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Fs9 Performance Issues -- Looking For Feedback

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Hey all, I'm looking for some advice on how to improve performance with FS9. I'm currently running Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit via Bootcamp on a mid-2012 Macbook Pro (retina). 

 

Here are my specs:

 

Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7

Memory: 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

Graphics: Nvidia GT 650M

 

I generally run several addons while flying...

 

Active Sky Evolution (using REX Overdrive textures)

UltimateTerrain, GE Pro, and Terrain Mesh

Google Chrome (for various charts and the like)

PFPX

EFASS (an electronic flight bag of sorts)

Bandicam (for recording gameplay)

FSinn (for when flying on VATSIM)

 

From what I've read, it's my understanding that my machine should be able to handle all this without any major frames/performance hit(s). Granted my information is anecdotal (reading various message boards, viewing users' experiences with similar rigs), but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that my system ought to be able to manage all this. 

 

Just today I overclocked my GPU. Here are screenshots of my current Nvidia Inspector settings:

 

Settings1_zpscc9e1e68.png

 

settings2_zpsf1bc1716.png

 

In addition to that, I also downloaded and installed Razer GameBooster, and distributed FS9's workload across my 8 processing cores. 

 

My performance seems a bit better, particularly when on the ground. I still see the occasional frames-hit, but overall things do seem a bit improved. Furthermore, I find things are relatively smooth for the majority of the time, however when I'm entering a resource-intensive area, I find a take a hit in performance and have a locking/freezing/juttery (for lack of a better term) type of effect. I cannot tell if it's a frames hit, or something entirely different. The framerate will decrease, but the effect is strange. It should be noted that this is worse when recording via Bandicam than when not. 

 

With that said, once I'm immersed within the "dense" area, my frames level back out and seem to do fairly well. It seems to be an issue with the speed at which information is being transferred. 

 

I also find that the performance hits seem to be variable. There is certain scenery that will result in a rather big hit on performance one day, but will have much less influence on performance the next day. Obviously performance depends on weather and other variables, so I don't know if this is relevant. 

 

Perhaps the most interesting thing of all is that I found my CPU and GPU usage never exceeded 50%'ish with all my various addons running, and with Bandicam recording. My GPU usage would hover between 40-50%, whilst my CPU usage would be somewhere around 30-40%, and would spike to 50-55% when entering a more densely packed area. I'm not entirely sure how to interpret this, beyond the fact that it seems my machine isn't being pushed all that hard. 

 

Any ideas? I've tried defragmenting my disk, but it would seem my HD is an SSD, and therefore cannot be defragmented. 

 

My only remaining idea is to re-install FS9 and my addons onto an external SSD which I have. I've heard this improves load speeds and while that's not specifically what I need, I can't help but wonder if my performance hits are the result of slow data transfer. Maybe this WOULD solve my problems after all. I don't know...! but I hope you all can provide some feedback. 

 

Here's a video to give you an idea of how things perform, and what exactly I'm talking about.

 


 

Any/all help and feedback is much appreciated!

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That AA setting you have in NI is quite high.  Try 8x CSAA.  It won't be as sharp as the one you're using now, but you'll get much better fps, especially in heavy clouds/weather.

 

Also, if you're using the HD clouds from REX, they will eat a lot of frames compared to compressed DXT/520 resolution clouds.

 

Set Active Sky to use Core 0, and FS9 on cores 1-7.

 

For the Maximum Pre Rendered Frames, try setting it to "use application setting".

 

If you're not having V Sync issues, you should turn it off in Inspector (use application setting).

 

A VERY USEFUL tool that you should have is the DXT Fixer which can be downloaded from this site.  Thanks to our forum member, Neumanix.  A lot of scenery add ons have missing alpha channels which cause a lot of jerky frames, hiccups, etc. 

This tool has made some really bad performing airport scenery super smooth.

 

IMO, to take full advantage of FS9 (high AA, HD clouds, etc), you would still need a pretty powerful PC. 

 

The reason you're not seeing that high of a CPU usage is because FS9 was designed for one core.  It does kinda make use of multi cores.  I set mine to use cores 1-3 (out of 4, I leave core 0 for Active Sky).  I've done tests and it performs much better than me running FS9 on one core alone.

 

What matters most for FS9 is core speed.  Even though you won't get 100% usage throughout your 8 cores, a chip with a higher clock speed will still run FS9 faster.

 

I plan to upgrade to a 2600k based i7 in the future for my FS9.

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Great! Thank you so much for the feedback. I'll try several of these things tomorrow and report back with what (if any) progress was made. Thanks again. 

 

Also, any chance you could link the DXT Fixer? I'm not finding it after some poking around. 

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Oh yeah, another thing I just remembered.  This works for me and a few other members.  Try locking your frames at 60 (in FS9).  For some reason, on my system, locking it at 60 makes it much more fluid, even when it drops down to 30 (versus locking at 30).

 

You can find the fixer by searching for dxtfixerx in the library.

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I really can't thank you enough for the suggested changes. 

 

I ran DXTFixer, and adjusted some NI settings. I didn't touch antialiasing, but I did adjust my v-sync, pre-rendered frames, and dispersed AS and FS9 amongst my various cores as you recommended. I also tweaked my target framerate, although not to 60. I tried 22 initially and seemed to have success with it.

 

I was able to fly into LAX as in the previous video, but had no frames hits whatsoever. I know LAX tends to be one of my heavier sceneries so I find it valuable as a measuring stick. If you can handle LAX, you can handle most anything!

 

Here's a short video of the simulator after your recommended tweaks. Looks and feels great. Thanks a million. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVSfjNmvuK4&feature=youtu.be

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Glad to hear you're getting better performance.  That second video is much smoother than the first one you posted, and with heavier weather/rain too!

If you still want more frames in the future, you can try using a lower AA setting like the 8x CSAA I mentioned before.  Big performance increase compared to the setting you're currently using (won't look as clean with CSAA though).

 

If you like making FS videos, you can also run FRAPS on core 0.  I recently started doing that for my vids and it works great.  There are two processes for FRAPS once it's running.  I set both on Core 0.

 

Happy Flying!

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Glad to hear you're getting better performance.  That second video is much smoother than the first one you posted, and with heavier weather/rain too!

If you still want more frames in the future, you can try using a lower AA setting like the 8x CSAA I mentioned before.  Big performance increase compared to the setting you're currently using (won't look as clean with CSAA though).

 

If you like making FS videos, you can also run FRAPS on core 0.  I recently started doing that for my vids and it works great.  There are two processes for FRAPS once it's running.  I set both on Core 0.

 

Happy Flying!

 

Cool, cool! Thanks again. May tweak other settings as needed, but I'm fairly happy with where things are. 

 

I generally record with Bandicam, so I'll set that to core 0, along with ActiveSky. Thanks for the heads-up.

 

While flying today I had another issue. I'm not entirely sure how to describe it, but as best as I can tell they were stutters. When flying into and out of an airport the frames were fine, but whilst descending, especially in the 18000 to 5000 feet range, I noticed the simulator would "freeze", and jump ahead, or stutter. I'm not entirely sure what it was related to, but it seems particularly bad around the New York and tri-state area, so I think it has something to do with the processing of scenery and what-not. 

 

Any idea on how to alleviate this? This is where I wonder if reinstalling all FS9-related files on an external HD would be beneficial. 

 

If you jump ahead to about the 4:30 mark in the first video I posted you'll see what I'm talking about. Little jumps/stutters in the game. Any ideas?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpGkxn_wYxc

 

Again, thank you so much. You've single-handedly helped me along. It's very much appreciated!  :smile:

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To further clarify (won't allow me to edit previous post)...

 

The ONLY time I notice this stuttering/freezing/jumping is when flying into KJFK, and it mostly occurs around the altitudes 5000'ish feet up 18000'ish feet. As you can see, it's 2-4 second stutters/micro-freezes as I descend down. Once I cross beyond 5000 feet or so, the issues seem to resolve fairly well. I'd imagine it's related to scenery/terrain around the tri-state area. 

 

Wondering what exactly I can do to combat this. Seems pretty unique from most other stuttering/framerate issues given where it occurs in the air. 

 

I'm very grateful for any advice, regardless of the source. Groovin or others.  :lol:

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Hmmm, I've never had stutters like that.  My stutters went away after running the DXT Fixer, but those were mostly on payware sceneries that had missing alpha channels.  It was pretty bad on one add on before I ran the fixer, but it wasn't as bad as the one on your vid. 

 

Do you have traffic turned on?  JFK is a big fps eater especially with 100% traffic during peak hours.  LaGuardia is also not far away, so the traffic there probably adds up, plus, the ones already in the air.

 

Not sure if installing to an external drive will help.  Last year, I upgraded my HDD to an SSD and did a fresh install of FS9 and add ons.  I can't really say there was an improvement in performance other than super fast loading time.

 

You can try setting your autogen/sce. complexity and traffic to something very low and see if the problem is still there.  If it's gone, then you'll know one of them, or, a combination of both are causing the long pauses.

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