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Ray Proudfoot

Cause of stutters in FSX found and greatly reduced

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My new system should run FSX pretty well but since building it I've been bothered by stuttering but finally tonight I think I've pinpointed what's causing it.The purpose of anti-aliasing is to smooth the jagged edges primarily when running at lower resolutions. In the days of 800*600 or maybe 1024*768 they were very apparent and by setting AA to 4x it greatly reduced these jaggies albeit with a lower frame rate.My new system feeds a 24" display running at 1920*1200. Now you might argue that at such a high resolution there's no need for AA - the resolution is higher than the much vaunted 1080 of high definition TV.But without AA there is a degree of shimmering of buildings and that reduces the overall quality of the view. So I have been setting it to 6X - the highest available. This gets rid of the shimmering but significantly I've discovered it introduces stuttering. Even with such a powerful graphics card asking it to smooth edges at 6X at such a high resolution is clearly working the card harder than it's happy with.I've reduced AA to 4x and things are signiicantly better. The best way to see this is to switch to full forward view (no panel visible), slew up to around 500ft AGL and press the forward arrow key until a speed of 66kts is achieved. Place your aircraft in a fairly well built up area and observe how smoothly the scenery passes below.I've done this with 6X AA and 4X AA and the difference is remarkable. There are still some pauses or stutters but they are far fewer than before and the overall smoothness is much improved.Whether this will work for you I don't know. If you're running at lower resolutions you may need your current AA setting but experiment with different AA values and things may improve for you as they have for me.Maybe you've already discovered this for yourselves but I was always under the impression that modern cards could handle any amount of AA at any resolution. Clearly there is a sweet spot and maybe you can find it on your system.Cheers.

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Ray,Your card is capable of running up to 16X AA (at a heavy price on system performance).The following modes of AA are available for the 3870X2:2x Box (2x samples)2x Narrow-Tent (4x samples)2x Wide-Tent (6x samples)4x Box (4x samples)4x Narrow-Tent (6x samples)4x Wide-Tent (8x samples)4x Edge-Tent (12x samples)8x Box (8x samples)8x Narrow-Tent (12x samples)8x Wide-Tent (16x samples)8x Edge-Tent (24x samples)16x Box (16x samples)16x Narrow-Tent (24x samples)16x Wide-Tent (32x samples)For FSX I am currently utilizing 4x Box with temporal anti-aliasing enabled. FYI going from 4x Box to 16x Box on my system will cut FPS in half.

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Hi Mike,I have already tweaked my FSX.CFG and BUFFERPOOLS is set to PoolSize=12000000.The point I was trying to make was that reducing AA from 6X to 4X has considerably reduced stutters. I don't see how any other settings are relevant to this particular change.

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Sargeski,Why would I want to increase AA to 16X if the penalty was so severe?It's currently set to 4X Box where it will remain. Temporal AA is disabled.Cheers,

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>Sargeski,>>Why would I want to increase AA to 16X if the penalty was so>severe?>>It's currently set to 4X Box where it will remain. Temporal AA>is disabled.>>Cheers, You wouldn't lol....the only reason I pointed out the available settings for the 3870X2 was because in your above post you stated "So I have been setting it to 6X - the highest available."I was not sure if you were aware that higher settings are available and did not want would be 3870X2 owners to think that max AA was limited to 6x for a 3870X2.For anyone using Nvidia cards and thinking of the 3870X2 4x Box on the Radeon is pretty much comparable with 8xs on the Nvidia cards. Albeit much prettier!! ;)

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Ray I am glad to see that the stuttering was caused by AA...I was concerned that it was because of the "uploading data between gpu's" issue that Holger mentioned in the other thread. I see that's not the case!Great news!I'd guess that if you lowered resolution (not that you would want to) you could run higher levels of AA before the stuttering kicked in.Also I would guess that we may be seeing a bit of driver immaturity here, although 1920 res, a lot of AA will push hard on a vid subsystem.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 Rhett,<>No, of course given that the whole purpose of AA is to address the limitations of low resolutions. in fact I may try 2X. Least is always best when manipulating an image.The 8.4 drivers are due out soon but whether FSX will benefit is a moot point. It's not one of the high profile games but I'll keep my fingers crossed.For now I'm pleased to have eliminated most of the stutters with a simple adjustment of AA.

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Hi Sargeski,<>Point taken. It's only when you go into the Settings option in ATI TT that the Box option becomes available. In the simplistic AA sub-menu the max there is 6X.I can't see anyone who buys this card running at resolutions as low as 1024*768. It's for large displays only really. For 1024*768 a single 3870 would suffice.

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Thats bad news.I thought the 3870 was supposed to solveall our (nvidia) display problems.What is it like with AA on in FSX only and not in the driver?gb.

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Why is it bad news? I found by reducing AA the stutters were greatly reduced.I did try setting it in FSX but it's just an on/off setting so how do you choose what level you want? 3rd party applications are always better as they allow different settings.I've not seen FSX with a nVidia card so I can't comment on the image quality (or lack of). As far as I'm concerned the ATI has superb image quality.

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You'll be hard pushed to find any card that offers a stutter-free performance. There are just too many variables to consider. An occasional stutter will always be present. That's been the case since FS went to a Windows platform and had to share resources.I'm not sure what you wanted to point me to in a 4 page dialogue started 18 months ago. Graphics cards have changed a lot since then as has hardware generally. If you google "stutters" and "FSX" you'll find numerous hits and all different setups.The point of my original post was to point people's attention to the AA setting and that if set too high may introduce stutters. I never claimed my or any card would give stutter-free performance.nVidia cards will probably stutter too and they have driver issues which the ATI doesn't. The image quality of my 3870X2 is excellent and should certainly be on your shortlist assuming you'll be running at 1920*1200 otherwise a 3870 may sufice.

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Ray & Bob et al...did you get the Cat 8.4s?Boosted my 3870x2 back to ~ 13,500 (default) 3DMark06 (~50% greater than 8.3s). What this does for FSX performance idk yet. :-PRob

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Hi Rob,Yes, updated last night. 3DMark06 score is back to what it was with the 8.2 drivers. No issues so far with them. Just completed a flight from EGLL up to Glasgow and the scenery looked stunning. Towering cumulus also looked good but frame rate suffered when flying through them.I don't think frame rates in FSX were too different with any of the recent drivers.

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I run FS9 on XP. I have a bare Vista installed on D drive and run FSX ACCEL + GEX on it's qwn partition (E). I don't use DX10 because of skin textures on imported aircraft. All sliders full right except Mesh Res 10 and Water Low 2x, and traffic 50%.IMO AA has a large effect on Nvidia as well as ATI. I use most of Master NickN's tweeks. I found if I set AF to Program Controlled and AA to 8XQ Override in the driver, and set FSX to ANSIO and uncheck the AA box, my frames went up from 20 to 30 (locked). My stutters also went away. When I run FSX from XP, with the same settings, the video seems smoother.DaveDell XPS 720 H2CIntel Quad Core Extreme QX6800 @ 3.73GHz4GB Corsair Dominator EPP 8500C5D 800MHz FSB 1066 MHzNV Raid 0 2x160GB WD SATA Raptors, Sound Blaster X-FiNvidia 2x8800GTX 768MB SLI, Dell 2407WFP PanelXP driver: 169.21, Vista driver: 169.25Logitech Z680 5.1 Speakers, G5 Mouse, Saitek X52WinXP Media Edition SP2 on C:Vista SP1 on D: (Dual Boot)3DMark06: 17,018/6992/7123/5667

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>You'll be hard pushed to find any card that offers a>stutter-free performance. There are just too many variables to>consider. An occasional stutter will always be present. That's>been the case since FS went to a Windows platform and had to>share resources.>>I'm not sure what you wanted to point me to in a 4 page>dialogue started 18 months ago. Graphics cards have changed a>lot since then as has hardware generally. If you google>"stutters" and "FSX" you'll find numerous hits and all>different setups.>>The point of my original post was to point people's attention>to the AA setting and that if set too high may introduce>stutters. I never claimed my or any card would give>stutter-free performance.>>nVidia cards will probably stutter too and they have driver>issues which the ATI doesn't. The image quality of my 3870X2>is excellent and should certainly be on your shortlist>assuming you'll be running at 1920*1200 otherwise a 3870 may>sufice.Ray, you had posted a response to a post I made about a month ago on completing a system. I have an E8400 also with 2 gig of Corsair RAM PC8500 at 1066 and an EVGA 8800GTS 512. I am running FSX on XP SP2 with FSX using the SP2 update. Now, I am only running one monitor, but I am not getting an stutters or blurries at all and this is with %%100 AI and scenery and weather settings at full bore. So something must be set up wrong the card settings. If you saw my other post the other day I had my FSX set up FS-GS and I have no issues with performance. Your card I believe has twice the memory of mine, so it must be the settings or something in some .cfg tweaks you used. I haven't done anything to my FSX.cfg.

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Hi,<>I too am running on a single monitor. However, I think we need to be more specific about stutters. I get very few once airborne but when taxiing depending on the airport and Ai they will still occur. Are you telling me you get none even when taxiing at major airports? Everything is smooth with absolutely no pauses or stutters even when you turn the aircraft?<>Yes, there was. AA was set too high. Reducing it to 4X had improved things a lot. That was why I posted my findings in this thread. You don't say what AA and AF you have set. I'm curious.<>Sorry, what's FS-GS?<>There is far more to a card than the amount of memory. Phil Taylor's blog listed the important features and the 3870X2 certainly falls into the top category although unfortunately he wrote that before it came out.Mike Swannick posted some pictures taken with both a 8800GTS and a 3870X2. In one of the screenshots the frame rate with the 3870X2 was 30% higher than that of the 8800GTS. Other shots showed the same fps because he'd locked it at 30. Some cards will be better at some things than others. Mike dumpred his nVidia card because he was so fed up with the drivers.<>I've applied all the recommended tweaks to mine. Can't remmeber the source.Cheers,

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Just a thought..I had stutter problems in FSX till I remembered an old tool that I used to use in FS9: PCILatencyTool which you can find all over the place, just Google to find it.It can also be set from within ATI TrayToolsI'm not sure if it works with PCI-E cards: I can't test it as I'm still using AGP.It's certainly worth a try: Normally the PCI Latency is set impossibly high, mine was set at a default 255, I reduced it first to 64, and finally to 32. result? Fast texture loading, and no stutters.Maybe somebody with a PCI-E card can check it out..It could be the magic bullet you've been searching for..regardsGrahame

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<>It doesn't. It's for AGP cards only.I've found my magic bullet - reducing AA when running at very high resolutions. Removing it completely results in a shimmering effect hence why it's set to 4X.

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Hi Dave,<>But what level of AF was set by FSX? That's the problem of using the options in the program. A card such as yours should be able to run AF at 16X without any performance hit.The AA settings for nVidia and ATI produce different results so it's not possible to draw direct comparisons for a given setting.

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Thanks for the info Ray. My next system will of course have a PCI-E card, good to know what works and what not.regardsGrahame

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Hi Ray,I agree on your point and I don't know what what level FSX will set when left to it's own devices. I have heard that AF controlled ny the program is more efficient. I have tried it both ways and not noticed much difference in video quality or performance.Setting AA in the driver, and not FSX, made a big difference gor me. I agree with you setting a level low enough to find the sweet spot for your machine gets it running smooth. Where I set it was also a big key with me.Dave

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Hi,<>I too am running on a single monitor. However, I think we need to be more specific about stutters. I get very few once airborne but when taxiing depending on the airport and Ai they will still occur. Are you telling me you get none even when taxiing at major airports? Everything is smooth with absolutely no pauses or stutters even when you turn the aircraft?<>Yes, there was. AA was set too high. Reducing it to 4X had improved things a lot. That was why I posted my findings in this thread. You don't say what AA and AF you have set. I'm curious.<>Sorry, what's FS-GS?<>There is far more to a card than the amount of memory. Phil Taylor's blog listed the important features and the 3870X2 certainly falls into the top category although unfortunately he wrote that before it came out.Mike Swannick posted some pictures taken with both a 8800GTS and a 3870X2. In one of the screenshots the frame rate with the 3870X2 was 30% higher than that of the 8800GTS. Other shots showed the same fps because he'd locked it at 30. Some cards will be better at some things than others. Mike dumpred his nVidia card because he was so fed up with the drivers.<>I've applied all the recommended tweaks to mine. Can't remmeber the source.Cheers,Ray Proudfoot3 miles east of EGCC. Home to Concorde G-BOAC.System OneAntec P182, Asus P5K-E mobo, E8400 3GHz, 2Gb Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-8500 RAM, Asus HD3870 X2 1Gb, Dell 2407 24" TFT at 1920*1200, 2 Samsung Spinpoint 500Gb HD, GoFlight T8*2/P8/166*2/LGT, Aerosoft 747MCP/EICAS, CH Yoke, Pedals, Pro Throttle, Windows XP.System TwoP4 3.0, 3Gb RAM, nVidia FX5700 128Mb AGP,2x 17" LG TFT,40Gb HD, Project Magenta Boeing Suite, Radar Contact, Windows XP.System ThreeIntel Core2 Duo T7200 Notebook, 1Gb RAM, ActiveSky6/ASX, FS FlightKeeper, FSEarth, Windows XP Pro.Ray, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. First, yes I have no stutters or pauses at major airports and it makes no difference if the weather is really bad with cloud draw to 100 miles. What AI are you using? I had tried Ultimate traffic for FSX but since the aircraft were calling for the gates it was taking to much resource. I deleted UT and installed all the World of AI packages, then mip mapped the textures to DX3 since they were originally built for FS9. Also I am using the stock drivers from the nVidia website with Win XP SP2. The FS-GS service I used is a company call Flight Simulator Graphic Solutions, FS-GS for short. Their website is www.fs-gs.com. They do a complete set up taylored to your equipment. Now I am reaping the rewards of flying FSX basically maxed out in dense area with no probs. Well worth the money. Just goes to show that there is nothing wrong with the nVidia drivers when everything else is setup correctly. Talk to the fellow over at least it free and he can tell you how he can help you. Regards -Sean

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Hi Sean,I'm using the default Ai aircraft set at 40%. I will set it to 0% to judge whether it has a adverse affect on performance. I am considering MyTraffic X as it is specifically designed for FSX with the latest textures - less hungry that other Ai packages apparently. It sounds like you have tailored World of Ai to reap maximum graphical benefit.That service has been discussed before. It had its fans and detractors. I use Ken Salter's Alacrity which allows you to close down all non-essential programs and services. My system probably could be improved but by how much I'm not sure.Without giving too much away what areas did they concentrate on when they tailored your system? Unnecessary programs and services? Settings in FSX.CFG? I don't expect you to give away all the secrets for a service you've paid for but a general pointer would allow me to judge whether it's something that is outside my expertise or not. After all, tweaks to FSX.CFG are in the public domain.Finally, details of your system would help me gauge our respective systems and how close they are.Cheers,

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