Jetset408

The rise and fall of 64bit? My experience.

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About 18 months ago I built myself a killer rig, ready to handle all that P3D v3 could throw at it. Including the FSL A320. And boy was I chuffed with the result. Liquid smooth rates and stutter free in even the most demanding of sceneries and weather. I was lucky not to have too many OOMs, being careful not to push things too far. My only frustration was readability of displays in the VC but another investment last year in a 4K 28" monitor fixed that one. And it was beautiful.

And then... 64bit happened. I jumped on P3D v4 bandwagon early and all the add-ons quickly followed. Now things were really good! REALLY GOOD! Microsoft Tweak Simulator was finally dead. I had a beautiful sim running always well above 30fps and immersion that made it more of a simulator than any game could dare come close to. I could concentrate my VERY limited available time on flying and not setting things up/testing/waiting for CTD’s.

And then P3D 4.1. And that’s where things started South for me.

Dynamic Lighting sucked every ounce of power, frame rates sunk and stutters were bad. So I decided to upgrade again – to a 1080Ti GTX. My specs as per my signature below show my system is no slouch, yet somehow it’s STILL not enough. My GPU tops out when landing in overcast weather at dusk in a complex add-on airport – just the scenario I WANT to enjoy simulating.

And thats the problem. We are a mere 1 year into 64bit and already I fear the sim has outgrown today’s technology. Dynamic lighting, Trueglass, FSL A320 new effects, FSFX immersion packages. They are all doing truly remarkable things and pushing the boundaries. But then thats just it – they are BOUNDARIES that are now being found without the 32bit constraint. The opportunities are endless and developers are seeking furiously to exploit them. But at what cost to simmers in the short term?

Then suddenly it dawned on me – the days of MSFS 2-yearly updates and constantly chasing it’s tail with endless PC upgrades are once again upon us 

So for now I have decided to bin my 4K monitor, and to downgrade back to a 1080p screen to give the 1080Ti the headroom it needs to run FSL A320 and PMDG birds with the dynamic lighting and fluidity they deserve.

And this will have to do me for now.

But for how long?

Im Interested in your thoughts and experiences. Please dont take my post as negative whining - we are in a truly fantastic period for flight simulation. I'm just taking time to reflect on some of the flip sides of that.

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It was for a long time speculated that the minute the 4GB VAS barrier was overcome, that add-on makers would overwhelm the processing power of the CPU/GPU, and to some degree, that is happening.

But...honestly...it just brings us back to an (over?)abundance of choices.  For those that want it all, you can get pretty close--at a price--with a $1500 pair of GPUs, a heavily overclocked rig with 32+ GB of fast RAM, 4K displays, etc.  But, as you discovered, you can also pick and choose which advances are important to you, and tailor your choices to your system--and how you operate it.

For example, just because P3Dv4 will allow you to keep 200 add-on sceneries active, run dynamic lights with 4xSSAA at night, and traffic cranked up to 100% doesn't mean you should, and certainly not without expecting some downside consequences.

Case in point, I find that even with two 1080ti GPUs, I can markedly improve performance in dynamic lighting at night simply by not turning on every exterior light...there's plenty of illumination from just the inboards on the PMDG 737NGX, for example, and killing the taxi lights and outboard landing lights on approach takes a big load off the graphics system, since it independently processes the light from each of those sources across the 3D frame.  I switch from 4xSSAA to 4xMSAA at night or in heavy cloud cover, as well, because aggressive AA on puffy clouds and scenery barely visible in darkness is a waste of processing power.  I've found that, as I roll out on the active to takeoff, if I use utLive to kill the traffic during that heavy-hitting takeoff transition, it gives the CPU lots of extra headroom to deal with the load of complex scenery moving past at high angular rates while moving low and fast during the initial departure...in fact I programmed a lua script to toggle the traffic off when I turn the landing lights on for takeoff, and it turns the traffic back on when the lights go out passing 10000 ft.  With that handful of operating practices, I give my CPU/GPUs enough headroom to deal with most anything else throughout a flight, even in heavy wx or around complex sceneries.  None of those choices cost me anything but a few seconds of time.

Similarly, if you're running a smallish 4K monitor (< 30") then pixels on the screen are below the angular visual acuity theshold, meaning that aggressive AA is wasted, as you can't perceive the difference.  Or, as the OP did, you can use a regular HD/SHD monitor with AA applied to the much smaller pixel matrix--either choice is a marked performance improvement for the sim.  4K on a big screen (I use a 55" 4K TV) does, however, need AA because of the much larger angle of view taken up by each pixel--jaggies *are* visible on the bigger display without AA--so to make it look its best, a powerful graphics system is needed, and that doesn't come for free. 

I see it as a HUGE step forward, as choices are good.  And...an OOM-free flight is taken for granted now on the 64-bit platform.  Wasn't long ago that final approach involved that cringeworthy moment of hearing the FSUIPC low-VAS beep begin, and wondering if yet another flight was about to end in "Your computer has run out of available memory"

Yup, progress is sometimes painful.  We had a golden era of sorts when FSX was set in stone, and a few really enterprising tweakers (like Bojote, remember him?) found gold buried under the covers of the legacy sim.  But...even progress is a choice.  Lots of folks still use FS9 to this day as a result...nothing wrong with that.  We can make a choice to chase the bubble and progress, or to stop where we're at and enjoy what we've got, even if just for a while.

Personally...I think it's all good.

Cheers

 

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36 minutes ago, Jetset408 said:

But then thats just it – they are BOUNDARIES that are now being found without the 32bit constraint. ... But at what cost to simmers in the short term?

 

Allow me to return just a paragraph or two above the statement I quoted here...

 

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And boy was I chuffed with the result. Liquid smooth rates and stutter free in even the most demanding of sceneries and weather. I was lucky not to have too many OOMs, being careful not to push things too far.

 

With the italics added by me, therein lies your answer. The 64-bit experience allows for more memory-hungry features to be included, but as you aptly observed in the 32-bit era, one still cannot push it too far!

Flight simulation has always been primarily CPU-dependent. With the memory ceiling effectively lifted, we have the ability to fit so many more things in the environment, but we haven't changed the CPU to support all those new things.

In the past, I used the analogy of trying to fill a 4-gallon bucket with 5 gallons of water to describe why we needed to limit what we add to a 32-bit simulation. Today, we have a 32-gallon bucket to take all the water we want, but do you have the strength to lift it?

All that said, I run a very similar rig to you, Rich, and I'm quite pleased with my performance and experience. Dare I say it's the best simming I've ever had! Beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder, but I've found a great balance for me. I'm maxed on some features and backed off on others.

I don't know if categorizing this as the "fall" of 64-bit is entirely fair. Is it a downfall? Perhaps. By managing our expectations and seeing the good that comes from such a change in the short- and long-term, I think I'd want to change your subject line to simply say "The rise of 64-bit"!

-Greg

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22 minutes ago, w6kd said:

For example, I find that even with two 1080ti GPUs, I can markedly improve performance in dynamic lighting at night simply by not turning on every exterior light...there's plenty of illumination from just the inboards on the PMDG 737NGX, for example, and killing the taxi lights and outboard landing lights on approach takes a big load off the graphics system, since it independently processes the light from each of those sources across the 3D frame.  I switch from 4xSSAA to 4xMSAA at night or in heavy cloud cover, as well, because aggressive AA on puffy clouds and scenery barely visible in darkness is a waste of processing power. 

This is where I should probably get to. I know I waste resources on things not needed all of the time - my issue is having so little time to sim these days, I want to jump in, fly in any situation, and know I don't have to mess around with settings. Call it lazy if you will. Or actually more that I was spoilt for a brief period and am reluctant to go back. 

22 minutes ago, w6kd said:

Personally...I think it's all good.

And don't get me wrong - I do too. I would rather be here than 5 or so years back where the future looked very uncertain. Thank you for your thoughts! An enjoyable read.

 

19 minutes ago, greggerm said:

Flight simulation has always been primarily CPU-dependent. With the memory ceiling effectively lifted, we have the ability to fit so many more things in the environment, but we haven't changed the CPU to support all those new things.

Thanks Greg, interesting response. I would question the above statement's validity going forward though - my CPU is doing ok. Its my top of the range GPU that is maxxed out. I fly with sliders in the middle, and NO AI, and no Anti Aliasing. I use very limited shadows and no reflections. It is simply the combination of Dynamic Lights, Activesky Weather and 4K that has meant my GPU sits at 100% when at addon airports (with Airport DL off!) in dusk in overcast weather, and this causes large stutters right when I don't need them for an immersive experience. If it wasn't for the fact that my 1080 Ti is top of the range, I think I would be more accepting. The other thing rattling me is to turn off DL means I lose all aircraft lights from PMDG and FSL birds. I MEAN EVEN FS5.0 HAD LANDING LIGHTS!

So this is why I'm going back to a 1080p screen. That seems to be my sweet spot right now, but MAN I am going miss 4K :(

19 minutes ago, greggerm said:

I don't know if categorizing this as the "fall" of 64-bit is entirely fair. Is it a downfall

Of course its not fair! I am being slightly obtuse here to provoke peoples thoughts. Hey, its working!

Cheers all

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15 minutes ago, Jetset408 said:

This is where I should probably get to. I know I waste resources on things not needed all of the time - my issue is having so little time to sim these days, I want to jump in, fly in any situation, and know I don't have to mess around with settings. Call it lazy if you will. Or actually more that I was spoilt for a brief period and am reluctant to go back.

One of the real improvements with 4K monitors and P3D is the ability to vsync at 30Hz and get exceptional smoothness as a result.  But...the key to that is to try and never, even briefly, drop below the monitor's 30Hz refresh rate, as that's the principal genesis of stutters.  So I view what I call "performance reserve" as a critical part of the equation...a pair of GPUs at 40% utilization is not wasted resources if they can handle the occasional workload spikes without breaking that 30Hz stride and inducing stuttering, even momentarily.  But the ability to just slam sliders to the right with abandon still isn't there...and perhaps never will be. 

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In the past, I used the analogy of trying to fill a 4-gallon bucket with 5 gallons of water to describe why we needed to limit what we add to a 32-bit simulation. Today, we have a 32-gallon bucket to take all the water we want, but do you have the strength to lift it?

+1  I'm stealing this one.  :-)

Regards

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I have the opposite view. Unless you use payware airports a mid range system is enough. I would like to use payware airports but don't want to pay  $$$ for each airport that traps me in one area otherwise I would hardly get my money' worth. I was considering an upgrade since I have a i5 3570k and 970 card but what's the point when I have 30-40fps in the aerosoft Airbus and can flu all over the world with vector and openlc. I am on 3.4 though  :)

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2 minutes ago, Buffy Foster said:

So P3Dv4 works nice with SLI?  Hmmmm...

Yes it does.  It had some growing pains getting there (in P3D v2-3), but with v4 it has been consistently good so far.  Just have to be careful about not letting Win 10 automatically push driver updates, as sometimes new nVidia drivers aren't so good with SLI.

Regards

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I think people think it runs worse because we're cranking up sliders.  We had to balance to avoid OOM's in previous versions but we falsely believe we don't have to worry about settings 

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My RealAir Turbine Duke V2 makes my fans spool up pretty good, but that's the only one that does for me.  But the biggest plane I fly is my Twotter.  I bet those study-level airliners really eat up CPU and GPU...

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I've given up chasing the rainbow. When there's hardware that will run P3D + study level aircraft + max sliders at 100 fps on approach to KLGA  or EGLL I'll fork out the cash... Until then I'll just stutter along in my A2A aircraft and enjoy what I've got. At least the graphics look good even though I get dizzy from the 15 fps refresh rate and occasional stutters... 

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Like you I've gotten disillusioned chasing "fs nirvana" countless times.

But then I remind myself how things are getting better all the time.

I have my HTC vive and VR presence and raindrops on windscreens and amazing cloud structures and a truly dynamic weather engine and when I can make a full flight and land on that centreline holding on by the seat of my pants I am grateful for where we are now.

Also somehow VR makes the danger seem more real.I'm spending time planning safe flights,thinking about alternate airports and aircraft reliability-things I never thought I'd do.

The price I pay is graphics complexity and instrument readability but the payoff in VR presence and realism is worth it for me.

 

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3 hours ago, Jetset408 said:

So for now I have decided to bin my 4K monitor

A few things that might help you out:

1.  No need to dump the monitor, most 4K monitors will operate at 1920 x 1080 (which you can set from within P3D V4.x)
2.  Dynamic Lights requires a good GPU, but running MSAA 2x or 4x should provide fluid experience in "most" airports, some airports are not well optimized for Dynamic Lights so performance will vary significantly
3.  You didn't mention anything about the 5 screens of graphics settings and add-ons you're using so not much to go on for anyone to provide assistance
4.  Make sure you update FSUIPC to latest version that doesn't cause performance problems with P3D V4.2 ... Pete is still working on it

With exception of AF2, other simulators like FSW, XP11, P3D will not work well if you max out the graphics with many 3rd party add-ons active.  If you're expectation is that you can max everything out (graphics and add-ons) that's NEVER go to be viable with Today's hardware ... maybe 5-10 years from now, but don't expect flight simulators to go dormant and not continue to push the graphics/performance boundaries.  Simulators aren't "games" ... "games" (3D shooters and the like) are limited specifically to meet a certain "average" performance requirement ... everything about the game will be aimed at (and limited to) running well on middle tier computers and those games typically need to operate at 60Hz or higher due to the rapid motion involved in playing the game.  I find it refreshing that flight simulators are looking to the future and aren't handicapping themselves to average hardware of the day ... it's a win win for everyone.  As hardware continues to evolve prior generations drop in price considerably providing an opportunity for those wanting to spend less on Flight Simulation while also providing a "reason" for those who want to spend more on a Flight Simulator.  Everyone benefits, it really just a matter of time shifting to meet one's budget.  Today's $1000 GPUs sell for $300 tomorrow when the next best generation of GPUs is released ... and so on and so on ... it's a win for everyone, just a matter of waiting or not waiting. 

But if you compare "like" settings (remember Max setting in P3D V3 = Medium setting in P3D V4 in terms of visual similarity) from P3D V3 to P3D V4, you should see about a 25% performance increase in P3D V4 and maybe a little more in P3D V4.2 with the right GPU.  If you're not sure what I mean by "like" settings where P3D V3 Max = P3D V4 medium ... it means settings like Autogen Draw Distance is about the same (buildings displayed within a radius of view point) when P3D V3 is set to Max vs. P3D V4 at Medium ... so P3D V4 at Max will display buildings considerably further out from the view point which will of course increase CPU/GPU loads.  Same applies for Autogen density sliders, Level of Detail Radius, and the use of High-resolution Terrain Textures ... these all increase CPU/GPU work loads as the extend the visual display/render distances considerably with increased number of building and tree density.

So long as Flight Simulators continue to be improved with active development work, we'll always (without exception) be chasing hardware upgrades to leverage the abilities of flight simulators.  This is GOOD, not bad ... fortunately we have the ability to compromise our settings to come up good FPS and good working visuals ... for those who enjoy Dynamic Lights will turn down other graphics settings (i.e. shadows, reflections, AA) in order to use that "aspect" of the simulator.

Recent aircraft and scenery releases have really emphasized the "rise" of flight simulation, I'm not seeing any "fall".

Cheers, Rob.

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Yesterday I did a short flight from CYVR to ORBX CYSE in ORBX PNW. I used to use this flight to show off how awesome P3D V2.X updates where in you tube video with screen shots of display very high and maxed out. They garnered quite a bit of attention. This on in particular has over 72,000 views:

 

 

I couldn't reproduce it exactly because I no longer use TrackIR and I didn't quite get the time of day right but I reproduce it in P3D V4.2 and I think it demonstrates how far performance has come along. In the V4.2 version the setting a far far higher and I think the performance is a lot better when it matters. For example when Squeamish comes into view in the V4.2 vid the fps is about 50% higher than in the V2.3 video.

Its not all rosy though! I won't fly anything really fast of tubeliners in P3D anymore.

Its AWEFUL! blurry ground textures and it doesn't take long to catch up on and overtake your autogen.

Having said that flying glider and GA on virtually maxed out setting amazing!

 

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3 hours ago, Avidean said:

I won't fly anything really fast of tubeliners in P3D anymore.

Same here.  In my opinion, DL is a feature that should be optional for add-on maker, just as LM made it an option.  If PMDG would have that option, I bet there are way more people happy.  Airliners are already complex and demanding beast, and to be honest, unless you are light artist, I don't see a real advantage requiring me to give up so much performance for dubious eye candy.  Not everyone can afford to keep up with the HW escalating cost, so not having a choice to use lower eye candy but higher performance is bad.  Why do I have to fly the tube only in day time or lower setting at night, where with other aircraft I don't have to? Until then, my expensive PMDG birds stay in the Nevada desert.

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I'm having a great time with P3Dv4.2 with all the usual Orbx, PMDG , A2A w/F1 GTN, ASP4 (high custom settings), ASCA, Flightbeam, GSX, UT Live (all at 80%).

Locking the FPS at 20 serves me well.

I stay away from Dynamic Reflections, Terrain Shadows, and Dynamic Vegetation for now. I set textures at 2048 and run AS at 16x, MSAA at 8x w/o FXAA. Other than that, all settings are at max except autogen quantities which are reduced 1 notch from max.

FPS stays pretty much pegged at 20 and smooth as butter in all weather even at KLGA runway 22.

I think the expectation of 30 or more (or unlocked) FPS is where the problems begin.

P3Dv3.4 or below never served me well, because with the settings I could set with a solid 20 FPS would OOM every time. I could get 60 FPS because of reduced sliders to avoid OOM, but it is not my goal to have barren airports and cities; that's what we had back in FS9 and before!

I'm sticking with 64-bit no matter what. Lockheed Martin is doing a fine job.

I hope 128-bit is at least in the initial planning stages so we don't have to suffer through OOM in 64-bit. Once our genius 3rd party developers get going, they will fill up the 64-bit VAS before we know it....20 GHz (liquid nitrogen cooling) here we come!  :ha:

   

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Well, the "problem" here is that many simmers were convinced (due to whatever reason) that 64bit equals better performance. It has nothing to do with each other in the first place. The increased performance P3Dv4 offers is NOT due to 64bit, people should learn this finally.

Long story short: by switching to 64bit, LM basically removed one of the limiting factors of the old ESP engine. But it is still the old ESP engine. And as such terribly non-performant and not really taking advantage of todays techniques. Simply take AF2 and DCS 2.5 as an example of what a more up-to-date engine is capable of...

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5 hours ago, Anxu00 said:

Same here.  In my opinion, DL is a feature that should be optional for add-on maker, just as LM made it an option.  .

100% this. This is the primary driver of frustration now. P3D pushed the boundaries and developers leap to it before hardware has time to Catch up. This is what forces people into endless chasing of nirvana and expensive hardware upgrades and ends up increasing frustration levels across the community. MS was guilty of it for 15 years or so. 

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26 minutes ago, AnkH said:

The increased performance P3Dv4 offers is NOT due to 64bit, people should learn this finally.

Long story short: by switching to 64bit, LM basically removed one of the limiting factors of the old ESP engine. 

Agreed but it's also in the gift of developers to moderate the speed at which they pile in new features that are not optional.

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Are you sure that 64bit is the problem here?

Just take a look at this topic from 2008:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/100658-13-flight-graphics-help

The title already says a lot: 'Who can run Flight Sim X on MAX graphics? I need your help!!!!'

Ten years later, problems are still the same:

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I can run everything on Ultra High settings with good frames, but as soon as I add light bloom effects or traffic it craps out on me. What can I do?

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 I am tired of having to turn off and tweak graphics to get smooth frames depending on the city i fly into.

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Alright this is beginning to word not allowed me off and is getting really frustrating. I borrowed my roommates 8800Gt and installed it to run SLI. So now I have a Q9550 with two 8800Gt's in SLI. So the first test I wanted to do was to run Flight Sim X. Ok you ready for this? NO fricken difference. 

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That game is really pissing me off. What does it take for that game to even run on high? What do the developers have? Bunch of bull!!!!!

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I dont want to be the bearer of bad news, but I did get the GTX 260 core 216 Black Edition, plus the Quad 9550, plus 4 GB Ram. I still cant play on maxed out. I still have to take away some of the eye candy for that game.

Ten years later and people still have the same problems. And I am sorry to tell you, but the answers are still the same: 'Upgrade your GPU', 'turn off X', 'turn off Y'.

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Don't know what you guys expected of 64bit.... All it does is removing the memory limit.

The stone old FSX engine is still crap ;)

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P3Dv4 definitely runs better than any previous version (including FSX) on my computer. I experience the same as Rob, an increase in eye candy at the same fps level. 

Still, I long for the day when I can experience real smoothness (~100 fps). Since I don't have a motion platform, my only input as to how the aircraft is behaving comes from the visuals, hence they are the most important part of the equation. Low fps i(20-30) s very noticeable when making tight turns or when you need to make small adjustments during approach and landing. 

My advice would be to save money and don't buy premium hardware. It won't get you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just yet. 

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Update:

I did it. Picked up a dirt cheap end of range Samsung Ue32m5000 yesterday. I ran my reference scenario - doing doughnuts at dusk on the ramp at FB KMSP in the FSLA320 with every interior and external light on (dynamic lights) and Active Sky overcast/rain. 

With my 4K monitor and NO antialiasing, i got 10-15 fps with heavy stuttering, and my 1080Ti maxed out at 100% usage.

With my 1080p monitor at 60Hz, I now get (with 8xMSAA) 40FPS+ and GPU is now at about 50% utilisation.

Sure I lost those lovely crisp 4K views and I'm back to fuzzy CRT displays in the VC, but hey, I just regained the immersion that a simulator SHOULD have. And I can use all these new goodies that developers are adding.

4K, i will miss you for now.

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This is why I am not even considering upgrading from 1920x1080 resolution on a 24" widescreen monitor. I am quite happy with this, and I want to be able to harness all of the extra power when I decide to buy a new PC.

Edited by Christopher Low

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On 2/22/2018 at 7:54 AM, Jetset408 said:

Agreed but it's also in the gift of developers to moderate the speed at which they pile in new features that are not optional.

Wise words.

My experience with 64 bit=no more Oom's....thank you, relief!:biggrin:

Dynamic lighting=lovely looking......increased load on system=turn it off!:blush:

Reflections from objects=lovely looking....increased load on system/stutters=turn it off!:blush:

High level AA=looks nice=...increased load/stutters....turn it down!:blush:

AS4 REX Clouds....lovely, but same results....the nicer it looks the more it will stutter!

Sim add on specifics...Tru Glass.....looks lovely=increased load.....? PMDG did this on the J41 in FSX with no load effects? Will be interesting if/when they re release it in 64 bits if they include the rain/ice/snow effects and the ice on the wing boots?

Overall I see improvements in the old FSX (now P3d) engine. I also see new GPU/CPU and memory (PCIE) as the next evolution....another £2000, when I win the lottery perhaps?

Cheers.

 

 

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