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  Tweaks
This Page has been viewed 164,731 times
YOU CAN FIND THE ORIGNAL GUIDE HERE: http://ops.precisionmanuals.com/wiki/FSX_FPS_Guide


Note: FileFront/Microsoft Flight Simulator Files Is not responsible to any damages done to your PC or Game using these tweaks. Use Them At Your Own Discretion.

=NOTE: DO NOT USE THIS GUIDE WITH THE NEWLY RELEASED FSX SP1=
Many of the tweaks are no longer relevant and may seriously degrade performance! The guide will be updated for SP1 soon.

==Introduction==

This week saw the release of Microsoft's latest and greatest, Flight Simulator X. I know many of PMDG's customers rushed out to the store to buy it and returned home only to be met with a near slideshow of sub 10FPS performance. I had the same initial reaction, but took the time to apply various tweaks and try different slider settings and I've arrived at a very workable level of performance that will hold me off until new hardware comes into the market in the next year that will allow us to run it maxed.

Here's what I've personally done to make FSX run reasonably well on my machine and on Capt. Randazzo's, which is nearly identical to mine.

===Specs===

Here's my PC's specs. I have a pretty nice machine and you're gonna have to make adjustments yourself to compensate if you have a lower end system.

I'm running a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4200+ on an Asus A8N-SLI motherboard (nForce 4 chipset), 2GB of low latency PC3200 RAM, and a GeForce 7800GTX 256MB video card.

==General system tweaks==

One problem I constantly see among all gamers (not just FS users) is a lack of tweaking and optimization in Windows itself before the game/sim is ever run. You can't possibly expect good performance when you've got 20 system tray icons and their associated programs running, a bunch of potential spyware/malware slowing the machine down, and year old drivers that don't have all the latest optimizations and bug fixes.


===Visit Windows Update===

I'm constantly amazed by the number of simmers who refuse to install Service Packs and Windows Updates. These aren't going to slow your machine down, break FS, or anything like that. Windows XP Service Pack 2 is an absolute must - you are opening your system to all sorts of malware threats if you aren't running it.

===Permanently disable unnecessary startup programs===

I prefer to do this manually and permanently since the types of things listed here shouldn’t be running at any time on your machine. Software makers have gotten into a terrible habit of installing all sorts of junk that runs at startup that you absolutely do not need.

# Download a copy of Autoruns (http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/Autoruns.html) and extract it to a folder of your choice. This is a very advanced tool that lets you see exactly what is loading at start up and from where. The guys that wrote this are among MS's top Windows engineers and know every possible way that something can load automatically on your machine.
# Open up Autoruns and go to the options menu and check "Hide Microsoft Entries" and then hit the refresh button. You're now looking at a detailed list of every bit of third party software that's loading at start up on your machine. Go through the list and uncheck useless things like Real Player, Quick Time, iTunes, Adobe Reader Speed Launch, etc.

'''IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ABOUT AN ITEM, DO NOT DISABLE IT!'''

There is a searchable list of startup programs availiable here at http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php where you can look these items up. You can also right click the item in Autoruns and select "Google..." to automatically perform a web search on the name of the file.

===Temporarily disable necessary startup programs===

This is what you want to use Ken Salter's famous FSAutoStart (http://www.kensalter.com/fsautostart) FSAutoStart utility for. Set up a profile for FSX in it and temporarily turn off things like anti-virus monitoring, real time defrag engines, search indexers like Google Desktop, etc. Anything that could sit there and suck CPU cycles away from FSX, take up RAM, or thrash the hard drive while flying you want disabled while using the sim.

As before, if you're in doubt about an item, just search for it on SysInfo or Google as in the earlier example.

===Update your drivers===

This is absolutely critical.

You should have the latest drivers for these pieces of your hardware at a bare minimum:

Driver Cleaner (http://www.drivercleaner.net) can assist you in fully removing old versions of drivers which can conflict with the new ones you're installing. Be sure to fully remove the driver and anything else related to it from Add/Remove Programs FIRST before rebooting in safe mode and running Driver Cleaner.

====Motherboard====
* Intel: http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df-external/Product_Filter.aspx?ProductID=816&lang=eng - most systems running Pentium or Core CPUs.
* Nvidia: http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp - anything with nForce in the name.
* VIA: http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1070 - most chipsets with K or KT at the start of the name.

CPU-Z (http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php) is a very useful tool for determining which motherboard chipset and processor you have - run it and look on the Mainboard tab for details on which chipset you have.

====CPU====

Many of the newer CPUs have a driver that can improve performance and power management. This is particularly true of the AMD Athon 64X2 Dual Core series. Intel CPUs do not currently need a driver.

* AMD users go here: http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_871,00.html for potential driver updates and utilities. X2 users should have both the driver and the AMD Dual Core Optimizer utility installed.

====Video Card====
* Nvidia: http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp - anything with GeForce in the name.
* ATI: https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=894&task=knowledge&folderID=293 - anything with Radeon in the name.
*Guru3D: http://www.guru3d.com - up-to-date drivers for both Video Card families. Try at your own risk - some may be beta.

====Sound Card====
* Creative Labs: http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/ - anything with SoundBlaster, Audigy, X-Fi, etc in the name.
* Onboard sound - go to the website of your motherboard maker to obtain the latest driver for integrated onboard sound chips.

Other hardware like mice, keyboard, joysticks, etc are not as critical but you should still try to keep their drivers up to date as well. Go to the manufacturers website for those.

===Defrag===

When I installed FSX, I defragged both before and after the install. I’d assumed that the files would not be fragmented post install, but I was wrong – they were and very much so. Fragmented files (especially textures or terrain BSP files) can cause a lot of stuttering and longer than usual load times. Run the MS defrag utility at the very least and preferably a commercial defragger like:

* O&O Defrag:http://www.oo-software.com/en
* Diskeeper: http://www.diskeeper.com/defrag.asp
* Perfect Disk]: http://www.raxco.com

I personally use Perfect Disk 8 and find it to be the best one on the market. Be patient, the post FSX install defrag took almost an hour for me.

===Other general resources===

The best general source for information on setting up and tweaking a gaming PC that I have ever seen is Koroush Ghazi's exhaustive 175 page manual (http://www.tweakguides.com/TGTC.html). TweakGuides.com is a great site and I highly recommend checking out his other guides if you play any of those games in addition to FS. You'll learn a ton about graphics card terminology and your games will run a whole lot better too!

==FSX Tweaks==

Ok so first here's the tweaks I've used that are actual modifications you need to do outside of the sim.

Please note that I did not develop these tweaks – most of them I gleaned from http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=121 on the AVSIM FSX Forum, from the various ACES team member blogs, and from http://www.fox-fam.com/wordpress/?page_id=41

==CFG tweaks==

The FSX.cfg file can be found by default in '''Cbig grinocuments and Settings(Your Windows User Name)Application DataMicrosoftFSX''' on Windows XP and in '''C:Users(Your Windows User Name)Application DataMicrosoftFSX''' on Windows Vista - I suggest making a shortcut to it on the desktop and setting Notepad to open .cfg files by default.

===Fiber Frame Time Fraction===

Find the [MAIN] section of the .cfg and add the following line:

FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION=0.33

This line controls how aggressive the sim is in ensuring that scenery loads in quickly. Without this line, you may see the dreaded “blurries” more frequently. 0.33 is the recommended value by the ACES team, but you can experiment with raising or lowering it as you see fit. The range is 0.0 to 1.0 and higher values will mean more priority to scenery loading and less FPS.

===Texture Bandwidth Mult===

Find the line that reads

TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=40

And change it to

TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=400

This will make texture load in while flying go much faster.


-- UPDATE SP1 -- (from Phil Taylor's blog)

The mysterious sounding TEXTURE_BANDWITH_MULT is our first target. This is a setting in the [DISPLAY] section of the file, formatted like this:

[DISPLAY]
TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=n

Where n can range from 10 to some reasonable value that is related to your frame rate limit.

From Rafael Cintron, part of the FS Graphics and Terrain team, comes this description:

“The TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT option in the Graphics section is the target frame rate use for calculating texture bandwidth. The higher you set this value the more textures we will allocate and copy per frame to the graphics card. The lower you set this value, the less we will allocate and copy up to a minimum limit. As an example, the default rate in the “high” perf bucket setting is 40. The lowest perf bucket setting is 10.

Higher settings on this flag can cause stutters on frames where the terrain system has finished compositing lots of textures. Lower settings can reduce stutters on busy frames and spread out the load across multiple frames“

So thinking this thru, if the value you set is 40, and your frame rate limit is 30, then we will send 40/30 or 4/3 as much textures per frame.

Moving this value to 400, like I have seen some users post in the forums, is probably *not* what you want to do since that increases the texture load on the graphics card by 10x, eg 400/40 = 10x. And after talking about this to Raf, setting it to 0 is ignored and can be validated by setting it to 10 which should give no different results.

===Buffer Pools===

Add the following section and line to the end of the cfg file

[BufferPools]
PoolSize=5000000

This is a sort of scenery cache that will help eliminate a lot of the stuttering you see when panning the view around the cockpit or outside the plane. It does increase video memory usage though, so this probably won’t be effective on a video card with less than 256MB of memory.

-- UPDATE FSX SP1 --- (from Phil's blog again)

The pedestrian sounding BUFFERPOOLS is a section of its own in the fsx.cfg file. There is a setting in there called Poolsize, as in

[BUFFERPOOLS]
Poolsize=n

Where n is the amount of bytes we will allocate for one pool of vertex and index buffers to store geometry.

Again from Raf:
“In RTM, the default setting was 1MB (1000000). The lower this number, the more pools the allocator will have to rummage through to find space for buffers and the more stutters you may have. In Sp1, we raised the default to 4MB (4000000) and optimized the underlying algorithm for finding free buffers“

So be careful here, making this smaller can hurt you, since searching for space takes time and can cause stutters, and making the number too large can waste space. 4-10m is probably the range to be thinking about using unless you have a very high memory graphics card (>512)

===Autogen Density===

Add the following lines to end of the [TERRAIN] section of the .cfg

TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=4500
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=3000

These are the default settings for how many buildings and trees appear in each FSX scenery cell. I personally have not changed these, however I’m including the tweak here for those with lower end systems to try out.

This sets the maximum number of autogen objects you’re going to see with the slider at Extremely Dense (full right). It’s a multiplier on the entire slider, so if you lower or raise these numbers it will affect all settings on the slider, not just the maxed out one.

==Autogen Tweaks==

It’s rather clear that autogen is the prime source of most of the low out-of-the-box performance in FSX. There are a couple tweaks that I used to get it under control.

===AutogenDescriptions.spb===

Matt Fox noticed a few days after FSX release that the sim tries to load a huge variety of different tree models at random when it renders forests. This places a large strain on current systems. He created an alternate AutogenDescriptions.spb file that trims down the number of choices FSX has when drawing a forest. This made a huge difference in FPS for me.

To apply this tweak, download the file here: http://www.fox-fam.com/FSX/AutogenDescriptions.zip

Now go to your FSX/Autogen folder and rename the default AutogenDecriptions.spb file to AutogenDescriptions.bak for backup purposes. Now copy Matt’s new file into the folder.

===default.xml===

This is the other important autogen tweak and many will probably remember this one from FS9’s early days:

Go to FSX/Autogen and rename the file default.xml to default.bak

This turns off the “custom” autogen buildings such as gas stations, fast food restaurants with big chickens out in front etc. MS supposedly fixed the FPS loss from this in the FS2004 9.1 patch, but it appears that the problem may be back in FSX. Disabling this file makes the world look a little less realistic in high density city areas, but I think the tradeoff for increased FPS is well worth it.

==Other Tweaks==

There are other more extreme tweaks available on Matt’s page involving reduced quality textures etc. but I did not use these and don’t recommend doing so unless you have a low end system and are still experiencing FPS issues after applying the listed ones here.


Note: FileFront/Microsoft Flight Simulator Files Is not responsible to any damages done to your PC or Game using these tweaks. Use Them At Your Own Discretion.


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Total comments: 4 | Last comment: 10-07-2013 at 10:02

 #1 - I need ALL the help I can - 06-08-2012 at 11:56
KMGYwilson
From: (Centerville, OH.)
Joined: June 8th, 2012
Posts: 1
Last Christmas I had bought this COMPAQ Presario CQ62, and my Microsoft Flight Simulator runs OK, but can it run better! My question is, How do I know that the software is running at best performance with the computer. Please you can EMAIL me at ohiochefron@att.net or you can telephone me at 937-291-1712 after 6 PM, EST and not after 10 PM, EST Sunday thur Saturday.

Everyone reading this: Have a Blessed Day!
Ron
KMGYwilson

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