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Thread: Getting the best out of my PC with FS2004

  1. Default Getting the best out of my PC with FS2004

    It's me again looking for advice.

    I've been doing a lot of tweaking of FS2004 through Nhancer, the fs9.gfg file and its own settings. With the advice I've received, I've cracked a lot of the problems I was initially having and the sim now looks great and generally I'm getting good and steady frame-rates. There is a hard core of issues left though and I see from searching the forums that others have been wrestling with them.

    1. "micro-stutters" especially when flying over complex scenery. I've added some nice airports (e.g. UK2000 Birmingham ) but even if you turn down settings in FS2004 to minimal you get stutters over these. This problem doesn't seem completely frame-rate dependant: frame rates drop but stay at 18-20 even when the sim appears to have gone into slow motion.

    2. A lag between the appearance of 3d models and the textures, so for example you see an aircraft external model in a nice shade of gray and it is then "coloured in" about a second later. This also seem to afflict 2D pits when you change view and terrain (white rectangles that get filled in after a pause).

    3. Areas of blurred terrain that go sharp after a delay.

    I've tried various figures in the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT= line in fs9.cfg but none of them seems to make much difference. Setting fps to "unlimited" does however seem to help slightly. Disabling background processes makes no difference. I defrag my HD regularly and I'm clear of malware.

    I'm wondering whether this is a CPU load issue. I assume that like other flightsims FS2004 is processor-intensive and the CPU is probably the weakest part of my system (3.2 Ghz Prescott 2m single core). It was fine when I was running FS2004 without add-ons, but I suppose a complex airport with AI traffic (aircraft and vehicles) and a more detailed player aircraft is going to create a lot more demand. I'm planning to upgrade my system some time in 2009 so that may be the answer. I read somewhere that quad core isn't necessary for FS2004 and that it's better to go for a fast twin core CPU.

    I would be happy to give my settings in detail but thought I should first describe the problem in general in case there is something obvious I've missed. Any advice will be most welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    My suspicion Gullwing is a videocard or videodriver issue. What card and driver are you using?

    IAN

  3. Default

    Thanks Ian. My graphics card is a Geforce 7900 GS (256Mb). Current driver version is 163.75. I had to roll back to these from later drivers (178.13) because the later ones don't provide "digital vibrance" which brightens the colours for me (helps with some eyesight issues I have).

    Something else I've noticed is that there is hard disk activity when these problems occur-it's as if the sim has only loaded some of the files it needs when the scenario first loads.
    Last edited by Gullwing91; 12-02-2008 at 02:41 AM.

  4. #4
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    I orignally ran a 7950GT 512mb GFX with no problem under FS9.

    Try these settings in your FS9.cfg

    [DISPLAY]
    UPPER_FRAMERATE_LIMIT=30
    TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=400
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_SURFACE_SCALAR=.9
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_VASI_SCALAR=.9
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_APPROACH_SCALAR=.9
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_STROBE_SCALAR=.9
    [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=1
    TERRAIN_DEFAULT_RADIUS=9.000000
    TERRAIN_EXTENDED_RADIUS=9.000000
    TERRAIN_EXTENDED_LEVELS=4
    [SCENERY]
    IMAGE_COMPLEXITY=5
    DYNAMIC_SCENERY=1
    DYN_SCN_DENSITY=5
    DAWN_DUSK_SMOOTHING=1
    SUNGLARE=1
    LENSFLARE=0
    FSM_TweakMode=Max Quality

    Also try and kill some services before you start FS9. Have a look over at Black Viper on how to kill some Windows services that you don't really need.

    What are you system spec's? I ran FS9 with Flight Environment, Ground Environment Pro, FS Genesis, Ultimate Terrain USA, Active Sky 6.5 & AI traffic slider to max and all the settings in FS to max. I never notice any problems.
    Asus M4A785TD-V EVO 785G Socket AM3 | AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Socket AM3 3.2 GHz | Corsair 4GB Kit (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz|1GB Gigabyte GTX 460 OC, 3600MHz GDDR5, GPU 715MHz, Shader Clock 1430MHz, 336 Cores | Windows 7 | OCZ 750Watt PSU.

  5. Default

    Here are my system specs

    CPU: 3.2 Ghz P4 (Prescott 2m-single core processor with "multi-threading")
    RAM: 2Gb DDR2
    Video: Geforce 7900GS 256 Mb
    HDDs: 2x Maxtor 160 Gb ATA in RAID 0 config

    Black Viper's site is great,I've been using it for a while now, but I've noticed that, with more RAM, disabling services doesn't make a lot of difference on my system (I had pruned my services a bit anyway, but had to put a few back when Windows networking packed in ). On my previous PC with only 512Mb, however disabling services made a big difference.

    I suspect my CPU as the weak link because I only get these problems when there is a lot of activity (i.e around a busy airport). I'm assuming here that lots of moving objects in a confined area mean lots of work for the CPU which makes it slower at handling other tasks, but this is based on less than profound technical knowledge and I'm happy to be corrected if anyone thinks I'm wrong. Trouble is, it's those busy airports that I like best about this sim!

    Otherwise the sim is running very smoothly. If I'm flying a stock plane with no airports or built up areas close by, I'm getting a steady 85 fps and no stutters. Bucky, thanks for the suggested fs9.cfg entries: I'll give them a go. Looking at your system, I think I'm right in saying that it's got a fair bit more horsepower than mine, which makes me wonder whether I'm expecting too much from a system that's more than 3 years old.
    Last edited by Gullwing91; 12-02-2008 at 05:32 AM.

  6. #6

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    You might want to try backing the AI (GA and Commercial) slider off a little.

  7. #7
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    but I've noticed that, with more RAM, disabling services doesn't make a lot of difference on my system
    That's because for the most part if your system doesn't need a certain service or process, it either won't be started in the first place, or its memory allocation just gets written to the page file. And from there it does nothing until it is needed, if it ever is. And with multi-core processors, there is more processing power to handle the rather low processing needs of most background tasks. They might do a quick poll to see if they are needed, but that's it. It's only tasks like anti-virus or anti-spyware scans, defragging and hard drive indexing that you really need to worry about.

  8. Default

    Well I've been playing around with the traffic setting following your suggestion Paxx and that does make more difference than anything else I've tried.

    I have JustFlight Traffic 2005 installed and at 60% I get something like 225 AI aircraft. 100% produces about 350 and drives my fps down to 8-10. At 20% I've got about 100 aircraft but that makes Birmingham Airport (my current "home") look like a ghost town. However my fps is up to 30 or so with dips here and there. 35-40% seems about right, fps is low 20s with some dips below but the traffic looks realistic.

    However, nothing eliminates the stutters completely or corrects the "late arrival" of textures. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has a system like mine but gets better performance. Otherwise I'm looking forward to that upgrade.

    Edit: Just discovered that using Nhancer to increase the "prerender limit" from 3 to 8 seems to make quite a difference. 5 fps increase and far fewer late textures. I'm going away for a few days but will investigate further on my return.
    Last edited by Gullwing91; 12-02-2008 at 08:27 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullwing91 View Post
    Edit: Just discovered that using Nhancer to increase the "prerender limit" from 3 to 8 seems to make quite a difference. 5 fps increase and far fewer late textures. I'm going away for a few days but will investigate further on my return.
    Gullwing:

    I, too, use nHancer and wanted to try an increase in the Prerender Limit to 8. However, nHancer doesn't let me up the variable past 4. How did you do it?

    Thanks for any info.

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