Microsoft's Flight Simulator X (FSX) provides a detailed, visually realistic representation of flying a wide variety of aircraft anywhere in the world. All of the game's fidelity can sometimes hurt its performance, however. If your frame rates seem low --- you can check this by pressing "Shift" and "Z" at the same time while in game --- you might need to take steps to speed up FSX by performing some tweaks to improve the game's overall performance.
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Close any additional programs before starting FSX. Resource intensive programs such as antivirus software, rendering software or other games can sap precious system resources away from FSX.
Launch Flight Simulator X from the Games section of the Windows Start Menu. Click "Settings" on the left-hand side of the screen, then click "Customize" to enter the advanced settings for the game's graphics.
Click the "Traffic" tab and move the sliders for "Airline traffic density" and "General aviation traffic density" further to the left. This will result in fewer aircraft sharing the skies with you, but in trade-off the computer resources that would be used to control them can be used to speed up your game instead.
Click the "Scenery" tab and drag the "Mesh complexity" slider down to 65. Check to make sure that "Mesh resolution" and "Texture resolution" are set no higher than "38 m" and "1m," respectively. These are the values for FSX's default scenery. Unless you have downloaded additional scenery there's no reason to set the values any higher.
Turn down the "Autogen density" to "Dense" or "Normal." If you usually fly light aircraft close to the ground, the large numbers of buildings and trees automatically generated by the game helps improve the fidelity of the simulation, so you want to keep the value relatively high. On the other hand, if you mostly fly airliners then auto-generated scenery wastes CPU cycles. Turn it down further or even disable it completely.
Tips and warnings
- If you play FSX to focus on the aircraft -- not on what's outside the cockpit window -- consider flying only in overcast conditions. The reduced visibility also lowers the number of things your computer has to draw, resulting in an overall performance boost.
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