Sign in to follow this  
Guest grapesh

FSX - spread the load across PCs?

Recommended Posts

I have not been following FSX too closely (aside from reading a "preview" on GameSpy and looking at some screenshtos). I was wondering if it's yet known whether or not FSX will have the ability to install server-like components on multiple networked PCs such that the workload needed by the simulator can be spread across multiple computers off loading some of the work from the "main" PC?For example, one could easily imagine all air, ground and sea traffic being computed on on one PC, weather being handled on another one and perhaps even some complex systems simulation (such as flight management computer) could be done on yet another. They could all connect thorough the network and the "main" PC would be simply "handed" data from other computers without having to worry about computing all those things that can be done on another CPU. Given a fast enough network this would be a great option for those users who have more than one PC at home.So - has this sort of thing floated around in regards to FSX?Thanks,Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I wonder what kind of benefit you would see from this - probably not very significant. The main bottleneck still seems getting the computed data to the video card and video card doing all the polygon stuff. A very similar topic (use of double core CPUs) has already been extensively discussed. Michael J.http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/pmdg_744F.jpghttp://sales.hifisim.com/pub-download/asv6-banner-beta.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I wonder what kind of benefit you would see from this ->probably not very significant. My question was prompted by reading this post by a former FS2004 developer: http://steve-lacey.com/blogarchives/2005/1..._blurries.shtmlHe claims FS2004 "has a lot to do other than just render triangles as fast as possible."I'm certainly not an expert on this. But assuming that what Steve Lacey says is in any way grounded in reality - then perhaps there might be some benefit from off-loading some of that work done by all those "fibers" tasked with activities other than 3D rendering.Thanks,Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His statement is "qualitative" rather than "quantitative" (in other words he is not implying that offloading some of those "other" tasks will result in meaningful savings). If you want more in-depth information how to speed things up in FSX and where supposed bottlenecks are - there was a very good discussion on this forum with tdragger (and Pixel_..) on the subject of the SLI, multithreading and multi-core CPUs. Very much related to your question.Michael J.http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/pmdg_744F.jpghttp://sales.hifisim.com/pub-download/asv6-banner-beta.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So should I skip considering the double core 4800+ and just get the single core 4000+?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wait don't upgrade yet, especially for the video card.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Michael,While I like the idea from a geek point of view :->, I think this is a bit much to expect from a sub-$100 entertainment title [insert favorite "retail pricing has not been set yet" marketing language here :->], and the percent of our entire market who would/could make use of this sort of setup would be kinda on the small side.I would say your more likely to see better support of multi-core/multi-cpu systems before you would see support for distributed CPU systems.We did actually make a system like this, back in the old BAO days, for the Professional version of TOWER. There was one computer that handled all the aircraft simulation/management, another computer that emulated the tower controllers console (actually, there could be 2 of these for multi-controller training), another computer for the instructors console, another computer that did nothing but generate sounds for the 32 aircraft closest to the tower (because it used a 32 channel Gravis Ultrasound card :->), 3 computers with TIGA graphics cards hooked to ceiling mounted 1280x1024 Sony projectors shining on 100" diag screens giving 135 degree field of view, etc. Of course, this was a system designed to sell in the high 5 figure or low 6 figure range instead of the high 2 figure range :->. This was also designed at the start to run on multiple computers, and then the individual modules were combined onto one computer to make the Consumer version that was known as BAO Tower, which is a little easier than taking code that was designed to run on 1 computer and making it run on multiple computers.The short answer is no, you probably shouldn't expect this sort of thing on FSX - although utils like FSUIPC/WideFS/WideView allow you to do some of these sorts of things with existing FS versions (you can run certain addons that run as seperate processes on seperate computers, run side computers that do nothing but provide additional video output channels for wider fields of view, etc).Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your question about dual core will soon be moot as I believe both AMD and Intel will no longer be making single core CPUs in the near future.Like others have said you might be better of holding on to your present rig for a while longer. Once FSx gets closer to shipping the people at Microsoft will be in a position to better tell all of us the type of hardware needed to run FSx well. The next generation of GPUs(read dirx 10 compatible)may have enough intelligence built in to them to really kick start an app like FS into high gear with the right coding in the game's engine. Remember writing all that low level code is NOT an easy task even for Microsft with all the different threads that FS's task switcher has to keep in line so to speak and that's probably why the people at Microsft are posting a little less these days. In other words they are just really busy right now. Dan Martin Team Flight Ontario

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

impractical to say the least.large distributed systems like SETI@Home work only because they have banks of dedicated servers doing nothing but scheduling work for other machines and sending the data received from those machines back to other machines yet again for collating and processing.On a home LAN scale you'd need to have at least one computer in there doing nothing except act as a marshaller for the rest of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>impractical to say the least.I beg to differ. Example: running Squawkbox on second PC gets my main FS way smoother.>large distributed systems like SETI@Home work only because>they have banks of dedicated servers doing nothing but>scheduling work for other machines and sending the data>received from those machines back to other machines yet again>for collating and processing.You are comparing bananas and apples. SETI@Home, as well as other network computing projects give each CPU a chunk of work that is independent of other CPUs. Everything "distributed" for flightsim should run parallel. >>On a home LAN scale you'd need to have at least one computer>in there doing nothing except act as a marshaller for the rest>of them.>This is also way off base. You can have many sub-programs just listening to FSUIPC over LAN and doing whatever they do (again, like Squawkbox) and freeing your main processor. And, if MSFS had an MPI version for home clusters, that would definitely bring up a new capabilities such as fine-resolution turbulence computations, real flight dynamics instead of table lookup, great water effects, 100% realistic traffic flying by flightplans not great circles and many many more wonderful things. The problem is Microsoft is lagging behind in delivering distributed computational architectures, that's why you don't see many supercomputers running Windows. You can turn your old linux box or mac into a cluster node, but you can't do it with your PC. I wish I could though. Great topic, Michael!Take it easy,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a distributed systems expert so I have no legs to stand on trying to argue about things I know nothing about. Though I am a computer programmer ;-) So I can definitely appreciate benefits of off-loading some simulation tasks to other machines.Without getting into too much speculation - AI traffic seems like a very good candidate because just like in real life - 'other' traffic can can take place entirely independently from what the live 'pilot' is doing in the sim as long as the computer on which AI traffic is simulated receives regular updates on what the live player is doing as well as feeds back computed actions of AI planes (so that things like collision avoidance can be simulated; and not 'only' sophisticated flights mimicking real world closer than basic AI).If multi-player flight simulation games can work over the Internet then certainly an Ethernet network has more than enough bandwidth to handle AI traffic updates. I remember some real good fun with Israeli Air Force a few years back involving coordinated attacks on Scud launchers as well as 'flying' with a buddy of mine in the same chopper in Longbow 2 conducting Hellfire attacks ;-). And in those 'early' days I used to run Roger-Wilco on a separate machine... to free up my 'main' PC so that my sims would work better. Though Roger-Wilco was in no-way aware of the sims or the other way around.Like Tim said though - I can see why this sort of thing would not be included into a consumer-level entertainment title. But hey, there is always the add-on market ;-)S.V - other than Squawkbox, have you used any other programs that do work on another PC yet connect to your main sim PC though WideFS and FSUIPC?Thanks,Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>S.V - other than Squawkbox, have you used any other programs>that do work on another PC yet connect to your main sim PC>though WideFS and FSUIPC?As FlyingsCool pointed out earlier in some post, and I'm going to try soon, PocketFMC, which is a moving map software for PocketPC, can be used with MSFS through FSUIPC with GPSOut addon. I don't know if GPSOut takes up less CPU than the default GPS gauge though, but at least it doesn't render graphics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what I read in another forum. Its from Mike (Tdragger): " While technically true it's only because there's nothing special you need to do (other than be multi-threaded). So of course FSX will work great on dual core system since it utilizes multithreading more aggressively than FS2004."I take it to say that it will benefit from dual core!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like one Server just for rendering external views that has big sized an fast SCUSI HD. It should get the position of the aircraft and other AI aircrafts, input for weather and rendering it. One server/PC for the aircraft itself and its systems like FMC, GPS, etc..Another server/PC for things like Weather, ATC, etc...I think, it can be done. Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to have an external weather machine, which precomputes global weather in coarse resolution (frontal systems, highs/lows, approx. snowlines, etc), and dynamically computes local weather, turbulence, updrafts/downdrafts, rain, snow, hail, virga, squall lines, T-storms, tornadoes, fog, dew, microbursts, icing, etc, in fine resolution. This is going to be a lot of CPU, for sure, but weather IS a huge part of flying.An aircraft dynamics, which takes up weather and other factors and computes my flight "as real as it gets", can migrate to PhysX-like units in the future. And rendering of all of that, well, it's another story (in another thread)... Another external system, all AI including ground and maritime traffic, can also be precomputed/dynamically computed on external engine, just because the world is alive beyond 50nm radius around an airplane.Wake me up in 2009 :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trust me you don't want to have the core systems such as weather, AI and FMC code running on another server. The network lag will kill that idea. For instance FS9 has enough issues just handling the CPU-GPU data transfers on the same box. External or listening type modules will be ok. So things like a moving map can run fine on another server. Multi-core systems will be giving the effect of multiple PC's anyway, though running on the same server. And remember, not long after FSX is released we will have quad core systems ready for us to buy :) Multi core systems running on Vista with DX10 (which uses 'long shaders' and takes alot of the heat off the CPU) will be giving a 'quantum leap' in performance. Give it some time you will see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that lan is not the same as a cluster, whereas a multi-core is more like a cluster, if a program can produce multiple threads instead of a single process. But even if it doesn't, something else can be run in parallel to FS on a second core, like a sophisticated weather sim. And if someone will offer it for a price of MSFS, I will probably buy it (but only if I don't get broke after I get my quad-core rig :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this