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Bert Pieke

FSX SP2 - Blurries - Any Real Benefits of Limiting Frame Rate

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Following several recent comments in this news group, I've tried setting the FSX Frame Rate to unlimited - and so far the experience has been wholly positive. My default flight is over Just Flight's VFR scenery - and I'd previously used a Frame Rate of 20 to try and limit the blurries. Unlimited gives me Frame Rate of between 90 and 200+ - bit more interestingly didn't increase the blurries either. I've tried several other areas (downtown Tokyo seems to stress my system most) -and have found a fluid frame rate (minimum of about 25) whilst increasing the levels of road and sea traffic. So I'm seeing up to 10x the frame rate, with no effect on blurries at all!I understood that the frame rate limit was supposed to free up some CPU time for background scenery loading/rendering - but I'm just not seeing it on my system. (The only small beneift I can see is that the external texture of the plane loads faster when I switch to an external view, not really worth having).Speculating - I wonder if its because FSX is not fully optimised for a multi-core system. (i.e. if the scenery tasks are pushed to the otherwise spare cores their speed will be pretty much unaffected by any spare capacity on the main core). Anyone able to comment on this?In short - I've found the best compromise to be to set Frame Rate to unlimited, then set Fiber_Frame_Time_Fraction to 0.4 - which reduces blurries (and also fixes the external texture delay above) while leaving a much increased frame rate. Would be interested if other's experience is similar.NB - I'm running FSX/Acceleration on a Quad core 6700 (overclocked to 3 GHz). Affinity mask has been set to 14 (i.e. to disable Core 0), at 1680 x 1050 resolution. Operating system is Vista 32 bit - with 3 GB of RAM and a 8800 GTX graphics card.PS - Although the Affinity Mask should stop FSX using Core 0, I'm finding that running FSX actually loads it to about 30%. Presume this is the background Vista activity used to manage disk access etc.

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Hello Bob,There is a lot of confusion concerning the Blurries, and the first question is: are you quite sure that you have them? Many seem to think that they do, but in fact do not! Perhaps a screenshot would help determine this.These are the dread Blurries:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/182405.jpgAlso, please be aware that your setting of FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION is not doing anything at all, so you should not be seeing a difference there. This is what Adam Szofran, who handles terrain development at ACES, had to say on the matter:On multi-core machines in SP1, we moved many fiber jobs off of the primary thread and onto secondary threads. Since FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION only affects scheduling of jobs on the primary thread, it will have less of an impact on the performance of Flight Sim on multi-core machines. In fact, we moved so many jobs off of the primary thread that there probably isn

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Do whatever works for you.Some people report blurries with Unlimited frame lock. Others report better operation WITH setting framelock to unlimited.Definitely a hardware-specific thing it seems...RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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>>The dread Blurries are mostly due to saturated video memory.I doubt that. If that were the case you would be able to lower your resolution and the blurries would go away, but that does not happen.

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Well, both saturated vidmem and terrain texture thread starvation...There's no need to debate all of that again, we all know what causes them by now... :)RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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I doubt this also. I use an on-screen display utility which shows the amount of texture memory and VRAM free. My 512MB card has more than ample RAM and bandwidth to handle the textures. I've also tried smaller texture sets and lowered screen resolution. I've dialed back all the "expensive" sliders that would put load on CPU and graphics card. None of these solutions has any impact whatsoever on "the blurries". It's just a p*ss poor texturing engine and load balancer - plain and simple. Whether that engine is mostly legacy (which I suspect it is), it simply needs to be gutted and overhauled in FS11.

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I get no blurries, either Unlimited to limited to any number. I have switched between Unlimited on limited many times and I see no difference whatsoever.I have a theory that the necessity to limit frames died with the threading to multiple cores. If scenery loading is distributed to different cores, why the need to limit frames? I am no expert though and Microsoft claims limiting is necessary. (interestingly the Nvidia websites sugests "Unlimited"). Go figure.

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I suppose that saying that the problem is saturated video memory and that it is poor texturing engine and load balancer is the same thing - plain and simple.Because of the way the game handles texture loading, too many textures will put it over the limit, and lead to the blurries.Whether you think this means that the game is badly designed is a matter of opinion.Still, my real point is that many think they have the blurries when in fact they do not. And particularly, Bob has a very powerful computer so it is surprising that he should think he has this problem. With his system, texture saturation is highly unlikely, as it is with yours. So, perhaps the problem is not the blurries at all.Best regards.Luis

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Luis,Thanks for the reply. AS suggested, here's a couple of screen shots (taken over the VFR Scenery of Weston Super Mare). "Test 1.jpg" shows what you see (with Fiber_Frame set to the default of 0.33), "Test 1 after pause" shows how the picture sharpens up if I hit the Pause key aand wait for a second or so. The difference between the two shots is pretty clear, and shows the blurring I'm getting.Overall, its pretty good (and you can see the frame rates are impressive for 1680 * 1050 resolution), but I do find the need to pause to get the full scenery benefits annoying - raising Fiber_Frame seems to help in this respect.PS - I've also attached a JPEG file showing the CPU usage pattern.Core 0 (top left) should be locked out of FSX by the Affinity Mask setting of 14, but as you can see its running at circa 30 - 40% load. Core 1 (top right) was running at 100% as expected - cores 2 &3 (bottom two) were kept pretty busy by FSX.

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Sorry, the "Test" files were too big to upload.Try these scaled down versions.

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This is a common misconception of the AffinityMask tweak, that it will completely lock FSX out of core-0.The AffinityMask tweak affects the extra threads used by SP1 and beyond. That is all that tweak affects.The fiber system that has been a part of FSX since the RTM version still runs on core-0.

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Even if video memory is not overcommitted, it is still possible to swamp the bus with per-frame traffic if during a particular frame ( or frames ) a lot of geometry and texture is transmitted across the bus.If you dial back Global Texture Resolution and other settings and you still get blurries, that typically is something wrong with the local machine. There are plenty of existence proofs that this is not a global problem.

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Reducing global texture resolution has no effect whatsoever on the blurries apart from making all aircraft appear as though they were spray painted by a blind first grader.If your argument is that this is a hardware problem, then I would contend that given the *overwhelming* number of complaints about texture blur, that FS10 failed to hit its core demographic. Moreover, I would pose the question: what IS this mysterious core demographic because there doesn't seem to be a machine "awesome" enough - over a year since the products release - that will remedy this particular issue. There is a broad array of titles out there that will thrash the living daylights out of the bus that do not exhibit these kind of texturing artifacts.I find the response, "well, it must be a local problem," disappointing. I've seen plenty of these "existence proofs" that claim if I fly at 2000' at 30 knots in the Bell over BFE Kansas I won't ever have blurries and I'll have ridiculously high frame rates. Well, yay - that's great for the VFR chopper enthusiast. But maybe I want to fly at 20000' at 300 knots over Chicago...and there is no configuration I know of that will allow me to do this and still permit the texture engine to keep up. I can pause the sim and it will sometimes take 1 to 2 minutes for the terrain textures to resolve. The simulation is idle - there's nothing to do but render a motionless frame - and this is a "local problem"?Whatever changed between RTM and SP1, while it absolutely improved playability from a smoothness/frame-rate standpoint (no question of that), it put a bullet between the eyes of the renderer. I don't know if it's some kind of dodgy L2 cache contention that arose when deciding to scale to multiple cores or what. Peter was robbed to pay Paul. With the frame-rate issues that dogged RTM, you could at least throw faster hardware and the problem and see a commensurate improvement. With this texturing issue, people are throwing thousands of dollars in hardware at it, to little or no avail. I can't see how you can write this off as a "local problem".This is a fantastic 100 knot, below 5000' MSL, VFR sim...and there's alot of great applications for that. I'll come right out and say that this is my favorite VFR GA sim. Outside of that box, FS9 simply runs away the ball - especially with third-party additions like FEX, UT, and GE to augment the comparatively "poor" resolution textures. This demographic makes up a huge swath of the market that the third-party add-on market caters to - you can see why adoption of FSX is very slow. What incentive is there for publishers to combat these issues, when nobody has a machine that can run any kind of sophisticated aircraft/panel/scenery without tanking the sim? Nobody will bother to buy. I've spent hundreds of dollars on third-party product add-ons and hardware for FS9. Not so for FSX. I simply can't justify it when there's no solution out there that will remedy the issues and there is no commitment from Microsoft on the other end to solve them. Maybe this community represents a very small niche that - from Microsoft's standpoint - isn't worth catering to when you examine the bottom line. But I can say, that I have colleagues at work - casual players - for whom FSX is just gathering dust because they can't play it either and they just gave up. They bought on the reputation of FS9. So while one may be quick to pat ourselves on the back for record FSX sales, one should consider how much of that is driven by reputation of FS9. Personally, I think FS11 - much like FS2002 - is going to take it in the shorts because of the negative experience of users who owned the previous version.It's not a "local problem"...it's everyone problem at the end of the day.

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>given the *overwhelming* number of>complaints about texture blur, that FS10 failed to hit its>core demographic.Note carefully that I'm addressing only one, single point, and am in no way dismissing anything else you've written, and written quite well I hasten to add... ;)However, is this truly a "given" fact?I'll grant that the overall "tone" of FSX posts on the many, many forums and newsgroups I read would tend to support such a hypothesis, however stating it as a "given" without any statistical or stochastic analylis is unwarranted. In fact, gathering such data for a proper analysis would be extremely difficult - if not impossible...Moreso is it unwarranted when my own (and other's) experiential evidence gathered through product support has demonstrated time and again that in ~90% of the cases resolved, the proximate cause has been anything but a genuine "bug" or "fault" with any given product.It's also useful to keep in mind that - whatever the product - complaints will always outnumber praise...

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>I get no blurries, either Unlimited to limited to any number.>I have switched between Unlimited on limited many times and I>see no difference whatsoever.>>I have a theory that the necessity to limit frames died with>the threading to multiple cores. If scenery loading is>distributed to different cores, why the need to limit frames?>I am no expert though and Microsoft claims limiting is>necessary. (interestingly the Nvidia websites sugests>"Unlimited"). Go figure. Marten I think with a single-core machine, the frame lock still has an effect on things though. Not many of us have single core rigs anymore though.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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Hi Phil,I find it amazing that you still spend time to read in detail through these forums and respond to people's comments, even though it's basically different people repeating the same things that have been said before (and often "wive tales" that I don't bother to pay attention to anymore (not a comment on anything said here, I haven't read it in detail nor put much thought into it)).Thank you Phil,Thomas[a href=http://www.flyingscool.com] http://www.flyingscool.com/images/Signature.jpg [/a]I like using VC's :-)N15802 KASH '73 Piper Cherokee Challenger 180

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There is a lot of misinformed and cross-linked data here.Reducing global texture resolution, mesh texture resolution, mesh resolution, scenery density, and autogen density all help reduce bus traffic. As does turning off bloom, shadows, and water 2.x since that removes extra passes across the scene. When either the graphics memory is saturated ( causing texture swapping ) or the bus is saturated ( causing amazingly bad bus behavior in multicore processors ) the blurries can often result as can stutters. As far as the issue wrt bus traffic, here is a telling quote from an Intel document:"The utilization of the front side bus is a performance concern because latencies of the memory and address FSB will vary with the amount of traffic on the bus. Graphing the FSB utilization vs. memory latencies shows that memory latencies increase at a rapid rate after ~60% FSB utilization. Latencies then go infinite as the FSB bandwidth passes 70%."This is specific to multicore FSB performance, and it certainly isnt the performance curve I would expect from the hardware. This is certainly contributing to the problems and reducing settings to get bus traffic below 60% is the only cure.Perhaps the 1600Mhz FSB will help us, as it will move the line by about 25%.Note there are plenty of threads about new hardware removing the blurries, as in:http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...ing_type=searchhttp://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...ing_type=searchI am sure there are more as I did about 30sec of browsing through the search results.So how can you claim updating the hardware does not help? I am puzzled by such statements in the face of other community posts to the opposite. That does not mean faster hardware makes it impossible to get blurries, as overloading any hardware is going to result in blurries, just that updating the hardware is really helping people.And there are quite a few people posting images claiming they are blurry where many of us do not see it. So there is a lot of misunderstanding of what blurries are, how one gets them, etcFurther, SolarEagles' thread about texture loading herehttp://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...ing_type=searchindeed talks about flying at high speed without blurries. The sim does not allow velocities of 20,000knts so I assume that is a typo, but SolarEagle shows 1300knts in the FA-18 so that is close to the scenario you pose. And he shows success. If what you claim is true, then what SolarEagle claims should never happen. How to reconcile these two 180-degree-opposed claims?So on the one hand we have success stories; and the number of them seems to be increasing. And on the other hand we have some failure stories; which seem to be constant based on older hardware.Based on these data points, it is hard to see how a credible analysis would show this as anything but a local problem since:a) some people never had blurries:( some people who had blurries and updated their hardware then do not get them. c) some people who do not update their hardware still have the blurriesNote my response in the SolarEagle thread talks in a bit of detail about exactly what SP1 did and why. So there is a solid reason behind the behavior change from RTM to SP1 and we have been clear about that since SP1 shipped. Further, in SolarEagles' thread I stated I have talked to one of the leading photoscenery vendors and they do not see a global blurry problem with the sim rendering engine. If every single user of FSX had the blurries that would indicate a global problem. But we do not have that result as shown on this forum. If new hardware did not make any difference in the blurries that would indicate a global problem. But we do not have that result as shown on this forum. And we have leading scenery vendors showcasing products ( VOZ, Horizon VFR ) without global blurry issues. The theory must take into account all data points when attempting to make a curve fit the data points. These data points all lead towards conclusions different than you are espousing.As far as Chicago or any other large city, these areas have their own issues with FPS that is separate from texture loading and the combination is undoubtedly causing an issue. Reducing settings and reducing the workload is all you can do.In closing, I see plenty of innovation in 3rd party products for FSX. And I thought FEX was FSX specific and offers, to quote:"The program adds revolutionary control of your environment, all of it in stunning high-definition detail. This version is also very different compared to the original release for FS9."So I dont see that comparison between FS9 and FSX as fair. However, if you are more happy with FS9 please do stay with that.

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Phil, I've got an incomplete understanding of how FSX uses multiple cores and I have no evidence to show that AffinityMask=14 performs any better than no AffinityMask on a Quad processor, but -With no Affinity Mask, the Task Manager shows Core 0 at 100% most of the time, and the three remaining cores swinging between low activity and high activity.With the mask at 14, Core 0 shows very little activity, Core 1 is at 100% most of the time, and the remaining two cores swing between low and high activity.So, it would appear that the main load has moved from Core 0 to Core 1.Is the "fiber system" in your note not a heavy user of the processor?

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