops to a paltry 20MB/sec. Unfortunately, such operations are the bread-and-butter of Windows operation: both the operating system itself and the applications running on it continually read and write small chunks of housekeeping, configuration and user data." http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/266871,silent-running-an-introduction-to-ssds.aspxHowever this lack of performance in this area is getting better with the new Kingston drives being much faster. The pros are:V Low heat outputBlisteringly fast load timesV Low power consumptionNo defraggingNo moving partsThe consPoor performance in some areasExpensive RegardsPeterH

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SSDs are great for the OS and programs, but not so much for FSX. If you do decide to get an SSD, the Vertex 3 120GB is going for only $219.99 on the egg. Not bad.


Corey Meeks

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This will be a dedicated FS gaming rig, so if no benefit then I'll skip it...


A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Jim is correct the benefits in terms of FSX are quite small. The problem lies in the 4K block random read and write and here a standard HDD can operate up to 4 times faster than an SSD and as 4K blocks are the bread and butter of FSX and windows. They are getting better in this area but they still can't compare wrt bang (GB) for buck with a conventional HDD or even better a VRAP.
I formatted my FSX dedicated Sata2 7200 drive with 64KB blocks which I thought would help to boost read performance, wouldn't that also apply to SSD's?

Regards, Django EGLL.

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Fast loading of FSX and fast loading of OS if you have the OS on the SSD. I have one - 120GB - love it!


|Ryan Butterworth|

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I would go with a western digital velociraptor drive for your fsx drive.


Matt Wilson

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DjangoI don't think that you can format an SSD (I may be wrong) in other than 4K blocks and see the benefits. AFAIK the 4K rr/rw has little to do with the format block size. I'm with Matt a VRAP is still the most efficient cost and performance wise for FSX. If you can afford a RAID card then 2 VRAPS in a RAID configuration would be very efficient. (Although I note onboard RAID controllers have also been improved.)RegardsPeterH

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RAID for FSX is really only efficient for large files, like photoscenery. There is no noticeable benefit for FSX itself. And the onboard RAID controllers are still a nogo as far as FSX is concerned. As said, your best bet so far is still a 600G Vrap and if you want a further increase in performance - get a 3Ware Controller. Vic


 

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Just go for the SSD, you won't regret it. I am running OS with a 40gb SSD and 120gb ssd for FSX. Everything is fast and snappy....loving it! OS load speed is fast, and you wont have to worry about blurries in FSX! Avistudent

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My copy of Pac-Man (circa 1980), has some slight stutters when I play it and some sound popping issues but I can tell you that I will not spend $3k on PC upgrades to attempt to address them. Any discussion centered on performance and hardware for FS, (general, including and especially FSX circa 2004), is equally ridiculous, redundant and totally unnecessary. Any PC purchased off the shelf today, is likely a minimum of twice as powerful as anything Phil Taylor, ACES, Microsoft themselves, likely had available when FS was designed and approved for release. Not being a stick-in-the-mud but I just want to put things in perspective for some 12-year old FS enthusiast that may stumble past thinking FSX is a new program and he needs run out and buy the latest and greatest to make it perform to some earthshattering level of performance and if he doesn’t spend at least $3k-$6k on a PC for it, he is missing something. I want to assure him that he is not missing anything, buy a PC off the shelf, run FSX and what you see is what you get, enjoy it, learn aviation from it and be happy. When I first got into FS in the early 2000’s, we never had these types of PC related forum participation. We were far too busy flying and learning to fly and socializing with each other on Vatsim and learning to Control ATC. If you had said to any of us at that time that you needed to spend $3k+ on a PC to run the next version of FS, we would have laughed you off the channel. FSX remains a great tool for learning aviation even to the extent (depending on how much you study) of advancing your ability to go onto real-world flying or career in aviation. For that it is great and fun and you can easily do this on a store bought PC for under $1k. Long spiel but I had to put things into perspective. So now we are beyond the realm of FS and onto an entirely and nearly unrelated hobby of PC enthusiasm (but we will retain the code word "FSX" as guise so that we don’t get kicked off the channel). FSX, the world of benchmarks and bragging rights copious amounts of spent money to which all or most of it will have very little if any, effect on the performance or intended focus and performance of FSX. Reality is you can buy any modern HDD today and it will be fine for FSX. In the world of “best” (or "FSX", see code word decipher above) SSD is hands down the winner but at great cost. FSX is a random read intensive program with an average block of 64kb (not that it matters) with some add-on and photo scenery files making it several MB read (at times). Most SSD’s will tear the doors off a Vrap even at 4kb random read and the SSD nearly immeasurable access-time makes load times a breeze and any possibility of tiny stutters or stumbles a non-reality (the benchmark scores are fantastic too not to mention the bragging rights). Is an SSD a requirement, necessary, going to make a world of perceivable difference? Possibly or possibly not, but think of "FSX" (code word) and the “best.” Money aside and all good options in order of “FSX” performance: 1) PciE SSD like revo drive2) SSD on pcie controller card.3) SSD4) Raid0 2x600GB Vrap on pcie controller card.5) 600GB Vrap on pcie controller6) 600GB Vrap7) 2TB drive8) 1TB drive9) Any big capacity drive.10) Any 7200RPM drive Hands down SSD is the best if you can afford one of sufficient size to carry your entire FSX collection and OS and everything on your PC. If I had to get into scrimping and moving files that needed to be read, off to a HDD and could only support my minimum FSX installation and not have my OS on one, personally not sure that I would bother. http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/IDE/SSD_vs_VelociRaptor_vs_Raptor/SSD_vs_VelociRaptor_Raptor.html http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/31


Regards,
Gary Andersen

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