FSX/P3D GPU Comparison (aka GTX Titan for FSX Test)

Hello everyone,

Here is a little bit of testing I went about last couple of days. In one word, all I can say is WOW. My final goal was to see what Titan is capable of, because often I see drops in my own machine and often I hear people complaining about dropping performance in big clouds etc…

I took couple of my own situations, and loaded them through three various top ranking cards for FSX:
GTX 580 (my current card)
GTX 680
GTX Titan (non-overclocked)

To make sure I have quite good results in my opinion, I was working with SGSS modes of Nvidia Inspector, alternating between 2x, 4x and 8x SGSS. The situations are each different in their own way. Some are GPU bound, some are CPU bound, some are mixes…

Also, the make sure there are no discrepancies between tests, I made sure that:
– the driver supports all 3 cards
– vsync is deactivated
– FPS are unlocked
– no changes are made to the simulators between card tests, all settings remain the same, except the noted changes
– the “[DISPLAY.Device.NVIDIA GeForce GTX xxxxx]” line in the FSX.cfg is in there only once, with the same setting as the previous card

This is how I have chosen them:
FSXMark11 – a well known all around test, this one is not specific to anything
Test Clouds AA – this is manually generated 5 layer overcast cumulus clouds situation. It is highly GPU limited scenario, which fully reflects what the cards are capable in anti-aliasing section.
Test KPHX Def. – this is a situation loading Flightbeam KPHX with default 737. The reason behind this one was to see how the system does when almost all the way CPU limited.
Test KPHX NGX – this is a fully CPU limited scenario. It was created to see if card will at all benefit in a CPU limited scenario.
Test EGKK – this test is to separate the card from the KPHX, see if it will benefit with other developers’ airport. Funny results I must say. However it must be noted, that EGKK is situated in the UK, where I have FTX EU active, so this might be playing a role (see results FTX UK)
Water/UTX – this is not a CPU limited scenario, but it’s also not very hard on the GPU.
Test Overcast Perf. Drain – this situation is similar to my own manually created GPU limited scenario, but it was created originally by AS2012, when I was looking for overcast situations. FPS abysmally dropped and I was astonished that my GTX580 wasn’t able to cope, at 19fps.
Test FTX UK – this test represents a performance when massive autogen is introduced. Here both 2x and 4x SGSS are implemented, and also a switch to max. autogen.

P3D tests are the same, but please do note that the goal of this comparison was NOT to make FSX and P3D have same frames or situations. I only made sure that core-components are loaded, like airports I was on, same cloud resolution (2048), same water textures etc.

Why SGSS? Sparse Grid Supersampling is by far the best method of anti-aliasing, shimmer reducing, wavy-lines-removal method available for FSX/P3D. It makes even the worst shimmery airports appear quite smooth, and aircraft models appear very smooth and clean. 2x SGSS is already pretty hard, but still not really removing everything. 4x/8x do quite good work and remove almost everything bad from the picture. This also goes for the smoothest gauges out there, also when looked from the back of the cockpit 😉

Now let’s get on with the results:

GPU Comparison

Link to the PDF for reference: GPU Comparison

Link to FSX situation files used in these tests.

I was fully blown by the performance of the GTX Titan. The card virtually blows my GTX580 out of the water, and is doing quite well over the GTX680 too.
As expected, I knew that in the CPU limited scenarios, like when loading the NGX, the Titan wouldn’t really be of big advantage, if any that is. Also in the UTX situation, the advantage was minimal. Also when FTX UK is taken with light SGSS and medium AG, the performance stayed the same.
Let’s also take into account the problem when flying the NGX, and let’s say you get 25fps in normal circumstances at landing. What happens if the weather is not nice and dandy, but heavy clouds and overcast. What might and most likely will happen, is that your performance will drop to 15fps or maybe even lower.
However, when you give this card something to chew on, or better said, if you up the settings (isn’t that the first reason for the stronger card??), higher autogen,  higher IQ (4x SGSS), there is 65% performance increase. What was really astonishing is that the GTX580 with medium autogen and 2x SGSS had LESS FPS than Titan with 4x SGSS and max. AG!! Talk about power…
Furthermore, the card shows it’s true power when pushed through my hardest clouds tests. Up to 100% more power in synthetic cloud test with 4x SGSS, and up to 105% more in the AS2012 caused real world weather situation with 2x SGSS (yes, this can really happen in the simulator!). What I can again laugh about is that the Titan is faster in the FPS in this situation with 8x SGSS than my GTX580 with 2x SGSS. Amazing card.
The situation in UK2000 EGKK was a bit unexpected to me, though the reason for this performance boost might be the FTX UK, which was of course active. As we can see FTX UK has a big boost, and if we take that into account, it might be that UK2000 EGKK also profits from that.

As a final word, I can say that this card is definitely worthy the price, and if you can somehow invest into it, it’s going to be a rewarding experience.

Someone asked on some forum if the smoothness is better. I really can’t say. I don’t believe it is. If I were to claim it was, I might as well say it was a placebo maybe. If it were really smoother, it was due to higher FPS in the “background”, since usually I run 30fps stocked and locked. If FSX is able to maintain 30fps easily, meaning your unlocked FPS will be much higher, you will have less stutters. If your unlocked FPS is 32, and occasionally dropping below 30, then you will see problems, even with the Titan card.

And let me say one more thing: I had GTX680 in between, as you see from the tests. It’s only marginally better than the 580, so if you have the 580, I wouldn’t recommend the 680. But I would recommend the Titan.

I am sure many will observe the Titan as the financial blockage, coming up with the question: reasonable? One always pay a little extra for the premium. People buy Extreme Intel CPUs, and now finally Nvidia has come up with the same thing.

My final thought: if I had 1000€ now, I would buy it. This instant. But unfortunately I don’t, and I’m glad I’m able to give you this representation and comparison, maybe even give some undecided minds a way to an easier decision.


As shared by Paolo in the comments, this link by HardOCP is an Titan Overclocking Review, so for those who want to squeeze the last ounce of the power out of the Titan, give it go: LINK
DISCLAIMER: as always with overclocking, your own responsibility)

Kind regards,

408 Responses to FSX/P3D GPU Comparison (aka GTX Titan for FSX Test)

  1. Paul says:

    My GTX 480,s SLI AA mode that is important as the rendering is shared between the two cards as opposed to vanilla sli i obtain 38-55 fps on ORBX scenery sliders maxed out bar the two scenery set at very dense. Half refresh rate of a 120 htz monitor .

    • Kosta says:

      It’s good you get numbers you are getting, however how you presented it, it’s neither viable nor possible to know if the FPS are due to SLI or not. If you are happy with FSX, that’s the most important thing, and also your 120hz half refresh is kinda futile, since you don’t achieve 60fps stable.

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  5. Kaushal says:

    I have been playing both FSX and P3D V2.4 with many addon airports.( PMDG NGX,777,Addon Scenery/Airports, Mytraffic etc.) with i7 4770 nonk~3.9Ghz, Asus GT640 2GB gpu 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 @1600.Recently flying throuh 777 approching CYYZ flytampa scenery I only got 9-10 frames.and then it crashed.

    Can you please suggest me whether should I buy GTX9704GB or 980ti 6GB to improve and without sliding scenery bars on left from where they are.

    I seriously appreciate your help in sim community.

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