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Thread: Setting up FSX for good framerates

  1. #1

    Default Setting up FSX for good framerates

    Hi,everybody
    I thought i would do this write up on my Fsx settings and configuration for my computer and video card, mainly for the new guys that may want to get into fsx, and for anybody who may still be having problems getting their fsx to run well on their computer. I thought that since i have recieved so much help and advice, through all of the various forums, i would try to give back a bit of what i have learned with this game. I have obtained all of this info through countless hours of reading and testing,have seen or tryed all the fsx.cfg file tweaks etc...

    I decided one day to sit down and start from scratch, to see if i could get this game to run as smoothly as possible,so here is how i did it and what i came up with.

    But before i get into the settings and tweaks i have some suggestions that i think will also help benefit the speed and smoothness of fsx.

    First of all unless you have some nasa super computer,you need to get everything off of your computer that you absolutly dont have to have. Any programs that you dont use all of the time, or any other games that you may have the disks for but dont play every day get rid of all of them. This would also include, any scenery files any add on stuff thats just sitting in folders on your desktop,slip an empty disk in copy it all to disks and get rid of everything on the computer. Next disable any services that are running in the background,that you dont need. Next do a disk cleanup of all the garbage in the temp files recycle bin etc... also if you have a antivirus program run it once to make sure you get rid of any cookies or other strange things that may be lurking in your computer, i use AVG it is very good and also free. lastly do a defrag on the computer to get everything back in order where it belongs,now you are ready to setup FSX.
    One thing is for sure FSX is a CPU intensive game, it can eat up cpu's for lunch, it is not as hard on video cards, so before you run out and buy the biggest baddest video card try setting up the game first, i feel that any fairly high quality video card can run the game,this doesnt mean that a 50 dollar video card is going to do the trick, but you dont need a 500.00 card either.

    First of all, i will tell you the steps i took in setting up the game and then, show you my finished FSX settings and fsx.cfg file settings that work for me.

    1. Make sure that you remove any lines or tweaks you made to your fsx.cfg file, your better off to remove them and then make sure you click on save before exiting, you can also just delete the file and the next time fsx is started it will replace it with a new fsx.cfg file, but in cases when you do it that way i have seen where you may lose some of your control functions ie joystick etc... then you will have to set them up again, so if you remember all of the tweaks you made just delete them out and save the file.

    2.I guess at this point i should tell you the computer system that im running so that if you have the same thing or comparable these settings and figures may work for you.

    Dell xps 630i, Q6600,intel 2 quad cpu @ 2.40 ghz
    3 gigs of ram
    nvidea 8800 GT stock
    Matrox triple head 2 go running 3 22" widescreens ( you should see even higher fps if you are running a single display)
    Windows XP Professional.

    FSX Deluxe edition, with the sp1 update.

    3.Next open up the fsx program, go to settings, in the settings display window, go into every subfolder(graphics,aircraft,scenery etc..)
    move all of the sliders completly to the left, now everything is at the minumum it can be.

    4. Next go back to your graphics tab, at this point you need to decide on a set frame rate, this will be for testing only ( in the end we will set this to unlimited) if you have a system somewhat comparable to mine in the target frame rate i locked this to 20, this is a good frame rate to start with, because even if you can only run the game at 20 it is still playable, but in the end were looking for 20 to be our minimum while flying around and highs of 50's to 60's.

    5. Next you need to choose a screen resolution, i suggest setting it to the native resolution of your monitor, once again if you have a system comparable to mine then there is no need to set it at a lower resolution, you want the game to look good too.

    6. Next you need to choose your filtering,you might as well do it right now, because this is what you are going to see inside your aircraft and around you buildings other planes etc... and you might as well choose the best setting you can (remember i said fsx isnt that tough on your video card) set filtering to anisotropic and put the check mark in anti-aliasing.

    7. Now would probably be a good time to go into your video card settings and make sure there are a few things that are set a certain way,we will change some of these things in the end and test them (also i can only tell you the settings for my nvidea 8800gt card) i dont know what the comparable settings for other types of cards are, but i would assume most of the comparable nvidea cards should have most all of the same settings that i have.

    8.Ok open up your nvidea control panel and go to manage 3D settings,for now all we care about is a couple of settings which can be changed later after we setup fsx, make sure anisotropic filtering is set to (application controlled) also make sure anti aliasing mode is set to (application controlled) go ahead and close that out now.

    9. get back into your fsx settings display window go into your (aircraft tab) i dont know how you like to fly but i prefer the (3D virtual cockpit) so if you do too click in 3d virtual cockpit, and you might as well check the next 2 boxes below that also, leave the 2d panel transparency set at 0%, to the right i check in (aircraft landing lights illuminate ground) as i like to have lights upon landing at night. the other 2 boxes i leave unchecked, as i could care less if the aircraft casts shadows.

    10.Ok now we begin testing, you need to choose an airport i choose the airport of my own city because it has everything i need for testing,it is a fairly decent sized airport, with the main city just to the east of it, and mountains along the border of the city and at the far east end of the city we come over some water also perfect for what we need, if you want to use this airport for testing it is (spokane intl airport KGEG) try to set your aircraft at the end of runway 25, my fsx automatically set me there when i opend it up.
    Dont use a giant airport like KSEA, we need something midsize with the right scenery around it to do a good test, plus this gives you good settings, to allow you to land at small airports with very high fps and large airports a little less.

    11. Next you need to choose an airplane,if you only fly 1 airplane then choose that, but if you fly more then 1 plane, you need to choose a plane that is the most demanding of the game. I chose the (Beechcraft Baron 58 twin screw airplane) for 2 reasons one i fly it alot,and two,it is a demanding airplane on the game with 2 props spinning, it will work hardest on our frame rates,as opposed to a jet which fsx basically see's as just an obect with no moving parts, yes you will see higher frame rates with a jet but if you use it for testing,then decide to jump into a twin prop plane you will be disapointed, give the beech baron a try i think you will be happy with the end results here.

    12.Ok were ready to get in our plane,go to free flight, chose the beechcraft baron 58 airplane, set current weather to theme (fair weather) current location to KGEG,( on runway 25) use a current time of 12 oclock noon, Note: when your testing try and keep the current time the same during all of your testing periods, sometimes this can turn in to a long process depends how much time you have at one shot, you may have to come back to it later so always keep the time close to the same, you dont want to test at dawn one time and night another etc... it can throw off your testing. ok go to fly now.

    13.Ok you should be sitting in your plane on runway 25, ( using keyboard hit shift+Z twice this should bring up your framerates in the upper left corner,the right hand side is your locked framerate setting of 20, just to the left should also be a number it can fluctuate,this is what you will be watching during testing and flying, hopefully what you see now should also be 20, this tells us that with all settings at minumum, your computer can can handle 20 fps sitting on the ground at KGEG. If your on the right runway you should now be taking off from the southeast to the northwest, once in the air turn on the external view so you are looking at the airplane from straight behind,zoom out a bit so you have a wider view of things, make a right hand turn, so that you fly back over the airport now heading east towards the city,begin your climb to say 5500 ft fly east over the city holding at 5500FT keep an eye every so often on your framerates, what were looking for here is to see if the framerates will hold at 20 fairly constant, if it drops a point or 2 in certain areas dont get to excited about that the main thing is are we holding at 20 fps for 90% of our flight, if so then great, if not you may have to reset your locked framerate a little lower and try again,anyway continue flying until you reach some water, keeping an eye on your framerates, ok if all looks well so far thats test one, during all tests try to fly the same pattern an altitude, 5500ft is good because it puts us low enough to the ground to work the framerates, yet high enough to get good framrates, remember the lower you fly the worse frames can get, go to 15K and they are much higher so this is a medium point for testing.

    14.Ok in order to try and cut this post down somewhat you will continue to do a flight in the same manner after each adjustment,dont do 3 or 4 adjustments you need to do it after each adjustment of the slider, in order to truly know where you are with the game. so here are the adjustments in order. these are all adjustments in your fsx display settings window.

    15. 1.Global texture resolution ( move slider to medium go take a flight if all is well come back move it to high)
    ( Note on global texture resolution i believe there may be a finite value you can set this to ie medium,high,ultra high, depending on the ram of your video card ,in other words if you go past the setting allowed for the ram on the card you will see no noticable difference i believe 512 of ram on your card would equal the high setting,somone may chime in here and set us straight on that, anyway next setting)

    2.Weather tab. set to detailed clouds, move slider (Rate at which weather changes over time) to low
    leave the other sliders off ( you know the procedure go take a flight)


    3.Scenery tab, this is where things begin to happen, the adjustments here can be critical to framerates.

    2 settings that you can set right now to a locked setting would be mesh resolution at 38 meters, and texture resolution to 1 meter.
    i know i said one adjustment at a time but from all of my reading i believe these are the maximum correct adjustments for the default fsx terrain,and they work fine for me, you might want to go take a flight and see if anything has changed but i doubt it.


    4. Still in the scenery tab, try setting mesh complexity to 80, go take a flight, remember keep watching your fps to stay at 20.
    ( if your falling 4 to 5 fps below your 20 then move that slider back a little until you get 20 again then move on to the next setting)


    5. Scenery tab, Water effects, try this at low 2.x go take a flight over the water,at low 2x you will atleast see the water effects.


    6.Level of detail radius, this setting can have a pretty good effect on fps,you only have a choice of 3 settings small, medium,large
    Try this setting at medium , at large you may take a hit on your fps, this setting is for how far out fsx draws the scenery.


    7. put a check mark in land detail textures.


    8. well hopefully your holding up so far, next would be scenery complexity, if you cant set this to atleast normal you will not be able to even see the airport buildings so give it a try and see where your at



    9.The last 3 items in scenery are auto gen density, ground scenery shadows,special effects, i leave all of theses off, you can expierment with them later if you like,after your completly done setting up fsx,but i will tell you auto gen density is the biggest killer of frame rates.



    10. traffic tab. here again these are settings that can kill your fps if your not careful,try playing with them after your completly done setting up, you will see them in my settings below.



    Ok were all done with the fsx display settings, that wasnt so bad was it. ok here is the fsx.cfg

    The only fsx.cfg tweak that i found actually made a difference atleast for me was the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT tweak.
    it did seem to smooth out the ride quite a bit. the original setting in my fsx was.
    TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=40 i set this to 70 this setting is found in the fsx.cfg file, you will find it listed under the heading
    [DISPLAY] you can open the fsx.cfg file in notepad change the number and ,go to file and save.

    The mysterious file is located here, C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx\Application Data\Microsoft\FSX the xxxxx is your user name.


    Ok now on to the video card settings,i suggest after each setting to go take a flight to see any improvement made, or any decrease in performance all of the settings i have listed were improvements for me and also smoothed the game out even more.got rid of micro stutters etc.. start from the top of the list and work your way down.


    VIDEO CARD SETTINGS FOR NVIDEA 8800GT

    Anisotropic filtering set to 16x
    Antialiasing-Gamma correction set to on
    Antialiasing mode set to Application controlled
    Antialiasing transparency set to off
    Conformant texture clamp set to use hardware
    error report ext limit both off
    force mipmaps set to none
    maximum prerendered frames set to 3
    Multi display/mixed gpu acceleration set to multi display performance mode (if you have a multi display)
    Single display performance mode if you have single display.
    texture filtering-anisotropic sample option set to off
    texture filtering-negative LOD bias set to clamp
    texture filtering-Quality set to Quality
    texture filtering- trilinear optimization set to on
    threaded optimization set to auto
    triple buffering set to on
    vertical sync set to force on


    FSX SETTINGS DISPLAY WINDOW (THESE SETTINGS ARE MY FINAL SETTINGS)

    GRAPHICS TAB.

    Target frame rate set to unlimited
    filtering set to anisotropic
    check mark in anti-aliasing
    global texture resolution set at high

    AIRCRAFT TAB.

    3d virtual cockpit checked
    show cockpit tooltips checked
    high resolution 3d virtual cockpit checked
    2d panel transparency set at 0%
    aircraft landing lights checked

    SCENERY TAB.

    level of detail radius set to medium
    mesh complexity set to 80
    mesh resolution set to 38m
    texture resolution set to 1m
    water effects set to low 2.x
    scenery complexity set to normal
    auto gen density set to none
    ground scenery shadows un checked
    special effects detail set to low

    WEATHER TAB.

    the only things to set in weather are detailed clouds and (rate at which weather changes set to low)
    leave everything else off


    The traffic tab, here is where you want to begin trying each setting and then testing them for yourself
    to see the effects on your fps,again if you have a system comparable to mine these settings may also work for you
    mine are as follows.


    TRAFFIC TAB.

    airline traffic density set to 25
    general aviation traffic density set to 35
    all other sliders off
    under aircraft labels i use show aircraft labels,manuafacturer, model, distance, altitude


    Ok those are all of the final settings.

    And here are the results
    I used 3 airplanes to give you an idea of the different frame rates you will see. all tests were done at KGEG, at 12 noon,runway 25.

    Beech craft baron 58 on ground runway 25 fps from 21-23
    Beech craft baron 58 flying over city at 5500 ft fps from 26-32

    mooney bravo single prop on ground runway 25 fps from 30-36
    mooney bravo flying over city at 5500 ft fps from 40-50

    Learjet 45 on ground runway 25 fps from 42-46
    Learjet 45 flying over city at 5500 ft fps from 55-60

    These are all respectable numbers and quite flyable, also remember this is using 3 22" screens on one video card
    im certain you will see higher fps using a single monitor,but it proves that it can be done using a multi screen setup.

    Anyway i know this has been a lengthy post but i feel it needed to be done this way because if somebody doesnt get the same results
    or if somebody has a better or worse computer then mine, atleast they now have an orderly procedure to follow when setting up fsx.

    Anyway i hope this helps someone take care for now

    Best regards, Tom

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the tip, will try it out to see if my performance goes up to where it should be, in the fithteen frame area, not the one frame.

  3. #3

    Default

    Also, here is another site to help boost up the performance of games and progams of your computer.

    Helped me a bit, for one of them, boost my frame up by five, from a one to a six after I tried it.

    Still getting very low performance but it helps.

    Will try this suggestion, and the one of the site.

    http://www.techsupportforum.com/gami...tem-games.html

  4. #4

    Default Hi Henry

    Hi Henry, yes give it a try, if you do the steps in order and take a flight each time youll know where your at, and also make sure you clean your computer up like i said this makes a huge difference in performance,anything you dont need off load it, from looking at your system specs i would see no reason why you shouldnt be getting good frames. take care for now

    Best regards,Tom

  5. #5

    Default

    Also, give this a try;
    http://www.iobit.com/gamebooster.html
    I discovered this on the forum here a couple of weeks ago. I downloaded it and have been working with it for a week or so now. So far the jury is still out but it is nice to now that I can turn off non-essential programs and processes with the click of a button.
    I did follow the link above and cleaned out my temp files. That used to be a common housekeeping duty that I would perform regularly but I haven't done it in some time. I was shocked at how much space was being used for absolutely nothing!

  6. #6

    Thumbs up

    Will try it, thank you for the tip

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MongooseMike View Post
    Also, give this a try;
    http://www.iobit.com/gamebooster.html
    I discovered this on the forum here a couple of weeks ago. I downloaded it and have been working with it for a week or so now. So far the jury is still out but it is nice to now that I can turn off non-essential programs and processes with the click of a button.
    I did follow the link above and cleaned out my temp files. That used to be a common housekeeping duty that I would perform regularly but I haven't done it in some time. I was shocked at how much space was being used for absolutely nothing!
    Hi,Mike...Are you referring to temp files located in c:/(user name)/appData/Local/temp??....If so, I should delete all of them?? Have over 5300 files there....Thanks Lou

  8. #8

    Default

    I have tried GameBooster and I was pleasantly surprised how well it works. One of the best tips I have seen in a long time. It boosted my FPS by 10+. And I now won't fly with out it!!

    Thanks again Mongoose!!

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by astron View Post
    Dell xps 630i, Q6600,intel 2 quad cpu @ 2.40 ghz
    3 gigs of ram
    nvidea 8800 GT stock
    Matrox triple head 2 go running 3 22" widescreens ( you should see even higher fps if you are running a single display)
    Windows XP Professional.

    FSX Deluxe edition, with the sp1 update.
    My system...

    Q6600, intel core 2 quad cpu @ 2.40 ghz (stock)
    3 gigs of ram 667mhz
    nvidea 9800 GT stock
    Single 19" screen
    Windows Vista Home Premium.

    FSX Deluxe edition, FSX Acceleration (aka same as SP2 perf wise).

    Quote Originally Posted by astron View Post
    5. Next you need to choose a screen resolution, i suggest setting it to the native resolution of your monitor, once again if you have a system comparable to mine then there is no need to set it at a lower resolution, you want the game to look good too.
    I would highly recommend 1024x768 or 1280x720 for best performance, as a higher resolution of your monitor you will be eating up compute cycles, with correct anti-alias settings on your NVIDIA control panel you won't perceive any image quality issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by astron View Post
    6. Next you need to choose your filtering,you might as well do it right now, because this is what you are going to see inside your aircraft and around you buildings other planes etc... and you might as well choose the best setting you can (remember i said fsx isnt that tough on your video card) set filtering to anisotropic and put the check mark in anti-aliasing.
    I have mine set to "bilinear" and no antialiasing... (these are better handled by the NVIDIA control settings)...

    Quote Originally Posted by astron View Post
    7. Now would probably be a good time to go into your video card settings and make sure there are a few things that are set a certain way...

    8.Ok open up your nvidea control panel and go to manage 3D settings,for now all we care about is a couple of settings which can be changed later after we setup fsx, make sure anisotropic filtering is set to (application controlled) also make sure anti aliasing mode is set to (application controlled) go ahead and close that out now.
    Antistropic Filtering 8x
    Antialiasing Mode - Override
    Antialiasing Setting - 4x

    VIDEO CARD SETTINGS FOR NVIDEA 8500GT & 9800GT

    Anisotropic filtering set to 8x
    Antialiasing-Gamma correction set to on
    Antialiasing mode set to Override any application setting
    Antialiasing setting set to 4x
    Antialiasing transparency set to off
    Conformant texture clamp set to use hardware
    error report ext limit both off
    force mipmaps set to none
    maximum prerendered frames set to 3
    Multi display/mixed gpu acceleration set to single display performance mode (FSX only works on one display regardless of if you have a 2nd monitor)
    texture filtering-anisotropic sample option set to on
    texture filtering-negative LOD bias set to allow
    texture filtering-Quality set to Quality
    texture filtering- trilinear optimization set to on
    threaded optimization set to on
    triple buffering set to off
    texture filtering - antistropic mip filter optimization - set to off
    vertical sync set to force on or application setting


    FSX SETTINGS DISPLAY WINDOW (THESE SETTINGS ARE MY FINAL SETTINGS)

    GRAPHICS TAB.

    Target frame rate set to 24, 25 or 30fps
    Full Screen Resolution set to 1024x768 (for 4x3) or 1280x720 for (16x9)
    filtering set to bilinear
    no check mark in anti-aliasing
    global texture resolution set at very high
    Preview DX10 checked (as user preferred tho)
    Lens Flare checked
    Light Bloom checked
    Advanced Animations checked

    AIRCRAFT TAB.

    3d virtual cockpit checked
    show cockpit tooltips off
    high resolution 3d virtual cockpit checked
    2d panel transparency set at 0%
    aircraft casts shadow on ground checked
    aircraft casts shadow on self checked
    aircraft landing lights checked

    SCENERY TAB.

    level of detail radius set to large
    mesh complexity set to 100
    mesh resolution set to 5m
    texture resolution set to 7cm
    water effects set to max 2.x
    scenery complexity set to extremely dense
    auto gen density set to normal
    ground scenery shadows un checked
    special effects detail set to high

    WEATHER TAB.

    cloud draw distance 60mi
    detailed clouds maximum
    rate at which weather changes over time medium (doesn't affect performance)
    download winds aloft... on


    TRAFFIC TAB

    Global Settings - Ultra High

    airline traffic density set to 20
    general aviation traffic density set to 20
    airport vehicle density - medium
    road vehicles - 20
    ships and ferries - 40
    leisure boats - 40
    show aircraft labels - off (not realistic to be on)

    As you can see my setup is quite different with a similarly powered videocard and gives the best visuals and performance

    End result is this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkyv125q7R4&fmt=22

    With the 8500GT I did not enable dx10 or bloom, but everything else was basically the same... The 9800GT is basically the same as an 8800GTS in terms of specs and performance... DX10 is very pretty with the settings above and DX10 gives a performance boost over DX9...

    Also the Windows 7 Release Candidate is available for free download from Microsoft and also increases FSX performance...
    Last edited by =Hollywood=; 05-12-2009 at 12:09 AM.
    =Hollywood=

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BMG50 View Post
    Hi,Mike...Are you referring to temp files located in c:/(user name)/appData/Local/temp??....If so, I should delete all of them?? Have over 5300 files there....Thanks Lou
    Yes, delete all.
    These are temporary files that different programs write to that are supposed to be erased automatically (I am told) but that never are.
    I was amazed how much space was being taken up with these worthless files.

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