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mslim

will FSX-SE run on Macbook Air?

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My wife has got it in her mind she wants our next computer to be a Macbook Air.  I see they are available with an Intel I7 processor and I've heard Bootcamp allows you to run Windows programs but are there any avid FSX or P3D users running the sim successfully on their Macbooks?

 

I'm interested in your experiences pro or con before I make the purchase.

 

Thanks,

Slim

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Yes, I have two mac's that I run FSX:SE on... (2012 MacBook Pro i7 2.3 GHz & a baseline 2015 11" i5 1.6GHz)

 

While I use my MacBook Pro for the heavily laden 3rd party configs, the MacBook Air provides a great portable install of Flightsim that is perfectly flyable.

 

Now, there are a few things to consider... Using FSX:SE with my MBA, I can get a fluid experience with 30fps and decent enough texture redraw if I go easy on the add ons. I do have the Friday Harbor scenery installed and it is buttery smooth, but as soon as I add FTX and/or UTX the experience begins to diminish... For this reason I would get the  i7 version and I would also get the 8GB Ram upgrade (The Intel 6000 GPU uses shared memory...)  I would also go for the 13" MBA (my 11" screen can be too cramped for some panels)

 

Contrary to what might be believed, the Intel 6000 GPU in the MacBook Air does fine with FSX:SE as this version of flight sim is really more CPU bound than GPU (P3D is a different story and requires more HP from the GPU)

 

I will be happy to share more info in greater detail if you wish.

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Thanks for the tip on the 8gb ram.  I am going for the 13" screen.

 

By FTX do you mean the global mesh or the actual scenery regions?  I don't have the mesh but I have pretty much narrowed my flying down to the West Coast of the USA and Canada as well as the Rocky Mountains.  Do you keep your scenery on an outboard drive?  The 256gb internal hard drive seems like it would fill up fast.

 

Slim

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Flybius -

 

Would you mind sharing the FPS you get in each scenario you listed with add-ons turned down, and with FTX?  I'm currently on a 2013 rMBP and use X-Plane, but there are some feature I miss with FSX or P3D.

 

Thanks.

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I mean FTX the global texture replacement package from ORBX. I find that with these textures installed, it takes extra time to refresh / repaint the ground scenery and creates a lot more pop up autogen. I'm sure there are many avsim members that would be able to provide a forensic explanation as to why : )

 

As far as the disk space goes... since I do not use 3rd party scenery with my MacBook Air install of FSX:SE (other than KFHR) i do not have the disk space challenge that would require me to use an external drive. One of the issues that exists with the current version MacBook Air is that there are no 3rd party internal storage options, so I would buy as much SSD now as you think you will need and can afford.

 

A great way to purchase Mac Computers is to go to the Apple site and search the refurbished section for the config of your choosing. http://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop/product/G0RJ2LL/A/refurbished-133-inch-macbook-air-22ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i7 has the i7 8Gb 512Gb config for $1489 (which is a savings of almost $300 off of the new price.

 

I usually purchase any Mac's for home or my business from the refurb site and I have never had a problem,


Jlindbe,

 

I can still get 30fps (locked at 30fps internally) with FTX installed. The issue I have with FTX installed is that the textures take longer to refresh and that the autogen begins to load in blocks (which destroys the feeling of immersion)

 

I fly with both scenery sliders to the right and use real weather. I also have traffic set to 20% aircraft 10% auto and 40% boats.  In order for this to work for me I turn down the shadows and cloud density. If I am in a performance challenging region, I will turn fps lock to 20. 

 

My tinkering with Flightsim days are behind me and would much rather spend my time flying... So I have been happy with the default FSX install.

 

I have found that the default textures are actually quite good as long as they are sharp and the autogen is still. And since I have my Ivy Bridge MacBook Pro for the 3rd party Flightsimming, I enjoy the purity of a default scenery config... less is more!

 

I would be curious to learn how FSX would do on a retina screen. I have held off on getting a retina mac because i fear the resolution would be to great in Windows for the Intel GPU to keep up with.  

 

Can anyone else offer any guidance?

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One of the issues that exists with the current version MacBook Air is that there are no 3rd party internal storage options, so I would buy as much SSD now as you think you will need and can afford.

 

Thanks for the refurb tip.  I will check it out.

 

Could you not run an outboard data drive thru the USB 3.0 or the Thunderbolt port for 3rd party scenery?

 

Slim

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In theory either should work. I do run Virtual Machines from an external SSD drive via the USB 3.0 port. Since I have never actually ran scenery from an external drive I cannot validate that there would be no issues...

 

I would not recommend using a thumb drive or SDXC drive as these do not have great I/O performance specs as compared to SATA SSD drives.

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