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Old May 7, 2013, 08:40 AM   #1
oldmanmacdummi
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GTX 680 (2 or 4MB VR) and X-Plane 10

Some questions relating to upgrading Mac Pro 4.1 to use X-Plane 10, 64 Bit Modus

1.
Now there are 2 GUs in use:
NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 and ATI Radeon 4870.
To substitute the ATI I intend to order
a GTX 680, 2 GB VR (a flashed PC one)
or flashed GTX 680 with 4 GB VR.
Will the 4 GB VR produce better results (FPS and texture resolution) as the 2 GB one?

2.
Now 8 GB RAM in use.
Will bring an upgrade to 24 GB any advantages?

Is there somebody who is able to give tips to me ?

Oldmacmandummy

Last edited by oldmanmacdummi; May 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Korr
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Old May 7, 2013, 08:52 AM   #2
cgk.emu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanmacdummi View Post
Some questions relating to upgrading Mac Pro 4.1 to use X-Plane 10, 64 Bit Modus

1.
Now there are 2 GUs in use:
NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 and ATI Radeon 4870.
To substitute the ATI I intend to order
a GTX 680, 2 MB VR (a flashed PC one)
or flashed GTX 680 with 4 MB VR.
Will the 4MB VR produce better results (FPS and texture resolution) as the 2 MB one?

2.
Now 8 GB RAM in use.
Will bring an upgrade to 24 GB any advantages?

Is there somebody who is able to give tips to me ?

Oldmacmandummy
I think you mean GB not MB for the video RAM... Yes, the 4GB card will be better, X-Plane chews up video RAM pretty good if you let it. The video RAM has nothing to do with higher resolution textures in that more RAM does not magically produce a higher resolution, it's just that it can load more higher res textures and do it faster. I'm just waiting on the replies telling me I'm wrong, but trust me, more video RAM does NOT equal higher res...the resolutions are already there, just need the hardware to handle it.

24GB is completely unnecessary unless you have the cash to spend on it. Doubling your RAM to 16GB is just fine. I never max that it out on my Mac Pro 4,1.

Edit: once you are all set up, let us know what kind of FPS you are getting. I'm interested since I have a 4,1 myself, albeit with different specs.
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Old May 7, 2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for the answer so far.
Wil report when GTX 680 is in use.
Olli

ok, GB!

Last edited by oldmanmacdummi; May 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM. Reason: korrektion
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Old May 7, 2013, 10:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by oldmanmacdummi View Post
Thanks for the answer so far.
Wil report when GTX 680 is in use.
Olli
Look forward to your results with interest....I'm running it on a 2012 Imac 27" 2GB GPU, 32GB RAM 3.4GHZ CPU. I wanted a Pro, but just couldn't justify waiting any longer whilst watching the re-sale price of my 2011 Mac drop.

For inspiration this is well worth a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-bExxVuEgQ
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:39 PM   #5
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Look forward to your results with interest....I'm running it on a 2012 Imac 27" 2GB GPU, 32GB RAM 3.4GHZ CPU. I wanted a Pro, but just couldn't justify waiting any longer whilst watching the re-sale price of my 2011 Mac drop.

For inspiration this is well worth a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-bExxVuEgQ
How does it run for you? I know your machine benches higher than a 4,1, yeah?
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Old May 7, 2013, 02:16 PM   #6
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2 GB VRAM is not enough if the GPU is a Radeon HD 7950 or GTX 680... IF you have installed highly detailed scenery and crank the settings up very high.

The GPUs of the 7950 and 680 are fast enough to be able to use > 2 GB VRAM in X-Plane 10, not all the time, but when loading huge pieces of scenery.

And, if your Mac can handle the above hardware then 8 GB of RAM usually isn't enough either.
12 GB is minimum, 16 GB is sweet spot.

Again, having installed highly detailed scenery: that eats VRAM hugely.
If you also make use of the 3D cockpits in aircraft (like the default 747-400), have lots of plugins installed, generate many AI aircraft, and have generally installed lots of add-ons, then system RAM will be eaten too.

In short:
3 GB VRAM, 12 GB RAM is needed if your Mac can handle the very high graphics.
4 GB VRAM, 16 GB RAM is needed if your Mac can handle über high graphics. IMHO that Mac doesn't exist... yet. Maybe a next Mac Pro....

And again: these limitations are only in effect if you have installed lots of add-ons, which you eventually do in X-Plane. Payware and freeware.
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Old May 7, 2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for answers!

This are actually the X-Plane 10 FPS the 4.1 MacPro 2,66 GHz Quad Core produces
Monitor 30" (2560x1600);
ATI 4870 500 MB VRAM; 8 GB RAM

X-Plane 10.21r2 / 64 Bit Modus
Settings
Renderings:


Weather:
Cavok, 10 NM Sight

Datum/Uhrzeit:
Mai, 6 pm

Situation:
Start - Pattern - Landing EDDH (Aerosoft Szenerie) RWY 23
B737 Vers. 4.80 von B. Stratmann

Results / FPS

Panel:
Start = 29
downwind, 3000 ft = 50 bis 59
ILS = 30


Chase:
Start 20
downwind = 29 bis = 38
ILS = 19


B777, 3D cockpit
Results / FPS

Panel
Start = 11
downwind 3000 ft = 25
ILS = 12

Chase:
Start 23
downwind = 30
ILS = 12 - 19



The upgrade hopefully will show better results??!!
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Old May 7, 2013, 08:29 PM   #8
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4x AA with 2560x1600 rendering resolution on a 500 MB GPU?
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Old May 7, 2013, 09:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsRgr8 View Post
2 GB VRAM is not enough if the GPU is a Radeon HD 7950 or GTX 680... IF you have installed highly detailed scenery and crank the settings up very high.

The GPUs of the 7950 and 680 are fast enough to be able to use > 2 GB VRAM in X-Plane 10, not all the time, but when loading huge pieces of scenery.

And, if your Mac can handle the above hardware then 8 GB of RAM usually isn't enough either.
12 GB is minimum, 16 GB is sweet spot.

Again, having installed highly detailed scenery: that eats VRAM hugely.
If you also make use of the 3D cockpits in aircraft (like the default 747-400), have lots of plugins installed, generate many AI aircraft, and have generally installed lots of add-ons, then system RAM will be eaten too.

In short:
3 GB VRAM, 12 GB RAM is needed if your Mac can handle the very high graphics.
4 GB VRAM, 16 GB RAM is needed if your Mac can handle über high graphics. IMHO that Mac doesn't exist... yet. Maybe a next Mac Pro....

And again: these limitations are only in effect if you have installed lots of add-ons, which you eventually do in X-Plane. Payware and freeware.
What can I say?? This exactly. I'd seriously listen to this.

Also, maybe I'm completely insane but I'd put an SSD in there.
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Old May 7, 2013, 10:44 PM   #10
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Get the 4 GB, not the 2 GB. As others have said, you'll need it soon, if not already. You'll also be able to turn texture compression off and get better looking scenery/aircraft.

12 GB RAM tri-channel, 24 if you can afford the added expense.

Keep the viz at 10. No more than 15. Visibility is an FPS killer.

Turn the cars OFF. It's a FLIGHT simulator, not an autobahn simulator. Cars eat up CPU resources you'll need to feed the GPU...a lot!

Get Windows 7 and run XP in Boot Camp. nVidia drivers for OpenGl are terrible in OS X. You will get double the FPS in Windows, all other things being equal.

Turn down the shadow detail. Not a big hit, but some.

Do NOT use AI aircraft. It's buggy, silly, and drains resources.

FPS in XP increases proportionally with CPU clock speed within the same generation of CPU. Flash your 4.1 to 5.1 and swap the CPU for a W3680 or 3690. You can run faster RAM then too!

Go for the SSD. Don't listen to those who say it doesn't matter because it does. Loading is faster and it will reduce, if not eliminate, pauses for scenery loading, which can occur even with load scenery in background checked.

Do all of this and you can crank textures and detail, AA/AS filtering to the max. You can also boost cloud puffs to around 25% without too much of a hit.

I did all of the above with a 4.1 to 5.1 flash, W3690 and GTX 670 SC 4 GB. I can get 45 to 50 FPS at KSEA on the ground, 70 in the air with the Baron during chase, more on the panel. I've hit 100 FPS elsewhere with roads etc. replaced by very high resolution photoscenery and still use some custom objects. Again, be careful cranking up weather (cloud detail/layers), visibility, and object/tree density. No cars, birds, balloons and other needless CPU hogs. I'd also stay away from HDR...not worth it. Your single biggest problem with any Mac Pro running XP is keeping a high end GPU fed fast enough with old CPU architecture. I'm still chasing the holy grail of maxing out the important, relevant settings (for flight simulation), and those for scene quality, with never less than 70 FPS. I'm close, but not there yet.

Last edited by xav8tor; May 7, 2013 at 10:53 PM.
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Old May 8, 2013, 06:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by xav8tor View Post

Get Windows 7 and run XP in Boot Camp. nVidia drivers for OpenGl are terrible in OS X. You will get double the FPS in Windows, all other things being equal.

I've found this pretty accurate, I don't see double the FPS on my system, but it does run better under Windows.

Edit: With my Radeon it seems about the same.
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Old May 8, 2013, 11:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by xav8tor View Post
Get the 4 GB, not the 2 GB. As others have said, you'll need it soon, if not already. You'll also be able to turn texture compression off and get better looking scenery/aircraft.

12 GB RAM tri-channel, 24 if you can afford the added expense.

Keep the viz at 10. No more than 15. Visibility is an FPS killer.

Turn the cars OFF. It's a FLIGHT simulator, not an autobahn simulator. Cars eat up CPU resources you'll need to feed the GPU...a lot!

Get Windows 7 and run XP in Boot Camp. nVidia drivers for OpenGl are terrible in OS X. You will get double the FPS in Windows, all other things being equal.

Turn down the shadow detail. Not a big hit, but some.

Do NOT use AI aircraft. It's buggy, silly, and drains resources.

FPS in XP increases proportionally with CPU clock speed within the same generation of CPU. Flash your 4.1 to 5.1 and swap the CPU for a W3680 or 3690. You can run faster RAM then too!

Go for the SSD. Don't listen to those who say it doesn't matter because it does. Loading is faster and it will reduce, if not eliminate, pauses for scenery loading, which can occur even with load scenery in background checked.

Do all of this and you can crank textures and detail, AA/AS filtering to the max. You can also boost cloud puffs to around 25% without too much of a hit.

I did all of the above with a 4.1 to 5.1 flash, W3690 and GTX 670 SC 4 GB. I can get 45 to 50 FPS at KSEA on the ground, 70 in the air with the Baron during chase, more on the panel. I've hit 100 FPS elsewhere with roads etc. replaced by very high resolution photoscenery and still use some custom objects. Again, be careful cranking up weather (cloud detail/layers), visibility, and object/tree density. No cars, birds, balloons and other needless CPU hogs. I'd also stay away from HDR...not worth it. Your single biggest problem with any Mac Pro running XP is keeping a high end GPU fed fast enough with old CPU architecture. I'm still chasing the holy grail of maxing out the important, relevant settings (for flight simulation), and those for scene quality, with never less than 70 FPS. I'm close, but not there yet.
Awesome post, thanks!
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Old May 8, 2013, 02:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xav8tor View Post
Get the 4 GB, not the 2 GB. As others have said, you'll need it soon, if not already. You'll also be able to turn texture compression off and get better looking scenery/aircraft.

12 GB RAM tri-channel, 24 if you can afford the added expense.

Keep the viz at 10. No more than 15. Visibility is an FPS killer.

Turn the cars OFF. It's a FLIGHT simulator, not an autobahn simulator. Cars eat up CPU resources you'll need to feed the GPU...a lot!

Get Windows 7 and run XP in Boot Camp. nVidia drivers for OpenGl are terrible in OS X. You will get double the FPS in Windows, all other things being equal.

Turn down the shadow detail. Not a big hit, but some.

Do NOT use AI aircraft. It's buggy, silly, and drains resources.

FPS in XP increases proportionally with CPU clock speed within the same generation of CPU. Flash your 4.1 to 5.1 and swap the CPU for a W3680 or 3690. You can run faster RAM then too!

Go for the SSD. Don't listen to those who say it doesn't matter because it does. Loading is faster and it will reduce, if not eliminate, pauses for scenery loading, which can occur even with load scenery in background checked.

Do all of this and you can crank textures and detail, AA/AS filtering to the max. You can also boost cloud puffs to around 25% without too much of a hit.

I did all of the above with a 4.1 to 5.1 flash, W3690 and GTX 670 SC 4 GB. I can get 45 to 50 FPS at KSEA on the ground, 70 in the air with the Baron during chase, more on the panel. I've hit 100 FPS elsewhere with roads etc. replaced by very high resolution photoscenery and still use some custom objects. Again, be careful cranking up weather (cloud detail/layers), visibility, and object/tree density. No cars, birds, balloons and other needless CPU hogs. I'd also stay away from HDR...not worth it. Your single biggest problem with any Mac Pro running XP is keeping a high end GPU fed fast enough with old CPU architecture. I'm still chasing the holy grail of maxing out the important, relevant settings (for flight simulation), and those for scene quality, with never less than 70 FPS. I'm close, but not there yet.
I agree with almost everything with regard to rendering settings and hardware recommendations.
But one thing is a nogo for me, using any Micrisoft OS again!

One more question:
I do not know which SSD is suitably for the MacPro 4.1

Thanks!
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Old May 8, 2013, 06:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by oldmanmacdummi View Post
I agree with almost everything with regard to rendering settings and hardware recommendations.
But one thing is a nogo for me, using any Micrisoft OS again!

One more question:
I do not know which SSD is suitably for the MacPro 4.1

Thanks!
If you refuse to use Windows to run X-Plane, and you choose a GTX, you'll never see its full potential until/unless they make a huge improvement in the drivers. Besides, once the app is running, you're looking at XP, not a Microsoft logo. I certainly wouldn't let my preference for Apple stand in the way of huge performance gains.

That said, you'll probably still be better off using the GTX rather than a 79XX in OS X, even though the AMD OpenGl drivers are better. No specific benches for XP are posted yet, but they say they're coming. Check this site out:

http://www.barefeats.com/gpu680v3.html

Also, if you're serious about XP, the place to go for lots of opinions and good help is here:

http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?act=idx

As for SSD options, the sky's the limit. It's really a matter of personal preference. Stick with major brands with good reviews for speed, and reliability. Keep the firmware up to date and you should be fine.

Last edited by xav8tor; May 8, 2013 at 06:20 PM.
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Old May 9, 2013, 11:44 AM   #15
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@xav8tor
Thanks again for your competently answers.
I have already read the barefeats tests.
It shows that the GTX 680 is better for X-Plane 10.
Taday I ordered a flashed one (not the Original Mac Edition) because of the lower price.
And I have decided to order a Samsung 840 series 2,5" 250 GB, SSD.

I am quite trusted with X-Plane for some years
but a hardware idiot so I need advice like yours.
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Old May 9, 2013, 01:20 PM   #16
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@xav8tor
Thanks again for your competently answers.
I have already read the barefeats tests.
It shows that the GTX 680 is better for X-Plane 10.
Taday I ordered a flashed one (not the Original Mac Edition) because of the lower price.
And I have decided to order a Samsung 840 series 2,5" 250 GB, SSD.

I am quite trusted with X-Plane for some years
but a hardware idiot so I need advice like yours.
Barefeats X-Plane tests are next to useless. They don't actually test any of the things which kill X-Plane performance. You'd better off with a 4GB 670 than a 2GB 680.
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Old May 9, 2013, 02:21 PM   #17
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Barefeats X-Plane tests are next to useless. They don't actually test any of the things which kill X-Plane performance. You'd better off with a 4GB 670 than a 2GB 680.

Such statements are not helpfully.
What are the things killing performance?

What you mean with "performace", texture resolution, FPS, light reflexions??
You know somebody who runs the GTX 670 4GB in a 4.1 Mac Pro playing X-Plane?

Barefeats shows to me:
Radeon 4870 = 27 FPS vs. GTX 680 = 102 FPS
with the same settings in X-Plane. This is an argument for me.
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Old May 9, 2013, 02:59 PM   #18
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Such statements are not helpfully.
What are the things killing performance?

What you mean with "performace", texture resolution, FPS, light reflexions??
You know somebody who runs the GTX 670 4GB in a 4.1 Mac Pro playing X-Plane?

Barefeats shows to me:
Radeon 4870 = 27 FPS vs. GTX 680 = 102 FPS
with the same settings in X-Plane. This is an argument for me.
All else the same, the big fps killer in X-Plane is object density, which leverages the GPU driver's ability to use instancing. If you look at Barefeat's X-Plane test, it consist of a plane taking off and flying over the ocean, where there are no objects. No objects means to way to see how well the GPU actually stacks up. If they were serious they'd use X-Plane's built-in FPS tests.

The issue with X-Plane and OS X now is the poor state of OS X's nVidia drivers. You're looking at much lower fps than a similar Windows set-up on the same card. If you're serious about using X-Plane on a Mac, I'd suggest running it in Boot Camp.
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Old May 9, 2013, 09:32 PM   #19
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You know somebody who runs the GTX 670 4GB in a 4.1 Mac Pro playing X-Plane?

Barefeats shows to me:
Radeon 4870 = 27 FPS vs. GTX 680 = 102 FPS
with the same settings in X-Plane. This is an argument for me.
I don't "play" X-Plane, but I use it professionally. As I said, I had a 4.1 with a 4870. I put the GTX 670 SC 4 GB from EVGA in and did not see anywhere near a quadruple FPS increase as quoted. Not remotely close. As dpny posted, the test I linked doesn't stress the GPU as much as it could since it is over flown water. That site has, in the past, used more standard tests. I don't know why they changed. X-plange.org hardware forums are really the place for you to review. You'll see all of this discussed in depth...repeatedly. However, even the standard FPS tests posted there aren't much better because people play with the command line options, run at different resolutions, etc., and you never know what else is running in the background, so you still can't compare Apples to Apples, or Windows.

Although installing the 670 allowed me to crank up rendering settings substantially, I did not see what I wanted in terms of FPS, so I flashed to 5.1 and went from a 3540 CPU to the 3690. With my settings, it is always in Turbo. Only then did I see the FPS go up quite a bit. Your mileage may vary based on your rendering settings. I'm CPU bound. However, in Windows, as previously stated, performance is MUCH higher. No matter how much you hate M$, you will be glad you tried XP in Win 7. I made every upgrade possible to the Mac Pro and the largest percentage FPS gain was by running Windows with GTX.

By the way, the EVGA 670 Superclocked benches the same, or sometimes better, than a reference 680, so I would not expect your results to be measurably different assuming your settings are similar.
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Old May 12, 2013, 05:49 AM   #20
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Barefeats X-Plane tests are next to useless. They don't actually test any of the things which kill X-Plane performance. You'd better off with a 4GB 670 than a 2GB 680.
This is true.

Real life tests should state FPS while taxiing or taking off from a highly detailed airport.
Trouble is that there are so many settings you can fiddle around with, that having a really good comparison "chart" between different CPUs and GPUs becomes difficult to make.

Some settings are GPU bound, others are CPU bound (what about RAM speed?). Some are combined, etc. Added to that, nVidia drivers in OS X are worse than AMD drivers.

Maybe Barefeats will be able to have a default rendering option setup in X-plane (amount of cars, roads, trees, shadows, objects, airport detail, etc. HDR options, cloud puffs, resolution settings and weather options) and simply taxi the default 747-400 in the KSEA demo area and show the FPS while setting the view in chase mode.

This might come closest to "real life' testing of X-Plane 10.
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Old May 12, 2013, 10:20 PM   #21
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Installed X-Plane 10 on my Boot Camp partition this weekend and doubled my frame rate.

The sad fact is that, even with the much better GPU drivers available under Windows, the current generation of Mac Pros are CPU-limited with X-Plane. Unless Apple unveils some amazing Pro hardware 3Q/4Q, I think the days when OS X was a viable X-Plane platform are pretty much over.

If nothing changes my next computer purchase will likely be a Mac Mini for life and a Windows machine for games. Both of them together will probably run mess less than a new Mac Pro.
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Old May 13, 2013, 02:53 PM   #22
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Installed X-Plane 10 on my Boot Camp partition this weekend and doubled my frame rate.
Out of curiosity: nVidia or AMD grfx?
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Old May 13, 2013, 02:55 PM   #23
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out of curiosity: Nvidia or amd grfx?
670 sc 4 gb.
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Old May 13, 2013, 02:57 PM   #24
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670 sc 4 gb.
Tnx.
That's another *yep* regarding X-Plane 10 performance with nVidia cards that Windows is 2x OS X...
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Old May 13, 2013, 03:01 PM   #25
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Tnx.
That's another *yep* regarding X-Plane 10 performance with nVidia cards that Windows is 2x OS X...
Absolutely.

Unfortunately, like I said, a 3.33 six-core is still CPU limited.
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