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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:55 pm 
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Hi all. I've seen advice various places that FSX benefits from being installed on a SSD. My operating system is installed on my small SSD, and my data on a large regular harddrive. I'm using a laptop, albeit a pretty good one, but I'm starting to struggle with FSX due to using orbx, I think. I do have a large portable SSD that connects via USB. I have a 2.0 connection receptacle I could use, but it would be better if I didn't dedicate it to the SSD, and just use a regular USB spot. If there is an improvement running FSX on a SSD, is that lost if the SSD is a portable connected view USB cable? I'm thinking maybe not since an internal drive is also a cable connection, although directly to motherboard, but I thought I would ask for other opinions.

Janice


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:12 pm 
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Hi.
The USB 2.0 or 3.0 will be a bottleneck for data transfer from a portable harddrive or solid state drive to your laptop , if you wish to get better performance , then i would recommend a desktop gameing PC , yes you could get a reasonable performance from a gameing laptop and extra external drive , but it will not be as good .
The other thing to look into , might be a bigger hard drive , if possible , to be fitted in place of the one you have , but this could be costly.
regards alan. 8)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:15 pm 
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USB 2 is slooooow; it would be a waste of an SSD. The inside cable for the C and D drives are SATA connections which are *way* faster. Maybe get a bigger SSD for C that can hold your FSX? I think it should even come with software to clone your current C drive over to the new one.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:09 pm 
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Airman First Class

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Posts: 50
So, it looks like I can install a 3rd drive in my laptop which could be an SSD. I'd have to think about it, but I could likely do it myself. I have taken it apart to clean fans recently, and I use to build computers 25 years ago. It looks like I could buy a compatible SSD for less than 300$ USD. To go to a desktop would require I buy another monitor because the second one I'm using isn't really that good for flight simming - or maybe I'm just too picky. I'm actually willing to spend 300$ on it if it would make a difference, but I wonder if anyone could give me an idea of what kind of improvement I could expect? Or, does it seem like a waste of money and a better idea is to just tough it out and move over to a desktop some day when I can? I recognize there is a lot up to me here re. personal choice, but perhaps someone can help me understand what an SSD might give me.

I'm using:

MSI GE62 6QD
x64
i7-6700HQ 2.6Hz 4 cores
Nvidia GTX960M

Thank you for your responses.
Janice


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm 
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Airman First Class

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:59 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Poland
Hello Janice,

Looking at your system specs, probably you have small SSD drive in M.2 form factor and second HDD drive - 7200rpm which has read speed of about 100MB/s.
Modern SSD can read at speeds of ~550MB/s, so 5 times faster.
If we take Orbx San Diego for example which is >6GB, if you approach this area from far region, it will be loaded in 1 minute from HDD and in 10 seconds from SSD. Also if you fly in the mountains with detailed meshes which are big and being constantly read - you will also highly benefit from using SSD. Sim is constantly reading data in the background, but if it is not getting enough data on time, it will freeze for some time. So it depends what you do in your sim and if you can live with that.

It looks like your potential upgrade options are:
- external SSD connected to USB 3.0 port that you have (not recommended however, as this will create performance bottleneck). It is visible faster than HDD, but not so impressive.
- you can swap your existing M.2 drive to 256GB option (minimum, entire Orbx US will not fit) or 512GB (recommended, but more expensive). This option is the best performance one, but you need to reinstall your system or have to play with some drive migration software.
- you can swap your 2.5-inch HDD to smaller 2.5-inch SSD (slower option but probably simple and straightforward, if you fit with your existing data on smaller SSD disk)

HTH


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:57 pm 
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SSD's largest advantage over a traditional platter drive is it's much faster access time, and not throughput. For example, if your platter drive is streaming data and then has to access data on another area, an actual physical head has to move to grab that other data. These drives aren't really intelligent enough to stay put on one task then do another, so the hard drive arms just jump back and forth (hard drive thrashing sound) with both data streams being accessed. The result is considerably slower performance than doing just one thing at a time. Unfortunately your computer is never doing one thing at a time. The SSD can grab data from many different areas without physical limitations. The OS will boot much faster, and unlike a platter drive, you can almost immediately start launching programs once the OS has booted as the SSD is able to complete it's boot process while loading programs with little penalty coming from the SSD.

So an SSD whether it is on USB or not will give a significant performance improvement to your entire sim experience over a platter drive, especially load times. It won't however give you higher framerates than a traditional platter drive once in game, but you could see less hiccups as the sim flies and has to access data.

Every OS and heavy random data access application in 2019 needs to be on an SSD IMO. It's well worth the extra cost.

Scott.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:27 pm
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This has been very helpful. Thank you. I recognize Scott's discussion about how the platter driver works vrs SSD.

In the early 70s, I was a log scaler which required me to fly (as a passenger) all over the West Coast of BC and Charlottes. I enjoyed it a lot, and that's where I fly in my flight simulator a lot of the time. Today, I'm pushing 70. I use the flight sim (and other things) to keep me learning. For me, managing the various planes, learning to navigate, among other flight sim stuff, and making my computer keep up to what I want to do in FSX . . . well, I just think it's probably good for me. However, I also wonder, "Just how much should an old broad spend on a flight sim!!!???"

I think the answer for now is to look for an additional SSD instead of my portable SSD (my O/S SSD isn't big enough for fsx and I think I might have a slot which I will confirm), and, if I want to go further, I think I will build a computer for my flight sim to which I can install the SSD I buy for the computer I have.

Also, having thought about it, the extra monitor I have might be fine. It's just that my current system doesn't allow it to work off my nVidia card. It's working off the basic card. So, if I build a system, I might not need to buy a monitor for it until I'm ready.

Thank you for your responses, and for helping me to understand my ssd question. You've given me to information I needed to figure out where to go with this. Good stuff!

Janice


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:46 am
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Janice, don't forget memory. Put as much memory as you can in your computer. This helps to keep your computer from using the disk as a virtual memory cache. It will use the disk anyway as a virtual memory cache but will not have to swap data in and out of memory so much if you have more memory. In technical terms it will keep your page faults down.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:04 am 
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Thank you for suggestion. I've got 16 meg of memory on computer . . . a bit less on me . . . But, seems like FSX never gets close to using more than 4 meg RAM. When I check it using Process Explorer, once FSX gets near using 4 meg (3.7 or 3.8), it crashes. I gather that's about right for FSX. But, please let me know if I'm mistaken.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:50 am 
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BDG

Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 9:17 pm
Posts: 691
janice wrote:
Thank you for suggestion. I've got 16 meg of memory on computer . . . a bit less on me . . . But, seems like FSX never gets close to using more than 4 meg RAM. When I check it using Process Explorer, once FSX gets near using 4 meg (3.7 or 3.8), it crashes. I gather that's about right for FSX. But, please let me know if I'm mistaken.


it'll be using gigabytes (GB or gig for short), not megabytes. 4 meg was the size of your average floppy disk! :) But yes, FSX cant use more than 4 gigs of memory due to its 32bit architecture :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:38 am
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Location: Bonham, Texas
I once put a program on SSD to check load times and didn't see near as much improvement as I expected. I am wondering how much of the load time is finding and transferring data from the disk and how much is processing it for the program to use. Obviously loading will be faster, but is it enough to justify the expense?

I started getting OOM errors with my newer faster computer with graphics settings higher than on my old computer so I did some research on VAS usage (Anyone who uses Process Monitor to keep track of VAS is OK in my book :) ) and narrowed it down to pretty much textures, especially land class but also custom buildings and certain AI aircraft in P3Dv2.5.

I lowered a few of my graphics settings by one notch and the major VAS jumps went away, even in areas that always got them before. Since then my largest VAS usage has been 3254 meg on a flight that previously got an OOM with an average of 2557 over 36 flights, mostly away from civilization, but even Mexico City was only 2801. Call it an 800 meg savings. I think the major setting was LOD Radius from 5.5 to 4.5 but there were a few others.

Hook


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:03 pm 
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Hi Hook. I admit to being a bit too ambitious in my settings, I think. Yesterday, I was fine practicing patterns and landings around Bowerman (Orbx scenery and Airport) in the A2A trainer, and happy with the graphics. Where things get really frustrating is if I fly the F1 King Air B200. I'm sure the problem is with the G1000 avionics, but I think airspeed also contributes a lot if my altitude is low. Things can go fine for a while, and then the programme gets overwhelmed, creeping over 3800 meg and creating an OOM. This is usually when I descend to land (if not before). Things get increasingly blurry until I freeze, crash, or pretty much can't see to land, I assume because the detail in the graphic is increasing as I descend. I've actually even had this happen in the Piper Cherokee, but I think that might have been after I had previously loaded the B200. I'm just going to try the A2A Beechcraft again to see how that works out descending from altitude, and will update this post later.

Janice


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:26 pm 
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Remember whenever doing a performance check with an SSD vs any other drive, you need to avoid copying the same files a second time as they will pull data from the cash.

Scott.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:23 pm 
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Oh! Thanks, Scott.

That brings up another issue: The first time the sim loads after a reboot it takes considerably longer than any subsequent start. The data is obviously getting cached somewhere but I don't know where.

I am going to guess that installing the sim on an SSD will speed up this initial load but I can't predict what will happen on subsequent loads.

Hook


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:32 pm 
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Airman First Class

Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:27 pm
Posts: 50
I'm really quite frustrated with this. I've actually been struggling with it for quite a while. I'm certain that I have previously been able to run FSX-SE pretty much maxed out. I'm now struggling even with the Cherokee and FSX on pretty modest graphic settings (no weather, little or no traffic, modest scenery settings). It seems to me that my computer is running a lot of services in the background, and I've been shutting some of them down without ill affects. However, when I watch FSX in Process Explorer, it's as though FSX just starts loading itself up with stuff until it gets close to 4000 GB with increasing blurries and more and more trouble updating the graphics, and then it crashes. It's as though it never flushes out any scenery it's loaded in a flight.

I have Orbx Vectors, but have everything turned off in it.

I've tried all kinds of different tweak recommendations I've found around on the internet (and also a new config file, etc.), with and without DX10. I have better results without it, even with the fixer, and better results if I let FSX take care of AA rather than setting it in Nvidia. I've tried managing frame rates in the sim and in Nvidia, and haven't solved the problem either way. I've read it could be a problem of unlimited frames, and frankly that's what my problem most sounds like, but limiting frames in FSX or in Nvidia does fix the problem.

I really enjoy simming, but it's getting to the point where it isn't any fun. I'm not sure what to do. FSX takes several minutes to load, which makes it pretty trying to test various configurations. I've tried setting it up so it doesn't load all aircraft and sceneries with no appreciable difference. I thought the SSD might be a solution, but today I'm feeling a bit doubtful about that. I hate to uninstall the whole thing, but it seems like that might be my only solution at this point, aside from trying factory settings on my computer, which I really, really don't want to do.

One thing I wonder about: Is it possible that as the programme is accessing and using a bit of scenery that the computer is then trying to index the change to the file like with superfetch, and that's eventually bogging FSX down?

Again, thanks all for trying to help.

Janice


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