• Prepar3D v5 vs X-Plane 11 Vulkan

    P3D v5 vs X-Plane 11

    Prepar3D v5 vs X-Plane 11 Vulkan

    By Michael Hayward

    P3D vs X-Plane

    In recent weeks we have seen the release of Prepar3D v5 being the next step of the Lockheed Martin ESP-based platform, while Laminar Research has just released Vulkan onto X-Plane 11. With both platforms now looking to compete for the next generation of flight simmers, I thought now would be a better time than ever to compare the two simulators to see which now stands on top!

    I will be comparing both simulators without mods in their vanilla format through a range of different factors. These are the range of aircraft available, the quality of default aircraft, the worldwide scenery and sky environment of both platforms, the night environment, the simulator stability, the modality of both, flight dynamics and system requirements and optimisation for those that may not have the beefiest of systems.

    A side note that a lot of this will be based on my own opinions. You may have some very different ideas which I would love to hear in the comments!

    P3D vs X-Plane

    Default Aircraft Variation

    First, we will take a look at how many aircraft and variations both platforms come with. This section will not take into account the quality of each aircraft, just how many of each are available to fly from the get-go, the quantity you get for your money.

    X-Plane 11 comes with 20 aircraft, a glider and a helicopter for you to fly at your pleasure for a total of 22 loadable vehicles. This is a nice number and gives you a full range from commercial to light options.

    Prepar3D does however, give you a whole lot more! You may not get a passenger jetliner, but what you do get are 25 aircraft, 10 helicopters, 3 avatars, 2 submarines and even a drone! That's a total of 41 loadable vehicles and not just ones that fly! Prepar3D is sold as a much more in-depth training platform, so having this variety certainly helps in giving you a choice. With twice the loadout available, P3D gets the first point.

    P3D vs X-Plane

    Default Aircraft Quality

    Next, we will take a look at the quality of each aircraft set. Both are very strong contenders and have massive pros when it comes to detailing. Both platforms feature aircraft with full 3D cockpits and functional displays.

    X-Plane also has four commercial jetliners along with its fleet of general aviation and these are more than flyable with their cockpit systems and functional FMS (based on the Boeing 737, but neutral to work on any plane of choice). The default Garmin G1000 is also highly detailed, working as if it were the real thing through its series of menus and navigation options. You do however also get a load of older aircraft, planes ported from X-Plane 9 and 10 which add variety and choice, but then lack in system functionality. For the most part, X-Plane aircraft are well-built and you can fly far with them!

    P3D vs X-Plane

    P3D also deserves a special mention of its quality, given that its predecessor FSX generally saw aircraft that was certainly to be desired. By introducing planes from leading third-party developers by default, it certainly gives it an edge. These aircraft are all very well built with fantastic modelling inside and out. This gives you a lot to play with when flying.

    Default aircraft in both simulators are really good and can be loads of fun to fly, and for this, I will share the point between both platforms in this round.


    22 Comments
    1. pinkyjr's Avatar
      pinkyjr -
      4GB viseo on P3dv5? Respectfully disagree. It will crash within minutes. I would recommend for anyone
      seriously considering v5 to move to 8GB video.
    1. W33's Avatar
      W33 -
      Good solid comparison.

      Many thanks!

      W33
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by pinkyjr View Post
      4GB viseo on P3dv5? Respectfully disagree. It will crash within minutes. I would recommend for anyone
      seriously considering v5 to move to 8GB video.
      Seems to be working quite nicely on this 4GB 1050Ti:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/3214...3374610301329/
    1. zswobbie1's Avatar
      zswobbie1 -
      I'm just thinking that X-Plane & P3D have different ideology behind them. We have an entertainment product being compared with a 'not for entertainment' product, maybe targeted to two different markets.

      Yes, obviously there are differences between these 2 products, & there is no winner, as two different markets are targeted, & there is a never ending debate as to which is better.

      Methinks, as the differences are so vast, it is similar to a Windows vs Linux or iPhone vs Android comparrison.
      Both are winners & have their own followers.
    1. ryogahibiki345's Avatar
      ryogahibiki345 -
      I too run it on a 1050Ti and an i5 6600 Skylake over clocked to 3.4GHz. I have no issues running P3D or Xplane on my rig. I also run DCS and IL-2 Sturmovik with no issues.
    1. b52bob's Avatar
      b52bob -
      You do have guts to make such a comparison. There is a lot of users that are hot for one or another. I used to use P3D but after trying XP-11 there was no comparison between the two, even though P3D was superior in some ways.
      To each their own, both are great.
    1. JSMR's Avatar
      JSMR -
      I tried the x-plane demo and it stunk. 5 fps just to get fs98 visuals. My FS9 looked and performed a zillion times better.
      Come on Nels. Make a comparison between genuine simulators which x-plane isn't.
    1. superskullmaster's Avatar
      superskullmaster -
      Quote Originally Posted by JSMR View Post
      I tried the x-plane demo and it stunk. 5 fps just to get fs98 visuals. My FS9 looked and performed a zillion times better.
      Come on Nels. Make a comparison between genuine simulators which x-plane isn't.
      Just because you have a janky computer doesn't mean everyone else does.
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by JSMR View Post
      I tried the x-plane demo and it stunk. 5 fps just to get fs98 visuals. My FS9 looked and performed a zillion times better.
      Come on Nels. Make a comparison between genuine simulators which x-plane isn't.
      Flight Simulator 98



      X-Plane 11

    1. johncott's Avatar
      johncott -
      Agree with most of the article, but the writer is completely off on the scenery comparison. LM did a complete overhaul of the airports for P3DV5. Within 100 nm of my home airport quite a few abandoned airports and nav aids were removed and new airports were added. A lot of airports were also shifted to match up with real world placement. The airport data is up-to-date and not 18 years old as mentioned. P3DV5 also also uses very detailed vector road data. Around where I live, gravel roads appear as dirt or gravel and pave roads appear as paved roads. Also this detailed vector data is used for lakes, rivers, streams, coastlines, etc. Also towns and cities are where they are supposed to be in P3DV5. All of this is with the default P3DV5 without any add-ons. I would suggest the writer take another look at the default P3DV5 and see what I’m talking about.
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by johncott View Post
      Agree with most of the article, but the writer is completely off on the scenery comparison. LM did a complete overhaul of the airports for P3DV5. Within 100 nm of my home airport quite a few abandoned airports and nav aids were removed and new airports were added. A lot of airports were also shifted to match up with real world placement. The airport data is up-to-date and not 18 years old as mentioned. P3DV5 also also uses very detailed vector road data. Around where I live, gravel roads appear as dirt or gravel and pave roads appear as paved roads. Also this detailed vector data is used for lakes, rivers, streams, coastlines, etc. Also towns and cities are where they are supposed to be in P3DV5. All of this is with the default P3DV5 without any add-ons. I would suggest the writer take another look at the default P3DV5 and see what I’m talking about.
      Of course LM will have made updates to the land class data, but a lot of it still falls back to FS2002 times. Perhaps some airports will have been updated, but the majority of what I've seen still falls back to the olden times. Roads too, the majority are from landclass tiles with only the odd few placed on top and run through the scenery. Certainly a world away from full OSM street and building data.
    1. Art_P's Avatar
      Art_P -
      To write a comparison of these two simulations takes a lot of guts, and I congratulate the writer on a nice job. It inspired me to try the X-Plane 11 demo. I had tried an earlier version of P3D some time ago, ended up getting my money back, and I continue to use FSX.

      In the X-Plane demo settings, I tried to calibrate my devices and set up buttons for the same configuration as I have for FSX. To some extent this worked, but some functions appear impossible to set up the same. I found my TrackIR worked some of the time, but often failed. Throttle and prop controls on my Flight Yoke System didn't work correctly at all. Getting back to settings to try and fix things required exiting the program and reloading until I set up a hot key. Finally, I gave up and deleted the demo from the desktop.

      This made me realize that starting with any simulation software takes a lot of learning and tweaking before it becomes usable in any meaningful way. While the new products are much advanced, in a comparison of the new X-Plane and P3D with FSX as I currently have it installed, I have to give the edge to FSX. I am not ready to go through the pain and suffering again that I went through with FSX in the beginning. There is just not enough wrong with the performance of FSX on my computer to make it worth going through what I experienced with the X-Plane demo.
    1. mga010's Avatar
      mga010 -
      I have done a lot of comparisons, having P3D V5 and X-Plane 11.50 on my computer. I even did a video on Youtube with a direct comparison of one local scenery around LOWI (https://youtu.be/6TYttNZq7-g). It compares XP with Ortho4XP and X-Europe (both free) against P3D with Orbx Vector (around 100€).

      I am more into aircraft systems and flying than scenery beauty. But P3D with its randomly filled blurry landclasses hurts my eyes every time I see it. The image in the answer above (by DrawYahGames) shows what I mean.

      The FSL 210 may be more feature-rich and study level, but its VC cannot compare to the FF A320's look and feel, and that is also a deeply simulated Airbus. X-Plane has a lot of very good GA planes now which can stand against the A2A planes. And the default planes in P3D are not really on a high level, not in terms of textures and also not in terms of fidelity. You will have to cash extra.

      Then, the other stuff you will need. Even in the recent iteration V5 you will need REX Clouds, plus a weather add-on. And you will need a camera system, for the default sucks. You will also need FSUIPC and have to pay for it. And pay again for P3D V5.

      ATC and AI are not good in both system. At least, I get a populated airport in the default X-Plane. And do not tell me that the default airports in P3D are satisfying. X-Plane has a lot more to offer here. Of course, most simmers buy payware stuff anyway which levels out the comparison. I don't, because I like to fly at different surprising places. By the way, I also made larger airports in ADE for FSX/P3D, and can tell you that WED is a lot more fun.

      I will keep P3D V5 on my disk eagerly waiting for the matching FSL Airbus. Aircraft systems are what keeps me flying, and of course the Airbus that I have been flying for years. In the meantime, let me enjoy the FF A320 in X-Plane.
    1. HC891PA's Avatar
      HC891PA -
      As someone who flies mostly helicopters, X-Plane is my go to sim. The only reason I even have P3D is to keep my A2A Skylane. If A2A were to build for X-Plane, I'd be rid of P3D altogether.
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      "Prepar3D uses data tables to determine how an aircraft will fly. While it allows for realistic maximum capabilities, it does mean your flight is not affected by any outside elements and on aircraft where this is poorly set, can feel like you're flying on rails.

      X-Plane uses something called Blade Element Theory which simulates the airflow around an aircraft. Here the wind and air moves over and around the wings and body of your aircraft, reacting to flight as if you were in the real thing, or at least very close to it.
      "

      To say flight dynamics in P3D isn't affected by outside elements is nonsense. It's affected by the same outside elements as X-Plane is. Angle of attack, sideslip, Mach, air temperature, pressure, wind, turbulence, etc. The data tables produce forces and moments for the whole aircraft as a function of alpha, beta, Mach, etc which dynamically responds via the equations of motion. Blade Element Theory doesn't simulate the airflow around your aircraft either. It mostly relies on a set of airfoils which calculate the lift, drag and pitching moment for different parts of the flying surfaces and integrates those into a total set of forces and moments on the aircraft. But those airfoils are actually data tables. There's a lot more to it than that of course, but essentially P3D is one complex set of data tables for the whole aircraft (the air file), X-Plane has much simpler data tables (airfoils) for each element of the aircraft model.

      The data table system used by P3D is exactly the same modelling method as that used by every airliner full flight simulator, it isn't inherently limited. The only difference is in the detail of the aerodynamic model. This is where P3D is weaker than X-Plane in that the flight dynamics are more detailed, and therefore more realistic, in X-Plane, especially in relation to asymmetric flight.

      The X-Plane flight model works really well for GA type aircraft. I do all my GA sim flying in it. I find it's less good for large airliners which are rather too skittish in X-Plane compared to P3D. One massive advantage for X-Plane is that it isn't stuck with billliard table flat airfields like P3D. It is possible to model sloping runways in P3D but few sceneries have it. In my opinion the scenery provided "out of the box" in X-Plane 11 is much more convincing than P3D. X-Plane 11 was a huge improvement in that respect, previously X-Plane had been a very empty and sparcely detailed world.
    1. tusler's Avatar
      tusler -
      Now compare these to Digital Combat Simulator aircraft and environment.
    1. ftldave's Avatar
      ftldave -
      Quote Originally Posted by zswobbie1 View Post
      I'm just thinking that X-Plane & P3D have different ideology behind them. We have an entertainment product being compared with a 'not for entertainment' product, maybe targeted to two different markets.
      Well said, an important fact that's all but ignored by the community here AND ignored by third-party vendors, too.
    1. btwallis's Avatar
      btwallis -
      I thought exactly what other have thought, that doing a comparison is ballsy.

      I have both sims, each has their own strengths and weaknesses. After moving into XP11+ two years ago, I barely fly my P3Dv4.5+ any more. I have found my sweet spot with XP11+ and for my GA flying, adding tons of ortho, having a much more robust airport library out of the box and available freeware, XP11+ is my preferred.
    1. ians's Avatar
      ians -
      Between these two, its not up for question in my opinion. I hated xplane for a long time, it was too confusing to me when you went straight into it and expected to start the program let alone fly. Like a lot of us we were spoiled by MS flight sims, generally being start it, pick your airport and your aircraft and away you go. With xplane you had to think about it. To me xplane is far superior in graphics, reality and agility. I have p3d for now although I dont think for too much longer. I have fsx as well so all three are comparable. I let my grandkids play on fsx and p3d as its easy. When vulkan is fully deployed in XP I for one will ensure it retains its own ssd drive as will FS2020 which is on order although I wont be making the mistake of comparing those two, I will just be flying and having fun.
    1. robbles's Avatar
      robbles -
      Quote Originally Posted by pinkyjr View Post
      4GB viseo on P3dv5? Respectfully disagree. It will crash within minutes. I would recommend for anyone
      seriously considering v5 to move to 8GB video.
      I bought P3D v5 thinking that my system met all the requirements. Not! My 4gb crashes within minutes, if not seconds into a flight. NOT IMPRESSED!
  • Recent Forum Activity

    inky160

    FS20 Deluxe Digital Download

    Thread Starter: inky160

    Has anyone downloaded FS20 Premium Deluxe Digital Edition from the MS Store? I thought there were supposed to be 30 planes in the Premium Deluxe...

    Last Post By: inky160 Today, 01:45 AM Go to last post
    plainsman

    Cuba to Florida.

    Thread Starter: plainsman

    One of those trips that is geopolitically impossible, but you can fly in a sim. I take off from the north coast of Cuba, skirt just west of the...

    Last Post By: plainsman Yesterday, 11:40 PM Go to last post
    natman1965

    Is your car in fs2020

    Thread Starter: natman1965

    Everyone always fly's over there house to see how it looks but what about your car. I use to work at a bait shop on the west coast of FL. ...

    Last Post By: Leadcatcher Yesterday, 10:33 PM Go to last post
    Seabreeze

    Cessna 172 Standard missing "flight_model.cfg" file

    Thread Starter: Seabreeze

    Does anyone know where this file is? Or does the Standard 172 use the same file as the glass panel 172?

    Last Post By: shb7 Yesterday, 10:22 PM Go to last post