Sign in to follow this  
EngineRoom

P3D2 vs FSX DX10 - A Direct Comparison

Recommended Posts

NOTE TO MODERATORS - Whilst strictly speaking I know I have broken the 20 screenshot rule, I have only posted 18 full size screenshots and the rest are small thumbnails linking to screenshots of my settings. I hope this is acceptable given their relevance to the purpose of this post, and of course the interest this post may have to Avsim members!

 

I don't think anybody has failed to notice that the second patch for P3D2 was released earlier this week and has generated a lot of discussion. I've just done a reformat/reinstall of my computer and thought it might be interesting to do a head to head comparison of FSX and P3D2 with no addons installed. To the best of my knowledge nobody has done this before, the recent FSX versus X-Plane 10 comparison I did got a lot of positive feedback so hopefully this will be just as informative and useful.

 

Right then, on to the preliminaries.... the following information should frame all the following screenshots:

 

My System:

 

i7-950 (Bloomfield) overclocked to 4GHz

12GB RAM

Nvidia GTX780Ti with the new 337.50 beta drivers

Asus PB278Q 27" 2560x1440 PLS Display

Windows 7 x64 running on a 64GB SSD

FSX/P3D2 running on a 1TB mechanical drive

 

 

FSX + Acceleration installed. I'm running FSX under DX10 using the latest version of Steve Parson's DX10 Scenery Fixer. Nothing else installed in FSX at all.

 

FSX running with the following settings:

 

(Please click thumbnails for full size)

 

l0aKhSZs.jpg Duf7NNGs.jpg4TXkl0zs.jpg NpkmDwls.jpgBFNM3t6s.jpg

 

And the following Nvidia Inspector settings:

 

1Cc5aeOs.jpg

 

The following tweaks applied to the FSX.CFG:

 

(BufferPools)

UsePools=0

 

(JOBSCHEDULER)

AffinityMask=254

 

(GRAPHICS)

HIGHMEMFIX=1

MultiSamplesPerPixel=4

MultiSampleQuality=8     <-These are to achieve 8xCSAA anti aliasing in DX10

 

(DISPLAY)

TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=100

 

(Main)

FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION=0.1

DisablePreload=1

 

 

 

As for P3D2... this is a totally fresh and clean install of 2.2 with no addons, tweaks or additional Nvidia Inspector settings applied. Running with the following settings:

 

GgvogPys.jpg RF5mvmSs.jpg04AJwDos.jpg 11y1CPMs.jpgMUURbq8s.jpg

 

 

I've tried to get both sims at broadly equivalent graphics settings, whilst trying to show off some of the new graphical features of P3D2 like the new shadows. You'll notice that I have maxed out the autogen in FSX but left it at one notch below max in P3D2, I thought this was fair given people reporting P3D2 not only draws more autogen but draws it further out as well.

 

 

For FSX I chose the Acceleration F/A-18 Hornet, and in P3D2 I chose the nearest equivalent which was the F-22 Raptor. The test flights took place during the stock "day" and "summer" settings, and used the stock "Fair Weather" scheme.

 

The actual flight goes as follows:

 

i) Starting on Runway 28 at Manston EGMH take off and immediately turn left to a heading of 255 degrees whilst accelerating to Mach 1 at low altitude.

 

ii) Passing the city of Canterbury adjust course to the right slightly so as to head towards Gatwick EGKK, still at Mach 1 and low altitude.

 

iii) Passing over Gatwick immediately make a zoom climb to 18,000-20,000ft. London and Heathrow EGLL should be immediately visible. Head towards Heathrow.

 

iv) Passing overhead Heathrow descend rapidly back down to low altitude, turning east towards the skyline of central London, again accelerating to Mach 1 as low as you dare.

 

v) Passing over Fulham, Westminster, Tower Bridge, and passing south of Canary Wharf and London City EGLC continue at Mach 1 and low altitude towards Dartford.

 

vi) Passing the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford still at Mach 1 and low altitude, adjust course to the south slightly to head towards the Medway Towns.

 

vii) Passing over the River Medway start a climb to around 2,500-3,000ft and adjust course to follow the north Kent coast.

 

viii) Passing Herne Bay Manston EGMH should become visible to the east, head towards it.

 

 

I chose this flight profile as it includes a great deal of high speed low level flight, which will stress both the autogen and terrain texture loading of both sims. The zoom climb after Gatwick will leave all of London visible and will give an opportunity to have a look at the higher altitude scenery rendering as well as show off the new cloud shadows. By flying over central London at low altitude I am hoping to really stress the graphics engines with having to render huge amounts of scenery objects and autogen, which will also give the VAS handling a good test as well. Finally, the segment flying over Kent at 2,500-3,000ft will give an opportunity to have a good look at exactly how much autogen is rendered by each sim and how far out it is rendered. All the while I'm also keeping an eye on the framerate, looking out for stutters, blurry textures, autogen popping, and of course the memory footprint with regards to the dreaded 32bit VAS limit.

 

 

So with no further ado....

 

LRY7FTp.jpg

 

E3KWGmi.jpg

 

Sitting on runway 28 at Manston. Not a lot to see here other than both sims are happily maintaining the target 30fps. FSX is showing 710MB of memory, P3D2 is showing 1.2GB.

 

 

mpdNQTe.jpg

 

WaiMfKC.jpg

 

Passing Canterbury. The terrain textures in FSX - much to my surprise - remained totally clear and crips with not a single blurry. P3D2 showed blurried on the initial acceleration away from the airport but the terrain textures caught up after maybe 10-15 seconds. Both sims are equally smooth with no stutters and no problem maintaining the locked 30fps. FSX 1.16GB, P3D2 1.2GB.

 

 

hgW3h6L.jpg

 

J7zENrX.jpg

 

Passing over mid-Kent. Please note both the speed and altitude. Again very little to choose between the two sims here, both are having no problem at all maintaining the 30fps lock and both are smooth as butter. FSX 1.23GB, P3D2 1.26GB.

 

 

hK7WEqa.jpg

 

7XeFQtG.jpg

 

After the zoom climb from Gatwick, Heathrow is now visible on the left of the image and London lays underneath. You can see the new cloud shadows in P3D2 here. Again still no problem with blurries, framerate or stutters in either sim. One problem I did notice here for P3D2 was very noticeable autogen popping below me, not present in FSX. FSX 1.35GB, P3D2 1.38GB.

 

 

SFvjpqR.jpg

 

Q23I4g4.jpg

 

Dropped back down to low altitude, accelerated to Mach 1 again and heading at rooftop height across west London towards the centre of the city. This is where I expected the real stress test to begin, and much to my surprise it was P3D2 that dipped to 22-26fps and started showing blurries again. FSX by comparison remained rock solid at 30fps and no blurries. FSX 1.46GB, P3D2 1.57GB.

 

 

nIehHWy.jpg

 

vn2AnYo.jpg

 

Leaving London behind now and heading back into Kent, looking behind us with the city in full view. P3D2 has now gone back up to 30fps and no more blurries. FSX remains steady at 30fps and no blurries. FSX 1.7GB, P3D2 1.65GB.

 

 

SsFscET.jpg

 

ACMGAhJ.jpg

 

Passing over the Medway Towns, this altitude gives a good impression of both the amount of autogen and how far out it is drawn. As you can see the amount of autogen appears to be very similar (given the settings above) and didn't surprise me because I had set FSX to a higher autogen level. What did surprise me a little was P3D2's autogen doesn't appear to draw any further out than FSX. Something perhaps contrary to what I've been reading on various fora. Still both sims show the same performance, no problems with framerate, stuttering or blurries. FSX 1.69GB, P3D2 1.64GB.

 

 

JAIelkg.jpg

 

zloL2cT.jpg

 

Passing Herne Bay. This shot shows the difference in the water. My personal preference is for P3D2's water, but to be perfectly honest neither sim does a good job here. Still no problems with performance in either sim. FSX 1.66GB, P3D2 1.58GB.

 

 

PA745rD.jpg

 

pQsM5TL.jpg

 

Overhead Manston. Still both sims are neck and neck for performance. FSX 1.64GB, P3D2 1.58GB.

 

 

 

So then... what to make of it all?

 

The first thing I'll say is looking at the VAS footprint throughout the flight you can see how all those addons we all have installed inflates VAS usage significantly (to put it mildly) over running the sim with no addons.

 

The next thing I'll say is having just spent the day flying over my native south east England I've got a new appreciation of how much Orbx improved the scenery beyond stock. Come on Orbx, get a move on and get the UK sceneries properly ported over to P3D2!

 

What surprised me here is how in terms of framerate and blurries FSX managed to keep pace with P3D2 all the way through this flight, and in fact it was the newcomer that faltered a couple of times when the encumbant was pretty much flawless throughout. That's despite me using a GTX780Ti which if you believe everything you read is supposed to allow P3D2 to really stretch its legs. Yes I know my CPU isn't the latest and greatest Haswell but I think this test shows that by and large there's not a great deal to choose between the two sims in terms of performance.

 

I think it may well be very fair to say much of the praise P3D2 has garnered for its relative performance might be down to people comparing a virgin P3D2 install to their two year old FSX install that is choked up with addons and creaking under its own weight.

 

Which is really quite interesting, because it means that either the P3D2 developers didn't actually achieve a great deal in moving the sim to DX11, or DX10 with Steve Parson's Scenery Fixer works absolute wonders for FSX. The truth is probably somewhere in between. I will say that both DX11 P3D2 and DX10 FSX offer inferior anti-aliasing options compared to DX9 FSX, and you will notice this in certain conditions. You can see the new lighting system in P3D2 here, and to be honest I'm not sure if I think it's any better than FSX. To be fair to P3D2 I haven't shown the new volumetric fog and southern England doesn't have the kind of topography that might show off the new terrain shadows to good effect. The cloud shadows look nice (BTW, those who are lauding the new cloud shadows as a "first" and "long awaited", what rock have you been under because XP has had these for quite some time now!). I can't help but feel the new graphics features in P3D2 leave me a little underwhelmed.

 

Which kind of brings me on to my overall feeling about P3D2, and that is I find it underwhelming. I just don't see this amazing new breakthrough sim that people are gushing about. That's not to say it's a bad sim or the developers did a bad job... it's just when you compare P3D2 being released seven years after FSX, and you can see the direct comparisons above... and then consider FSX came out seven years after FS2000.... well if P3D2 represents seven years of progress over FSX then colour me unimpressed. For me at least the biggest improvment P3D2 yields is the better behaviour with regards to autogen popping. This kind of low level high speed flight really highlights FSX's poor characteristics in this regard. Whilst P3D2 isn't perfect, I can most definitely make P3D2 autogen pop into view, it's a significant improvement over FSX.

 

I'll support P3D2, it's a platform in active development and that makes it something definitely worth supporting, especially given Laminar's rather lethargic development of XP10 since its release. I remember being similarly underwhelmed by FSX back in October 2006 and it took a few years for FSX to mature and begin to show us what it was capable of. I expect much will be the same with P3D2.

 

In the meantime, there's not much chance of me hitting uninstall on FSX.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

And now we're talking. LEt's see how P3D2 will perform when choking with bunch of addons. FSX isn't capable of handling that, and neither is P3D2 imho, simply because I think it is developed with one goal in mind - to be a very capable simulator of ONE aircraft (like B737 ir A320 simulators). Maybe I'm wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting the comparison, though I differ in your opinion of the P3Dv2 lighting improvements. I find it interesting you don't find the P3Dv2 lighting system a large leap over FSX DX10.

 

Wherein FSX with the DX10 Fixer includes just cockpit shadows and "free" bloom, P3Dv2 also includes the following:

  • Real-time building shadows
  • Real-time vegetation shadows
  • Cloud shadows (as you mentioned), that affect not only the scenery but the user aircraft
  • HDR without the need for potentially buggy external programs like ENB/SweetFX
  • Control over all terrain, cloud, simobject, building, vegetation ability to cast or receive shadows
  • Control over terrain, cloud and all other shadows rendering distances

I think the preceding list shows a substantial improvement over not only the presentation of the environment but unprecedented control over what the user deems important for immersion.

 

Asides from the lighting system, you fail to mention that when comparing the two simulators, P3Dv2 did not require any of the myriad of tweaks you listed for FSX, and instead worked out of the box.

 

Another comparison you fail to note in the writeup, but illustrate perfectly, is the night-and-day difference between FSX Display Settings and P3Dv2 Display Settings. Some of the display settings that are missing (or not available at all) from FSX that are included in P3Dv2 are:

  • Widescreen Toggle  (tweak in FSX)
  • Vsync  (tweak in FSX)
  • Triple Buffering  (not available in FSX)
  • LOD_Radius of 6.5 vice the maximum of 4.5 for FSX  (tweak in FSX)
  • Tesselation  (not available in FSX)
  • Separate Building and Vegetation Autogen sliders  (tweak in FSX)
  • Terrain, cloud, simobject, etc. water reflection toggles  (not available in FSX)
  • Bathymetry (underwater terrain and area for water craft) support and rendering  (not available in FSX)
  • Aformentioned Shadow visibility toggles and rendering distance sliders  (not available in FSX)

Therefore, I wouldn't name your post a "Direct Comparison", but a "Scenery Loading, FPS and VAS Usage Using Similar Display Settings Comparison" because there really is a lot to distinguish P3Dv2 from FSX and vice-versa.

 

I'm not trying to sell anyone on P3Dv2, but I am. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the subject of shadows, perhaps I am being unfair but the autogen shadows do nothing for me. If nothing else they detract from the scene because they shimmer in a very noticeable manner which I find quite distracting.

 

 

 


Asides from the lighting system, you fail to mention that when comparing the two simulators, P3Dv2 did not require any of the myriad of tweaks you listed for FSX, and instead worked out of the box.

 

Maybe, maybe not. The fact remains the tweaks I applied to FSX are well known and took a matter of minutes to apply. The information is readily available and has been for a long time now. Ultimately the need to tweak FSX is irrelevant to me because I know what tweaks I need and what works for me.

 

 

On the subject of graphic settings, I don't think formalising cfg tweaks into actual options within the sim's UI qualifies as a major leap forward.

 

 

 


LOD_Radius of 6.5 vice the maximum of 4.5 for FSX  (tweak in FSX)

 

And in this case is actually disingenuous as P3D2 is hard limited to 6.5 which is no good for photosceneries. FSX users can edit their cfg and push it out to 9.5 for photosceneries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies, but the forum software limits how many quotes I can make:

 

  • Widescreen Toggle  (tweak in FSX)

 - Seriously? As I said above, not really a feature at all and quite a stretch to depict it as one.

  • Vsync  (tweak in FSX)

 - Ditto.

  • Triple Buffering  (not available in FSX)

 - It's there but seems to make no difference for me.

  • Tesselation  (not available in FSX)

 - The above shots have tesselation enabled and set to high. Can you spot the difference between this and the FSX shots? I can't.

  • Separate Building and Vegetation Autogen sliders  (tweak in FSX)

- Again, a very simple and long established cfg entry in FSX.

  • Terrain, cloud, simobject, etc. water reflection toggles  (not available in FSX)

- This one is a personal bugbear of mine. I've lived next to the sea for most of my life and have worked at sea for the last ten years. I have never ever seen the terrain reflected in the sea, and seldom have I seen clouds reflected in the water. Therefore I nearly always run with these reflections disabled as they are simply unrealistic as far as I'm concerned. What's more they were linked to the sliders in FSX, but as you point out they could not be individually selected or deselected.

  • Bathymetry (underwater terrain and area for water craft) support and rendering  (not available in FSX)

 - I wonder how many Avsim users would use this feature? There's already a site called subsim.com  :P  I don't think there's going to be much clamour for a PMDG submarine addon.

  • Aformentioned Shadow visibility toggles and rendering distance sliders  (not available in FSX)
  •  - Nice to have and most welcome.

 

On the subject of HDR... neither ENB nor SweetFX have HDR. SweetFX has a pseudo HDR that looks awful. Again, the above shots have HDR enabled in P3D2 but I can't see much of a difference.

 

 

Maybe I am just being uncharitable to P3D2? However, if anyone would care to post a similar comparison between a virgin P3D2 and FSX as a riposte to mine then I'd certainly appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like we left out an important feature.

 

FSX:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339520,00.asp

 

 

P3D

http://www.prepar3d.com/

 

True, that's probably the biggest difference between the two!  :lol:

 

EngineRoom did mention that though, and that's the reason why he's supporting P3Dv2.

 

I hope my post wasn't taken as a riposte of the OP, it was meant as an addition in comparing the features between the two. 

 

No offense meant EngineRoom! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 


Looks like we left out an important feature.

 

Thanks for that, I never knew MS quit developing FSX!

 

 

 

 

 


No offense meant EngineRoom! 

 

None taken  :smile:

 

I'm actually looking forward to getting FTX Global up and running with Rex 4 and ASN in P3D2 to see what it all looks like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Which kind of brings me on to my overall feeling about P3D2, and that is I find it underwhelming. I just don't see this amazing new breakthrough sim that people are gushing about. That's not to say it's a bad sim or the developers did a bad job... it's just when you compare P3D2 being released seven years after FSX, and you can see the direct comparisons above... and then consider FSX came out seven years after FS2000.... well if P3D2 represents seven years of progress over FSX then colour me unimpressed. For me at least the biggest improvment P3D2 yields is the better behaviour with regards to autogen popping. This kind of low level high speed flight really highlights FSX's poor characteristics in this regard. Whilst P3D2 isn't perfect, I can most definitely make P3D2 autogen pop into view, it's a significant improvement over FSX.
 
I'll support P3D2, it's a platform in active development and that makes it something definitely worth supporting, especially given Laminar's rather lethargic development of XP10 since its release. I remember being similarly underwhelmed by FSX back in October 2006 and it took a few years for FSX to mature and begin to show us what it was capable of. I expect much will be the same with P3D2.

 

 

Circa 2006 satire ^_^ :

 

"Which kind of brings me on to my overall feeling about FSX, and that is I find it underwhelming. I just don't see this amazing new breakthrough sim that people are gushing about.  When you compare FSX being released three years after FS9, and you can see the direct comparisons above... and then consider FS9 came out three years after FS2000.... well if FSX represents three years of progress over FS9 then color me unimpressed. For me at least the biggest improvement FSX yields is better graphics with regards to water reflections and city tile textures (can't see the full benefit of the scenery as no computer available today can run FSX to the point it looks better than FS9). Flying low over cities really highlights FS9's poor characteristics in this regard. Whilst FSX isn't perfect, I can most definitely enjoy FSX's water reflections, it's a significant improvement over FS9."

 

 

I really like your write up, as someone who had a real problem with P3D it's great to read you took another objective look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my father is stronger than your father,no problem,so is my mother :lol:


i stay in fsx some wants prepar3d,and so on,be happy guys and take a flight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

very nice comparison, makes me feel even better with my setup, with FSX and DX10

 

This was a definite gamechanger for me:  a few months ago I purchased Steve's DX10 fixer, and around Xmas time I purchased REX 4-Direct, all of a sudden I felt that I had a different sim for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 


I remember being similarly underwhelmed by FSX back in October 2006 and it took a few years for FSX to mature and begin to show us what it was capable of. I expect much will be the same with P3D2.

 

I'm still in FSX world but I do look forward to getting Prepar3D soon...once some more of the aircraft that I fly are ported (or Milviz gets the MU2 done.)  I remember having the same feeling about FSX when it came out...had little idea about what could be done with it then.  Like you, I suspect that P3D will bring flight sim to higher levels.  The lighting and shadows seem like a major improvement.  I guess we'll see where else it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this