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Roger Mazengarb

Video card for Fly! II

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G'day all,I'm intending to update my computer hardware for Fly! II just after Christmas and am doing research into what graphics card to get.Is an nvidia 7600GS 512 Mb PCI-E card any good for Fly!II???I'm a bit sus about it because whilst it does have 512 Mb of on board ram it is only 400 Mhz which is quite slow compared to the blistering speeds of some other cards. Is anyone using this card? Failing that is anyone able to recommend a medium priced good grapic card for Fly! II. ( must be PCI-E not AGP ) Aus$200-$300 price range Cheers,Roger

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Roger, spend your money on the fastest cpu first. The video card for FLY plays a very small part.For example, with the same cpu, I've gone through 4 video cards: the ATI9800, the fx5600, the fx5900 ultra, and the fx6600gt. Depending on the drivers, I could not tell you which card made a real difference.FLY2 always has pauses during texture intensive parts such a heavy cloud settings or dense scenery. No matter which card I used, the pauses occur.How the render.ini manages these textures made a big difference in "fluidity". I purchased the fx6600gt thinking that I'd be able to fly with higher antialising settings( from 2x to 4x) and not lose frame rate. But, alas, this did not turn out to be the case. Ironically, the best card I had for FLY2 was the fx5600 with its 256 video ram. It was supposed to be a slow card, but FLY2 really liked it. From that card on, I've become very negative on spending my money on video cards.Honestly, I used to upgrade cpus every 6 months and video cards every year. My suspicion is that FLY2 simply is too dated to take advantage of video card innovations as newer video games do.tony

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Hey Roger! I'd have to agree with Tony on this one - try upgrading the CPU first, regular RAM second, *then* think about the graphics card. If your current card does the trick (for the most part), then why change it? I've been using my nVidia TI-4200 for over two years now... (it's probably about to burn out, though). Now, mine is AGP, but without a really good setup of the render.ini file, does not make a hoot which card and how much onboard video mem it has. Really intense scenery brings me to the dreaded 4fps, but that generally only happens on two scenery areas I converted via fs-imp and have some FlyII editor scenery in same area. So its really just tweak thy render.ini file to find the best mix of texture slot assignments. ;-)Many Cheers!Ken Wood :-sun1http://www.avsim.com/hangar/fly/dfdg/bannernewkw.jpgGateway 700X; Intel P4 2.4GHz; 512MB RAM; NVIDIA Ti4200 4X AGP 128MB; SB Audigy; Thrustmaster TopGun Fox 2 Pro Shock

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G'day Tony,Thanks for your insight. Over the past few years I too have been chasing the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow only to find that it doesn't exist.I should have said in my previous post that I'm upgrading to a complete new system. I've got my eye on an AMD Athlon64 939 3800+ . I could possibly stretch the budget to an AMD Athlon64 X2 Dual 4200+ but that's the absolute limit.Unfortunately a Pentium Core 2 Duo system is 50% to 80% dearer and simply out of range financially. AND anyway I'm uncertain if it would be a huge advantage over the AMD chips. I'd love a Ferrari but I drive a Susuki ! :-lol Same with computers I guess compromises have to be made.After closely following the threads in the FSX forum I am determined not to "downgrade" my operating system to any other that is "LIMITED" in the number of activations.Win 98SE is where I draw the line.If this somehow limits my upgrade path then so be it.I am determined not to go down the WinXP or Vista (or FSX for that matter) path. MicroSoft is trying to turn everyones PC into an X-BOXFly! II does not require it. Neither do I. Cheers,Roger

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G'day Ken,Thanks for the help.I'm not a computer guru. I want to upgrade my hardware but want to keep my current operating system. (Win98SE)ie. Can Win98SE be used on a motherboard that supports a PCI-E video slot?What is the limitation (if any) on using Win98SE? - any idea?Would it run on your computer for example?Cheers,Roger

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If that's the case, Roger, to run the computer on Win 98, you'd be better off looking at an older video card( PCI), since you'll find that drivers for win98 are no longer being written. It's a catch 22. The fx6600gt comes in pci and it's in the $100 range. Check the Nvidia site to make sure that the latest drivers for this card are available. As to the brand, some of the earlier cards did have "fan", "heat" issues. I'd also go for a 256 video ram, since the render.ini will allow you to increase the number of allocated texture slots. I have been using win xp and, once you try it, you wont go back to win98. Fly2 runs well on it and you'll find many more video drivers and motherboard drivers for it.As to the cpu, let us know how our little sim performs with it. Lastly, be sure that the motherboard does come with win98 drivers or else you wont be able to boot it.tony

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G'day Tony,I see that I may have to submit myself to going over to winXP. :-(I'm loath to do so as WinXP has a very limited life and then I'll be forced to Vista (my own personal console) I'm going to my local corner computer store tomorrow and will try and sort the mess out.Thanks for taking the time to help out.Cheers,Roger

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Roger,You may want to consider a dual OS setup. When you're setting up a new computer, it's fairly easy to have a dual config system. Ask your computer store. If they don't know, I would not trust them...tony

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Roger,I'm getting fantastic results with the nVidia FX 5700 (256 MB). I will agree with comments on CPU and memory being paramount, but the card is doing a lot of the work too.I used this card with my old computer (2X AGP, 512 MB RAM, 1.8 GHz CPU, WinXP Pro). The results were decent, but I still wasn't able to deal well with heavy scenery detail in combination with strong weather rendering.Now, it's a differnt story - current config:--8x AGP--1 GB RAM--3.2 GHz CPU (multi-threaded)--WinXP ProNow, I scream through heavy scenery, even TS with heavy clouds and detailed 3D. I still get a slight pause on a weather change or scenery load. I believe it wasn't just the slower CPU and lower memory levels that held the card back in the old system - I think the old 2X AGP bus throttled it.I can't help you directly, as far as PCI-E video and Win98SE. However, if no one responds to that question, let me know - I have some contacts that can come up with an answer.

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G'day Randall,Long time no since we talked. Good to see you easing back into simming.I went to my local computer store and asked a few questions. I have no option re operating system. When Microsoft stopped all support for Win98 the motherboard manufacturers also stopped making their motherboards Win98 compatible.The current plethora of motherboards only support back as far as Win2000 - that seems to be pretty much the norm across all recent motherboard releases (at least the ones I checked). If anyone knows of an exception I'd be very interested in hearing about it. If I stick with Win98SE then I'm stuck using an old motherboard that isn't compatible with the latest faster CPU chips.I don't know what's the advantage of PCI-E graphic bus over the AGP bus but there must be some good technical reason that the later motherboards us PCI-E. (probably cheaper to make :-) )My current system8X AGP nVidia 5700 128 Mb1GB ramAMD XP 2400 CPUWin98SEI'm NOT disappointed with the results overall, but at times my system does get down to single digit FPS and if I am going to upgrade I want to get the best I can AFFORD. A Pentium Core 2 Duo system is 150% the price of an AMD Athlon64 X2 Dual 4200+ system and whilst it may have a superior performance, is it 50% better??Thanks for taking interest in my plight; I'm still researching. :-)Cheers,Roger

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G'day Tony,The local corner computer shops here in Sydney are run by very switched on people. Microsoft would do well to employ them. You were right about the newer motherboards not supporting Win98SE. I am going to have to use WinXP on my new computer but I'll use it as a stand alone system. I'll keep my current Win98SE computer for my internet work. That should keep the virus's at bay.Cheers,Roger

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Roger,I have not run into a situation that requires win98 and that in winxp that same program wont run. So Win xp, for all practical purposes, is Win98 cleaned up by Microsoft. Go ahead with win xp and don't worry about programs not running. Secondly, pci is the new video bus standard for motherboards. Is it faster? Not really when it comes to video cards. Are they cheaper? Yes, but this reflects the fact that more and more video cards are going pci.Again, get the fastest cpu that represents good value per dollar, 1 gig of ram, two hard drives--the second for backups, and the video card....As I said before, some games are optimized for specific video cards and viceversa. Most of this, however, does not apply to Fly2. Any card from the fx 6600gt and later will do just fine. Simply look for one that isn't very hot or noisy.Most good motherboards come with Raid. This is a good feature to have when you're building a computer from the ground up. REad up on it, and see if you want it. It creates hard drive redudancy( for data safety purposes) as well as faster read times, although much of this speed increase is barely noticeable.Lastly, Microsoft is coming out with a new operating system that's 64bit, and some cpu's are also 64bit. This is where things get messy in terms of backward compatibility with games and other programs.My approach with upgrading a cpu and operating system has been to pick my favorite games and programs and make sure that these programs will run with the upgrade.Hope this helps.tony

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G'day Tony,>I have not run into a situation that requires win98 and that>in winxp that same program wont run. So Win xp, for all>practical purposes, is Win98 cleaned up by Microsoft. Go ahead>with win xp and don't worry about programs not running. Yep I've already concluded that I will have to capitulate and install WinXP. The hardware manufacturers have deserted me. :-) >Secondly, pci is the new video bus standard for motherboards.>Is it faster? Not really when it comes to video cards. Are>they cheaper? Yes, but this reflects the fact that more and>more video cards are going pci.Video cards were originally Legacy, then PCI, then AGP and now PCI-Express. I haven't seen any comparision performance charts or reasons as to the benifits of PCI-Express; that's all. There has to be a reason that AGP bus has been dumped.>Again, get the fastest cpu that represents good value per>dollar, 1 gig of ram, two hard drives--the second for backups,>and the video card....I'm eyeing the Athlon64 X2 Duo 4600+ and 3 GB of ram. I can get that system complete for about Aus$1000 (that's my self imposed limit).The Pentium Core2 6600 system is better but .....$$$$$$$$$$$$What is SATA2 ? Is that a replacement for IDE ?? similar to SCUSI? The modern computer systems only have a single 250 GB hard drive. (massive) :-) >As I said before, some games are optimized for specific video>cards and viceversa. Most of this, however, does not apply to>Fly2. Any card from the fx 6600gt and later will do just fine.>Simply look for one that isn't very hot or noisy.What video card to select is the hardest decision. I'm contemplating the 7600GS 512 Mb Nothing could be noisier than my current video card. It has three fans on it ( although 1 is an emergency standby)I haven't had a real good look yet but some of the later video cards claim to be reasonably quiet.>Lastly, Microsoft is coming out with a new operating system>that's 64bit, and some cpu's are also 64bit. This is where>things get messy in terms of backward compatibility with games>and other programs.Vista ! ? - ppphhhtt. :-)>My approach with upgrading a cpu and operating system has been>to pick my favorite games and programs and make sure that>these programs will run with the upgrade.>Hope this helps.Ah! my thoughts EXACTLY! Great minds think alike :-)Well I've got 2 months to sort out a system. The January sales is the time to go bargain hunting. :-)Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to keep it all in mind but I'm sure I'll stuff up somewhere in the process.Cheers,Roger

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What is SATA2 ? Is that a replacement for IDE ?? similar to SCUSI? The modern computer systems only have a single 250 GB hard drive. (massive) Sata2 is clearly a newer standard , but so far I fail to see the real advantages( read, with flight sims, or real noticeable differences in read and write times). Scsi has been around for a long time and , compared to ide drives, they are faster and , clearly, more expensive.Scsi need their own scsi cards, so they add to the cost. Looks like you're doing your homework. I am envious.;-)tony

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Well,Im not an expert but over the years I would call myself being familiar with the PC and Mac world.I cannot see why you shouldn

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Tony and Roger,I use both SCSI and SATA (Serial ATA) on my work and home systems. SCSI is very expensive, but has the fastest through-put speeds (needed for applications like broadcast TV production, which is my main vocation).The great thing about SATA is it's as fast as SCSI in some applications, but inexpensive. Also, I should mention that I'm running RAID on my new home system with 2 SATA 120GB drives. I'm using performance RAID (not mirror), so I should be getting nearly twice the regular read/write speed. This may have something to do with my good Fly!II performance, though I still need to tweak the render.ini file some more.I should mention that my motherboard will not allow a combination of mirror/performance RAID. I have to set up one or the other, so I'm running a setup for performance. The danger in this is backup of data, which I have to do separately - no different than what I've had to do most of my computer life...

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As Cpu speed increases, FLy2 frame rates increase also. This, however, does not reduce the "pauses" due to texture loading. In fact, the higher the frame rates, the more pronounced the pauses appear. I say "appear", because I am trying to make the case for not upgrading. There are two modes in which FLY2 performance can be seen: the first, when FLY2 is not loading textures; the second mode, is when Fly2 is loading textures. For the first mode, a fast cpu and a good video card produce overall higher frame rates and more vivid colors. For the second mode, cpu speed does not matter much. The loading is faster but so is the frequency of pauses. The hard drive speed and the cache will affect the duration of the pauses during loading. I do believe that large video ram does make some difference, but cannot prove it definitively. If you want to test this theory, simply play with the high res and low res scenery distance radii settings in the option menu. When sitting at the airport, a high medium scenery radius setting will create very low frame rates and long pauses. There 's a point in these two settings in which pauses can be (almost)totally eliminated. Simply place the aircraft in the "outside" view mode so that aircraft and scenery are loaded as the aircraft spins around.tony

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I'm no real guru with a computer either, Roger... ;-) I just know that WinXP runs my Fly!II setup quite well, and my older nVidia card does the job nicely enough for me. Matter of fact, you can set a "compatibility" switch in the icon properties to select Win95, 98 etc. to help certain programs run at near optimum. I have Fly!II set to Win98 compatibility. Should give a go at seeing how well it does under native WinXP... maybe some day... naw... why fix somethin' that isn't broken?? :-hahNot sure if my computer would run Win98SE, as it was built and supplied with XP Home Ed., but I know my older computer ran Win98SE with an AMD chip. That bugger is still going strong. Only problems I've had with that system is the Power supply unit went (whilst under warranty), and so did the original video card (also under warranty - good thing I got a three yr one then!). Gateway gave me a TI4200 card for that older system, which was terrific as that computer had come with an older card.Looks like Tony and Randall have everything covered for you in answers and guidance. I'm so behind the times now, it isn't funny! My current rig is only two yrs old, but way outdated from what I've read here this evening! All I really want right now is a new, larger HDD. I'll have to investigate the SATA HDD Randall was talking about, and will wonder if my current system can handle it or not. SCSI drives are - as Randall says - fastest with through-put - equating to faster texture loading, which theoretically should reduce the pause effect. But they are expensive here, and most likely twice that down under!Looking forward to hearing what you decide to go with!Cheers!Ken Wood :-sun1http://www.avsim.com/hangar/fly/dfdg/bannernewkw.jpgGateway 700X; Intel P4 2.4GHz; 512MB RAM; NVIDIA Ti4200 4X AGP 128MB; SB Audigy; Thrustmaster TopGun Fox 2 Pro Shock

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G'day Randall,Ahh Thanks for the SATA explanation. I assume that SATA2 is simply a revised version. I can see now why you are getting really good Fly!II performance. I have not kept up with all the latest developments in computers. I haven't a clue about "Raid". Here in Sydney, Raid is a household Flyspray :-) Why would you want to spray that on your computer ? :-lolI'll do a bit of research with Google.I just want to build a system that will run Fly! II fast and smooth.Cheers,Roger

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G'day Everyone,Thanks to all who posted. If I've learned anything it is that I have a lot to learn about computers. Since I'm retired, time is no problem, and I'm going to have heaps of fun pestering the shops. Thanks for your help.Cheers,Roger

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Randal and Tony,>looks like you are doing your homework....All it takes is a bit of my time ...and Google :-)http://www.techweb.com/encyclopedia/define...m=Raid&x=21&y=7Randall a great explanation of Raid. You know it already I can tell from your previous post but it explains things well to me. I will have to get a second drive and check that the motherboard I get supports Raid. I'd be quite happy just using performance mode (which is probably the only mode the home PC motherboards support. I don't mind backing up to a DVD. Thanks both of you for your help; really interesting stuff.Cheers,Roger

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Thanks for the link - indeed, a good explanation. I'm using an Intel motherboard/Intel RAID controller and software.

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Hi guys, back with my old forum name ;-)Got to kick in here as I have used all MS operating systems since the first DOS.Win98SE was nice for a while, but still had too many bugs and I think it was too unstable. So I went for Win2000, and am still glad I got it...not having crap like internet validation. Had win2000 stable for a couple of years, then I went for WinXP Home. Reluctantly...since MS said I could only have 7 validations (if memory serves), before having to call them. And that is what happened...after 7 reinstalls I had to call MS Norway. No problem, got my validation, and explained I needed to install quite often, as I often upgrade my computer. Funny...I have reinstalled lots of times since then, and only have to validate on the net, no more calls :-)OK this was a little sidestep regarding validation. My experience with XP is only positive, it`s the best OS I ever had. I really like it. Stable, and running everything from Doom95 to FSX. I might be wrong here, but on my computer WinXP ran Fly II faster than Win98...after my usual performance tunings after the install. Another thing to mention, WinXP and Win2000 is more or less the same kernel after install of the servicepacks, so in that regard Win2000 may be an option for those not wanting to validate over the net.Currently I am not using Fly II no more, because of the low screen resolution and lack of scenery, but checking out Flightgear and X-Plane as alternatives to FS9 and FSX, which leads to another thought: Windows Vista. When I heard about the agressive license policy for this OS...I immediately decided to *never* buy it. I will happily continue using WinXP for many years to come.If one day I am forced to buy Vista...I still won`t. I will also stop all MS scenery development and beta related stuff at the same time. Flightgear looks promising, and runs on XP, Linux and MAC. So then I will keep FS/FSX on my old puter with XP, and buy a new computer for Linux or MAC, running Flightgear (or X-Plane if possible) as my sim there. Expensive solution maybe, but I am willing to *pay* for my principles:-swordLast, a word on SATA-2: Not faster yet, but it will beat IDE in time, if it haven`t done that already. I would never finally go for XP and not use the future stuff. I prefer SATA-2 instead of RAID since it`s simpler. And it would also be sensible to go straight for PCI express instead of AGP...in time AGP will be obsolete.Cheers,A.Thomsen

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G'day A.,Mate thanks for the post. You are welcome to post your opinion about Fly II but we will just have to agree to disagree :-)>Win98SE was nice for a while, but still had too many bugs and>I think it was too unstable.Again, I have been running Win98SE for a long time and haven't found or noticed any stability problems. I don't overclock my CPU or graphics card.>If one day I am forced to buy Vista...I still won`t. I will>also stop all MS scenery development and beta related stuff at>the same time. Flightgear looks promising, and runs on XP,>Linux and MAC. So then I will keep FS/FSX on my old puter with>XP, and buy a new computer for Linux or MAC, running>Flightgear (or X-Plane if possible) as my sim there. Expensive>solution maybe, but I am willing to *pay* for my>principles:-swordJust want you to think about this............. If you are FORCED to buy Vista..... Then you won't have XP !!!!!!!The only way Microsoft could force you buy Vista is to stop validating XP. Food for thought indeed. > I prefer>SATA-2 instead of RAID since it`s simpler.You've lost me on this. Isn't RAID on top of SATA2 I don't understand RAID to be a replacement for IDE or SATA2 ??It's back to Google for me :-)> And it would also>be sensible to go straight for PCI express instead of AGP...in>time AGP will be obsolete.I'm thinking of an PCI-Express graphic card but not for your reasoning. Purely because I think it might be faster. If it turns out AGP is faster I wouldn't hesitate to get an AGP card - obsolete or not. Like you I have no intentions of being drawn into the Vista mire.Enjoy FSX Cheers,Roger

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