Marc Loftin

Prepar3D v4 Optimize current system adding M.2 drive

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I need help with several things.  I'm working to optimize a dedicated Flight Training simulator PC.   

The flight sim is running very well in general.  Im running Prepar3D v4, bare bones with native aircraft and scenery files etc....  maximum graphics settings except autopen draw distance, water detail, special effects at medium.   As of yet I have not purchased ad-on scenery, weather or non native aircraft.   I'd like to get the system properly set up and configured so I can begin to integrate some of these ad-ons.

  1.  I would like to integrate a M.2 NVME 250 gb drive into my current system.  I'm hoping to create faster boot times and  prevent an occasional freezing of Prepard3d v4 64 bit Flight Simulator program.  
  2.  I need guidance determining how to best utilize the 250 GB M.2 drive........ should I use it for the OS and Flight sim software, then use the Intel 750 series PCIe SSD for scenery and ad ons......... or  would it be better to have separate M.2 drives, one for the OS and the other for the flight simulator programs, leaving the PCIe SSD for ad-ons.
  3. I need guidance setting up simple file hierarchy between drives.
  4. Also, I'd like to consider setting Ultra fast boot in Bios.  Is this recommend?

Prepar3d v4 takes over 40 seconds to boot to the flight set up screen.  Then it takes another 50 seconds to select and load aircraft type, scenery, terrain etc..., To change aircraft type takes at least 30 seconds.  To change geographical location take at least 30 seconds.  I'd like to speed it up as much as possible.

My goal is to configure the PC to most affectively use an M.2 NVME drives and the PCIe SSD currently installed.

Up to this point I have done everything myself.  The build, OS installations, software installations, USB flight controls mapping, installation of secondary flight sim support software etc.....  But at this point I'm not sure what I'm getting myself into trying to integrate the M.2 SSD.  

Will I need to uninstall everything and start from scratch?  Or, is it possible to install the M.2, migrate the OS and flight sim programs with out starting from scratch.

I've spent dozens and dozens of hours on the sim.  It has been fun, rewarding and also downright frustrating   I've scratched my head, done things three or more times, read forum after forum getting rid bits of helpful information.  But the truth is, I will never be a qualified gaming PC tech, and I don't really want to be.  I'd prefer to pay someone who is qualified to tweak the machine.  I live in Mid-City LA. 90036.  If anyone knows a good tech please forward contact info.


Current set up:
Asrock Z170 OC Formula MB
16GB Ram
Intel 6700 processor water cooled
EVGA 1080ti water cooled
Inel 750 series 500gb SSD
Windows 10

Sim support software and hardware: SPAD.next, Pilot Edge, FSXFlight, Warthog yoke, Saitek panels, Siatek throttle, iPad Foreflight, track IR on occasion.

Software: Primarily Prepar3D v4, secondarily Condor Soaring simulator.  I've tried Xplane 11 with poor results.  My single machine could not handle three 4k TV's.

Thanks for the support ahead of time!

 

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You realize you are asking for opinions here... everyone has one.

In my opinion, 250GB is way to small for a system and P3D drive.  I have a NVMe 850 GB with only system and P3D on it (and a few applications that directly support flight simulation) and it is half full even with all my flight sim downloads and scenery addons on a different drive.  In addition to the 850GB system/P3D drive I have a 500GB data drive (scenery and downloads) and a 3TB HDD archive drive and all three are about 50-60% loaded on a computer dedicated to P3D.

Also my opinion, the NVMe drive is faster, the numbers support this, but the only differences I notice are slightly faster Windows boot time.  P3D performance might be better but it isn't perceivable.  For example, I still get those pauses when scenery objects are loading and it takes about 45 sec from the time I click the P3D icon to the time I get the Scenario Startup screen.

Ultra fast boot has its disadvantages, which become apparent the first time you get an unsuccessful boot.  I only boot up once a day so the minute it takes is of no consequence.

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Agree with downscc. 250 is too small, I have a 1tb M.2 drive. Faster boot times is the only improvement Ive seen. 

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I'll chime in to say I agree that 250GB is way too small. Likely, even too small for a dedicated boot device.

I recently built a system with 3 500GB SSD's (including a M.2 NVMe device) and I wish I'd sprung for the 1TB models for the 2 non-M.2 drives. I'm already having to juggle things around to keep the drives reasonably un-filled. 

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I also would have to agree that a 250GB is too small.  I almost believe 500GB is too small which is why I've had this little puppy sitting around for a couple of months.

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I have a 500GB M.2 for my operating system and a 1TB M.2 for P3D and FSX.  I have some scenery on SSD's like the 850 EVO above.  Does it speed things up?  No.  The M.2's are not there yet.  Do a search for SSD vs M.2 and you will see the M.2 is slightly faster reading and writing but nothing to write home (AVSIM) about.  They have M.2's being developed that will be much, much faster than anything you have ever seen in your life.  I bought them because I thought they were faster than an SSD and the price made me believe I was getting something super great.  But the price was only the price for any newly released and never seen piece of hardware where they try to get the cost of development paid for immediately.

The 250GB M.2 will support your OS but be careful.  I have the 500GB M.2 and have used 156GB's so far with 308GB's remaining.  It will probably work as long as you keep any large app off of C: drive.  I have only the OS and some software like Microsoft Office on it.  Many P3D add-on installers install products on C: drive if you are not careful.  I have FSX and FSDT automatically, without any guidance from me, installs all of my FSDT airports for FSX in the Program Files (x86) folder.  Windows also has the Pictures folder on the C: drive and, if you have a lot of pictures or take a lot of pictures during a flight session, those images are saved there too and that could take up a lot of room.

Best regards,

Jim

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I use a 1TB SSD for the sim, and a 256 gig SSD for the OS. Would not want to go smaller on either. There are a lot of programs that can’t be installed outside of the p3d folder without a lot of mucking around, so 1TB is nice.

I also use a 4Tb western digital black for scenery (would choose a 6Tb if building now).

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Thanks for all the input.  I'll let the suggestions digest while I enjoy my bare bones P3d v4.  It's bee a long road just getting to this point......... everything running smooth.  I'll likely feel the need to improve the machine after I finish my instrument ring refresher.  I'm using Pilot Edge to ramp back up.  In actuality, my goal has been met.  If it aint broke.............

VR,

Marc

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Main thing to remember is that when you get an SSD over half full you start degrading that hopeful speed advantage. 

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12 minutes ago, jimcarrel said:

Main thing to remember is that when you get an SSD over half full you start degrading that hopeful speed advantage. 

Is this accurate?

Do you have a source to back this up? It kinda sounds like an Urban Legend..

I'm not trying to be confrontational. I was just surprised to see such a statement as I've never heard of this before.

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