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brucek

How does XPX work on a 5-k Mac?

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I had been using XPX last year and loved it. Last Christmas I got the P3D v2.0 Professional from "Santa" and have pretty much been using that (progressively upgraded to v2.4) since the start of this year, with occasional visits back to XPX from time-to-time. I've always liked many aspects of XPX- it's fluidity, the runway contours, and many more advantages including good air modeling when planes are well designed.

 

I use a home-built PC for simming (1080p monitor), and also use it for my XPX l (Win 8.1 / 64 bit). I use Apple machines (i-pads and an old "hand-me-down" iMac that gets overloaded by anything more complex than e-mail :) ) for everything but simming. But now "Santa" is promising a new i-Mac, possibly a 5-k res. This could be a game-changer for me for simmimg, especially if I get a Mac with an i-7 CPU and a decent RAM/GPU configuration. However, short of using BootCamp (which I'm not keen on doing), this move to a new system would open the door again to XPX. I'm pretty excited about this move back to XPX.

 

OK- to my questions: Are there addons for XPX that are only functional in Windows, or are all add-ons equally functional on Macs as in Windows machines?

 

And has anyone used XPX on a 5-k Mac and if so, how did it look and behave?

 

I like and am willing to pay for good aircraft for simming. It's exciting that PMDG appear to be working on an XPX product, and there are already other good products for XPX. I hope that as development continues for this sim that we start to see products similar to that of A2A and RealAir.

 

Any comments are most welcome to this post.

 

Thanks, Bruce.

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Hi Bruce

 

I've used X-Plane on a retina display Macbook Pro (Not quite a 5-k Mac, but similar), and compared to a non-retina display, it doesn't run as well for obvious reasons (4 times the resolution, etc). That being said, it looks gorgeous on that screen, but you are going to need the power to push all of those pixels at a decent framerate. I also found X-Plane performs much better on the same Mac, I ran it on bootcamp as well, and it performed much more smoothly on Mac OS X.

 

 

 


OK- to my questions: Are there addons for XPX that are only functional in Windows, or are all add-ons equally functional on Macs as in Windows machines?

 

Most developers release for both platforms including Linux. I have seen instances though where developers have provided scenery only as an .exe file, and I've had to install it into Windows and then copy the files over to Mac, but I've never seen a case where a commercial addon won't run on both platforms. Some tools such as g2xpl only run on Windows, however I don't think you'll have any issues, and I've been using Mac OS X/X-Plane for years.

 

 

 


I like and am willing to pay for good aircraft for simming. It's exciting that PMDG appear to be working on an XPX product, and there are already other good products for XPX. I hope that as development continues for this sim that we start to see products similar to that of A2A and RealAir.

 

Check out the latest stuff from Alabeo and Carenado. Their GA aircraft are superb and although lacking in detailed systems simulation, they are visually stunning and work better that the FSX/P3D versions. For jets, we have some good choice already, and there are some amazing addons due out, such as IXEG's 737 (Just google it and watch the videos, it looks incredible). My personal favourite at the moment is the LES Saab, which is real fun to fly and is very well simulated.

 

Also, my advise for getting good performance in X-Plane is to get an SSD drive. This makes such a huge difference, that it's worth the effort. You can symlink your Custom Scenery folder to the SSD drive or some of the large sceneries, so you don't need to use up the entire SSD drive just for X-Plane.

 

 

Also, IMO, X-Plane can't be beaten for the free addons available. Checkout simheaven.com for photoscenery and 3D for most of Europe. Although being based in the US, I guess you're mainly interested in the US, but there are still lots of addons available.

 

Regards

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony, your reply is much appreciated  J

 

I assume the loss in performance on the 5-k MBP that you have, refers to the graphics demand and consequential demand on resources? 

 

Also- after Googling the topic of “XPX and Retina 5-K” later last night,  I found someone at “the org” commenting on XPX performance on the iMac 27” Retina 5-k (the exact same one that I asked about)… most comments were positive, although he did note that when running the 5-k res, the XPX menu was virtually unreadable- maybe also any text on the panel.  Is this something that you also noted in the 5’k MBP?  I think the other guy found a work-around for it in XPX, I assume not setting the same high res as the monitor is capable of.

 

Thanks again….  Bruce.

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I have been using X-Plane 10 on a 5k iMac (4GHz, 4 GB VRAM, 24 GB Ram) in full-screen mode at Retina resolution (5120 x 2880), and it works well.  Way better than I had expected.  Menus are very legible, no problems there.  The Retina resolution is amazing, and especially for authoring, it is so nice to be able to spread out a bit more, with Blender, with PlaneMaker (I open up tons of "Dataref Editor" windows, and lots of other diagnostic pop-ups, etc... so having that extra real-estate is very nice), with TextWrangler (which I use to program the Lua scripts), and just in general, it's been a very good experience.

For everyday use, I'd probably set the display to non-Retina resolution (4 Retina-pixels per pixel), as the lack of those pixels in X-Plane are definitely NOT the visual bottleneck.  Polygons, texture resolution, aliasing artifacts, and numerous other visual characteristics remain largely unaffected by Retina resolutions. 

 

However, the video card's power IS put to good use when you don't have the 5120x2880 resolution that's native to the Retina screen set in X-Plane... it does seem to run slightly faster and smoother at 2560x1440 than the 2013 iMac with the same RAM and VRAM... but that's also because it has 4 GHz, as opposed to 3.5.

 

The Retina iMac is definitely a nice computer. I've had no issues so far with Yosemite, and for working on planes, I turn down the rendering settings in X-plane, just so I don't have to switch between Retina and lower resolutions, which would disrupt my workflow.  If you can afford it, I'd say it's a good X-Plane machine... at least better than the 2013 maxed out one.

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I have been using X-Plane 10 on a 5k iMac (4GHz, 4 GB VRAM, 24 GB Ram) in full-screen mode at Retina resolution (5120 x 2880), and it works well.  Way better than I had expected.  Menus are very legible, no problems there.  The Retina resolution is amazing, and especially for authoring, it is so nice to be able to spread out a bit more, with Blender, with PlaneMaker (I open up tons of "Dataref Editor" windows, and lots of other diagnostic pop-ups, etc... so having that extra real-estate is very nice), with TextWrangler (which I use to program the Lua scripts), and just in general, it's been a very good experience.

For everyday use, I'd probably set the display to non-Retina resolution (4 Retina-pixels per pixel), as the lack of those pixels in X-Plane are definitely NOT the visual bottleneck.  Polygons, texture resolution, aliasing artifacts, and numerous other visual characteristics remain largely unaffected by Retina resolutions. 

 

However, the video card's power IS put to good use when you don't have the 5120x2880 resolution that's native to the Retina screen set in X-Plane... it does seem to run slightly faster and smoother at 2560x1440 than the 2013 iMac with the same RAM and VRAM... but that's also because it has 4 GHz, as opposed to 3.5.

 

The Retina iMac is definitely a nice computer. I've had no issues so far with Yosemite, and for working on planes, I turn down the rendering settings in X-plane, just so I don't have to switch between Retina and lower resolutions, which would disrupt my workflow.  If you can afford it, I'd say it's a good X-Plane machine... at least better than the 2013 maxed out one.

 

Safe to assume the fans throttle up pretty good on the 5k iMac during XPX usage?

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I use smcFanControl, so I do set it to spin at a decent pace. Around 2k RPM. I've had an iMac pretty much melt on me before.  

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I use smcFanControl, so I do set it to spin at a decent pace. Around 2k RPM. I've had an iMac pretty much melt on me before.

 

Thanks for the replies.

 

If I'm understanding you correctly, you use a utility to run the fans at a higher speed than the system is commanding..... is this an issue with iMacs generally?

 

Sounds like you prefer to run XPX at half-res?

 

 

Thanks, Bruce.

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Yes and yes.  In general, it seems that Apple likes to pride itself in creating ultra-silent computers, which I think is great... but if you pit melting components against a bit more ambient noise, the choice is pretty clear.  

 

I don't run X-plane at half-res, no. I run it in full Retina display mode, but I turn down some of the rendering settings, not least of all because X-plane is one of about 10 apps I run simultaneously.  

 

I like having the extra real-estate in X-plane.  During authoring, I sometimes have half a dozen Dataref Editor windows open, not to mention pop-ups (SASL) and data monitors, and I switch between full-res Retina apps.  I even sometimes make use of a second 27" monitor, so I have a bit more room to spread out.

 

As far as I can tell, running X-Plane at half-res makes no difference at all to FPS... but I have not done extensive tests with it, so I may well be missing something.

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 I even sometimes make use of a second 27" monitor,

 

Thanks-  do you run Target Display mode on the other monitor (assuming it is a Mac)?  Or is there a SVGA output on the Mac?

 

Thanks,  Bruce.

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I've done both: run target display mode on another iMac (has to be 2011 or later), using Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt, but the 27" monitor I was talking about is a Samsung PC monitor.  Beware, however, that you must use a DUAL LINK DVI to Thunderbolt adapter. I originally had a simple DVI to MiniDisplayPort adapter, and that didn't work.... I guess too much bandwidth.  

 

But with the 5k iMac, I was even able to run triple-monitors (one iMac on the right, one PC monitor on the left, connected via Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt-to-Dual Link DVI adapter), and it works just beautifully.  Extending the desktop to two further monitors does not seem to noticeably slow down X-Plane.

 

 

Although one thing I find really annoying is that you cannot spread out ONE app over more than one monitor.  So you can only run X-plane on one of the three monitors.  And the other minor annoyance is that when switching from one monitor to the next in triple-monitor mode, the apps have to manually be brought to the foreground, either by Apple-Tab or by clicking on them.

 

 

I usually prefer running the three monitors each powered by their own CPU/GPU.  This allows for authoring in Blender and Photoshop on one Mac, authoring in PlaneMaker and various other tools on the other Mac, and running X-plane on the PC... and each of these high-end apps get their own processors, RAMs, GPUs, and displays.  (I link the 3 computers together via Synergy, so that I can use the same mouse and keyboard for all 3 computers).

 

And if you REALLY want to have some fun, you let X-Plane run on each of the 3 systems, and network them together.  

 

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