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 Post subject: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:51 am
Posts: 514
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
My FSX set-up has been working very well lately. (I hope that statement does not cause bad luck!). My main gripe/concern at this point is that with an
FSX folder size already over 250 GB (not counting some photo scenery on another drive) I seem to spend half my flight time waiting for everything to
load up. And I'm also noticing some texture loading lag in some areas.

Now last spring I attacked this problem with a new install on a 750 GB 7200 Seagate hybrid drive. That thing has a solid state cache on it that stores
frequently read data in flash, the whole idea being to read data most often used very quickly. And it worked - if you leave things alone it does
speeds things up. The problem is I don't leave it alone. I'm always adding/removing planes and scenery, and as a result, the drive is constantly (it
seems) re-learning what is the most used data. It also does not help if you fly all over the world, using many scenery areas - which I do. But if you
don't have my habits, I would say a hybrid drive is a good, economical step to improving load times.

So I've ordered a OCZ Agility SATA 3 480GB MLC SSD. At just over $300 USD it was a good price and I hope it works. Should be here this week.

This won't be used for the operating system, just FSX. So I am going to first try to just copy the FSX folder onto it and rename drives. That worked
just fine for the Seagate switch-over, so we'll see. If not, a dreaded re-install. I'll probably have to go into the BIOS and switch a SATA6 AHCI port
(only have two) from the Seagate to the SSD - or maybe just switch plugs, still researching that one.

Changing hardware always gives me chills and horrible thoughts, so please mutter a small prayer my way if you have time. I'll report back on my progress.

My system specs:

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Motherboard - Asus P8P67 Deluxe LGA1155
CPU - Intel Core i5-2500k - overclocked to 4.4GHz
CPU Cooler - Corsair HD50 Water
RAM - Ripjaw/G.SKILL X Series 8GB SDRAM DDR3 2133
GPU - Nvidia GEForce 570 2GB-overclocked
HDD - For Win7 Boot/Main Drive - WD Cav Black 750GB SATA6 AHCI
HDD - For FSX only - Seagate Momentous XT 750GB Hybrid SATA6 AHCI - to be replaced with SSD
Cooler Master ATC 840 Case
Corsair 850W Power Supply
Storage - 3 older HDD's
Logitech G Series keyboard
Saitek Yoke/Throttle



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Location: Kelowna, BC
Something that might help for all those aircraft you have, Some of them come with 15 or 20 liveries, I'll use the // to remove them.
leaving just the ones I fly, it leaves them there if I want them later but they dont show in the menu. Also I will add to the panel folder name.... PANEL.HIDDEN
It removes the whole aircraft from the menu but leaves it for IA. I leave only 1 default aircraft, I have only CVA aircraft showing when I click change aircraft.
Below only the World Travel Airlines will show in the menu, Emerald Harbor Air is hidden, if you want Emerald Harbor Air back, remove the two // and it's back.

eg:
[fltsim.0]
title=Douglas DC-3
sim=Douglas_DC3
model=
panel=
sound=
texture=1
kb_checklists=Douglas_DC3_check
kb_reference=Douglas_DC3_ref
atc_id=N36644
ui_manufacturer="Douglas"
ui_type="DC-3"
ui_variation="World Travel Airlines"
ui_typerole="Twin Engine Prop"
ui_createdby="Microsoft Corporation"
description="The Douglas DC-3 revolutionized air transportation and airline service during the 1930s and 1940s. It was a luxury airliner that boasted cabin heat and running water in its on-board lavatory. With the right balance of efficiency, range, speed, and payload, the DC-3 was the first aircraft to earn a profit for its owners just by carrying passengers. The hero of early airlines, a handful of DC-3s are still at work today."

//[fltsim.1]
title=Douglas DC-3 Paint1
sim=Douglas_DC3
model=
panel=
sound=
texture=2
kb_checklists=Douglas_DC3_check
kb_reference=Douglas_DC3_ref
atc_id=N849EH
ui_manufacturer="Douglas"
ui_type="DC-3"
ui_variation="Emerald Harbor Air"
ui_typerole="Twin Engine Prop"
ui_createdby="Microsoft Corporation"
description="The Douglas DC-3 revolutionized air transportation and airline service during the 1930s and 1940s. It was a luxury airliner that boasted cabin heat and running water in its on-board lavatory. With the right balance of efficiency, range, speed, and payload, the DC-3 was the first aircraft to earn a profit for its owners just by carrying passengers. The hero of early airlines, a handful of DC-3s are still at work today."



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:31 pm 
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Posts: 1989
Location: LLBG
Cal,

Your method will not reduce hard disk space. Deleting unnecessary livery textures per each model package will solve the hard disk space problem. For instance, you never fly FSX default DC-3 with seven FSX default liveries. Just delete 5 FSX default liveries from DC-3 and leave 2 alone to save hard disk space.

Barry,

Your decision to move FSX to SSD is absolutely CORRECT. It will make FSX go faster. Computer experts said that SSD is MUST MUST for laptops because SSD drives do not require power from battery and consumes ALMOST zero battery power. That is 1,000 times less battery power consumption than regular hard drive for laptops. That is why in 2 years or so, I will buy laptop exclusively with SSD drive.

Many ADVANCED flightsimmers are now using SSDs for FSX or FS2004.

For fun, clock-time the speed of your FSX starting up or starting flight or so on in hard drive first. Then later do the same clock-time test on the speed of FSX on SSD drive and you will be amazed by huge difference.

Regards,

Aharon



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Posts: 583
Barry,
When I installed my SSD two years ago most of the literature I could find at the time pointed to leaving FSX on the same drive as your OS it seemed logical that reading back and forth from a slower system drive to the SSD would create a bottleneck of sorts. That's the way I set mine up so I really can't offer any observations to a "two drive" config. There was an article on how to conserve space on SSD's that I read and followed, it didn't seem to cause any ill effects so it may be of interest to you. (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/windows-7-and-ssds-cutting-your-system-drive-down-to-size/2941) but it only opened up about 10 gigs of space.
It appears we both share that "A" type personality as I'm always installing planes and scenery but I'm afraid that owning a 128 gig SSD that shares both FSX and Windows 7 64 bit has made me quite the master at delving into aircraft folders and removing liveries that I seldom fly. If you go that route the best I can offer is to simply remark out the [fltsim.x] block as Cal suggests but then actually take the corresponding folders and move them to a new folder on a separate drive. That way it would be relatively easy to get a livery up an running again (you know, for when that liveries developer drops by your place and you don't want to be embarrassed by the absence of his model on your computer ;) )
I've also experimented with pointing FSX to a second drive for addon scenery's but I notice lag in doing so, I mostly keep all scenery files on the SSD now. Wish I had more to offer, and I hope you become a master of allocating resources on your SSD so you can share with the likes of me :)
Good luck and I'm positive that you will love the new SSD
Gary



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Aharon wrote:
Cal,

Your method will not reduce hard disk space. Deleting unnecessary livery textures per each model package will solve the hard disk space problem. For instance, you never fly FSX default DC-3 with seven FSX default liveries. Just delete 5 FSX default liveries from DC-3 and leave 2 alone to save hard disk space.


Cal's idea is a great, for Barry's problem. Barry is looking to fix the problem of load time and folder performance.... not disc space.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:44 pm
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Location: LLBG
Frank,

Barry's problem is scenery, not liveries. Liveries are never problem in any case anyway except if anyone is concerned about hard disk space. Barry's problem is scenery loading time. His another problem is scenery textures showing up slowly in middle of flight. Hiding airline liveries are not going to solve that problem.

If a person never use livery, delete it, not hide it as in Gary's words "delving into aircraft folders and removing liveries that I seldom fly."

Hiding or adding (unhiding) every time is too much work and too much stress.

Aharon



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:59 pm
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Location: Kelowna, BC
Quote:
Aharon
Your method will not reduce hard disk space

Never said it would.

Quote:
Aharon
Hiding or adding (unhiding) every time is too much work and too much stress

So is reinstalling everything because you found out you need that default aircraft. at least // it out until you know it's not required.
Then if you need the space, delete it.
Myself it's a whole day reinstalling FSX, Aircraft and Scenery, to have to do this because 1 file is missing............
I use a disk image, once I get a good install done, and once a week make a new one, I can go back 10 images if I have to.
I can add something (FSINN for instance) and if it screws up all I have to do is load my latest Disk image and in less than 2 hrs I'm back up and running again
with everything installed and working, Then I can try FSINN again.....

FSX and some AI programs use the default aircraft, if you remove these textures you will have less variety.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:51 pm 
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What about the scenery library? If you trim some of the items there that you never fly in such as Asia or Africa, would this help?



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:20 pm 
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you definitely want to install your fsx with your os on the ssd. From what I have read. I will try to come up with some links. But everywhere I have read that will get you the best performance. thanks cal for those tips will be trying them out today.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:51 am
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Thanks all for the comments. All posts have good points.

Cal, I had discovered those tips for reducing usable aircraft somewhere, and they are good ones. Makes sense not to bother loading stuff you never use. I had started on some planes but have many more to edit. I'm using Ultimate Traffic AI when flying jets, so jet liveries I '//'. For props I like the default GA AI because some small sceneries include cool AI traffic patterns of their own. For prop liveries I don't want I generally hide out the panel. I'm not concerned with disk space so I don't delete liveries.

Frank, I have been disabling some scenery areas in the library where I don't usually go. For instance, if I use the Iceland scenery, it will probably only be for a day or two. So most of the time Iceland is unchecked. I have several of those places. It seems this might be part of the logic in Orbx FTX Central, which disables/enables Orbx scenery (and also prevents texture conflicts).

As for putting Win7 on the SSD, sure I could do that, but I'm not going to. I've always liked the idea of FSX on it's own separate drive. I may move over the weather programs that are now on C: to speed up texture changing because I like to change textures a lot. But I'm not up for a windows re-install right now. It's working fine and fast just where it is. If I do go that route, it will be on another small SSD or maybe this Seagate Hybrid I'm freeing up.

Got an email the drive shipped from New Jersey this morning. I'm in PA so the truck shouldn't take long to get here! Will keep posted.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:16 pm 
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Do you think you could do a windows experience index before and after? If you have time and dont mind. I would really like to know the difference thanks.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:29 pm 
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mikethompson wrote:
Do you think you could do a windows experience index before and after? If you have time and dont mind. I would really like to know the difference thanks.


me too 8)



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:54 am 
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SSD is installed and has been working fine. I see improved loading times, although not the lightning fast improvement I was secretly hoping for. The real improvement has been smoother texture loading - nearly all jerks and stutters I had in some areas are gone and frame rates stay very constant (I'm set at 30). I'm currently working to bump up the CPU overclock from 4.2 to 4.4 or 4.5. It seems this will work and I am still fiddling with the voltage on the Asus board to get things just right.

The experience index did not change with the SSD installation as I did not put Windows on it, just FSX, the weather programs, flight sim commander, and Plan G.

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 Post subject: Re: Finally Trying an SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:11 pm 
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Thanks for posting. Yeah I forgot that you were not planning on putting windows on the ssd. Sorry about that.



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