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Flight Simulator X Performance Tips

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The following tips will help you achieve maximum flight simulator performance, which should result in a frame rate of around 30 - 50 frames per second (fps).
  1. With FSX, make sure that the software is configured to take advantage of multiple cores. This requires two basic steps: install FSX accelerations (otherwise, multicore is not supported) and check that the FSX.cfg file contains the following section: [JOBSCHEDULAR] AffinityMask=x, with x=1 for one core, x=3 for two cores, x=7 for three cores, x=15 for four cores, etc. (x is a bitmask). Then, configure the AffinityMask such that the first core is not used by FSX. Note 1: the first core is the most right side bit in the mask. Example with 4 cores: 1110 = 14. Note 2: when using hyperthreading (Intel cpu's), the cpu simulates 2 cores to the OS for each single core. Best practise is to use only one OS core for each chip core. This is achieved bu using the mask '01' for each core. Example with 4 cores and hyperthreading: 01010100 = 84. Performance gain in fps: 10 - 20 % + better image quality.

  2. Don't use the option 'Light bloom'.

  3. Set UsePools=0 in the section [BufferPools]. Will bypass explicit buffers. Only use on fast PC and GPU (GTX 560 or better). Performance gain in fps: 10 - 20 %.

  4. Limit the rendering of distance objects relative to your aircraft.

  5. Weather settings also have a tremendous impact on the fps. Limit the rendering of clouds far away from the aircraft.

  6. Don't use 100% settings for auto generated objects (like buildings and trees) as this again leads to a huge number of objects being drawn every frame.

  7. Experiment with the settings for mesh and texture resolution.

  8. Use the anti-aliasing feature of the graphics cards instead of letting the simulator program do the work. The graphics card is also better at this.

  9. Set the flight simulator’s resolution to the native display resolution (this will not help the flight sim software itself but will speed up the response time of the display).

  10. Put a reasonable limit on the maximum frame rate. A good value is 30 - 40 fps. It will free up CPU cycles which can then be used for other tasks. Or better: use an external fps-limiter and set FSX to unlimited. NVidea drivers have the capibility to limit fps.

  11. With the FSX, in the FSX.cfg, set the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=25 (maximum fps minus 5)

  12. A Good fps rate with all settings at their maximum is simply not always possible. There is no hardware that can cope with such requirements. So, you must run through these steps to determine the correct settings for your hardware configuration.

  13. Always change just one parameter at a time and check the influence of the change on the frame rate. If you change more than one thing at a time, you will not be able to pinpoint the effects to one single parameter. This will certainly lead to sub-optimal performance settings.

Useful link: Nvidia configuration guide (Inspector + 2xx.xx drivers) version 2.0 + explanations of all settings

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HeliStart is authored by Peter Goossens.

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