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I bought a new video card to replace my ageing Geforce2 GTS.In the end I went for the ATI Radeon 9500 Pro with 128mb.I will be installing it tonight with the latest Catalyst drivers and DirectX 9.0a.Wish me luck....Chris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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Well-Good Luck!!:) And don't forget to post some screenshots, so we can see how good thismight be.Lars Peter.:-wave

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Ye, we want to know how it gosglidernut.:-wave

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A great choice. The 9500 Pro is a most excellent card for the price, and the Radeon cards work great with FU3 (at least for me).

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OK, I've simmed with FU3 and the Radeon 9500 Pro for a few hours now. I can only describe the experience with one word :-AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!It is a real eye opener. Removal of my old card and drivers went without a hitch. Istallation of the Radeon went without a hitch. I was up and running within 20 minutes after I had completed all my checks.I ran benchmarks (3DMark2001SE) for 12 hours in burn in mode overnight. I got up this morning and it was still running, not a single hang, crash, lockup. Stability is as good as the trusty old GTS so far, and suprisingly my case temperatures are slightly lower with the Radeon installed. My 3DMark2001SE score has almost doubled!!FU3 is absolutely outstanding with the Radeon. I have seen a small frame rate increase (I got 'on average' about 28 fps (range 15-45 fps) with the GTS and now get 'on average' about 32 fps (range 18-55)).Not a massive improvement I think you'll agree, but when you consider that the Radeon is using 6X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering it has to be seen to be beleived!! Sharper textures, better Z buffering with no artifacts, no shimmering AT ALL and crisp vivid colours, the overall image is so smooth and pleasing I'm almost wetting myself.There are two downsides though :-1. If I use specular as the sky haze method I still get black clouds, which leads me to believe that ATI have not got this right, or the specular highlights method is somewhat different now to what it used to be. No matter, I use multipass and it's superb.2. I get that annoying panel blead-through line when AA is in use, which I thought was an nVidea problem as I had it with my GTS but not with my V5500 when AA was switched on. Does anyone know a fix for this, perhaps by modding the panel image ?So ther we have it, some screenies will follow shortly....RegardsChris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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Chris,Glad you're enjoying the ATI! The black clouds bit (and sky banding) may not be the card's fault. The early 'DTX...' textures were poorly developed at the time and I think LGS just 'took a punt' with them. I used to blame my TNTM64, then new drivers, new cards (GE2, GE4) and finally I asked someone who should know (an Nvidia developer)! His reply was that developers avoided those textures 'like the plague' and only game engines developed during a certain period use them. Unfortunately, FU3 uses them (hence weird clouds, sky banding etc). Some Nvidia utilities (Rivatuner) allow you to remap or disable them, although it seems to make little difference. As you have found, 'multipass' works fine, now that our PCs are fast enough to make the process transparent. The AA 'line' has also been a matter of some debate but let's just say 'it happens' ;)The fix is (ducks for cover...):1. Start Cockpit designer and create a new project based on the aircraft you wish to modify.2. Select the view you wish to modify.3. Right-click and hit 'edit internal rectangles'4. Note the height of the base of the 3D rectangle5. Find the internal rectangle (blue) which matches with the bottom of the 3D rectangle.6. Adjust the height of the base of this rectangle to be 1-2 pixels BELOW the base of the 3D rectangle.7. Save & build8. Fly and enjoy ;)I have done this with many planes so far - it becomes easy after a while! In most cases it's just the forward views however, some planes need side/rear views fixed too. Sorry, I can't remember which ones right now. Certainly the DC3 v1.20, and GeeBee don't need the mod - and the Dash-8 won't either ;):-waveJon Point*************************(effyouthree@hotmail.com)*************************

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Chris,Sorry, I forgot one detail (which may be obvious to those with a whole brain), Cockpit Designer uses the top-left corner as the origin!So, in reference to my above post, look for the highest 'Y' value in the 3D rectangle (this is the bottom!!?!) and find the blue rectangle which also has this same 'Y' number in it. ADD (not subtract - I told you it was upside-down) 1-2 pixels to this value.At the end you should notice the blue rectangle's line just BELOW the base of the 3D rectangle.Sorry for not explaining myself better ;):-waveJon Point*************************(effyouthree@hotmail.com)*************************

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Chris,When I finally upgrade to a new PC, I am very likely to choose an ATI card (probably a Radeon 9700 Pro). Tom has frequently stated that the graphical quality in FU3 when using these cards is superb, and you have confirmed it. I like the sound of 6x FSAA and 16x aniso :-)Chris Low.PS. What CPU do you have ? It must be more powerful than my 1.2Ghz Athlon Thunderbird for you to get anywhere near 40fps. I'm lucky to see 18fps with all of the fancy stuff turned on.

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Thanks Jon,I don't have banding, I only got that with the GTS (but not the V5) and it is gone with the Radeon too. I will set to right away to get rid of that annoying line in the panels, thanks for that info.I have been doing some digging regarding the use of specular highlights and from digging out the DirectX SDK's it appears that specular highlights were enabled by default in DirectX 6.1 and below, but disabled by default in DirectX 7 and above. Now since FU3 was written when DirectX 6 was around, it's just possible that FU3 doesn't check to see if specular is enabled in DirectX (Device->SetRenderState( D3DRS_SPECULARENABLE, TRUE); if your're interested) but simply assumes it is enabled, and therefore produces black clouds if it is not enabled.It would be interesting to see if anyone gets the black clouds who is still using DirectX 6 (I doubt it!).Anyway, I'll experiment a little more and write a little utility to initialize Direct3D and invoke Device->SetRenderState( D3DRS_SPECULARENABLE, TRUE) to see what effect is has in FU3 with the specular haze methods. Watch this space...RegardsChris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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Chris,My system is as follows :-Gigabyte GA-7ZXE Motherboard (KT133A)AMD Athlon XP1800+ (overclocked to 1628Mhz so effectively as 1900+)896Mb PC133 CAS2 SDRAM (overclocked from 133Mhz to 142Mhz)Connect3D Radeon 9500 Pro 128mb running AGP4XIBM Deskstar 75GXP ATA100 Hard disk (DMA Mode 5)Quantum Fireball ATA100 Hard Disk (DMA Mode 5)Hercules GameSurround Fortissimo II Sound CardCH Flight Yoke LE (USB)CH Rudder Pedals (USB)There are other bits and pieces but none relevant to performance....I'm probably going to upgrade my CPU to a XP2600+ in the next few months when the price has dropped again.Note that my modest overclocking does increase performance notably, as it not only affects the CPU speed, but also RAM, PCI Bus (hard disk and sound card etc) and AGP bus. So my PCI bus is at 35.5Mhz instead of 33Mhz, AGP bus is at 71Mhz instead of 66Mhz (so at AGP4X I'm running 284Mhz instead of 266Mhz) and obviously the CPU FSB is now 284Mhz instead of 266Mhz.On the subject of 9500 Pro versus 9700 Pro yes of course the 9700 is better, but for flight sims this would almost be un-noticable as these are not heavy fill-rate type applications. Many reviews back this up too. Plus the 9500 Pro is half the price of a 9700 Pro.Hope this helpsRegardsChris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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Just a follow up, I wrote a small program to enable specular in DirectX before running FU3. Trouble is, the enabling of specular is only specific for that device, and when FU3 launches, another (different) device is spawned. In other words, without access to the source code of FU3, it can't be done.I have another idea which I'm going to test over the next few days :-1. Create a new Win98 partition (copy my existing one to a new partition).2. Dual boot my system so I can choose which Win98 OS I want.3. Uninstall DirectX 8.1 on this new Win98 partition.4. Install whatever DirectX that comes with FU3 by default on the new Win98 partition.Then I'll test specular again, and also test for performance differences.Doing it this way will not affect my existing Win98 system so I'm safe.RegardsChris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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I tried the above, and the whole procedure works.The only snag was that my new Radeon 9500 Pro drivers would not provide hardware acceleration in Direct3D using DirectX 6.1. These drivers require DirectX 8 as a minimum.However, I'm installing Win98 on an old PC with my trusty Geforce2 GTS over the next week so I'll try FU3 with DirectX 6.1 and specular then.Chris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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You might want to limit AA to a max value of 4x or 4xS. At these values, I haven't noticed any color-bleeding on the panels; at higher values however, you'll get the bleeding.One disadvantage with the ATI in FU3 are white lines that appear in the water, especially near Renton (lake Washington I believe); other than this the ATI proved faster than the corresponding nVidia card. Because of these white lines, I chose to switch back to nVidia card FX 5800, which has eliminated the lines and given fantastic picture quality, but with somewhat less speed.Hope this helps.

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Naji,I have not seen any white line artifacts in FU3 with my Radeon. Do you have a screenshot to illustrate what you mean please ?Also it is a good point re the 4X AA. I will try reducing from 6X to 4X to see what happens....Chris E, ENGLANDhttp://www.circle-software.co.ukAvoid AGP texturing = Better Performance ;)

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Just another point -- running any sim at 40 fps is a waste of resources. I believe we discussed this a long time ago, in another thread. The thing is, once we get beyond 25 fps our brains will not be able to perceive any further improvement. Running at 8 fps is a slide show, running at 15 fps is a "flick", running at 25 fps is smooth, fluid motion and running at 40 fps is... smooth, fluid motion :-) What I'm saying is, when you have enough processing power to obtain 25 fps, even with complex scenery and weather, there's nothing to be gained by going higher. At this point you may elect to introduce more scenery objects, AI traffic and run all sliders to the max.best regards,Hans Petter

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