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ErichB

Nick Needham's PC tweaks

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Well, actually the only problem with the system is that it is running slower. No crashes, no foul messages no nothing. But everything is slower.

 

I haven't installed any add-ons to FSX yet and I am getting half the FPS before starting the Win7 tweaks. I also realized processes such as copying files etc are slower. 

 

Maybe restoring System Restore might help me, I thought. I am at work now and I will try this tonite.


Advice noted and if I reinstall Windows, I will use the mentioned tools for sure. A couple of years ago I'd tried similar products but back then they needed a lot of space and System Restore seemed to be a more practical solution, so I dumped the idea. :)

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I made a 100gb partition on my 1TB drive. I used the image backup that comes with Win7. It has saved me twice when bad programs trashed my OS. Works like a charm and it's free. Be careful of any drive system changes. I don't trust Restore to be 100%, but I know image works.

 

Good luck

Dave

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One thing I have learned from nicks guide was don't overkill with so called tweaks.

 

My FSX has many addons and the only two things I did was:

 

1. Adding affinity and highmemfix

2. Tweaking graphical settings according to addons I use

 

Than I also switched to dx10 which made my sim complete.

 

Didn't need to make all the changes in OS. My pc was heavily Overclocked before I started to fly because I had overclocking in blood. Nothing else I needed. Nick taught me one thing - whatever you do to your sim, evaluate feasibility of particular solution.


Tomasz Zawadzki

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As far as defragmentation;  The file structure of FSX and the mechanical nature of HDDs are such that placing the files in a defined order reduces the movements the HDD makes when seeking data.  Simple as that, less movements results in lower seek times.  But not all defrag programs place the files in the correct order.  O&O Defrag is the only application out of a whole slew of defrag programs he tested that will defrag FSX correctly in this way.  And the process MUST be performed in an exact manner according to Nick's instructions.  No skipping steps, don't touch the system for ANY reason during the defrag, perform Space defrag and then repeat Complete/Name defrags the first time after FSX is installed, reboot immediately after each defrag pass, offline defrags, regular maintenance, etc.  This isn't an obsession it is just setting up the files for mechanical HDDs.  It's the exact same thing as having a file cabinet with folders/files in a defined order as opposed to randomly ordered, a user will almost always find the needed files faster if they are in order and organized (unless of course by dumb luck they just happen to put their thumb on the one they're looking for but how often will that happen and FXS with simple addons has over 100,000 files).

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To me the operative question is quantitatively, with a relatively powerful system, how much of a performance difference does following the recommendations to a "T" make? I'm not questioning his expertise or that his recommendations theoretically optimize performance, but if the practical difference is 1 or 2 FPS landing in heavy weather in the NGX at KATL with AI, or (theoretically) 5-10 FPS at altitude when performance isn't an issue anyway, is it worth it, especially if it requires making some trade offs?

 

I've set up my system with and without and haven't noticed a particular difference, especially when compared to things like the volume of AI traffic at a busy airport. I do regularly use O&O defrag, which seems to make a difference, but as someone suggested, is that a placebo effect? I don't know, but it seems to me, anecdotally and theoretically, that as the power of CPU's and GPU's have increased, in particular with overclocking, the "guide" followed to the letter has less significance, with the expectiion of the general principle that there's always some compromise (unless you're using a Cray supercomputer).


Brian Johnson

 

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As far as defragmentation; The file structure of FSX and the mechanical nature of HDDs are such that placing the files in a defined order reduces the movements the HDD makes when seeking data. Simple as that, less movements results in lower seek times. But not all defrag programs place the files in the correct order. O&O Defrag is the only application out of a whole slew of defrag programs he tested that will defrag FSX correctly in this way. And the process MUST be performed in an exact manner according to Nick's instructions. No skipping steps, don't touch the system for ANY reason during the defrag, perform Space defrag and then repeat Complete/Name defrags the first time after FSX is installed, reboot immediately after each defrag pass, offline defrags, regular maintenance, etc. This isn't an obsession it is just setting up the files for mechanical HDDs. It's the exact same thing as having a file cabinet with folders/files in a defined order as opposed to randomly ordered, a user will almost always find the needed files faster if they are in order and organized (unless of course by dumb luck they just happen to put their thumb on the one they're looking for but how often will that happen and FXS with simple addons has over 100,000 files).

 

 

Yes, yes, as I said, I tested it, precisely as the guru tells us, in every detail. So did two of my friends on another forum. The results for all three of us were no different to a standard Windows defrag. Or rather, we saw no definitive evidence that there was an improvement.

 

I'm aware of the claims. I'm aware of the supposedly theoretical basis for those claims, but objectively myself and other have found no basis for the claims.

 

Of course, human psychology is such, that once we have convinced ourselves that the  claims are true, there's a tendency for the placebo effect to make an appearance. Thus we see the improvement we were biased in favour of.

 

One thing is for certain, that whenever I have voiced this opinion on forums, the response from the third party defrag fans has been extreme, very emotional. I hope that doesn't happen this time. As I said, this is my opinion based on my experience. If anyone else has a different experience, and believes that they can say objectively and also definitively that there's a worthwhile improvement for them, then that's great. I have no problem with that and would not wish to convince you to modify your belief systems. 

 

 

 

I've set up my system with and without and haven't noticed a particular difference,

 

 

Exactly my experience Brain, and in my case I have done so a number of times, each time no "definite" improvement. If we look at these things objectively, and can point to definitive evidence, then fair enough. Trouble is when we are dealing with subtle effects, the placebo effect is  likely to be the primary reason we see positive results. we often see what we want to see,

 

 

I do regularly use O&O defrag, which seems to make a difference, but as someone suggested, is that a placebo effect?

 

 

As you said, "seems" to make a difference, seems to isn't good enough though. Seems to implies a subtle effect. Seems to implies maybe it does maybe it doesn't.

 

What we can be certain of though, and this applies to all of the third party defrag tools, they make money for the developer.

 

Someone on another forum pointed me in the direction of a Microsoft technical article that explained why excessive defragging was pointless, and how anything but the basic Windows defrag was unnecessary.  Is FSX so unique that the advice from the Microsoft technical guys didn't apply? You decide... but decide based on definitive evidence, not "maybe" it's a bit better, not subjective opinion.

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I've used Nick's setup guides for each system I've built since early 2007 with great success. The rationale is to squeeze the best possible performance out of well-specified hardware, and yes all the steps need to be followed in the correct order to work as intended.

 

The thing that convinced me that his advice was worth following in the first place, and continues to be so, is that he properly explains the how and why of each step in some depth without being too technical or relying on too much jargon. He also explains clearly how these steps relate to the working of the FSX engine and why they help with performance.

 

His latest guide, although dealing in some detail with current generation hardware (Haswell, GTX780 etc) still has much generic advice which will remain true into the forseeable future.

 

Rob W

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Prior to the education I received free of charge from NickN I was in the habit of upgrading video card for nothing. After my i7 920 build with a 2x 295GTX  a few years ago I was disgusted with FSX and was finished with it. I then found NickN guide after reading some rave reviews and started from scratch to rebuild that system ditching the 295's for 1 GTX 480 I believe it was at that time. It followed the guide exactly and couldn't believe the results.

 

I followed his new guide again to the letter for my recent Haswell build too. The haswell build guide. The FSX bible and the NI guide. I added a novel cooling solution of my own and my system is in the 3DMARK06 Hall of Fame at no15!

 

If you think you know better than Nick then good luck with that. If you are like me an have very limited computer know-how then do yourself a favour study all of Nicks guides in detail before you do anything :Big Grin:

 

Nick has 2 Phd's and was on the team that designed the flight control system on the space shuttle or something like that. He knows his stuff

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I'm with martin-w on defragging. A lot of high density disks these days are so big they manage redundancy, and have their own layout mechanism shuffling the real files around as they like, and only present a file allocation table that is ordered.


Steve Waite: Engineer at codelegend.com

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After i stopped to use Nick's guides(for windows 7 and fsx), all my CTD's stopped. No practical benefits using O&O whole day defrag vs quick default defrag on my PC.

I'm sure FSX will work better then default with any of known guides or tweaking tools, and any of those can be easily described like great success. 

But everyone should use common sense and actually test different approaches/guides and tweaks. A lot of great arguments can be found for anything, no mattter if is true or not. 

I have my opinion on Nick's guide but i preffer not to start a debate. I'm not questioning his knowledge or expertise, i'm just saying that every single tweak/advice/approach should be tested. 


Zeljko Budovic

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Well... thanks a lot for the discussion. I've formatted my hard drive yesterday and caught myself looking for tweaks and overclock recipes right after the Win7 installation. 

 

I guess I became my own nightmare.

 

Please do have mercy for my ssoul. Someone should put an end to this!

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Nick has 2 Phd's and was on the team that designed the flight control system on the space shuttle

Where you get this information from


I7-800k,Corsair h1101 cooler ,Asus Strix Gaming Intel Z370 S11 motherboard, Corsair 32gb ramDD4,    2  ssd 500gb 970 drive, gtx 1080ti Card,  RM850 power supply

 

Peter kelberg

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I'm very well qualified too... but that doesn't mean that every facet of my advice is 100% valid, and should be followed in intricate detail.

 

 

 

I've used Nick's setup guides for each system I've built since early 2007 with great success.

How do you know? How do you know such an approach has been successful? Did you set up Windows, set up FSX using common sense, and paying attention to the well known tips for FSX installation, without following a particular gurus advice, and then test the installation in such a way that you could generate a meaningful measure of performance?

 

Did you then reinstall Windows, reinstall FSX following the advice of the guru to the letter. Did you then compare the two approaches so that you could definitively prove one approach was better than the other? Did you do that for all of your installations since 2007?

 

Bet you didn't, in which case you are simply having faith, faith that the approach is valid, without any real objective evidence. You just "feel" it's better, and feelings tell us nothing about the nature of reality. You have no idea if not following the advice would have been just as successful.

 

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but gratitude for the so called FSX gurus out there, some of them have made a great contribution to our hobby. However, following someone's advice because they "have very good qualifications" or "seem to know what they are talking about", isn't a 100% fool proof approach.

 

My approach, after many years of messing about with this stuff, is to keep it simple. And that approach provides me with high frame rate, no stutters, acceptable eye candy and not a single OOM ever.

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