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Benchmark Results: Flight Simulator X

Core i5, Core i7, CrossFire, And SLI: Gaming Paradise, Redux?

Although I’ve lamented the gradual downfall of the flight simulator with a number of readers via email, culminating earlier this year with the news that Microsoft laid off the entire Flight Simulator team, I continue to receive requests for the three-year old Flight Simulator X.

With Service Packs 1 and 2 installed (and DirectX 10 enabled), we set out to give the notoriously CPU-hungry test one more showing. Alas, with the frame rate cap disabled, the FRAPS results from a straight flight at the same time/date kept coming back with inconsistent scores. Therefore, we set the game to run at its Ultra High Quality pre-configured settings, which include a frame rate target bump from 15 to 20 fps. This is the way the game would be played, and it’s going to illustrate a very important point that we’ll circle back to in the conclusion.

For the most part, all of these configurations deliver excellent baseline performance in FS X. When a platform falls short, the addition CrossFire or SLI easily brings it back up to 20 frames. The GeForce GTX 285 is the only exception on the Phenom II platform, as it doesn’t support SLI. This is a flight simulator, though. For most of its pre-defined configurations, Microsoft specifies a cap of 15 fps. The fact that we’re able to achieve the Ultra High cap across this wide range of configurations should help assure the sim fans out there that any of these modern setups are ample for the aging title.

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