Is this possible?
I have 3 computers on a home network via wi-fi. Is there a way to use the computing power of all three computers to run FSX? It seems if this can be done, my FPS would increase quite a bit. Two of the machines are running VISTA and one is XP. I guess what I mean is, use the other two machines as just processors, no visuals at all. Link the 'power of three' and increase the visual potential of the last machine, or I am still going to be restricted by the graphics card in the main computer? (bet that is going to be a 'big' factor)
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Re: Is this possible?
I'm afraid the short answer is 'no'. But it's not an absolute no.
I doubt your graphics card is a problem, unless it's a really ancient or incredibly low-spec one. Modern, mid-range graphics cards aren't troubled by FSX, even at high resolutions - it is 4 years old, after all, and graphics cards have increased in power exponentially in that time. It's CPU that there's never enough of. Because FSX is fundamentally single-threaded (even with SP2), you can only ever get as much processing power as your CPU can muster on a single thread. Even with today's ultra-high-end processors (Core i7 950 etc) overclocked, you're only getting perhaps twice, or at most three times the per-clock-cycle performance of the CPUs that were high-end when FSX was released, on which it was already notably slow. Because CPUs now rely on multiple cores to get more work done, only multi-threaded applications truly get a major boost out of the newer CPUs. So on a modern, high-end PC you can get acceptable frame rates in generic situations, but still get slowdown and stuttering with highly-detailed scenes, lots of AI traffic, etc. YMMV - many people say they can get acceptable frame rates everywhere, and there are tweaks a-plenty which seem to have a major impact on some peoples' setups, but in my own experience you just can't max all the sliders and expect to fly into JFK with heavy weather at 30fps all the way with basic FSX - let alone with add-ons.
There's no way to simply offload some of the processing to other machines in a network. That would require FSX to be both multi-threaded (so you could divide up the work package) and network-aware (so you could distribute the work over the network). Without a re-write, that simply isn't possible. You can do something fairly similar, though, using add-on software such as Wideview and/or WideFS. Wideview allows you to run FSX on multiple computers and synchronise them so they all show the same position and attitude in the simulated world. The most common use of this is to have multiple displays showing front and side views, in a home-cockpit setting - each PC generates a view and so the total load is essentially split. Or you can show the instrument panel on one monitor and the outside view on another, each running on a separate machine; not having to paint the instruments saves quite a few CPU cycles. WideFS allows add-on programs that are designed to use Peter Dowson's FSUIPC (a piece of software that interfaces directly to FS and allows you to write software that in turn controls FS indirectly) to run on networked PCs instead of on the PC running FSX, and synchronises them over the network. So if you have one of the many add-ons that would draw lot of CPU power - like one of the many replacement avionics suites - you can offload this work to another machine.
I suspect neither of these are what you actually want, which is to simply accelerate a single-view instance of FSX. Unfortunately, that's just not possible because of the fundamental architecture of the program.
Last edited by Neil Hewitt; 09-12-2010 at 12:07 PM.
Reason: Typos :-(
Re: Is this possible?
Thank you very much for the rapid response. I understand what you are saying, and kind of expected it to be as you stated.