Post here your X-Plane set up, if you want.
AADX wanted to know what kind of setup I got that got that wide screen view. So, recently I’ve upgraded/replaced my Mac-based XP-rig to a Linux-based one. The Mac setup looked like this for the last 5 years:
1. X-Plane 8 / X-Plane 9
2. Apple PowerMac G4 dual 2.5GHz, 4GB ram, 2x 250GB SATA 5400 rpm HD
3. nVidia 6800 ultra w/ 256MB VRAM
4. Apple Studio LCD 17” (1280 x 1024)
5. Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar stick
6. Saitek Pro Flight Rudder.
This yielded 25 FPS at moderate settings in XP8 and 9 (and 40+ with the barren pre-super scenery release of V8). Quite enjoyable flying in most cases. However in some areas the dreaded fog (X-Plane’s concept of trying to keep the FPS up for smooth simulation, by fogging up the distant scenery.)
Having pondered about what X-Plane would need to be able to achieve reasonable FPS, I thought a minimum 35 FPS in 80% of the areas where I fly would be nice to have. So, I settled with this off-the-shelf collection of PC-hardware worth €2,425 (PC €1,425 + LCD €1,000) When I purchased it early March the USD/EUR exhange rate is 1.25:1. Right now it's 1.35:1.
1. Asus P6T mobo, 6GB RAM DDR3-1600, 1x 1000GB SATA 7200 rpm HD
2. Intel Core i7 920 2.67GHz 8-core CPU
3. nVidia GTX 295 w/ 1800MB VRAM
4. Antec 900 case + 700W PSU
5. Two HP LP2475w 24” 1920 x 1200 monitors ( €1,000)
6. Ubuntu Linux 8.10 64-bit edition.
This gets me about 60 FPS at all settings at extreme and 3600 x 1200 resolution. In some areas FPS goes up to 150+ FPS. So, I’ve exceeded my goal of a minimum 35 FPS in 80% of the areas where I fly. Below links are the external view of the Starship 2000 at Sydney Harbour at 3600 x 1150.
The PC part of the setup is bit more expensive. That’s the drawback of using the bleeding edge parts for the mobo and CPU. I didn’t fancy using Core Duo that’s now been replaced by the Nehalem architecture with QuickPath memory bus. Most reports show the i7 920 is 10 to 15% faster than it’s predecessors at similar clockspeeds. In a few years when the i7 has faster successors, this XP-rig will become one of the side view systems, and another main PC will drive the main screen. X-Plane has the ability to network views using multiple computers running X-Plane (1 computer + display setup).
As for the operating system. For now I settle with the Linux distribution Ubuntu (simple enough for me to understand). Installation was basically:
1) disk image download (15 min),
2) Installation (20 min)
3) 1 reboot
4) dowload and install of subreleases since first disk image release. (15 min)
5) find the latest nVidia GTX driver (v 180) + xconfig edit (2 min)
6) Hook up Mac in firewire diskmode (acts like a very expensive external disk) and to copy the 65GB worth of XP922 data. Then run a netupdate w/ the Linux version to replace Mac-files with Linux (10 min)
Actually there's a step before 6) Ubuntu 8.10 has slightly newer libraries. So figuring out that problem took me half a day. It's on the net and very simple.
Ben Supnik’s blog has a quick comparison where at that time Linux shows best performance, followed by Windooze, and in turn followed by MacOS X. The latter is explained by unoptimised nVidia drivers. I’ve found in my own comparison that Linux on my setup gets 10% to 15% higher FPS compared to Windooze Vista Ultimate 32-bit. Initially I installed the 32-bit edition of Ubuntu and noticed that X-Plane 9 would only use 3GB of RAM (my setup has 6GB). Right now I’m flying around using the 64-bit Ubuntu. I’ll post some comparisons soon. First I’d like to find out why X-Plane doesn’t get me sound. I suspect missing 32-bit sound drivers. (I did notice that XP930B5 has sound, though.)
Here are the original 3600x1150 pics that I posted here (viewtopic.php?f=30&t=56#p178