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martinlest2

Sudden low frame rates. Any ideas what's gone wrong?

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I am not in the UK and using a Dell XPS M1730 'gaming' laptop (+XP x64) to run FS9 whilst I am abroad. Once upon a time, it ran everything fine, but the past week or two I have been getting depressingly low frame rates. Can anyone advise?

 

If I start FS9 in windowed mode, as a small 'box' in the centre of the screen (just large enough to read the onscreen data), I get almost 30fps, where the frame rate is locked. If I then maximise, still in windowed mode, this drops to about 14fps, and then down to about 10fps in Full Screen mode. This is at an out-of-the-box FS9 airport with the default Cessna. If I try to fly from 3rd. party, heavier airports, the frame rates are much lower. If I go to KJFK, EGLL or similar (all addons, FlyTampa or whatever)  I am down to just 2 or 3 fps. It never used to be like this! What can have happened??

 

OK, I tested the memory with MemTest - no errors. I've gone back to an earlier nVidia graphics driver, no change. I have checked nVidia Inspector settings and they are as advised, with FS9 graphics set up accordingly. If I lower some of the display settings, I get a bit of an increase in fps, but nothing dramatic. Process Monitor shows nothing remarkable... The disc activity monitor is OK, and Task manager shows I have enough resources - as I say, things were running just fine, frame rate-wise, until recently.

 

I have defragged the laptop fully (took two days!) O/S and FS partitions, and now have 0% fragmentaion - including mft file and page file.

 

Does the fact that going from a small window to a maximised window has such a dramatic impact on the fps indicate something in particular? I am at a loss to know how to troubleshoot this further.

 

Oh, one other thing - if I slew up to 5000' or so with clear skies, frame rates are back to almost 30fps. It seems that scenery loading is part of the problem: once I slew back down, even to a 'low impact' default airport, the fps goes right down again.

 

Ideas very welcome. Thanks.

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My IBM T42 used to slow down and it turned out the GPU heatsink was blocked with fluff and the GPU was overheating.

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If it's a clean "out of the box" installation then the only things that would make sense would be a hardware problem or a corrupted file. If you have installed anything new, then even if you uninstalled it there may still be some files that are messing with it. You could try doing a restore of your hard drive back to the point where it was all working well, or uninstall FS9 and do a clean reinstall.

Good luck

Ian

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Hi. Don't think it's dust - it all looks clean, and the fps wouldn't immediately go up as I slew upwards away from the scenery below. It would take a little time for things to 'cool down' and the fps recover.

 

I don't have any installation discs with me, but do have a copy of a clean install on a pen drive I can paste across to the laptop (I am not running a clean install - I have a lot of 3rd. party addons, but have disabled them in scenery.cfg and also moved a/c I am not flying out into a store folder).

 

The only other thing I know I did was update my nVidia graphics drivers, though I am not sure how long afterwards I noticed the fps change. I have done a clean reinstall of the old drivers, but there's no change in the poor frame rates as a result...

 

I will try comparing flying my own FS9 installation with a clean install and see what the difference is, if any. I don't think there's a hardware problem but a corrupted file somewhere could well be the case. I'll post back anyway once I've had a chance to test this out.

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OK, some progress....

 

If I ever attempted to use the FS9 'onboard' antialising, frame rates fell to virtually nothing on this laptop (and even on my FS PC back home, fps fell dismally), so I have always unchecked that option and used nVidia Inspector, which achieves the same thing (but with lots more control and options of course) without affecting frame rates much, if at all (not sure how it does it, but if you have nVidia graphics and don't use nVidia Inspector, you are seriously missing out).

 

Well, under the nVInsp setting for FS9, "Antialiasing - Setting", I have always had the recommended 8 x S [Combined: 1x2 SS + 4x SS]. For some reason this is now killing my frame rates (until a couiple of weeks ago it didn't seem to be causing a problem). I tried changing the setting to 4x [4x Multisampling]. My fps at KSEA default flight has gone from about 14fps to 29fps (locked at 30). And at one of my payware addons (FlyTampa Athens LGAV), where I was getting 3fps, I now get about 13 - not staggering, but quite flyable.

 

So I'll get back to flying and see how things go on the changed settings.

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