Microsoft Flight Simulator...with a Mac Pro...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by akdj, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #1
    I am an avid Microsoft Flight Simulator fan...I have been playing the sim since my Apple IIE days in the 80's. Unfortunately, that was the last time I played MFS on an Apple...fast forward through two decades of PC use and here I am today. A Mac Convert!

    Last spring, I finally bought my wife this little MacBook she had been wanting. I fell in love with it...bought myself a MacBook Pro for my business and I can't get enough! I'm hooked!

    Unfortunately, the ONLY way to play Flight Sim X, 2004, 2002, etc. is with Windows installed. I have a partition with Windows on my MBP (15", 2.2, 128m VRAM)...but it isn't nearly powerful enough on the GPU to play the sim.

    I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of an updated IMac with a fresh approach to graphics (NVidia card), but I'm getting anxious and ready to pull the trigger.

    I also have Final Cut Pro 2 and Logic Pro that I will be using on the machine so I know I should be looking at a MacPro regardless...my big problem is self control on the MacPro configuration site...I get my computer up to seven or eight large without a monitor:D

    On a serious note though...I am curious if any others have run Microsoft Flight Sims on a Boot Camp partition (Windows) on one of the new MacPros, especially with the 8800 cards? Any experience with Sims on Macs is great, but specifics with MS Flight Sim hugely appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Jeremy
     
  2. unclegit macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #2
    Runs a treat - I just installed it last night and am getting decent performance out of it.

    I need to hook up my head tracking system etc - but I'm getting 50 frames a sec @ 1024X with most things cranked up max.

    My mac pro is the 2.8 with the 8800GT - bootcamp is running XP 32 bit just.
     
  3. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #3
    How much RAM are you using?

    Is that the current 2.8 (2xquad core) or the 2.8 single quad?

    Any other options over the stock config in the Apple store?

    Also...how many monitors and what size?

    Sorry...I am excited to do this!

    Jeremy
     
  4. Jonny427 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #4
    7-8 grand? You should only purchase the graphics card and processor upgrade, if needed, from Apple. You can buy HDDs and RAM from third party resellers for like 75% less!
     
  5. mkrad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    #5
    I run FSX on a Vista64 boot camp partition and it works like a charm. Sees all 16 gigs of RAM, which appears to be a critical performance item.
     
  6. bilbo--baggins macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    You should look at X-plane. It would save you having to restart your mac and run Windows. I haven't used either (I had Fly! for the Mac a few years ago, and ran Microsoft Flight Simulator on a //c, and I think I had a really old Mac version too, but nothing more recent) but it certainly sounds as though X-plan is as good or better than the Microsoft one.
     
  7. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #7
    "7-8 grand? You should only purchase the graphics card and processor upgrade, if needed, from Apple. You can buy HDDs and RAM from third party resellers for like 75% less"

    Jonny,

    I was half kidding...I do get carried away configuring it...but I didn't realize the price difference was that significant.

    mkrad...What is the rest of your config? Did you run it with less RAM before you put all 16 gigs in? If so, how significant were the differences between now and then?

    Thanks,

    BTW...I have the New AMD Phenom Quad Core in a Gateway rig with the 8800GT 512 card...3 gigs of Memory running Vista Home Premium...only running half or 3/4 detail at 1024x and getting a paltry 15 or 16fps...it's slow!

    Jeremy
     
  8. mkrad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    #8
    Stuttered intermittently with 2 gigs, frame rates dropped to 4-5/sec frequently. Now smooth with all sliders right. X-plane works well with Leopard, but the beast will not handle max settings - I don't think any machine can.
     
  9. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #9
    Thanks mkrad...appreciate the info.

    I notice you shoot with a 5D...I just picked up the 40D...one of the many reasons I am pursuing the MacPro...

    Take care,

    Jeremy
     
  10. darthraige macrumors 68000

    darthraige

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    #10
    Now if anyone out there knows how to hook up the original Sidewinder Force Feedback Joystick to a MacPro, I'll give them a cookie. It looks like the Force Feedback 2 has USB and would work, but the older one doesnt. any connectors for that?
     
  11. unclegit macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #11
    2.8 X 8 core
    10gb ram

    Single monitor - it's a CRT Electron Blue IV - I do a lot of photo work so colour is critical.
     
  12. Beardy man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #12
    Yeah, do yourself a favour and try X-plane. There is a free demo d/l from http://x-plane.com/beta.html (I know I've linked to the beta version of 9 but it's about to go final and is so much of an improvement over v8 and your MacPro will do it justice.)
     
  13. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #13
    Just ordered my new MacPro! I'm fired up!

    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    2GB (2x1GB)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/
    Two 16x SuperDrives
    AirPort Extreme Card (Wi-Fi)
    IWORK -08
    APPLE MIGHTY MOUSE
    WIRED KYBRD/MAC OS X

    Copied from the order slip! Lookin forward to flyin with a Mac...it's never been done in this house! Thanks for the info guys...and anyone that feels like posting a link on where you bought your RAM from would be great...and the EXACT specks of what I should buy for my Pro. Hopefully it's as easy to swap as my PC...the Apple RAM is Entirely too expensive! Geesh! I need to order about 8 gigs...4 x 2g sticks if anyone feels like posting a quick link for me...I know I can do a search...just looking for the easy way out!

    Take care

    Jeremy
     
  14. mkrad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    #14
    Agree, X-plane is much more like a true flight sim, FSX more of a game. That said, FSX does allow neophytes to at least get their feet wet with the whole sim experience.

    I've had both for about a year now (adding both FSX Acceleration and X-plane v.9 in the mean time) and tho' most time spent w/X-plane I gotta admit I still get a kick out of some FSX missions...
     
  15. mkrad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    #15
    Jeremy,

    Got 8x2GB from OWC for abt. 800USD. Got the 4 Hitachis for about the same.
    Ordered MP with barebones 2GB and 320HD. The 320 is now in a USB enclosure with a cloned copy of the main system drive. I agree, Apple components are a rip-off, regardless of quality.
     
  16. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #16
    mkrad,

    I just bought 4x2gigs of RAM at OWC and 2 more 1TB drives for a total of 3. This will give me 10gigs total RAM and 3TB total storage...2TB for OSX and 1 for Vista. It seems like plenty, but the 1080i video seems to fill it quick.

    I will try the 10gigs for the time being and see how she flies...I need another copy of Windows...a cheapie, because I have the Ultimate upgrade (unused) at home.

    Thanks for the info on X-Plane. I have never flown with it.

    With FSX, I have a group of friends that work for a non-profit company called E-Terra in town here in Anchorage Alaska. They do the videography for certified approaches for the FAA and different airline companies. They actually use their real video footage with the FSX program, tie the two together for an unbelievable flying experience. These guys are using a $4k yoke and rudder/throttle system with a $3k radio stack....and 3x30" Dell Monitors for Front left/Center/Front Right viewing. All equipment is FAA certified for training and simulation...this stuff is incredible!

    Take care,

    Jeremy
     
  17. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #17
    Just Installed flight simulator x on a new mac pro with 6 gigs men and geforce 8800. WinXP pro. The performance is not much better that my MacBook Ppr. What am I doing wrong. Fresh install service pack 1 & 2. Any advice please.
     
  18. inigel macrumors regular

    inigel

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    I have the same problem with FSX on my Mac Pro. But I'm going to do what
    mkrad suggests and get Vista 64.
     
  19. Beardy man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #19
    I know I've said it before but try X-plane Superior to FSX (unless you want a "game" rather than a simulator), runs natively on a Mac at really nice speeds on my MacPro with only 2 gbs RAM. Generally 30-50fps and up to 100fps out of the cities). Why beat yourself around the head trying to get a PC app to run well on a Mac when there is a better Mac alternative. Unless, of course, you have loads of paid MSFSX add-ons?

    Get the free demo (runs fully functional for a few minutes before it won't accept flight surface commands, but still accepts autopilot instructions to keep flying longer). Note: the demo is only v8 but V9 is about to be unleashed on the world (It's at release candidate 3 at present). V9 gives superior eyecandy, water reflections, better aircraft, wider cockpits - v8 restricted to 1024x1024px

    Get V8 demo from:
    http://www.x-plane.com/demo.html

    or live on the edge (a little) and get the V9 beta demo from:
    http://www.x-plane.com/beta.html

    Your Mac(and framerates) will thank you ;)
     
  20. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #20
    Where do people get the myth about X-Plane being better than FS X? Perhaps because it has a Mac version ;) ? What a surprise.

    To the OP: FS X isn't hugely multithreaded and it doesn't really support SLI. It's no surprise that the 'we lost the plot' AMD doesn't work well with it since it's single-core performance is not hot compared to the Xeon. Part of the equation of actually knowing what's better is to know what you're buying.

    FS X does support multiple monitors spanned over multiple display adapters.

    My suggestion would if if you're a keen FS X'er and want to go multimonitor to build yourself a system based around something like the Asus P5W64 WS Pro motherboard. The P5W64 WS Pro is configurable to x8, x8 , x4, x8 across the four PCI-E slots and being a PC, you can buy a module power supply to pipe power to all (or more than two) of those sockets. Even if you run with only two GPU's it's much less kludgy than adapting a Mac Pro to the task.

    Or if you want something ready-built the Dell XPS 630 is a nice dual-GPU platform if you don't feel up to building a PC properly (while it may be simple, I realise there are actually quite dense people out there who can even get this wrong). The E8500 XPS 630 will either outperform or be very close to your Pro for FS X duties from a CPU standpoint - configured with 4Gb of RAM and a 500Gb drive, it comes to $1650 with a 2-year onsite warranty, and all you'd need to do is to throw another 8800GT in there.
     
  21. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #21
    I am VERY surprised at some of the issues...2 weeks into FSX with Ac Pack installed and I am BLOWN away at the performance...XP(home) running with 10gigs of RAM...but in my config, XP only sees 2gigs...(I will be changing it to 4gigs soon, but I am not in a hurry)...it's a 3.0ghz machine (early '08) with 8800GT card. I am getting 35-50fps with Anti-Aliasing and Tri-Linear Filtering at 1920x1200 rez...it is absolutely insane! All sliders and density are set very high to extreme....the best performance I have ever seen on FSX.

    I have a Athlon 9600 Phenom Quad Core with 3gigs and an 8800 GT right next to it running Vista Home Premium with Direct X 10...with sliders mid-way at half the rez I am getting 10-15fps.

    I am not a frame rate junkie...but I love to play Flight Sim and have for 20 years....in fact, I first played it on an Apple IIE. :) This is my first Mac Pro and first desktop Apple in 20 years...it easily smokes any PC platform for Microsoft's Flight Sim. Some very good friends of mine that certify simulators for the FAA for approaches and departures all over Alaska just built a Super Machine from Dell...a $6k rig with dual 8800 Ultras and Vista 64 Ultimate...they are having HUGE issues and frame rates routinely <10!

    These Mac Pros are the real deal for FSX...try a re-install for the XP pro user. It should be running much better than you are seeing!

    I just installed XPlane 9 this weekend and FWIW...I am not nearly as impressed as I thought I would be...it's cool and it's going to take a lot of getting used to (after 20 years of different key assignments:))

    Good Luck though fellas...these are great machines to run it on!!!

    Take care,

    Jeremy
     
  22. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #22
    Should I reinstall XP or MS Filght Simular X?
     
  23. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #23
    Uninstall FSX...as long as your OS is working fine, XP should be OK.

    Re-install FSX and before doing anything...don't play it...go to microsoft.com and download SP1 for FSX, restart the computer, then download SP2, restart the computer...and then...GO FLYING!!!

    I flew Los Angeles to Seattle last night in the 737...both LA and Sea-Tac were gorgeous!

    When you get 'er up and runnin' well...go to flightsim.com and look around for some scenery files from airports and cities you are interested in...some of the Vegas stuff is unreal...with Freemont and the "Old Strip" to dead-on accuracy on the "New Strip."

    FSX, SP2 is the same you get on the Acceleration Pack...so if you have the Ac Pack...no need to install SP 2....just do the FSX install, SP1, then the AcPack.

    Good Luck...should run better than any PC platform, honestly! I am an FS junkie...can't get enough and I will never use it on a "Windows Only" platform again!

    Jeremy
     
  24. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #24
    But the question is, have you tried anything else but an underperforming AMD?

    As I wrote before, part of the equation of actually knowing what's better is to know what you're buying.
     
  25. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #25
    Well after a few reinstalls of FSX I was able to get fair results, but I still have stuttering. I loaded my X-plane 8.6 in OS X and WOW. great performance and was able to turn up the effects. This is a great Simulator, FSX is a great game but X plane is a great Simulator.
     

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