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Is the Mac Mini a contender for FSX sweetness

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I collected all the parts yesterday and am now approx 3/4 way through the build.

First boot test (mobo/CPU/Heatsink/PCU/Memory) - OK

Second boot test (plus new HDD) - OK (CPU temp settles around 31 degrees at idle)

The only issues so far is finding there was no IDE socket on the motherboard for my old DVD drive, so am gonna need to nip out today and get a SATA one. And an old SATA2 HDD wasn't found when connected - I think this is from using old (orange) cables.

cheers,

Chris.

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Great to hear you're almost there Chris. I will be watching you with a keen eye ;)

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Hi Howard,

Build complete, I discovered the old HDD wasn't being found because I needed to use sequential SATA ports on the motherboard.

I'm not getting sound out, I thought this was because my card is a Creative SB X-Fi Xtreme, which doesn't seem to have Win 7 drivers, although no onboard sound either atm.

cheers,

Chris.

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Hi Chris

For sure there are drivers for W7 and the X-Fi. See here. Also, if you are using the X-Fi then make sure you disable your onboard audio in your BIOS. Perhaps it already is, hence you're getting no sound either way? Just make sure you only ever have one or the other. By the way your onboard audio will also need a driver (could be Realtek perhaps?).

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You've got me going now Chris. I'm thinking of building a new machine myself!

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Sorry for the absence for this thread for a bit chaps, I recently started a new work contract, so have been nose to the grindstone.

I'll post some framerate data shortly, having bought Aerosoft's M.A. Zurich and Amsterdam (and the PMDG NGX) this weekend.

cheers,

Chris

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Don't forget to include your settings as well because certainly at Amsterdam they make the difference between single digits and very smooth. And even worse, the best settings with Zurich and Amsterdam are pretty different!

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Thanks Mathijs, I do see a fair drop in fps at the 'custom' Airports I have (from a range of publishers I should add). I must check these forums for setting advice.

cheers,

Chris.

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Hi there, I've done some assessment of performance and by tweaking a few settings (see below), and I'm seeing:

  • overfly Default Friday Harbor in Microlight, no AI: 170 to 200 fps
  • overfly Default Chicago O'Hare in Microlight, no AI: 70 to 80 fps
  • overfly Aerosoft Zurich in Microlight, no AI: 40 to 50 fps
  • overfly Aerosoft Frankfurt in Microlight, no AI: 40 to 50 fps
  • overfly Imaginesim Atlanta in Microlight, no AI: 50 fps

Adding my custom (Mipmapped DJC/AIA/TFS) AI, figures drop by around 10 to 15 fps at largeish airports

And If I replace the microlight with a complex bird (e.g. the PMDG NGX) the framerates at complex airports there's a further change of approx 10 to 12 fps (from the microlight).

So it seems the framerate results are directly proportional to the polygon demand. I'd be interested to hear how other folks systems compare to these numbers.

cheers, Chris

FSX Settings are:

Graphics

Device: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti.0

Target frame rate: "Unlimited"

Screen resolution: 1600x1200x32,

Filtering:Tri-linear, Anti-Aliasing:On

Global Texture Resolution:High,

Preview DX10:Off,

Lens Flare:Off,

Light Bloom:Off,

Advanced Animations:Off

Aircraft

A/C Casts shadow on ground:Off,

A/C Casts shadow on self:Off,

Landing Lights Illuminate Ground: On

2d panel Transparency: 0%

Scenery

LOD Radius: Medium,

Mesh Complexity:51,

Mesh Resolution: 19m,

Texture Resolution:1m,

Water Effects: 2.0 Low,

Land Detail Tex: On,

Scenery Complexity: "Extremely Dense",

Autogen Density: "Dense",

Ground Scenery shadows:Off,

Special Effects Detail:Low

Weather

Cloud Draw distance: 80mi,

Themal voz: "None

Simulation Settings: Off,

Change rate: "Medium"

Detailed Clouds, Density: Medium

Traffic

Airline Traffic Density: 100% (Custom traffic applied), GA Traffic: 0%, Airport Vehicle: "Minimum"

Land, Sea Traffic: All 0%

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Chris, reads to me like you are exactly where you want to be. A comfortable 30+ fps at a big airport in the NGX, with AI to boot! By the way forcing FSX to show you average fps is a good idea to even out the variation in your readings. It is a fsx.cfg file tweak. Run a search as I do not have it on hand.

No mention of any overclock on that i7 so chances are you got some spare horsepower under that hood.

I see you have in-game anti aliasing on - how is the visual quality in your opinion? How smooth are all the edges of objects and especially fonts? Could they be better?

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Nice to see you have the rig all up and running Chris. I see you're running unlimited..mmm. OK if it works for you, but try locking at 30fps, you'll free up resources for scenery loading etc and take away the demand for high fames from the CPU ;)

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Hi there Chaps

@sharrow, the reason for in-game anti-aliasing is mip-mapped AI textures, without it they look pretty bad in the middle distance.

@rocky, I noticed in the past FSX locking framerates below the stated figure. But it's probably something I will use, as you say, to help with texture/scenery load times.

rgds,

Chris.

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Hi there Gents.

Bit of a long absence on this thread.

After I finishing building the new machine, something was nagging me about the image quality, so I was fiddling with Bios settings (as you do) and noticed the Graphics was defaulted to "PCI"(!), so I changed to PCI-E x16 (approx) and 'bing' the picture sharpened nicely.

Boot up time seemed slow and I figured this was to do with the rather tortuous upgrade path to Win 7. So dug into pocket for a full Win7 disk and reinstalled everything clean, so it's about as quick to boot as a friends i5 (welcome screen was 12 seconds, now it's 1-2)

Having done that it was much better but FSX still seemed a tad short of what it could be.

So just after Xmas I invested in a Velociraptor and a Corsair GT. Originally both OS and FSX partitions were on the same 1Tb drive, now the OS is on the Velociraptor; and FSX is on the SSD.

I know the smart money says that SSDs don't affect fps, only load-up. But I'm sure there's something in there 'holding it back' (even with O/C to to 3.4Ghz) and moving from a single 1Tb to the WDV and SSD, I can't say that last step made a difference. But I don't know much about SSDs.

Don't get me wrong, it's easily flyable (running FSX in XP compatibility mode, resolved the appcrashes I was originally getting). The most recent aspect I was juggling with was swapping-out all the AIA/TFS/DJC AI from FS9 to FSX models, but the dodgy lightmaps in FSX-native meant that after some experimentation I backtracked on that one.

I'm mostly playing with the AirbusX these days, which seems to offer more 'european opportunities' to explore Aerosoft sceneries ;) than the boeings.

Cheers,

Chris.

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