View Full Version : Balanced Systems
08-18-2008, 04:47 PM
In his FS2004 thread located here http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/showthread.php?p=1215316#post1215316, jamcgee11 brought up the subject of balanced systems, a concept he understands though he did not use the term. I want now to explain the concept to the readership of this forum, and to invite discussion of this topic, which is crucial to the performance of all versions of Flight Simulator ...
If we reduce a gaming system to its simplest elements we will want to discuss CPU throughput (power), HDD throughput and GPU (graphics) throughput. As jamcgee11 was getting at, the system's overall throughput is limited by the throughput of the slowest component. So if the CPU and GPU were lightning fast but the HDD was very slow, the system would be "disk bound", and there would then be CPU and GPU capacity going to waste. Not only would this capacity be going to waste, lower-priced CPU and GPU hardware would have allowed the system to perform at the same overall throughput.
So the concept of a balanced system is, in the end, about economics. There is no point in overdesigning or overspecifying one section of the system if the other sections won't be able to keep up. For a given overall system throughput target, a balanced system is a minimum cost system. Now ...
<I'll add more later. I have some errands to run but I did want to at least get the thread open.>
08-18-2008, 05:01 PM
A very intriguing subject. In my case, my RAM and my CPU are being let down by graphics card, or lack thereof.
08-18-2008, 05:23 PM
I've got to run those errands but yes, it's an interesting subject. Where I'm headed is a discussion of how to tune any version of FS so as to arrive at a balanced application regardless of whether the hardware is in balance. That is, you give me an unbalanced computer and I'll show you how to tune FS for the greatest performance that can be achieved on that computer.
There might be a better computer, and we can talk also about that kind of thing, but the crucial issue is that each of us has a computer right now and the question on the floor will be ...
How should we tune FS in light of the hardware we actually do have? What are the principles of balancing FS?
I'll be back later.
08-18-2008, 06:14 PM
very interesting concept, so by updating the hd (5 yrs old now) to an all singing Western Digital 300gb SATA wouldnt necessarily render any results to FS. I will look at over clocking the GPU, Memory and CPU but without sufficient cooling this seems pointless and regardless surely my spec should run FS9 shouldnt it?
I have tried to handpick my components not for the latest hardware as i want to stay with my P4 for now but by research and some good advice of 'flightsim'!
08-18-2008, 08:02 PM
I'm not an expert on hardware details but I do understand the principles. If yours is a really old HDD, modern units might well have twice the throughput, and just as importantly, half the access time. This would benefit scenery processing, the result probably being the ability to carry more scenery detail without stuttering.
But let me do a more thoughtful presentation of the issues during my night, your morning. After you grasp the principles of tuning FS you can then go over to the hardware forum and put your (possibly revised) list of specs to the experts there, though members loki and jwenting may well have all the answers that you need.
EDIT: They are the "usual suspects" in this forum. :)
08-18-2008, 10:12 PM
look forward to it mike will check back in tomorrow morning, have updated my spec as detailed as i can.....
08-19-2008, 01:56 AM
Okay, jamcgee11 ...
Let's start with links to some articles I wrote shortly after FSX was released ...
Mike's Musings #2 -- http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/op-ed/ed390.htm
Mike's Musings #3 -- http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/op-ed/ed392.htm
Mike's Musings #4 -- http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/op-ed/ed394.htm
Mike's Musings #5 -- http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/op-ed/ed395.htm
Believe it or not the articles probably should be read in reverse order. The #5 article is partly a terminology course and partly an explanation of some of the concepts that are applied in #4, which goes to the heart of the tuning matter. The #3 article reports the results of certain FSX tuning experiments, and the #2 article discusses the reasons why those experiments were run. It also discusses certain kinds of system software maintenance utility programs you should acquire if you want to get maximum performance out of whatever your hardware happens to be.
My apologies for making you read stuff but I don't want to cover the same ground twice. Try to digest what's in there. Inevitably I will have muddied various things up so please ask any questions you need to before we get down to discussing how the prinicples may apply to your specific situation.
Those of you who have now read the above articles, especially the #2 article, need to understand that I no longer recommend using UltimateDefrag for any reason, not even for reports on the degree of fragmentation of the meta files. For best results you should use both PerfectDisk and O&O Defrag. However, there are differences of opinion about this and so I'm going to ask anybody who is not willing to simply accept my recommendations to search this forum for the several threads and many posts on the general subject of fragmentation, defragmentation and defragger utilities.
After youy read all the articles you will understand why balancing an FS system is not simply a matter of balancing the hardware. You should also now begin to be seeing how the FS sliders can be used to balance the software so as to compensate for unbalanced hardware. (And fast hardware may not mean much if the sliders are not properly set, or if the HDD is badly fragmented, and so on.)
I don't expect you or any other reader to grasp all of this material in one sitting. Learn what you can on your own and then you (and other readers) should feel free to chime in with any questions at all.
You see, this is a complex subject. None of us was born knowing this material and there will be no such thing as a stupid question.
08-19-2008, 09:02 AM
cheers mike am printing out these links at the moment will get back to you once i have had time to digest...I managed to OC my CPU upto 3.6 last night and used Perfectdisk to defrag and this has caused the blurries to cease and helped the scenery update speed. many thanks again.....
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