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Maxing out my FSX Install, any tips comments or suggestion welcome.

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I've recently bought myself a top end laptop in order to play, amongst other games, FSX. I'm at the "tweaking" side of things now where I'm just trying to get it running absolutely perfectly so that I can enjoy it for flying rather than trying to fault find. I have a LOAD of questions so I thought I would just start a general thread and throw them all in here in one go. I hope that's ok and I apologise for the following War & Peace :)

Firstly... I've played around with FSX for a couple of years now. I've never had a particularly high end Laptop to play it on and I've never had any space for a conventional desktop PC (I've got a high end desktop but it's used as a server). This new setup has really opened the doors to me with regards to addons (ORBX, REX, etc, etc).


PC Spec:

i7 6700k running constant OC @ 4.2Ghz
GTX 1080 8GB GPU (notebook)
16GB DDR4 RAM
FSX installed on a standalone SSD


Software:

Windows 10 x64
FSX Acceleration
FTX Global Base
FTX Global Vector
FTX Global Open LC Europe
FTX EU Scotland Terrain
FTX EU England Terrain
FTX EGHI Southampton Airport
FSRecorder
Process Explorer


Current FSX.cfg Tweaks:

AffinityMask=84
HighMemFix=1
Texture_Max_Load=8192
Texture_Bandwidth_Multi=120
WideViewAspect=True
Upper_Framerate_Limit=50
Fiber_Frame_Time_Faction=0.10
LOD_Radius=8.5
Poolsize=0


Display settings:

1080p 32bit
Global Textures max
Lens Flare selected
Advanced Animations selected
High Res cockpit selected
Aircraft casts shadows on the ground selected
Aircraft casts shadows in itself selected
Aircraft landing lights illuminate ground selected
All scenery at max other than Mesh which is at 5, Water which is at low 2.x and Autogen which is very dense.
Weather is similar to the guide as is the traffic


At the moment the simulator runs beautifully visually but every now and again I get a CTD. At first I thought this was down to an overload on the virtual memory but using process explorer I’ve ruled that out (Maximum I’ve seen on it is approx. 3.5GB). During my various checks etc I’ve noticed that DXDiag.exe runs as the screen freezes then quits as I get the CTD. I can’t see anything at all in the event viewer, it’s as if nothing has gone wrong. Through the various browsing around and searching I found one thread that mentioned this (which I’ve had some guidance with) but I thought it was worth mentioning.


So onto the queries:

Am I missing something with the event viewer? For whatever reason my crashes aren’t being logged on it, not that I can see anyway. I’m going to try Process explorer logging to see if I can get anything from that.

Is this sort of crash also common place? I always see mentions of DLLs failing etc and causing issues but to have no notable issue at all seems strange to me.

“Texture_Max_Load=8192” – This is a strange one for me. On a guide I read previously it said to set this at whatever memory your GFX card is. I currently have an 8GB card so I set it to 8GB. Through looking around it appears that this is in no way GPU related and is more to do with the definition of the textures being loaded on the screen. I guess that 2048 is definitely more than enough for this setting?

“Texture_Bandwidth_Multi=120”, “Fiber_Frame_Time_Faction=0.10” and “Poolsize=0“ – What exactly are these settings? I understand that all the guides suggest various settings for them but most of them have been written many years ago with massive leaps coming from GPU cards. I understand that a lot of the advances are null and void due to DX limitations but it would be nice to understand these settings a little better with regards to what they actually refer to.

Regarding the LOD radius, is there any issue with having it set at 8.5 (or higher) while the VAS remains permanently below 4GB? Are there other limiting factors to this setting? All the information I have read directly correlates to the VAS allocation with minimal referencing to other potential pitfalls.

Is it possible to have trees and buildings load sooner? Is this to do with the LOD_Radius setting? The reason I ask this is that no matter what I have it set at the trees, lights and buildings seem to pop into view right in front of the plane. The radius doesn’t seem to have any effect on when these items pop up. As much as they look amazing once they are there they are pretty distracting in some areas. I would be happy to have less of them if they would load up quicker.

With regards to the scenery configurator. I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting my head around this. I understand that ORBX uses a lot of photographic scenery (I don’t know this for certain) and I should only select areas that I’m intending to use when on a flight as it will impact the loading time and the VAS space. What exactly should I be selecting? Should I deselect everything and then only select the region(s) that I am using, or should I select the Global Base, Global vector, OpenLC AND the regions that I am using? Are there any guides on this? All I have found is instructions to only use what you need, but nothing telling me how to figure out what I actually need (there’s loads of 00xx options for example that I believe may be the FSX original scenery).
I read in the guide that turning off Hyperthreading can be beneficial to the VAS space. Is that still the case? I don’t think there is anything I use Hyperthreading for right now anyway so I don’t think it will be much of a loss to try it anyway.

 

My plan of action for just now is to make a few changes to my FSX.cfg file. I’m thinking along the lines of the following:
AffinityMask=84
HighMemFix=1
Texture_Max_Load=2048
Texture_Bandwidth_Multi=120 ( I have no idea if I can easily push this higher with my current HW)
WideViewAspect=True
Upper_Framerate_Limit=0
Fiber_Frame_Time_Faction=0.10 (I’m not sure what to do here)
LOD_Radius=8.5 (As much as 6.5 is recommended for VAS purposes I’m not close)
Poolsize=0 (I have no real idea what this does, it looks pretty though)


From there I’ll install FSUIPC and start flying around and playing around in various areas until I get a crash, I’ll then try to reproduce that crash and from there I’ll see if I can get it logged to find out what caused it.

If you have made it this far well done and thanks for sticking with me. I apologise for hitting everything at once but I thought I would cram it all into one thread instead of making loads of them and trying to keep track of them all. I’ll update this thread with any of my findings and any eureka moments I come across.

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Texture_Max_Load=2048 is a good setting. :smile:

FSX will reset it to 1024 if you use the settings menu..

 

LOD_Radius=8.5 is very high, start with 5.5, and see how it all goes.

FSX will actually reset it to 4.5.

 

Poolsize=0 is a part of the Bufferpools defintion, I would avoid it.

 

Altogether.. putting in tweaks that you do not fully understand is bad practice, sorry.

 

You have a nice system... start with a vanilla FSX, except for  HighMemFix=1 (which is a fix, not a tweak).

 

Lastly, if you turn off HT, your affinitymask setting becomes =14.

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Hi Bert,

Thanks very much for the pointers.

I've actually been using FSX for a while in near Vanilla mode and it has generally ran quite well. I just want to make the most out of my hardware and getting it to look as realistic as possible while attempting to keep it running well.

With regards to the LOD_Radius, why is 8.5 very high? And the Poolsize=0.... is there up to date information on why these should/shouldn't be set?

No need to apologise for my bad practices, to be honest I don't think there are very many people that actually understand them. Most of what I have read seems to be from people who have previously read them as good practice rather than actually understanding them... if you know what I mean. I totally understand lowering the likes of the LOD_Radius when the VAS is getting close to CTD levels but while within operating range I would like information on why it is bad.... other than just because it is :D

Thanks for your help.

Scott

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Increasing LOD causes your computer to do a lot more work, loading a lot more data, which not only can fill up VAS but also take precious resources away from giving you a nice smooth flight experience, for little visual gain.

 

It is all a balancing game, and it is up to you to find the point that makes you happy, but LOD, shadows, traffic, weather, addon airports, etc  all add up.. and at some point you will find that even the best computer cannot keep up..

 

As for bypassing bufferpools, that is an old tweak that is not needed with the system you have and may actually cause visual defects.

 

I'm sure that others will add their comments, but my advice is still to add as few tweaks as absolutely necessary and only ones you understand  :wink:

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With the settings as I have them this is what it looks like. It's fairly smooth and it'll hit 50+fps all day (I had it limited but it would easily go 90+ without the limit. I wanted to under-load the GPU if possible.

 

 

The trouble I am having is the odd crash so I would really like to nail that down if possible. From digging around various posts apparently it may not be possible to have it this visual while being able to do 2+ hour flights. I see a lot of people tend to save every couple of hours and then reload FSX to clear the VAS etc.

 

I'm happy to give anything a go though, I guess I just want to have my cake and eat it :)


BTW, the above video shows nicely what I mean about the trees and scenery popping up just below the aircraft. It'll happily load up the Turbines from 20+ miles though haha.

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Having the odd crash is not exactly the best flight experience, I would think..

 

So, lowering your settings is your first defense  :wink:

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Texture_Max_Load determines the maximum texture resolution FSX can display. No addons produce textures higher than 4096x4096, so that's pretty much the maximum setting.

 

Texture_Bandwidth_Mult determines how many textures to upload to the GPU per frame. Only works if your FPS is capped. If unlimited it does nothing.

 

PoolSize=0 is telling FSX to not manage buffer pools and let the GPU do the work on the driver level.

 

Fiber_Frame_Time_Fraction determines the amount of time (ratio wise) that FSX should spend time issuing draw calls, and processing physics on the main CPU thread, to the time it should spend loading scenery. Default is 0.33. Lower means less time for scenery, more time for issuing draw calls, physics. Higher means the opposite.

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Texture_Max_Load determines the maximum texture resolution FSX can display. No addons produce textures higher than 4096x4096, so that's pretty much the maximum setting.

 

Texture_Bandwidth_Mult determines how many textures to upload to the GPU per frame. Only works if your FPS is capped. If unlimited it does nothing.

 

PoolSize=0 is telling FSX to not manage buffer pools and let the GPU do the work on the driver level.

 

Fiber_Frame_Time_Fraction determines the amount of time (ratio wise) that FSX should spend time issuing draw calls, and processing physics on the main CPU thread, to the time it should spend loading scenery. Default is 0.33. Lower means less time for scenery, more time for issuing draw calls, physics. Higher means the opposite.

 

Brilliant, thanks for that. I know I definitely have 2048 textures so I'll set it to 4096 to make sure I cover all the bases and take it from there.

 

I'll remove Texture_Bandwidth. I didn't realise they were linked, that's great.

 

Is there a benefit to not having FSX manage the buffer? I take it that effectively throws everything at the GPU as it becomes available. That sounds like it could cause glitching depending on what's going on. I'm sure I've seen an article on the BufferPool so I'll have a good read through it and experiment with some varied settings.

 

FFTF I guess is completely custom depending on the processing grunt. It almost sounds like I should be aiming closer to stock rather than lower. I'll have a little play with this too.

 

Thanks for the info :)

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You should also check out the AVSIM FSX Configuration Guide that talks about each tweak and settings.  Bufferpools=bad.

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I find the comments about bufferpools surprising as the zero setting made my FSX run faster and smoother - true not everyone has the same experience and perhaps not needed on high end machines, but it is worth trying.

 

I've experimented a lot with the LOD level and used 8.5 for a long time as it seemed to sharpen up my photoscenery very well - it did however stress the system a bit but a reduction to 7.5 has been stable and visually pleasing.

 

I didn't get much effect from playing around with the fiber rate at all despite trying various settings over the years.

 

Like all advice given, different things work for different people and different set ups so your mileage may vary.  Try all of the tweaks you like and if they work, use them, if not get rid of them.

 

IAN

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Brilliant, thanks for that. I know I definitely have 2048 textures so I'll set it to 4096 to make sure I cover all the bases and take it from there.

 

I'll remove Texture_Bandwidth. I didn't realise they were linked, that's great.

 

Is there a benefit to not having FSX manage the buffer? I take it that effectively throws everything at the GPU as it becomes available. That sounds like it could cause glitching depending on what's going on. I'm sure I've seen an article on the BufferPool so I'll have a good read through it and experiment with some varied settings.

 

FFTF I guess is completely custom depending on the processing grunt. It almost sounds like I should be aiming closer to stock rather than lower. I'll have a little play with this too.

 

Thanks for the info :)

 

Regarding buffer pools, if you have a fast GPU, then it would be good to set the PoolSize to 0 and let the GPU do everything. However, if you have a really slow one, then it's best to let FSX manage buffer pools.

 

For FFTF, leaving it out will produce the default 0.33 value. I don't have it in my config.

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You should also check out the AVSIM FSX Configuration Guide that talks about each tweak and settings.  Bufferpools=bad.

 

I have gone through that and the CTD guide both cover to cover, they are excellent. However, in my only brief experience I have seen some of the information contradicted with my own eyes. Bufferpools is a great example. I found a guide on the bufferpools explaining all the settings etc and how the varied options should look. I went through loads of options last night, from removing it completely to trying 1000, 120000000, 400000000, etc. By far and away the best option was to disable it with Bufferpools=0.

 

This, and some other findings, is what led me to posting up this thread as I was wondering how much of the information will need updated to bring new technology into play.

 

Through my various playing around last night here is what I found for my system.......

 

Bufferpools=0 was far and away the best on-screen visual. It tidied up a lot of spiking and black textures that I was getting with various other settings. It wasn't really noticeable during flight but when panning it was horrendous.

 

ForceFullScreenVSync=1 and ForceWindowedVSync=1 are absolutely crucial to my install. Well, I think that's the case anyway. I honestly can't speak for the full screen as I was windowed all night when I was playing around. In windowed mode without VSync turned on the visuals are incredibly choppy when panning. It's not smooth at all. Enabled, it's perfect. I could be wrong but I don't remember reading about these tweaks in the setup guide. They are very important for me.

 

I have the FPS locked at 50. When it was unlimited it was all over the place. Reading various guides it was suggested that modern GPU cards don't need the FPS locked. It was horrible for me without it. Between unlimited and VSync being off the screen was all over the place during any fast movements. Turning both of these on immediately made a huge improvement for me. I have a bit of a tricky situation with this one. My screen refresh rate is 75hz so I struggle to use the 1/2 vsync. There may be further improvements I could make if I overclock my monitor to 100hz then 1/2 the vsync while locking the FPS. This is something I will play with more. At the moment it looks great though so I'm not sure whether to leave it or not.

 

FFTF had absolutely no impact that I could see. I guess that's down to the sheer horsepower of the modern CPUs. I had it everywhere from 0.08 to 0.40 and I couldn't see a single thing so I've just left it at 0.15 as everything looks great.

 

I played around with the scenery configurator. I've still no idea what to turn on and turn off so I turned absolutely everything off that it would let me then enabled only the region I was in (Scotland). In that setup the game loaded in half the time, the VAS was 150mb less just on loading, and the VAS was almost 600mb less when loading into the game. There's definitely a LOT to be said for configuring the scenery properly. I just wish there was more information on this. I'll keep playing around though to see what works and what doesn't.

 

I've set the LOD_Radius at 8.5. I went for a brief 40 minute flight and the VAS didn't go above 3GB with the above settings. The REAL test is going to be tonight as I plan to let it fly for as long as possible over Europe.

 

I still have no idea how to log any crashes but I'll see how the above goes tonight.

PS, apologies for not quoting everyone in the reply. I did try to but there seems to be some sort of block with the WYSIWYG post editor. My work must be blocking certain features for security reasons. I can't copy and paste for example :)

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I went through loads of options last night, from removing it completely to trying 1000, 120000000, 400000000, etc. By far and away the best option was to disable it with Bufferpools=0.

 

What is Bufferpools=0?  You turning it off?  You think it is a setting that will turn it off completely?  Even the default?  FSX is already coded with a Bufferpools=4000000000.  It does not show up in the config so you should at least have that setting so I would recommend removing Bufferpools=0 parameter from your config.  I have never heard of any experts turning off Bufferpools completely and that's what that parameter may do.  Things like this is why FSX crashes are fixed when we ask them to move their fsx.cfg to a temporary directory and let it be rebuilt.  It wipes out bad tweaks like this one.

 

 

 


ForceFullScreenVSync=1

 

I do not like this "tweak".  I read it only works for ATI cards.  If you have the NVIDIA card, it's enabled in the video card display settings.  I suspect this is the same for the other "tweak" ForceWindowedVSync=1.  Never heard of that one but most do not recommend it.

 

 

 


I have the FPS locked at 50. When it was unlimited it was all over the place.

 

The recommended setting is 30.  Most flights you will not have a constant setting of 50.  When you set your fps limits, you monitor several flights and look for the average fps for each flight.  You then set your fps limiter to that setting or a couple points above or below it.

 

 

 


I've set the LOD_Radius at 8.5.

 

You can run fsx at LOD_Radius at 8.5 or 9.5 but why?  The person who first recommended this (member now banned) actually stated not to set it that high and to go no higher than 6.5 (the default is 4.5).  Sure, you will have many successful flights but occasionally you will suffer from anomalies or crashes or freezes.  You'll be wondering why you had something bad happen to your computer.  Another reason why CTD's are fixed in the CTD Forum when we ask the person to move his fsx.cfg to a temporary directory and let FSX rebuild it.

 

 

 


I still have no idea how to log any crashes but I'll see how the above goes tonight.

 

The AVSIM CTD Guide provides guidance for downloading and running AppCrashView (which deciphers Windows Error Reporting) or how to look at your Event Viewer.  Errors happening to your computer system could be the causes of any problems with FSX.

 

Your computer system is fully capable of running FSX without any tweaks whatsoever other than moving your LOD_Radius to 6.5.  The tweaks you are quoting come from the people who developed FSX and come from the years 2006 thru 2011 when Intel released Sandy Bridge.  We had old systems then that were barely capable of running FSX.  We were happy if we could get 25 fps on the most powerful systems back then.  Most only got 15 to 20 fps.  We were tweaking like mad to get the most performance from our "high performance computer systems".  Computer systems, since Sandy Bridge, have dramatically enhanced FSX performance.  Tweaks only hold things down and, if not properly employed, they will cause major issues with your enjoyment of FSX.  FSX was coded back in 2006 and 2007 too.  Never updated whatsoever.  It's an old problem hanging by the threads.  Even though your system is powerful, it does not mean sliders can now go to the max.  You do not need to have them at the max (use the settings in the AVSIM FSX Config Guide - they are almost maxed).  You'll enjoy flight simulation a bit better!

 

Best regards,

Jim

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Apologies, I still can't quote your post.....


I've tried no Bufferpools configuration in the FSX.cfg but it doesn't look as good or work as well with it being disabled. As I understand it from various sources that I've been looking through BufferPools=0 turns it off, BufferPools=1 enables it and Poolsize=xxxxxx is the setting of it. I currently have BufferPools=0 and Poolsize=0 iirc, this effectively loads directly from the CPU to the GPU with no buffer. The GPU I have can easily handle this better than the software can buffer it, so I believe this is why I'm seeing a positive impact. If the GPU wasn't as powerful the lack of buffer would likely cause serious graphical issues.


The VSync tweaks definitely make a difference for me with my card, it's huge when it comes to panning. If I get a chance I'll do a video comparison. Obviously every system is different but I have a NVidia GPU.


Regarding the FPS, I'm not sure if you understand just how powerful my system is. With my config set exactly as it is I'll see 100+FPS without it being locked. When it dips between 100 and 70 (over congested airports, towns, etc) I get a bit of tearing and glitching when panning and moving... hence why I locked it at 50 as it never drops below this. I'm guessing that 30 is for older systems with much older GPUs in place. Additionally, I believe the recommendation for 30 was for the 1/2 vsync option to be turned on as most screens refresh at 60. Unfortunately mine is 75 and I don't believe I can run at 37.5. I CAN overclock my monitor to 100 and run 1/2 vsync at 50 though, which is what I intend to play around with.


My Main reason for the LOD_Radius was to try and combat the autogen popups that I'm getting. It doesn't seem to make any difference to that though and the 6.5 Radius, as expected, looks lovely so I'll definitely be putting that back down. I may even drop it back down to 4.5 if I can't see any difference. I was just running 8.5 as that's what I had it set to for my various VAS comparisons that I did.


Regarding the logs, as I wrote previously, I'm struggling to find anything on Windows 10. I've been right through the event viewer and it's not catching the crashes that I was getting. Typically I've not been able to force a crash recently, other than a VAS one when I set the LOD_RAD to 15. I'm going to fly over Europe tonight using FSRecorder until I get a crash. Hopefully the flight will save and I'll be able to re-run it while logging to see if it repeats itself. Previously it was happening after 30-40 minutes of flying time, but it wasn't the VAS size causing the crash.


My system is most definitely capable of running without any tweaks at all. It just works so much better with the ones I have employed at the moment. My aim isn't to get more FPS, I would be more than happy with 30 if it was silky smooth to be honest. My aim is to get the most realistic smooth flight that I can so that I can immerse myself in it :)


Oh... I also like playing with techy things :D

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FSX is probably the most tweaked product on Planet Earth.  Everyone looking for the Holy Grail.  I use to do the same thing several years ago.  Now I don't and very happy with my flight sessions.  Crisp and clear textures with no jaggies.  I occasionally get some stuttering but it is rare.  Good luck.

 

Best regards,

Jim

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