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Improving Performance in FS9

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John Goodwin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Goodwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Improving Performance in FS9
    Posted: October-11-2005 at 7:42am

I have decided to start a sticky thread here for anyone who finds or has any tips on how to improve the performance of FS9. Tips you find these days will nearly always refer to FS9.1 running under Windows XP (either Home or Pro).

Please do not post on how great such and such a video card is, with video cards the more bucks you spend the more bang you get, so the latest video cards WILL improve the way FS9 runs, but if you have a suggestion about drivers or how to set a piece of hardware up to get the most out of it then feel free to post.

If I think the threads are going of subject I will delete the offending posts so try to keep on track, PLEASE........

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John Goodwin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Goodwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-11-2005 at 7:50am

During my personal quest for PERFORMANCE, I have tried all sorts of "tweaks" and "hacks", some worked and some didn't. So a few words of advice before we start.

  1. If you edit a file, make sure you BACK IT UP FIRST!
  2. Do not make too many changes at once, one is best!
  3. Test the results by flying the same flight, at the same time, in the same weather and in the same aircrft.
  4. Do not be afraid to go back to your old settings if not happy with the modification results, just because "Joe Bloggs" says this will work does not mean it will.

Most of the good forums, require you to register before you can use them. So you may not be able to access some of the links posted here if you do not first go and register at the forums. Check in the link for the forum name then go there, registration is usually free and easy to do. So lets go!!!

Remember you do the "fixes" you from find here or on links at your own risk. We will not support you if it goes wrong. everything you do is up to you ONLY

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

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John Goodwin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Goodwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-11-2005 at 7:57am

I will start the ball rolling.

  1. This is a thread about a new tool for ATI Graphic card users, you will find it here AVSIM Topic 10400
  2. This is a thread on the care and Maintenance of your FS9.cfg file, you will find it here AVSIM Topic 676 
  3. Flight Simulator XP Tweaks, this site is worth a visit for the more experienced among you. Click Here
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Robin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-11-2005 at 7:27pm
Don't have your computer clogged up with junk - defrag regularly, run Disk Cleanup, shut down any background programs you have running that you don't need for FS2004.
Make sure you have as much memory as possible available. Make sure you don't have any spyware on your computer because that eats up system resources.
Visit my local airport - S33* 03.5333' E137* 30.8667' YWHA!!
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Matt_Fox View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt_Fox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-12-2005 at 10:54am
Here's a few regarding textures.

1)  Convert all your AI Aircraft textures to DXT1 with mip maps.  See this thread for instructions. Do not attempt this until you have backed up all your AI textures and read that thread because once you change a texture to DXT1, you cannot change it back.

2)  Change all your night textures for AI Traffic to smaller files with mip maps.  1024x1024 for 747, A340, etc.  256x256 for regional jets, 512x512 for all others.  Use a common set of night textures placed in your main FS TExture folder whereever possible instead of having individual files for each paint.

3)  Get the resized autogen, tree and runway textures at AVSIM.  Search for author for " Bart Dylkiewicz"

4)  If you are flying a very detailed aircraft that has a lot of 32 bit textures, try converting some of the bigger ones DXT3 with no mip maps.

5)  Use a good set of high performance cloud textures

Matt
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Vector View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vector Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-12-2005 at 6:38pm

at your own risk

1. turn off 'last file access date/time stamping'
2. turn off 'Windows Indexing'
3. use 'NTFS '
4. just got a Maxtor Ultra 16 250 gig drive; got me some space now!
5. nice tips here ---> http://www.onecomputerguy.com/windowsxp_tips.htm#folder_cach e

these made a big difference on my computer.

Increasing System Performance
Increasing File System Caching

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Maigida View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maigida Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2005 at 1:51am

I use a free application called "EndItAll" to close just about everything that you have running in memory. I find that since using this I have few if any lock-ups or crashes in FS9 even when using fairly intensive AI.

There are many sites from which to download "EndItAll", just Google (advt) to find.

Sannu

I have been using this for a long time and forgot all about it, it really is good but be careful with it when you are first setting it up... John G

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John Goodwin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Goodwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2005 at 2:48pm

Another good tip, if you have an old hard drive laying around or have a second physical drive already fitted to your machine, is to configure windows to have your Virtual Memory (paging file) on that drive.

This will speed up the way windows writes and reads data in the virtual memory, Flight Simulator and the virtual memory are then on separate physical drives so in effect data that needs to go into virtual memory is copied directly from one drive to another saving on head seek time. This works much better if the second drive is empty when you set it up as the virtual memory will then be written on to the fastest reading/writting part of the disc. The instructions below are for windows XP

  1. Ensure that the second hardrive has at least 1.5 x your physical memory of free space on it, so if you have 1meg it needs at least 1.5 meg of empty space.
  2. Open Control Panel ( set this to classic view)
  3. Open System
  4. Click the Advanced Tab
  5. Click on Performance Settings.
  6. Click on the Advanced Tab
  7. Click on Virtual Memory Change.
  8. You should now see the virtual memory config screen, select your SECOND drive.
  9. Click on the System Managed radio button
  10. Click Set
  11. Click on your FIRST hard Drive (C:\)
  12. Click the No Paging File radio button
  13. Click Set
  14. Click OK. You will now be prompted to restart Windows
  15. Click Apply and then OK
  16. Restart Windows.
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systemaddict View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote systemaddict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-10-2005 at 1:54pm
I installed a freeware program, PCI Latency Tool 2.7 (http://downloads.gur3d.com/download.php?det=951) today which made a bit of a difference to my system:

Abit NF-7S motherboard
AMD Athlon 3000+
1024MB RAM
Geforce 6800GT 256MB RAM

This doohicky enables you to tune the latency timing of your PCI bus (I've no idea what that really means). The idea is to have your graphics card matching your other devices, I found my graphics card was set at 248 whereas the sound card, raid controller and network card were all set at 32, I set the graphics card at 32 as well and found the VFR Scenery west of Heathrow, which is usually blurred to a fuzzy green because my CPU is busy dealing with all the traffic at "Europe's busiest airport", was displayed somewhat better, still not as sharp as it is elswhere but at least the outlines of the roads and towns were visible. People with lower spec systems than mine have reported improvements in frame rate and sound from playing with this toy.

SysA
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Trainzcool View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trainzcool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-30-2006 at 11:37pm
If you have a really slow computer, i get goo dframe rates even with UT with the sound off (Q button) Works for me, works for you?
Brennan Walter~ UT user since 2004

"AI will never be the same way again"
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Vector View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vector Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-21-2006 at 6:42pm
The FS9 AI eats up a LOT!
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MikeMoye View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MikeMoye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-21-2008 at 2:43am
This is a copy-paste from the forums at: http://vistaoz.org/

================================================
INSIDE FS9

1. Set visibility (vis) to about 30mi/48km - that's the real world and this single adjustment will a) make FS2004 textures look much nicer and realistic, and B) Give you back lots and lots of FPS
2. Avoid large amount of cumulus clouds - they eat FPS. Create a new weather theme which looks nice but avoids those. If you must use real-world weather then get Active Sky 6 and install their 128x128 DXT3 MIP cloud sets - perfect solution
3. Slide MIP down to 4 - no need for more than that (for nVidia 7 series & ATI 18xx/19xx cards, set to 8 )
4. Slide LIGHTS down to 6 (for nVidia 7 series & ATI 18xx/19xx series cards, set to 8 )
5. Slide 3D cloud density to 50%, will still look great (set to 100% on high end cards )
6. Turn off lens flare (pilot's sunglasses don't have lens flare
7. Turn OFF anti-aliasing inside FS9
8. Set to Trilinear filtering always
9. Run FS9 in Full-screen mode at the same resolution as your desktop
10. Lock your FPS to 25 - seriously, you won't notice anything higher and it really does help. At the worst set it to 30FPS, but I never run it that fast, because PAL video runs at 25FPS and 3.5 billion people can't be wrong eh?   Movies in the cinema run even slower.
11. When flying in *any* mode, press the "-" (minus) key to zoom out to 75%. It offers a better field of view and also has the side benefit of "crisping" up the textures. A must-do, and I save all my pre-saved flights at  75% zoom. For great screenshots, pull back to 50% or less.

Optional
Disable the autogen library by renaming the fs9\Autogen\default.xml to default.xml.OFF - this will make very little visual difference to your flying but gives back FPS also. You won't see those dinky take-away food places and petrol stations, no big loss though.

Leave everything else maxed out.


YOUR VIDEO CARD

1. Set AA (Anti-Aliasing) to 4XS (anything else is overkill if running = > 1280x1024, but AAx8 will make chain wire fences appear much nicer at airports, so use that if you have a high end card)
2. Set AF (Antistropic Filtering) to 4 (On nVidia 7 series and ATI 18/19 series set to AFX16)
3. In your video card control panel applet, set the quality setting to "Quality" - avoid "High Performance" or ""Performance" settings - they will degrade the textures and mipping. Also avoid "High Quality" - the difference is not noticable to the naked eye, but takes a performance hit.
4. For nVidia cards, visit http://www.nhancer.com and download the nhancer tool. Create a custom profile for fs9.exe and play with the settings. Pretty soon you will know how every nVidia tweak works for FS9.
5. For ATI cards, the best tool is RivaTuner.


YOUR WINDOWS XP

1. Not running XP?  -- Doh! Buy it, install it with Service Pack 2 and make sure you have automatic updates running.
2. Shutdown about 40-50 Windows XP services you don't need. Grab a program called FSautostart, which will do this for you with tips on each setting. I have 1024MB RAM and when I start FS9 I have 860MB free. Trust me, it makes a huge difference to performance.
3. Turn OFF any programs in the tray you are not using. This includes Anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-anything. Also turn off all those silly tray icons like quicktime and countless others. They are all consuming CPU cycles and the Anti-virus will most definitely interfere with FS9 performance.
4. If you can afford it, add another 1024MB of RAM for a total of 2GB. This will give FS9 all the memory it needs without the need to remove too much from memory prior to flights.

THE DREADED "BLURRIES"

The most common thing that can ruin your flight experience is a case of the "blurries". I see this in so many screenshots, and it's completely avoidable.

Here's a few rules to follow:

1. If you are flying low (below 5,000 ft) (not slewing), keep your ground speed around 140Kts

2. If you are slewing (not flying), always tap Y to go back into flying mode so the textures can be reloaded in your immediately area. So (a) slew to the position, (tap the 'Y' key and fly for a bit to let the textures catch up, tap 'Y' again and just slew back to the best position for the shot.)

3. Make sure your [TERRAIN] section of your fs9.cfg file has these last 3 entries in the section:

[TERRAIN]
TERRAIN_ERROR_FACTOR=100.000000
TERRAIN_MIN_DEM_AREA=10.000000
TERRAIN_MAX_DEM_AREA=100.000000
TERRAIN_MAX_VERTEX_LEVEL=19 (20 for 38m mesh, 21 for 20m mesh)
TERRAIN_TEXTURE_SIZE_EXP=8
TERRAIN_AUTOGEN_DENSITY=5
TERRAIN_USE_GRADIENT_MAP=1
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_TEXTURES=1
TERRAIN_DEFAULT_RADIUS=3.500000
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_RADIUS=4.000000
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_LEVELS=232

4. In the [DISPLAY] section there is this line:

TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=40    <--- this is too low for current video cards

Change it to read:

[DISPLAY]
UPPER_FRAMERATE_LIMIT=25
TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=55  (try values from 50 through to 200, depending on video card speed. 55 is a good start)
TextureMaxLoad=10

Another tweak that you can do is to add these lines directly after the TextureMaxLoad-entry:

RUNWAY_LIGHTS_SURFACE_SCALAR=0.9 //scales edge, center,end,touchdown,runways
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_VASI_SCALAR=0.5 //scales VASI/PAPI lights
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_APPROACH_SCALAR=0.5 //scales approach light bars
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_STROBE_SCALAR=0.9 //scales RAILs and ODALs

This tweak change the size of the different lights around the airport and makes it look more realistic. You can change the numbers to your own needs. Larger number gives bigger lights and lower number gives, of course, smaller lights. To get the best out of this tweak I have edited the Halo.bmp. Just follow this link:

halo.rar , unpack it and drop it into your FS9\texture-folder. Make a backup of your original first...Just in case.

There's plenty more to talk about, but doing the above will help you enormously, make your visuals look much better and give you a big hike in FPS.
===================================================

End.

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MikeMoye View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MikeMoye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-21-2008 at 2:46am
Also a similar page from a commercial scenery developer's web-site
( can't remember the name because I had it kept on a .DOC file )

=========================================

Optimizing FS

  • First of all : Launch your disk defragmenter ! This will allow your system to load the textures more efficiently, especially if you are using photorealistic sceneries.
  • For the big machine power users, you can set your “TERRAIN_MAX_VERTEX_LEVEL” to 21 (instead of 19) in fs9.cfg. This setting will make the ground topography, coasts and islands more precise.
  • If you install a scenery like FlightZones and you already have roads and rivers adds-on for those areas installed on your system, you must be aware that these could dig ‘trenches’ in the Mesh, under the photoscenery. If this happens, you can adjust the settings of your terrain.cfg file (in your main Flight Simulator folder).

Search for the following lines in the beginning of terrain.cfg file:

//Stream Lines
[Texture.1024] // stream lines / unknown / perennial
Type=1
Size=4
ExcludeAutogen=1
MaskClassMap=3
Textures=RiverSU.bmp
offset=-10

[Texture.1025] // stream lines / unknown / non-perennial
Type=1
Size=4
ExcludeAutogen=1
MaskClassMap=3
Textures=RiverSU.bmp
offset=-10

To prevent this problem, change the offset value to offset=0 . This is a global setting for Flight Simulator. For the roads, the default value is offset=flat. You can also change this value to offset=0 in order to avoid conflicts between the roads and the mesh.

This problem will not occur if you are using standard Flight Simulator roads and rivers.

  • For an optimized display of your sceneries, we suggest to try the following settings adjustments in the fs9.cfg file (this file is usually under \Documents and Settings\<User>\Application Data\Microsoft\FS9). Before any modifications to your fs9.cfg, make sure you made a backup copy of the original file.

[GRAPHICS]
FULL_SCREEN=1
PERFORMANCE_MODE=0
DEF_PERF_MODE=6
TEXT_SCROLL=1
AUTO_LOD=0
DETAIL_TEXTURE=2
WATER_EFFECTS=0
TERRAIN_USE_VECTOR_MAP=1
TERRAIN_USE_VECTOR_OBJECTS=0
EFFECTS_QUALITY=2
GROUND_SHADOWS=0
SMOOTH_VIEW=1
IMAGE_SMOOTHING=1
TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD=1024
COCKPIT_HIGH_LOD=1
AIRCRAFT_SHADOWS=1
LANDING_LIGHTS=1
IMAGE_QUALITY=0
TEXTURE_BLDG=1
TEXTURE_GND=1
TEXTURE_WATER=1
AIRCRAFT_TEXTURE=2
SEE_SELF=1
TEXTURE_QUALITY=3
LOD_TARGET_FPS=30
NUM_LIGHTS=8

[TERRAIN]
TERRAIN_ERROR_FACTOR=100.000000
TERRAIN_MIN_DEM_AREA=10.000000
TERRAIN_MAX_DEM_AREA=100.000000
TERRAIN_MAX_VERTEX_LEVEL=21
TERRAIN_TEXTURE_SIZE_EXP=8
TERRAIN_AUTOGEN_DENSITY=5
TERRAIN_USE_GRADIENT_MAP=1
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_TEXTURES=0
TERRAIN_DEFAULT_RADIUS=9
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_RADIUS=9.5
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_LEVELS=5

======================================
END

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alevin46 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alevin46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-13-2010 at 1:51am
Hello Friends.........

Flight Simulator X has not even been officially released in the USA, and we already have a handful of people complaining about its performance. It's become pretty much clear that you need recent hardware to run FSX decently, but even people with high-end systems are having trouble finding optimal settings for it. The major performance hit comes with the new autogen trees and buildings, which can completely ruin your flight experience over big cities if not configured properly. This guide's objective is to provide some tweaks for you to optimize the simulator performance.

Thanks
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John Goodwin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Goodwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-13-2010 at 12:27pm
FSX was released in 2008
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