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Should you buy FSX now?

Friday, October 6th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

EDIT (18-July-2007): after SP1 was released, performance on my system, as measured by FPS, increased 40%.  Stutters were much improved.  Multi-core is fully supported.  Search this site for “SP1″ for various tweaks and thoughts on SP1.  Summary: as long as you have at least 1.5Gb of RAM, a 256 Mb newer video card (preferably 340Mb +), and preferably a dual core CPU, or at least a fast single-core, you can probably adjust settings to get performance to your liking.

A lot of folks are asking this question, so I’ll provide a necessarily biased and early opinion. 

Of course for the early adopters that want the newest, coolest stuff, FSX is a must-have.  For the rest of the world, unlike FS9, which I could recommend heartily at release time, I suggest caution before jumping in and buying FSX. Microsoft has a number of innovative marketing strategies around FSX, including the opportunity to trial it via a download. I strongly recommend that before purchase. There are significant performance issues for many users. Keep in mind that this trial download covers a limited geographical area. Your performance in urban areas in the retail version will be lower. That said, folks are reporting anything from 1 fps at a busy airport to good frame rates, depending on your settings and system. So it’s well worth trying.

As noted in an earlier post, much of legacy scenery support is not working, which means if you have a lot of addon scenery, you’ll have to wait until the developers catch up.  As much of the Software Development Kit information is not yet available, this could be a while.  The good news is that MS is releasing this SDK information much earlier than they did for FS9.

Key new features: there are a wealth of new features; I suggest dropping by this link for some details and flash videos.  The team has done an amazing job of providing new capabilities.  I’ll just highlight a couple.  The water effects are stunning with very realistic reflections and waves (This comes at the expense of performance as it requires drawing each frame twice).  If you want purpose to your simming, the Missions open up a new world of experience.  Geared to everyone from novice to expert, they can be challenging or just fun.  With a Mission Creation tool provided, third parties can add missions.  The new multiplayer functionality has huge potential.

Terrain: in most areas folks will see a dramatic improvement in the out-of-the-box experience over FS9.  The accuracy of roads, railroads, streams, lakes, rivers is greatly improved in many areas.  But the improvement varies dramatically on a regional basis, as MS was limited in their data sources.  So in Canada and the continental US you will see much more accurate hydrology near cities.  Outside the cities it drops off dramatically, to the point where entire major river systems and lakes may be missing or drastically misplaced.   In some areas where the accuracy is good, there can be significant anomalies: near Vancouver you will see a large non-existant jetty south-west of Stanley Park, and a large L-shaped land blob in the water further out. The meagre hydrology in Canada and the US is an exception, along with Ireland and Slovakia; those two have almost none.  But the rest of the world has much more detailed lakes and rivers, although accuracy varies significantly.  If accurate VFR flying is important to you in Canada and the continental US, you’ll need an addon.   There are new terrain textures throughout the world, and with the new higher ground resolution, many are stunning.  Personally I found those used in the US Pacific North West and Canada to be dull and listless, much inferior to FS9.  But the Hawaiian textures are amazing. I’m sure third parties will provide options before too long.  Overall terrain elevation mesh is vastly improved. Distant terrain is now displayed at a higher mesh resolution: which makes for a far more realistic horizon; one of my favourite features.

Living World: FSX comes alive with road traffic (freeways only), airport vehicle traffic, water traffic (leisure boats, ferries, cruise ships and cargo ships), animated animals, and of course GA and airline aircraft.  When arriving at your jetway, it will swing into position, and vehicles will swarm to the aircraft.

Objects: The number and quality of objects (airport objects, buildings, cars, bridges and bric-a-brac) has exploded. There is a fantastic array available for designers. Many of the older objects are still unusable because of highly visible and distracting LOD pops (changes in shape as you move away/towards), but most of the new ones are much better done.   Part of the Mission Creation tool is a new object placement tool, allowing placement of objects while in the sim.

Aircraft: Many aircraft are vastly improved, and there are some great new ones, like the DHC-2 Beaver. I’ll leave review of the aircraft to the experts.

Airports: there are many new airports in FSX, bringing to the total to something like 24,000. Of these there are 40 high-detail airports in the Standard Edition, and an additional 5 in the Deluxe Edition. (Frank, I don’t have a list of which ones are detailed).  Locally here, CYVR has been vastly improved with many custom buildings, including the Fairmont Hotel and other nearby structures. Unfortunately a large area of pre-load fill was mistaken for a building and sits unrealistically in the north-west corner of the terminal area. I created an exclusion for this which I’ve published on AVSIM. Locally CML2, Quamichan Lake near Duncan has been added, and CSK8, the Surrey-King George ultralight field. Timely addition, considering the new AirCreation ultralight now included with the sim.

Installation: watch how FSX adjusts your initial display settings.  When I installed the retail version, it turned autogen off, had scenery complexity to sparse (meaning most airports were a wasteland of no objects), and had most other sliders close to or at the left.  Further it locked my frame rate at 15 FPS.   I believe this is a known issue with AMD processers: FSX mis-reads the capabilities.

The FSX files are usually badly fragmented, with some of the files being scattered into hundreds of fragments.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much contiguous disk space you have free prior to the installation; I had over 400Gb. So it’s necessary to defragment after installation.  After defragging I got about a 10% improvement in frame rates, other folks have reported much larger increases.  I’m guessing that this fragmented installation isn’t necessarily the fault of FSX, but perhaps XP doesn’t handle large (14Gb) installations well.

Stutters and blurries: Stutters aren’t too bad, and the “blurries” have been largely fixed.  For the brave, add to your FSX.cfg this line in the [main] section and play with it a bit:

FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION=0.33

This will trade off between performance and blurries. You can find fsx.CFG in <drive letter>:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Microsoft\FSX

Sliders: as has been said many times on the forums, you can’t expect to push your sliders to the right and get good performance with a new toy like this.  But in the benchmarks I ran I backed off the sliders to the point where the display was the same or inferior to FS9 in autogen density and various resolution settings, my frame rates are significantly lower than FS9. Settings that most affect performance for me (in no particular order): road traffic, boat traffic, autogen, water detail (high 2.x or above), bloom.

Dual-core: the bottom line here is that due to the threading constraints of the application (ie most of the effort is spent updating the display in a single thread) I do not see much above 60-65% total CPU usage, and I found it’s often closer to 50%.  So on average, a second core does not show a huge performance increase.  Although technically it can be said FSX is a dual-core application, it’s much closer to a single-core app on the continuum.

SLI: FSX does not support multi-GPU SLI. 

System requirements: very subjective! The sim can use up to 900Mb of RAM, so I suggest 2Gb of RAM (which allows for other background tasks). Many folks with 1Gb are reporting OK performance though.  Get a video card with as much video RAM as possible, the sim will use all it can get.  So if buying a new card, you’ll want a minimum of 512 Mb.   For the processor, it’s highly dependent on the features you want, and the performance you want.  I defer to those with experience with the newest processors on the market.  The specs on the website (256 Mb RAM, 1.0 GHz processor, 32MB video card) are, to put it as kindly as possible, grossly misleading and inaccurate.  It’s possible FSX could run effectively on an older computer for IFR flyers with autogen, water detail and many other features turned off or very low. 

Community-involvement: Microsoft has chosen to allow the flight sim development team to interact with the general public in forums and via blogs.   This has dispelled many myths and solved many mysteries.  They also released a beta version to the public so folks could kick the tires and provide feedback.  I’m very grateful to the team for this community involvement and support.

Bottom-line: Overall, FSX has been a disappointment personally. I bought a new machine a few months ago partly to run FSX, and it’s just not fun, mostly because of low frame rates, which also makes many of the missions not easy to run. That said, I am fussier than most, and don’t find 15 fps (even with no stutters) an acceptable level of performance. As well, my priorities may differ from some, and I would have preferred better legacy scenery support. Regardless give the trial version a shot:  your personal needs will guide whether now is the time to buy FSX.

My system: AMD X2 4200+, BFU 7900GT 256 Mb, 2 Gb RAM, 800 GB RAID-0 SATA-II HD

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  1. Rob W
    Saturday, October 7th, 2006 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for that review Jon – just the level of detail reporting that I’ve been waiting for, as I’ve been deliberating over this for some time! I suspect there are many others who have the Vancouver and Tongass and similar sceneries who, like me, have spent a good deal of money, time and effort getting FS9 exactly how we want it. Much of this isn’t going to move into FSX easily or soon so the balance is heavily weighed towards FS9 for me at the moment. I also haven’t made anything like full use of the add-ons I have bought so there’s really no excuse not to use them more, especially now that new FS9 add-ons will begin to dwindle.

    My plan is to wait until well into next year or later for DX10 to become established and then see how well FSX uses it and what add-ons have been ported or created for it. That will give me time to save for an expected large hardware upgrade, and the longer I wait for that the more mileage I will ultimately get out of it.

    The only fly in the ointment for this plan is that there are some new sceneries such as Georender’s Grand Tetons which have just been announced for FSX…

  2. Ken M
    Sunday, October 8th, 2006 at 8:39 am

    Well said as usual, Jon. I am less disappointed with FSX than you but not by much. I tried the sliders full right and sure enough FSX is almost unusable. After backing the sliders to the so called HIGH position I can see FSX will be fine away from major cities. I’m running an Athlon64 X2 4600+, 2 gig ram and a 7800GT.

    I was also stunned by the FSX water! It’s better than any FS9 payware I tried.

    I have to agree with a fellow who posted on the Avsim forums…FSX was built for hardware coming available in the next year to 18 months. Will that mean an expensive DirectX-10 video card and Quad processor? Time will tell.

    So far the only problem I am having with FS9 aircraft used in FSX are their panels. Old FS98 gauges are not FSX friendly. As a matter of fact they aren’t even loaded. Making their panels FSX friendly shouldn’t be hard at all.

    When FS2004 came out I deleted FS2002 within a month. I have a feeling FS2004 will live beside FSX for quite a while this time around.

    Oh yes, before I forget. I had only one bug during my FSX installation and it wasn’t with FSX. After FSX was installed and flights made I went to load FS9. It came up in Instructor Mode. Closing Instructor closed FS9. I Right clicked the FS2004 icon and sure enough it had been changed! Edited it back to the fs9.exe and all is well. I haven’t seen any other report of this and any forum so it might have been a quirk on my PC.

    Looking forward to Bill and your CYVR, Jon. :-)

    Ken

  3. Sunday, October 8th, 2006 at 8:52 am

    Thx for the feedback, Ken. I didn’t experience the FS9 icon issue you noted.

  4. Luis Alvarinas
    Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Hello Jon.

    I am impress with your review. Although in all the comments made good and bad I haven’t read yet about ATI support. Dont take me wrong but I am NVIDIA FAN. but I have found at least with the card that I used for the Demo is that ATI have better performance.
    Have you tried with ATI?

    Luis

  5. Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Luis,

    I’m glad that you see that I am not trying to bash or promote FSX, just helping folks make a better-informed decision.

    I only have NVidia systems, so I can’t commment on ATI performance.

    Jon

  6. Tuesday, October 10th, 2006 at 12:24 am

    Whew! what a review! well, I’m pretty impressed of your instinctive prowess on things such as this ….anyway i am NVdia fan so I can’t comment on this but nice review!!

  7. Thursday, October 12th, 2006 at 9:43 am

    Hi Jon.
    As the others have said, thanks for the review.
    I cannot believe about the AMD CPU bug (take that statement back, I can believe that Microsoft have a bug with AMD processors, sometimes seeming to be in league with Intel), and I am dissapointed that FSX doesn’t support multi GPU’s (SLI or I imagine ATI’s variant of this), maybe this can be fixed in a patch.
    Also, I have so much great scenery on FS9, use FSnav ver 4.7 to plot IFR / VFR departures and approaches and Squawkbox “Live ATC” and FDC Live cockpit, none of which is supported yet, plus am used to current frame rates of 40(ish) FPS in FS9, so FSX is so far a dissapointment for me, I too will contunue with FS9 for quite a while! (FSX is a 16GB install to boot)! I am however exited about updating my sound packages from FS2002 /2004 to support the new sim.

  8. Thursday, October 12th, 2006 at 10:18 am

    Thx folks for the feedback, I appreciate it. I’m not a big conspiracy fan, Martin, I think that MS wouldn’t constrain their market or product that way. In fact all the constraints of FSX are understandable in some form. Whether they are justifiable, or make sense to the market is another quesiton.

  9. PIQUETTE
    Monday, October 16th, 2006 at 8:47 am

    hi,

    I have FSX since a week all ready
    not happy about this one at all

    Try several set up and still not happy for the frame rate…

    hoping Microsoft will produce PATH .. to fixe the {TERRAIN } ,

    Sorry to be show…negatif.. but compare to FS9

    BIG DIFFERENCE

  10. David
    Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    FSX runs like a pig on my PC. I have a P4 3.05 GHz and 1Gb of RAM, plus a 256Mb ATI GPU. I installed the Demo and it stutters like an old chevy. I turned the detail down and it STILL stuttered (Water effects off, and the rest of the sliders towards the left). My frame rates are in the teens, with stuttering. The fps goes down to 7 or 8 on occasion, depending on how much scenery FSX is loading. That brings me onto my next point:

    FSX seems to be constantly reading my HD, creating stutters, and 3D objects reload too often. I am sick of buildings taking 2 seconds to reload AND retexture!!! The virtual cockpit and 3D visual models regularly reload when you change view, destroying the immersion factor.

    If you have 2Gb of RAM and a 3.5Ghz CPU, plus a 512Mb GPU then buy FSX. If you have a more average PC then you may be disappointed. I have never seen such a strange reaction to a new version of FS!!!! The silence among the normally vocal forum members is deafening … they know that FSX has issues.

    One guy on Avsim said that he loved FSX, even though he was getting mid-to-low single digit frame rates (i.e. 3 to 5 fps) ….. :-|

    I’m going back to a sim where I can get 30 fps if I choose!!!! :-)

    Download the beta and see for yourself …. it’s like FS2000 again!

  11. D.Larsen
    Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    i hav a AMD 64 X2 4400+ with at MSI NX7900 512 mb grafik and 3 GB ram, and it seeme that, my dual core processer are not enable, when i start the game, the are no reaction on cpu 2, only on cpu 1, and it working a max. Why can that be, when FSX are Dual compatible?

  12. Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    D. Larsen, I’ll quote from the above review, “Dual-core: the bottom line here is that due to the threading constraints of the application (ie most of the effort is spent updating the display in a single thread) I do not see much above 60-65% total CPU usage, and I found it’s often closer to 50%. So on average, a second core does not show a huge performance increase. Although technically it can be said FSX is a dual-core application, it’s much closer to a single-core app on the continuum.”

    What that means is that much of the time the second core will be unused. Only for certain activities will the second core be active. So, technically FSX can use the second core, but only a bit of it is usually accessed.

  13. jonathan falgout
    Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    oct. 19th, 2006

    i have fs9 on O.S. W2k Pro with a intel p4d 3.4ghz/256mgG.C./1ghz kingston hyperX ram. With grafix settings to the fullest as it can get even with anti.alis.x6, i still get 70~90 fps maybe down to 30fps under the harshest location in the simulator. I am getting my O.S. XP-Pro any day now and cant wait to try the FSX out!

    I guess i should get 20~30 FPS, What do you all think?

    I Guess all i would have to do is get a little more ram and 512mg G.C.

    -jonathan falgout

  14. jonathan falgout
    Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    to update the 14th post…

    i wanted that kingston ram but i went with Crucial Technology Ballistix 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel.

    so just want to change what i had

  15. Ricardo Cuello
    Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    I bought FS two days ago. I’m really disappointed by the performance. I was getting 1 to 2 fps with full settings ( I didn’t like a cripple experience). I had a dual core PC, 1 Gb RAM and a 256 Nvidia card. So the following day I bough 2 more gigs of RAM , two new hard drives ( 300 GB ea) to build a RAID0 and a 512 Mb video card ge7950GTOC. I spent almost a 1000 CDN in that. After that, I was expecting to hit 25 FPS with FSX but I only got around 7 or 8 FPS. The only good thing is that I have fs9 running at 50 FPS with all the sliders to the right. Bottom line: I will stick with fs9 for a year until new hardware for FSX comes available. ( eg. quad-core CPU’s, DDR4 memory, etc )

  16. Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    @jonathan: I wouldn’t hazard a guess. Try the demo.

    @Ricardo: I think you should look at the tweaks, and that it’s probably unreasonable to put the sliders to the right with FSX. There may be just a couple of settings that could make a huge difference for you. Check out the tweak posts.

  17. jonathan f
    Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    well xp is in stalled and am starting the FSX, i will test and get back to you.

  18. jonathan f
    Friday, October 20th, 2006 at 12:04 am

    well with every thing about half way i can get 20~30 fps.

    i like 30+

    so im up grading cpu parts

  19. Jake
    Saturday, October 21st, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    I can’t believe those frame rates from your system – I would call your system ‘High-End’.
    I can only think that MS have realised that FSX will still be going in 3+ years and that technology then will be more able to cope with advanced settings (i.e. DirectX 10).
    It must be that you should run FSX with settings about half-way, leave the fancy bit to the next generation of graphics cards.

  20. Larry
    Saturday, October 21st, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    Well, I am waiting for my copy of Deluxe in the mail and I tested the demo on my computer and everything seems to be in the 15-20 FPS on the exact settings recommended from Jon. I use a 2.4 GHZ AMD Athlon 64 3400+, 1GB DDR SDRAM and a 256 MB ATi Radeon X600 Pro and it looks ok on Medium, but disasterous at High. I am going to wait for better hardware in the next two years and then use FSX into its full potiential. I just want a clarification is that Microsoft is going to release a Vista/DX 10 Upgrade Patch after Vista’s release right and its free too right to upgrade the current FSX right???

  21. Sunday, October 22nd, 2006 at 8:31 am

    Larry, an unofficial source tells me that existing FSX users will get the Vista upgrade patch for free. I’ll check back when I have definitive confirmation.

  22. jonathan f.
    Sunday, October 22nd, 2006 at 11:00 am

    re post 20… my fps on fs2004 is true, 80fsp is a good avg. and 20~30 fsp in fsx and down to 10 to lower teens in the big cities with all setting about half. if i go with higher settings the fps realy goes down.

    re 21…i have a friend that is going to buy my 256mg video card and im going to get the:.. eVGA 512-P2-N573-AR GeForce 7900GTO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card.

    i have one gig ram and am going to add a gig more or so.

    i also am getting this V.Card.
    check out the specs!!

    Model
    Brand eVGA
    Model 512-P2-N573-AR
    Interface
    Interface PCI Express x16
    Chipset
    Chipset Manufacturer NVIDIA
    GPU GeForce 7900GTO
    Core clock 650MHz
    PixelPipelines 24
    Memory
    Memory Clock 1320MHz
    Memory Size 512MB
    Memory Interface 256-bit
    Memory Type GDDR3
    3D API
    DirectX DirectX 9
    OpenGL OpenGL 2.0
    Ports
    DVI 2
    TV-Out HDTV/S-Video/Composite Out
    VIVO No
    General
    Vista Ready Yes
    Dual-Link DVI Supported Yes
    Tuner None
    RAMDAC 400 MHz
    Max Resolution 2560×1600
    RoHS Compliant Yes
    SLI Supported Yes
    Cooler With Fan
    Operating Systems Supported Windows 2000/XP/XP x64/MCE 2005
    System Requirements Minimum of a 450 Watt power supply.
    (Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 22 Amps.)
    Minimum 550 Watt for SLI mode system.
    (Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 34 Amps.)
    An available 6 pin PCI-E power connector (hard drive power dongle to PCI-E 6 pin adapter included with card)
    Features
    Features CineFX 4.0 Engine
    Intellisample 4.0 Technology
    nView Multi-Display Technology
    PureVideo technology
    Packaging
    Package Contents Driver Disk
    User Manual
    HDTV Cable
    S-Video Cable
    Power Cable
    2 x DVI to VGA /D-sub Adapter
    512-P2-N573-AR

    Re.. 22

    i would love to see that!

    -jonathan

  23. jonathan f.
    Sunday, October 22nd, 2006 at 11:12 am

    as for any more money to spend i will wait untill DX-10 / vista and the apropriate hardware/software is out. i will also wait for a little while to wait off any little bugs to work out.

    my final goal for the next few weeks untill the change over to vista etc… is to upgrade so that in the big cities i can get (hopfully) at least good flying FPS to at least land without pausing every sec. or two.

    and to have the settings more to the right outside of big city Frame eating, ram swallowing, processer devowering aeras.

    p.s. i love the more detailed mountain terrain for playing follow the leader with my nextdoor flying buddies.

  24. Jake
    Sunday, October 22nd, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    I’m also suprised that a dual-core processor makes little difference. As far as I can tell the near future will be dominated by 64-bit multi-core processors, even to the point that each processor will be slower than current single designs (i.e. 8 processors at 2Ghz is better than 1 at 3Ghz)

    It may be that unless there are major patches to FSX it will be outdated by the end of 2007

  25. PIR3lly
    Monday, October 23rd, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Hello all.
    I just wanted to add my comments.

    I’ve got a top of the line system, with a Core2duo running @ 3.4Ghz, a 7950GX2 card and 2Gb ram. I can play every game out there on max settings and a resolution of 1600×1200.

    But with FSX I can’t get good frame rates. It’s really dramatic. Funny thing is, the framerate is just as bad at 1024×768 as it is with 1600×1200.
    And, as some of you already said, the dual core is useless.

    In my opinion, a waste of money (maybe until patches are out).

  26. bellz
    Monday, October 23rd, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    I’m completely disappointed with fsx!! I have a P4 2.8, 256 ATI VC, 4 Gig DDR RAM. I get 2-4 fpm and thats it. I’m now going to uninstall fsx and continue playing fs9. Why release a game that know ones PC can run without stuttering and extremely low frame rates??? I hope they make a patch or a fix for it.

  27. Fang
    Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    Just picked up the deluxe version today.

    I just built a new core duo (1gig ram) SLI(2×7950) rig this past weekend.

    I have to say i was getting horrible frame rates…and like the above poster said ,it did’nt matter what res I was running.

    So , while playing around with the settings I played around with the target frame rate slider. As soon as I cranked that up to “unlimited”, my frame rate jumped
    from 15 fps to a whopping 50-60 fps
    depending where I was flying.

    Thats with no AA or anything.

    I can now run at my default lcd rez of 1680 x 1050 at a nice 50 fps average with medium high. I get about 25 fps with everything maxed

    I had it up to 90 fps in some areas but I was getting way too much screen tearing on my lcd so i locked the refresh rate at 60hz. I had to do this via the fsx nvidia display profile. The global driver setting did’nt take for some reason.

    The game does run fine in sli mode btw but the load balancing perf monitor dos’nt really show it’s being used much. Hav’nt tryed it with only one card yet.

    Havin way too much fun flyin in Jamacia in multiplay….:)

  28. Thursday, October 26th, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks everyone for the feedback and comments.

    Jon

  29. FaosFX
    Sunday, November 5th, 2006 at 5:01 am

    I have started buying FS since the FS98 days, I was hooked. FS2000 was a dissapointment and because of that FS98 enjoyed good sales over FS2000 for over 3+ years, go figure. When FS2002 came out, both FS98 and FS2000 died out completely…why? Because the sim was smooth as silk and now those who had FS98 could now join the party of an advanced simming experience. Then FS2004 or FS9 came out, not much complaining was done about it only that it was an update to FS2002 but everyone bought it anyway…..why? Again, a smooth sim with playable frame rates atleast for my taste they were 30-60 FPS on average.

    When the hype about FSX started, the preview movies started flowing and the pictures glowed, I was excited to the very end until I tried out the demo. It brought my…

    Pentium 4 3.80ghz @ 800 mhz FSB
    1 Gb of RAM @ 533mhz
    ATI RADEON X1900XTX 512mb RAM

    system to a halt! Now with a system like that youd think I get good frame rates, on the contrary, they averaged between 8-20 FPS and for some people that is satisfying, for me, IT IS NOT! Then I purchased the Deluxe version and found the results were basically the same, tried every tweak out there and my highest FPS was 20.

    It is true that the eye can’t detect anything above 24 FPS but, they are forgetting the big picture. You can’t compare animation of objects with that of a film on screen, it is NOT the same thing. A movie playing at 24 FPS is nothing more than a set of slides being display every 24 frames, on a game, it is different. Half-Life 2 for example renders 1 frame atleast 2 times, 1 for the regular stuff and the other for the water, so 24 frames per second would equate in a situation like that to 12 because you aren’t rendering just 1 frame you are rendering two and this is what people don’t see, don’t compare movies with games, the experience is totally different.

    There are two types of people in this simming experience, those who love EYE CANDY and those who just LOVE TO FLY….if you just love to fly, you will forget about the eye candy but if you want EYE CANDY so bad, it doens’t matter if you get 8-20 FPS because all you care about is the eye candy along with your flying obsession, what is really keeping you happy is not the performance of the sim but the amount of eye candy being thrown at ya. I care about performance because for me, that is what makes a game enjoyable and playable.

    Later that day I went back to Wal*Mart and returned my copy of FSX. I was not alone that day because 3 other people were also returning their copies, I was scared and asked myself, geez….what has Microsoft done, i’ve never seen people returning their sims like that. We talked as we stood in line and the two that returned their copies ran off to get FS9 off the shelf, that surprised me….they return FSX but run off and then buy FS9? WOW, lol. I can see were this was going….its looking more like it was with FS2000, everyone knows FS2000 was a wreck for most people.

    I am happy today with my FS9 and will continue to use it until a new version of Flight Simulator is out or when I make the transition to VISTA with new hardware SLI and dual-core but that will be by mid next year. After I make the transition, I might buy FSX again or try the DEMO but i’m not holding my breath.

    I have come to realize that it is not the simmers that need to catch up with Flight Simulator, it is Flight Simulator itself. It doesn’t make use of SLI at all. This is why FSX is on its knees. There is so much new technology out there and FSX continues to remain CPU bound…Microsoft needs to stand up and start making use of the powerfull technologies that are available today like SLI and dual-core.

    Here is the bottom line. Everyone who buys this software obviously has a love for flying planes. However, it is your choice to take either path, the one that leads to happy flying or the one that leads to pure eye candy. Which ever you love most, that is were you should go.

    If you like flying with pure eye candy, get FSX. If the eye candy isn’t your thing, then get FS9 or don’t buy FSX.

    Finally, then there are simmers who sort of want both but they just can’t seem to find that “balance” these are the people who come here to whine and complain and yes I am putting myself in that category because that is what i’m basically doing right now, I think. For the people who can’t find the balance, stay with FS9 or you may loose the love for simming altogether by spilling your guts trying to get FSX to run.

    That is all I got to say, happy flying everyone. Keep that in mind “happy” it is the only thing that is important.

  30. Sunday, November 5th, 2006 at 10:27 am

    Thx for your thoughts, FaosFX. One bit of feedback: the eye can certainly detect improvements in fluidity above 24 fps. 24 fps was chosen as the minimum tolerable frame rate for movies to minimize reel size and cost for movies. Hey, that’ll make a good post! Thanks!

  31. FaosFX
    Monday, November 6th, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Got ya Jon. The eye can definately see above 24 FPS. If I could land planes in severely dense airports and get a smooth 60 FPS, I would fly so much Id go crazy or if I got a smooth 60 FPS with the FS9 clouds in some interesting weather, the experience would be amazing…..because every move you make is rendered in fluidity for you and you can turn a dream into a beautiful landing.

    Frames per second will also determine how fast you see your control inputs. At 15 FPS, you don’t see that take place very quickly and so you can not make precise control inputs for a smooth landing. However, with frame rates in excess of 30+ it seems to get much better. At 60 FPS the sim is so smooth it nearly looks real because it is so, so, so smooth its overkill lol.

    Let us do some Bush flying in FSX with FPS of 40+ !!! DREAM ON !!!

  32. Hector
    Thursday, November 9th, 2006 at 11:37 am

    Great reviews here, thanks to all that take time to help others. Now that I know FSX does not support SLI, should I take the second card out or leave it in? Does it slow the game by leaving the second video card in it? I have AMD 64X2 3800+, Nvidia Gforce 7800 GT OC,2GB RAM, 300GB Toshiba Sata HD and it runs like crap. I have to set everything pretty much to low to get a decent FPS.

  33. Omar
    Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 at 10:48 am

    Hello All
    I must say that FSX is really Pc hungry. I think it was designed for Windows vista and DX10, so maybe a hugh difference with that. Right now I am staying with FS9 because I get 60FPS with everthing tweaked nice.
    I maxed everthing in FSX to see what I got, 3FPS was a joke compared to the 30 I get when I max everthing in FS9.
    MY PC
    Amd 64 3500 2.4 OC
    2 Geoforce 6600 GT’s 256 DDR3
    2GB DDR Ram
    200GB Sata WD 7200 HD

  34. BR
    Wednesday, November 15th, 2006 at 11:50 pm

    Just bought FS X delux. Frame rate kills the flight.If you want jerky air time..glitched movement , this sim. is for you. Isn’t Bill Gates wonderful? Let’s all run out and buy this sim. and another 2000.00 computer to run it ! Oh..Yeah.

  35. Friday, November 17th, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    Folks, I think that’s it would help a lot to spend some time tweaking the settings as noted in other posts here. I do understand if you don’t want to spend that time. That said, if I want to fly for fun, I usually use FS9.

  36. Omar
    Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    I think its a waste of time trying to tweak settings, because a super house computer Amd Fx 62 with 1.4 GB DDR Video Card Power plus 2 GB ram barely broke the double digits in frames. That being said I really think it will never be smooth in XP. It was made for VISTA, Gates knows how many simmers there, so thats the catch make everyone upgrade to vista.

  37. marc scharf
    Thursday, December 14th, 2006 at 9:24 am

    WHERE CAN ONE FIND A COMPUTER WITH THE MICROSOFT “BEST” SPECS FOR FSX!? I looked, found none.
    cpu 3.6ghz
    memory 2gb
    video card 512mb
    thanx
    marc
    817.563.1937

  38. Ricardo Cuello
    Monday, January 1st, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I posted before on Oct 19. Now I have Vista but the performance it is even worst. I had to disable the Aero Glass feature to get a decent performance. As FaosFX stated before FSX is still CPU-bound. I still have a Pentium D 820 2.8 Ghz on my system so my next upgrade will be a CPU. I considering the Intel E6600 or the E6700. To be honest, I’m not sure if this will be worthy. On New Year’s eve party I heard that a friend of a friend bought a new PC for almost $4000 CDN to only get 20 FPS. News like that make think twice before investing in a 500 CDN CPU.

  39. andy
    Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    “It was made for VISTA, Gates knows how many simmers there, so thats the catch make everyone upgrade to vista.”

    Right – because Microsoft’s corporate strategy for maximum penetration of Vista is to make people running Flight Simulator upgrade to it. Forget the hundreds of millions of installed corporate volume and OEM licenses of XP… it’s Flight Simulator users that are the future of the Vista OS.

  40. Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    From what I’ve heard, Andy, Vista is no magic bullet for FSX. Rather, the upcoming performance patch should provide some improvement.

  41. stef
    Thursday, January 11th, 2007 at 2:33 am

    fsx works fine.
    setting*customize is the most importand thing you can have high frames if you do the customize right.
    on a slow (1gig ram pc2100, cpu 1.8 ghz 1core L1, fsb 266mhz )computer .with “al the sliders down” and “buttons unselected” and in “x16 screen” mode fulscreen. 25 frames a second.

    on a mid fast 1 gig ram pc2700 fsb333mhz cpu 2.08 ghz 1core L2.
    al sliders down fulscreen x32 and “global texture resolution” at very high. buttons select “virtualcocpit3dhighresolution” an “aircraft show ” shadow. 25frames a second.

    and that all with a128mb graphics card that uses ddr3

    never use autogen and mesh complexity unless you have fsb 1056mhz , cpu 4mb cashe L3or L4 above 2.6ghz speed, and memory ddr2 4gig ram pc8000 ddr800 4gig, and graphics card that runs on ddr3 or ddr4 and with a gpu (graphics processor unit)

    ALL AGP and not pci express its cheaper and most of the times faster too
    use ATA and not SATA and SATA2 350 giga gor 50 bucks with a speed of 7200rpm and “16mb cashe” new.

  42. Sunday, January 28th, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Hi, im sorry this might not be related.
    I recently just bought a shuttle barebones sff pc and have the folling install.

    sn27p2 shuttle

    am2 dual core 4600 64bit fx
    ram 1gb
    320 sata hd
    nx7900 nvidia 512mb pci-e

    my problems are with configuring my gfx card with xp64bit os. its says my drivers are not supported for 64 bit. ihave tried to find drivers for my gfx card from nivida web but no joy, the questions are do i have to revert back to 32 bit os drivers to support my card or can i get 64 bit drivers for my gfx card?

    thank you for your time
    any help is much appreciated.

    leigh

  43. Paul
    Sunday, March 11th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    The SP1 can’t come soon enough as FSX is a joke performance-wise. I have one of the fastest AGP cards around (Radeon X1950Pro) and even with a very tweaked config file, I am lucky to get 18-20 fps, and of course a fraction of that when taking off or landing in the highly detailed airports.
    I don’t believe MicroSoft are evil, but I do believe that the level of performance of FSX out-of-the-box on most systems is simply unforgivable. One other point: I have read comments suggesting the MS somehow released FSX expecting it to perform well on systems that don’t exist now, but maybe will exist in 12-18 months time. Does anyone really believe that? The realities of software development are that it is hard enough to predict performance on all the hardware available now, let alone predict performance on hardware not yet available.

  44. FaosFX
    Tuesday, March 13th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Wow, it has been a while since i’ve posted here. Has FSX been selling well? I still have not bought it, been flying with FS9 and loving it!

  45. Friday, March 16th, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Rumour has it that FSX has sold extremely well. This validated by MS’s recent commitment to investment in the franchise: SP1 + FSX Adrenaline.

  46. BP Higgs
    Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    I learned something tonight about the poor framerates. My Gen 3 has been maxxed out in every sense of thinking with 4 gbs Ram and the Nvidia 8800 GTX and still the FSX jerked along. Well guess what? I read where you need to set the framerates all the way over to the Maximum setting [ Ultimate } and, guess what? It worked super!! No more pissy, jerky, framerates on my Gen 3!!! Hello !!!!

  47. teenoie
    Sunday, October 11th, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Flash Drive / Thum Drive / USB Drive is a popular name called today. The features in data storage. Line a small squeeze mine. Can take in anywhere. If on any problems associated with Flash Drive / Thum Drive / USB Drive as Flash Drive does not detect most of which will not solve this problem. Now I have to suggestion to you.

  1. Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 at 10:38 am

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