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FSX and frame rates

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November 17, 2008 11:56:03 PM

Hello everybody!

I hope someone can give me a light here...! My pc configuration is a Quad Core Q6600, 2x 2MB RAM DDR2 800MHz, GeForce 8800GT 512MB, Intel DG35EC MB, running on windows vista 64x, 22" at 1680x1050.
I´ve been checking on Tom´s Hardware charts that with the 8800GT they´ve scored around 32fps, running full graphics and high resolution (1680x1050, AA, and so on...).
I´m getting as high as 26fps, and when i fly on a high detailed area, like an overfly over KLAX for example, it drops to as low as 10fps, and what bothers me the most is that im not even using full graphics!.... I have the acceleration pack installed using the DX10, trilinear and AA.

I was considering change my video card to the ATI Radeon 4870. Will this help anything?

I would like to hear any comments from you guys regarding this drop on frames and the idea of changing the video card! Is this drop normal when we fly on an area like LA, NYC, even for a good pc?

Thanks in advance folks!

Thiago da Matta from Brazil.

More about : fsx frame rates

November 18, 2008 1:21:44 AM

Are you running q6600 at stock? Try oc it to at least 3.6ghz. FSX is one of the few truly cpu limited games out there.
a b U Graphics card
November 18, 2008 2:01:44 AM

yes i would agree with dagger you need to oc your cpu as much as you can.
the q6600 is a great oc.
Related resources
a c 130 U Graphics card
November 18, 2008 6:57:13 AM

Yep the above couple of replies have nailed it. Your GPU is pretty much just along for the ride with that title

Mactronix
November 18, 2008 7:37:45 AM

Agreed. I've built many dedicated Flight Simulator rigs over the years, so I know that FSX demands massive amounts of CPU horsepower, far above and beyond any other title. It also helps to know which specific settings kill frame rate, and how to tweak your FSX.cfg file. Google the FSX Forums and study the topic.

Also, your 8800 GT is a better choice for FSX than the ATI cards, which perform well in certain "games" but are not optimized for FSX. Take a closer look at Tom's VGA Charts to see for yourself. Most "gamers" who are unfamiliar with FSX's heavy CPU binding and light GPU binding are quite astonished to discover that frame rates are actually higher with a single nVidia card than with an SLI or CF configuaration.

Additionally, FSX frame rates are highest on XP 32 Bit, however, Vista 32 Bit rather than 64 Bit and a motherboard with a Chipset that supports your PCI Express 2.0 graphics card, such as the X38 or X48, would improve your frame rates by ~ 10%. For Vista 64, consider upgrading your RAM to 8GB, since Vista and FSX are both memory pigs. Fast HDD's in RAID 0 and a decent sound card, rather than on-board sound, also help to eliminate random stuttering and hesitations so that you'll enjoy a smoother FSX experience.

The single most effective action you can take to improve FSX frame rate is to install a high-end cooler, such as the Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer or the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, then focus on overclocking your Q6600 as far as safe Vcore (1.5) and temperatures (70c) will allow. You'll be amazed when you discover that FSX frame rates scale nearly 1:1 with CPU frequency. This means that if you're running at stock 2.4 Ghz and you OC to 3.6 Ghz, which nearly all but the highest VID Q6600 G0's can reach on high-end air, your frame rate should increase by ~ 45%.

A well ventilated case is a big plus, especially when trying to keep a highly overclocked Quad Core cool while running a single slot graphics card without rear exhaust. My personal rig is designed to run FSX at the highest possible frame rates on a single air cooled Quad Core. My previous rig was a Q6600 G0 overclocked to 3.6 Ghz, which rendered frame rates that rarely ever dipped to the low 30's when flying at treetop level among complex scenery, and high 40's to 60's + were more typical. Here's my current configuration, which performs even better:

Q9650 @ 4.2
Asus Rampage Formula @ 467 FSB
2 x 2GB Crucial Ballistics @ 934 C5
EVGA 8800 GTS 512 @ 775 / 2170
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
3 VelociRaptor 300 RAID 0
3DMark06 17,355
XP Pro 32 Bit SP3
FSX Deluxe SP2

Hope this helps,

Comp :sol: 
November 18, 2008 7:32:44 PM

thank you guys for the tips!

so, to put this short, is my cpu slow?
yeah, im running the Q6600 at 2.4. And I wasnt really understanding, because i saw the graphics chart at tom´s hardware, and the 8800GT is beating the ATI 4870 by far!

im gonna try to overclock my cpu first. is it safe to do it? i´ve never done this before.... how would its lifetime lower if i run it at 3.6Ghz, as you did Comp?

If it is the case to change the cpu, what would you guys suggest, maintaining my motherboard, which is an intel DG35EC, with a 775 socket?
any other processor with this socket would make my fsx run any faster with no OC? or the best option is to keep Q6600 OClocking it?....

Thanks again!!
November 19, 2008 1:17:41 PM

ok Comp!
I´m gonna get the Xigmatek cooler and a Antec Nine Hundred case, what do you think of that?

I did what you said and installed the FSX on a windows XP32SP2. I´ve noticed an increase of frames right away! Besides, I don´t have a sond bug that I have on Vista (NAV sounds and some aircraft sounds doesnt play... weird... I haven´t had time to try to fix it tough).
But I do have a video bug, which are giant blue spirals coming out of the ground and going all the way to the sky. Another disadvantage of XP is that you dont have the amazing graphics (of the water) from DX10.

I have a doubt. If you are using a XP32, you are not using your 4MB of RAM. you only have 3MB available, am I right? Is it worth to stay with XP and less RAM available?

Thanks again,

Thiago
November 19, 2008 3:10:50 PM

  • Great cooler and case. Buy the optional retention bracket - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

  • There is no video bug. In "Settings" under the "Weather" tab... change "Thermal visualization" to "None".

  • I personally don't feel that DX10 image quality in FSX justifies the decrease in frame rate.

  • Most motherboards will map 3.25 to 3.5 GB in a 32 bit OS. XP 32 requires less memory than Vista 32 or XP / Vista 64.

  • Your primary issue is frame rate, which is lower in DX10, and lower in a 64 bit OS, so Vista 64 takes a double hit on frame rate.

  • Bottom line; XP 32 will render the highest frame rates, and is the preferred OS for FSX.

    Comp :sol: 
    November 21, 2008 12:46:39 AM

    Hello Comp!

    I have a 500W power suply unit on my pc. Am I going to need a more powerfull one with all the Antec 900 fans and the xikmatek cooler? How more powerful?

    Overclocking the Q6600 is going to require even more power?

    I dont know if you understand of power suplies, but here is what is written on my PSU table:

    DC / +3.3V / +5V / +12V1 / +12V2 / -12V / +5VSB
    500W / 32A / 34A / 12A / 12A / 1.0A / 2.0A
    MAX / 260W / 260W / 140W / 140W / 12W / 10W

    Thanks again for your attention!
    November 21, 2008 2:08:22 AM

    Even high CFM 12 volt fans only consume tenths of an amp, which is typically just a minor consideration. Although 500 Watts is more than adequate for an OC'd Quad with a single graphics card, your PSU is configured with only 12 amps per 12 volt rail, which is marginal at best. Since the heaviest 12 volt loads are the motherboard's voltage regulators that supply Vcore to an OC'd Quad, as well as the graphics card, you may need to replace your PSU with a model which is configured with more amps on the 12 volt rails.

    For example, I'm running an Enermax 485, which is configured with 18 amps per 12 volt rail, and has an appropriate power balance across all the rails to handle my FSX rig with a Q9650 OC'd @ 4.2, and an EVGA 8800 GTS 512. I ran the same PSU and graphics card when I had my Q6600 OC'd @ 3.6, so you don't need a nuclear reactor to run dedicated FSX hardware in an Antec 900 case. 500 Watts is plenty, but the PSU should be a quality unit with an 80+ efficiency rating, which has rails that are properly balanced.

    Since the heaviest load that I run on my rig is FSX only, and I don't otherwise do any "gaming", I have no need to run 2 graphics cards, so my PSU is matched to my rig, which means that it's not overpowered or underpowered. If in the event that a future release of Flight Simulator becomes less CPU bound than it presently is, where frame rates would benefit from 2 cards, I would then replace my 485 Watt PSU with a quality model of ~ 650 Watts.

    Just as you don't want to crash your aircraft, you also don't want to crash your rig due to overloaded rails on a cheap PSU, so plan on doing some research, and spending at least $100 USD, because as they say, you get what you pay for. Also, remember the following; DC Volts x Amps = Watts.

    Hope this helps,

    Comp :sol: 
    November 21, 2008 3:03:19 PM

    Hi Comp!
    You´ve notice that you´ve became my mentor!
    What do you think of this PSU:
    <http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8420/psu-382/Antec_Tr...;

    I´m doing all this ugrade in order to overclock my Q6600. It´s going to cost around 250USD (the Antec 900, Xikmatek s1283 and the above PSU).

    Is it really ok to OC the processor? Even for me who have never done it before? Of course, I´m going to read all the forums and get all the info I need, but I started to think if it wasn´t a better idea to get another processor, like the E8500, for instance. It is a faster processor than the Q6600 and it´s going to cost me the around the same price as my prior to OC upgrade. It´s a safer option, having in mind that I´ve never OC a processor before, tough I won´t have the same clock speed if I OC the Q6600.

    Any thoughts? Take care,

    Thiago
    November 21, 2008 7:00:31 PM

    As long as you don't make any sudden, sweeping changes to your system bios you'll do fine. The worst that will happen is the system will become unstable and restart, at which point you can go back into the bios and fix it. Hardware is designed so fail-safes and shutdowns will trigger before any permanent damage can happen. On the topic of permanent damage, unless you go to extremes you won't do anything significant. You may lower the lifespan of your Q6600 from 20 years to 15 years with mild overclocking, but does that really matter? Just keep in mind that every chip is different, and yours might not yield the success or results that others have. 3.6 ghz would be a great speed for you to reach, but you might reach your temperature limit at 3.2 or so. Read the guides, increase your speed and voltage slowly, check stability and temperature at every interval, and you'll do just fine.

    As far as foregoing all of this for an E8500, I wouldn't recommend it. It has a higher clock speed, sure, but it only has 2 cores as opposed to your 4, and FSX is a game that can take advantage of 4 cores. The result is you could actually lose performance by switching to a dual core. A new PSU would be in your future anyway, as the one you have is too weak in the 12V rails for any sort of upgrade (whether that upgrade is soon or further down the line) so you might as well get it now and enjoy the faster performance in the meantime.
    November 21, 2008 8:46:39 PM

    thiagodamatta,

    I think that the PSU you selected is overkill for a dedicated FSX rig.

    I'm typically happy to help out, but I can see where this is going. Have you been paying attention?

    From the 4th paragraph in my 1st post:

    The single most effective action you can take to improve FSX frame rate is to install a high-end cooler, such as the Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer or the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, then focus on overclocking your Q6600 as far as safe Vcore (1.5) and temperatures (70c) will allow. You'll be amazed when you discover that FSX frame rates scale nearly 1:1 with CPU frequency. This means that if you're running at [b said:
    stock 2.4 Ghz and you OC to 3.6 Ghz, which nearly all but the highest VID Q6600 G0's can reach on high-end air, your frame rates will increase by ~ 45%.]The single most effective action you can take to improve FSX frame rate is to install a high-end cooler, such as the Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer or the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, then focus on overclocking your Q6600 as far as safe Vcore (1.5) and temperatures (70c) will allow. You'll be amazed when you discover that FSX frame rates scale nearly 1:1 with CPU frequency. This means that if you're running at stock 2.4 Ghz and you OC to 3.6 Ghz, which nearly all but the highest VID Q6600 G0's can reach on high-end air, your frame rates will increase by ~ 45%.
    [/b]

    One more time... as efeat has pointed out, FSX frame rates are higher on Quads! Debating the issue of whether or not to overclock a Quad for FSX, or whether or not it's safe to overclock is pointless. Multiple core threading was enabled with the release of FSX SP1. When an FSX rig is upgraded from an E6600 OC'd @ 3.6 to a Q6600 OC'd @ 3.6, frame rates increase by ~ 80%. Is this convincing enough for you?

    The variables that affect FSX performance were already made clear to you, and are well documented on several Flight Simulator enthusiast websites. I suggest that you accept the fact that overclocking your Q6600 is the most effective method of increasing FSX frame rates, focus on that objective, do your own research, get yourself up to speed, then get on with it.

    If you get stuck, then ask a question, but remember an unwritten rule about Forums; without first performing the research to answer your own questions, each question you ask imposes upon someone to give you the privilege of their time to write answers for you. Please don't abuse the privilege. Show respect for other people's time by researching before you ask. It's a win-win deal. You'll reduce 20 clueless questions down to 2 intelligent questions, you'll learn more, and you'll save us all some time and chafing on our patience.

    Google is your friend, and you're the only person responsible for doing your own research. I have no desire to be rude, but I decline my appointment as your mentor. I don't intend to answer endless or repetitive questions, especially when it's obvious that little or no research has been performed. With all due respect to you, I don't appreciate repeating myself for the sake of providing a convincing argument, particularly when my well informed advice is ignored, nor do I look forward to spoon-feeding information to "users" who assume that it's OK to "use" me as their own personal FSX oracle, or otherwise.

    Sorry, but if you can't follow the Checklist, then go back to Ground School.

    CompuTronix out.

    Master Switch off.
    November 25, 2008 9:19:31 PM

    It is too bad that you think that I´m "using" you. Unfortunately when you are "talking" to a person by text it is impossible to transmit emotions, tone of voice and so on. As such, you didn´t (or maybe I couldn´t transmit to you) notice that I was just kidding when I said that you were becoming my mentor. I did this joke because of the fact that you were so helpfull to me, you were giving so much attention and only excelent informations.
    Your precise information made me spend 250,00USD on an upgrade, and if you multiply that by 2,6 you are gonna reach the amount of money that I paid on my local money. And I can tell you that that is not a low quantity of money in my country, specialy when you are not expecting to spend such amount. Do you think that I would spend so much money if I had received a not reliable information?
    With you I learned where to search for information, and began to understand a lot more about computers.
    I´m sorry if I disrespect your time, I can assure you that wasn´t my inttention. But whenever you want, you can step by at ground school and talk with the newbie "user of forums".
    Thanks for your help these days.
    December 18, 2012 12:38:23 AM

    CompuTronix said:
    Agreed. I've built many dedicated Flight Simulator rigs over the years, so I know that FSX demands massive amounts of CPU horsepower, far above and beyond any other title. It also helps to know which specific settings kill frame rate, and how to tweak your FSX.cfg file. Google the FSX Forums and study the topic.

    Also, your 8800 GT is a better choice for FSX than the ATI cards, which perform well in certain "games" but are not optimized for FSX. Take a closer look at Tom's VGA Charts to see for yourself. Most "gamers" who are unfamiliar with FSX's heavy CPU binding and light GPU binding are quite astonished to discover that frame rates are actually higher with a single nVidia card than with an SLI or CF configuaration.

    Additionally, FSX frame rates are highest on XP 32 Bit, however, Vista 32 Bit rather than 64 Bit and a motherboard with a Chipset that supports your PCI Express 2.0 graphics card, such as the X38 or X48, would improve your frame rates by ~ 10%. For Vista 64, consider upgrading your RAM to 8GB, since Vista and FSX are both memory pigs. Fast HDD's in RAID 0 and a decent sound card, rather than on-board sound, also help to eliminate random stuttering and hesitations so that you'll enjoy a smoother FSX experience.

    The single most effective action you can take to improve FSX frame rate is to install a high-end cooler, such as the Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer or the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, then focus on overclocking your Q6600 as far as safe Vcore (1.5) and temperatures (70c) will allow. You'll be amazed when you discover that FSX frame rates scale nearly 1:1 with CPU frequency. This means that if you're running at stock 2.4 Ghz and you OC to 3.6 Ghz, which nearly all but the highest VID Q6600 G0's can reach on high-end air, your frame rate should increase by ~ 45%.

    A well ventilated case is a big plus, especially when trying to keep a highly overclocked Quad Core cool while running a single slot graphics card without rear exhaust. My personal rig is designed to run FSX at the highest possible frame rates on a single air cooled Quad Core. My previous rig was a Q6600 G0 overclocked to 3.6 Ghz, which rendered frame rates that rarely ever dipped to the low 30's when flying at treetop level among complex scenery, and high 40's to 60's + were more typical. Here's my current configuration, which performs even better:

    Q9650 @ 4.2
    Asus Rampage Formula @ 467 FSB
    2 x 2GB Crucial Ballistics @ 934 C5
    EVGA 8800 GTS 512 @ 775 / 2170
    Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
    3 VelociRaptor 300 RAID 0
    3DMark06 17,355
    XP Pro 32 Bit SP3
    FSX Deluxe SP2

    Hope this helps,

    Comp :sol: 



    So FSX fps is effected mostly by the processor, not the graphics card? Im a totaly newb and need help with what to upgrade
    !