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  1. #1
    150+ Forum Groupie Suggy's Avatar
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    Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Hello.

    I have had PM’s software for some years now and back then it was recommended that each programme should be ran on its own dedicated computer for optimum performance. Indeed, it was not possible (I think) to run the Pilot’s display and FO’s display (or MCDU) on one computer as that meant you had to insert a second graphics card into a free PCI slot but which OpenGL could not accommodate.

    Given the advances in CPU and graphics technology, I would assume that running the FCU and the AGGC on one computer, in theory, wouldn’t be a big deal now, particularly with a quad core CPU. I realise that each programme uses only one core but as I understand it, each programme would use its own core.

    Further to this, is it now possible to run two ABGC displays on one computer using a dual head graphics card? I probably know the answer to this already since the pilot’s and FO’s software is the same except for a change in the config file to differentiate it from the other.

    In short, I am looking at ways of reducing my 7 computers (not including my FS computer) to a more manageable and reliable setup.

    Are the days of amalgamating software on a few computers now upon us?

    Your comments would be most welcome.

    Regards,
    Darren Sugden

  2. #2
    500+ This must be a daytime job
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suggy View Post
    Given the advances in CPU and graphics technology, I would assume that running the FCU and the AGGC on one computer, in theory, wouldn’t be a big deal now, particularly with a quad core CPU.
    ...
    In short, I am looking at ways of reducing my 7 computers (not including my FS computer) to a more manageable and reliable setup.
    ...
    Are the days of amalgamating software on a few computers now upon us?
    For many years I ran THREE copies of the PM Boeing Glass Cockpit software on one PC with three monitors connected via a Matrox TripleHead2Go (analogue). Pilot PFD/ND, Upper EICAS, and Copilot PFD/ND. There was no problem doing this at all, and that was with a lowly Pentium 4, not a Core 2 or 4 even. Of the three copies, the important one (pilot's ND/PFD) was the hardware accelerated OpenGL window, and the others ran at a slightly lower update rate. But all three very usable and smooth enough.

    There's also a mode (obtained by F6 I think) in the PM Glass cockpit program which displays all those three in one window, only when I was trying that it didn't work so well -- the copilot EFIS controls didn't work correctly on the copilot's ND. I'm fairly sure that's all been fixed long ago. With that mode ("extended mode") you can use the Matrox TripleHead2Go as one very wide window instead of three separate ones. That gets around the problem on the older operating system I was using then (Win9 that only one OpenGL window can be hardware accelerated at a time. (I'm not sure if that's the case still).

    I'm sure that the twin video connections on modern video cards could be used just as well, or even two video cards. The PM components are not heavy on processor usage, only on graphics. Providing the video driver(s) cope with OpenGL well enough, I'm sure you could run 3 or 4 PM components with ease on any current PC spec.

    Not only that, but since much of the information from FS used by these parts is common, by running them all on one PC with one copy of WideClient, you reduce Netwrok traffic and the loading on the FS PC keeping so many clients individually up to date.

    My PFC-built 737NG cockpit uses 7 PCs, one for each component, but I'm seriously looking at replacing at least 3 of the mini-PCs under the hood with one slightly larger one (maybe a Shuttle cube, which will fit) and an analog TripleHead2Go, for the pilot, EICAS, and copilot displays, just as I used to.

    Sharing the CDU and RCDU is not really on because the keyboards actually ARE the PC's keys, so wouldn't be separately usable.

    The autopilot is probably best run on the FS PC, unless, like me, you have a hardware MCP directly connected to the PM MCP and at a distance from the FS PC (a giant well outside the cockpit).

    So, my future configuration would probably look something like this:

    Shuttle PC with TripleHead -- PM GC x 3 or in F6 Extended Mode
    Three mini PCs as now -- CDU, RCDU, and MCP

    I'd be running pmSystems also on one of those. That'll be determined when my overhead is at last fully populated with indicators and gauges (it's just switches at present).

    Regards
    Pete

  3. #3
    300+ Forum Addict AchillesP's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Hi,

    My configuration is

    1 pc running only Flight simulator
    1 pc running 4 copies of GC, CDU, RCDU, MCP, pmsystems, TSR Boeing 737NG, pmsounds
    1 pc running hardware cards (flightillusion gauges, flightdeck cards, phidgets cards), fs2phidget software, whazzup plus, weather radar
    1 pc running IVAO/VATSIM software, activesky advanced

    The FS pc is a good one but the others are normal.

    The PM pc is a quad core 2,67Ghz with 2G memory DDR2 and 2 x NVIDIA 8600GT

    The hardware pc is the same as above but with 1 x NVIDIA 8600GT but with a lot of usb hubs

    With this configuration a have no problem. I run both FS9 and FSX
    Last edited by AchillesP; 11-30-2009 at 04:11 AM.
    With best regards,
    Achilles
    http://www.thefsps.com

  4. #4
    150+ Forum Groupie Suggy's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Thank you Peter and Achilles for your comprehensive replies.

    Peter, the use of TH2G is a way which I never thought of. Many thanks for that!

    Achilles, your setup is very similar to the one I have been contemplating. It's good to know that it all works together. Your 2 graphics card in your PM pc - I am assuming they are not configured for SLI but 'each on their own'?

    Kind regards,
    Darren

  5. #5
    300+ Forum Addict AchillesP's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suggy View Post
    Thank you Peter and Achilles for your comprehensive replies.

    Peter, the use of TH2G is a way which I never thought of. Many thanks for that!

    Achilles, your setup is very similar to the one I have been contemplating. It's good to know that it all works together. Your 2 graphics card in your PM pc - I am assuming they are not configured for SLI but 'each on their own'?

    Kind regards,
    Darren
    No, not sli. I connected 4 slots of 2 cards to four monitors. It does not matter if the cards are the same type. But it has to be the same brand.
    With best regards,
    Achilles
    http://www.thefsps.com

  6. #6
    500+ This must be a daytime job
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by AchillesP View Post
    The PM pc is a quad core 2,67Ghz with 2G memory DDR2 and 2 x NVIDIA 8600GT
    Just wondering. Do all the PM OpenGL windows (ie. the PFD/ND/EICAS ones) run with OpenGL hardware acceleration, or are they using the software only? I suppose with the powerful processor it doesn't matter which, but I'm interested to know whether multiple OpenGL accelerated windows are now supported. Oh, yes, which version of Windows?

    Tell you what, if you don't mind, could you press "F" for each of the PFD.EXE windows and write down the displayed frame rates and acceleration details on each for me? That would be excellent if you could do that.

    This might all be relevant to my choice of Shuttle processor and operating system when I come to replacing my 3 mini-PCs.

    Thanks,

    Pete

  7. #7
    300+ Forum Addict AchillesP's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Dowson View Post
    Just wondering. Do all the PM OpenGL windows (ie. the PFD/ND/EICAS ones) run with OpenGL hardware acceleration, or are they using the software only? I suppose with the powerful processor it doesn't matter which, but I'm interested to know whether multiple OpenGL accelerated windows are now supported. Oh, yes, which version of Windows?

    Tell you what, if you don't mind, could you press "F" for each of the PFD.EXE windows and write down the displayed frame rates and acceleration details on each for me? That would be excellent if you could do that.

    This might all be relevant to my choice of Shuttle processor and operating system when I come to replacing my 3 mini-PCs.

    Thanks,

    Pete
    I use the latest Nvidia driver. All the GC uses OpenGL hardware acceleration.

    I use windows xp pro 32 bit, and all the software runs automatically when the pc is starting.

    The frame rate at each gc windows depends from the FS. So, if I use FS9 then the frame rate is 30 stable. If I use FSX, then the frame rate is from 26 to 45 frames. I do not use the frame lock of GC. It is configures as 0.
    With best regards,
    Achilles
    http://www.thefsps.com

  8. #8
    150+ Forum Groupie Suggy's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Hmm, very interesting Achilles that you say that the multiple displays can run OpenGL simultaneously.

    That certainly gives me food for thought on how I am going to downsize the number of PCs I am currently using. Very interesting............

    Once again, Peter and Achilles, thanks for taking the time to reply to my query. It's very much appreciated and has helped me immensely.

    Regards,
    Darren

  9. #9
    500+ This must be a daytime job
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by AchillesP View Post
    I use the latest Nvidia driver. All the GC uses OpenGL hardware acceleration.
    ...
    I use windows xp pro 32 bit, and all the software runs automatically when the pc is starting.
    ...
    if I use FS9 then the frame rate is 30 stable. If I use FSX, then the frame rate is from 26 to 45 frames. I do not use the frame lock of GC. It is configures as 0.
    Okay, thanks. Sounds good. nVidia + WinXP Pro (which I would have gone for anyway), no GC frame locks. Super.

    Pete

  10. #10
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    Re: Is it possible to run PM software on only a 'few' computers?

    On the FSweekend we also had a full PM setup running from one pc.

    Captains PFD/ND, F/O PFD/ND, Upper eicas, lower eicas and dual cdu's on one pc with a Q6600 processor and 2 GFX cards with 2 outputs eachs driving the 4 TFT's.

    We had one instance of PM running in expanded mode (F6), that was driving all pfd/nd's and both eicas screens. swapping of the du's worked flawlessly using the DU switches in expanded mode.

    No performance problems whatsoever. We were using this system the year before also.

    In our case we could run both the cdu and rcdu from one computer because they are usb driven directly by the pm cdu respectively rcdu each on their own usb port (using a virtual commport).


    stef


    www.boeing737ng.com
    ___________________________
    The Dutch 737 Simulator Project

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