FSX slows to a crawl over time on Windows 7

FSX reinstalled on Dell Latitide E6400 with Nvidia Quadro 160M graphics, after upgrade to Win7 64 bit, 4GB memory.

Same computer with XP had satisifactory performance, frame rates 15-20 at native screen resolution.

After win7 upgrade, fsx (expansion pack=SP2) starts out at 20fps or higher, but after a few minutes slows to 1-5 fps, irrespective of scenario, and almost independently of the graphics settings. Even setting to low resolution and low textures doesn't prevent the degradation.

So I suspect the Nvidia driver (latest, tried previous), and some setting incompatability.  Any suggestions?  Trying each setting and combination (and restarting FSX, waiting for the slowdown) etc is impractical.

Running in XPsp3 compatibility mode made no difference. Clean startup made no difference.
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eslonimAsked:
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RohitBagchiCommented:
Though I'll stick with my thought that the graphics card and its performance on 7 alongwith the nature of FSX requiring some serious hardware is the root cause, here are some other things you can check.

When your FPS takes a hit, start the Windows Task Manager and check whether there are any other applications (mainly antivirus) that are taking up CPU cycles, causing lag.

Beyond that, fact is I have an HP DV7 laptop with a C2D8600 / 4GB / 7 Ultimate / ATI 4850 1GB DDR3 and still my frame rates are between 20 and 40 on FSX. The same laptop running FS2004 gives me an FPS of 130-215.

(FPS = frames per second)

For a complete guide on extracting all you can out of your system for FSX specifically, use this : http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=29041 - its one of the best guides available and I use it myself.

Cheers.
RB
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RohitBagchiCommented:
Hello,

Try to reduce the number of scenery packs that are loaded into memory by disabling the regions you dont plan on flying to and also lowering object density, aircraft details, autogenerated scenery to a minimum. The video card too is not optimum for the game sadly and you have to remember that Windows 7 does have a higher overhead cost on your system. Remember that your FPS is directly related to the scenery complexity of the moment - eg - flying / taking off in an area of high object density (planes / models / airport structures / buildings...) = MAJOR FPS drop. Also, as far as I know, your video card uses system memory (shared) and that also really takes a hit for any memory intensive game like FSX. Also if you are using custom downloaded aircraft / addon packs, disabling them will also boost your FPS.

You may want to try running FSX in XP mode, if you have a copy of 7 Ultimate as that is exactly what it is meant to do, run your apps in XP natively.

If that is not an option, your MAIN bet would be to run FSX in DirectX 9 mode instead of DX10. I know it sounds counter-productive, but that's your best bet for getting a few extra FPS.

Give the above a try, nothing else, I'd recommend a drop to FS2002/2004 as they are a lot more considerate of your resources and have the same physics engine, and from personal experience, better cockpits that are suited to computer flying (being able to see the runway while landing is one big advantage :))

Cheers.
RB
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
SP2 or the Acceleration expansion?
Do you see any difference if you switch between DX9 & DX10 in FS?
Do you have any other graphics intensive games on the laptop that behave the same?
Which W64 nVidia drivers have you used so far?
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Hi Masqueraid,

1) DC9 and DX10 exhibit similar behaviour, high fps then decreasing.

2) No, I don't have any really intensive games, except perhaps a simulator that is quite graphic intensive but uses OPENGL.  I am willing to run a benchmark if that will help troubleshoot.

3) Tried Dell latest available nVidia 188.40 WHQL driver (Win7/Vista 64bit)  and then latest from Nvidia site Verde 197.16 WHQL

4) Dxdiag shows no problems

Appreciate your interest, Edwin
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
DC9 should be DX9 of course
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Can you post your fsx.cfg as an attachment? (you'll probally have to rename it to fsx.txt)
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
here it is, just reflecting one of my recent tests at low graphics levels I think

fsx.cfg.txt
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Try adding this line to the cfg file:
[BufferPools]
PoolSize=1000000
If it makes no difference then we'll concentrate on the graphics driver for a while
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
RohitBagchi:, thanks for the suggestions, but I don't think they relate to my problem where it slows down dramatically.

Also, XP mode doesn't allow directx access to applications, so fsx won't run in a virtual XP box. (at least not the MS windows one)

Trying Bufferpools .... - no effect

Let me add some info:  After the slowdown, if I reload the mission or flight, it takes much much longer to load.  Once loaded, it starts again at the target frame rate, and then slows down as before. (suddenly FPS drops to half (say 10 from 20), and then to 6 and then to 3 or 4.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Did you update the laptop with the Dell IDT Audio and Chipset drivers for W7 64 after the upgrade?
Is it running BIOS Ver A20?
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Bios A20, Chipset driver for sure, IDT audio also, latest versions from Dell site.  Turning off sound makes (Q) makes no difference
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Tried 195.62.  No luck.  I also reset the Nvidia parameters to default, no luck.  I though the newer ones were also notebook tuned and suitable?

Remember it is time related, happening after a certain time of flight.  I tried flying different routes, and it appears to be solely time related (although not precisely at the same time)

Thanks for patience, I will to keep trying anything you suggest.  This is the only major complaint I have with my Win7 setup.
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Fascinating - I ran resource monitor alongside FSX in a window.  Until the degradation I am not even running at 100% CPU, only about 60-75%.  As the degradation starts, CPU quickly goes to 100%, but then back down and variable.  Something is definitely wrong.

By the way, 195.62 appears better (subjectively), degraded mode at higher texture level still gives 6-7 FPS usually, not the 2 or 1 I was seeing before.


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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Hi RohitBagchi,

I appreciate your interest too.  FSX on this system running XP gave me frame rates over 25, on almost the highest settings, with no tuning effort.

I will settle for 20, but not 2 or 3 which is unusable.  My comments above show that CPU is not the problem, and probably not even GPU raw power, since the details settings and texture settings don't affect the results much.

I read the links you posted.  Some useful advice, with a bit of black magic and witchcraft thrown in.  Hard to believe that you need to reboot after every driver is installed on a new system.  Anyway, I work on this notebook, and re-installing is out of the question.

The question is why am I not using all the 4GB memory, why not using all the CPU, and why does the system start out ok, and then degenerate after a few minutes.
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RohitBagchiCommented:
XP installation size = about 1.5GB
Windows 7 Installation size = about 16 GB

You do realize that there is a performance overhead cost of using Windows 7 in comparison with Windows XP, I hope.

Why the CPU isn't running at 100% is simple - both cores need to be operating at capacity for it to be at 100%. Multithreaded applications use the cores as required and thus, usually there is always one core that is more taxed than the other. Usually a multi-core supporting application will send some processing to one core and some to the other. It is not parallel processing in its true sense and is done for example - physics on one core, and sound / ai on the other core for a dual core processor.

Since you are convinced that the problem lies with your drivers and not what I consider the hardware specs and Windows 7 overheads + FSX requirements, all you can do is to use the Nvidia control panel to reduce all the Direct3D sliders to the minimum to see if it makes any difference.

Good luck.
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
ProcessorIntel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9400 @ 2.53GHz6.1
3.4
 Determined by lowest subscoreMemory (RAM)4.00 GB6.1GraphicsNVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M3.4Gaming graphics2041 MB Total available graphics memory5.3Primary hard disk75GB Free (233GB Total)5.9 Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9400 @  2.53GHz 6.1     3.4    Determined by lowest  subscore  Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB 6.1  Graphics NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M 3.4  Gaming graphics 2041 MB Total available graphics  memory 5.3  Primary hard disk 75GB Free (233GB Total) 5.9
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I pasted HTML
 RohitBagchi:
 
 I can't accept that h/w is the root, since a) dramatically different settings (resolution and textures) give similar results.  If I was hardware limited the lower settings should perform better.  
b) Time factor - if the h/w can't handle it, it should be poor fps immediately, not after a few minutes.  
c) The same h/w gave satisfactory performance under XP, might be 10% maybe even 25% slower under Win7, but not 90% slower.  
   
For what it is worth, here are the Windows Experience figures:  
Processor      Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9400 @ 2.53GHz         6.1     3.4  
Memory (RAM)       4.00 GB        6.1      
Graphics       NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M 3.4      
Gaming graphics     2041 MB Total available graphics memory       5.3      
Primary hard disk   75GB Free (233GB Total)   5.9      

I am happy to try troubleshooting suggestions or experiments.  
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
I didn't get FSX running with a satisfactory frame rate.

After further research I concluded that Rohitbagchi is largely correct, the hardware (especially graphics) is borderline or below for FSX
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RohitBagchiCommented:
@Author.

Its excellent that you gave a answer grade of B considering I told you in my first response :


The video card too is not optimum for the game sadly and you have to  remember that Windows 7 does have a higher overhead cost on your system.
Pointing out we couldn't "solve" your problem because "After further research I concluded that Rohitbagchi is  largely correct, the hardware (especially graphics) is borderline or  below for FSX" is an amazing closure.

You should instead just have deleted your question and saved your points instead of adding a needless B grade to my record because I couldn't increase the performance of your graphics card.
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
Rohit, Sorry if my b grade damaged you - I will consider changing it if you let me know the mechanism.  I would have given you A and all the points if you had demonstrated the statement initially, with a link, a benchmark or something.  It was just an unsupported statement (which turned out to be largely correct (someone did report 19fps on similar systems in notebook-review.com)

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RohitBagchiCommented:
@Author.

Your grade doesn't "damage" me one bit. The fact is that we take time off our lives to answer your queries, without getting anything in return. Its not like we are paid to answer your questions. We try to help because we can. Thats all. Your points mean little. Your attitude means a lot.

By being dismissive, you will only help ensure that people who can help, won't bother. My first post told you three things : 1) Your graphics card was below par 2) Shared VRAM is not a speed demon. 3) Switch to DX9 mode for any possible increase. If you wanted clarification, you could have asked. You followed your best course by rechecking your BIOS version. My next post guided you to one of the best performance guides for FSX....

Your response to my suggestions were negligible instead focusing on trying to tell me I was wrong in my theory, which could be possible. But wasn't.

Some of us build our "theories" through experience and not Google. Giving you links which you can get yourself if you use Google is not what I personally like to do when its not needed.

So, the point of my comment was, if you think you know your answers, don't ask us, and if we are proven right just say thanks and move on. If a problem was not solved, you are within your rights to retract the question instead of being rude and criticizing the people who tried to help because your hardware wasn't up to spec.

It isnt always necessary, in my humble opinion, to justify everything related to benchmarks, by providing links to performance graphs. Instead, I shared my personal experience running the same game on different specs and offered my best possible option to your problem - consider a switch to FS2002/2004.

You encourage people to help you by being gracious. We don't need your points, we are just helping out. If you can't appreciate it, don't. Your call.

Cheers.
RB.

My discussion on this topic is now over. You can contact a MOD to refund your points. Its no problem at all. Glad to help.
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eslonimAuthor Commented:
No need to respond RB.  I have provided tech support for many years, headed a large IT organization, and often volunteer responses to questions on forums etc, even though I have a paid membership here.

Sorry we see this differently, good luck.
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