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Mr. Dowson,

I read somewhere that at one point you were using a Matrox Parhelia for 3 -3D views in FS. I was wondering if you had a moment if you would give your impression of the card, pro & con. Are you still using it? I have read a number of reviews and forums with mixed results (some before the updated drivers). I am considering a future purchase and your opinion would be appreciated and respected. Thanks.

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I read somewhere that at one point you were using a Matrox Parhelia for 3 -3D views in FS..

Not 3 3D views. It is is one 3D view at 0.50 (some prefer 0.30) zoom, spread across three monitors as 1920 x 480. In CFS3 and the forthcoming FS9 the resolution will be able to be increased, but FS2002 is limited to 2048 max in any dimension because it uses DX7 which had that limitation.

Such a low resolution is no good for FS panels, but I don't use any FS panels -- I am, today, fitting a Parhelia to a second PC to allow me to have three monitors showing Project Magenta instrumentation (currently on two monitors on separate PCs. Scenery is actually pretty good in any case at the low resolution, and the view across three monitor widths is very impressive.

The Parhelia drivers still have problems. I don't get any hangs now with either the 042 or 043 build drivers, but there are some artefacts and flashing and lost textures with either version. I know Matrox are aware of these problems and I expect improved drivers to arrive in due course. I also expect FS9, when it arrives, to have less of a problem in all these areas --- some of the problems are undoubtedly due to the DX7 use in FS2002.

I also use the display with Grand Prix 4 and that runs fine in 3072 x 768 resolution and is spectacular. I will be trying it in 3840 x 1024 resolution when I upgrade to 18" TFT screens (currently using 15").

Regards,

Pete

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Thanks for the quick response.

Can I assume that you are satisfied with the framerates? How fast a system are you using for the 3D view parhelia? I'm running an AMD Athalon XP 2000+ w/ 512 mb.

It appears you are happy with the card, so now I'm seriously considering it. Any tips on convincing the spouse it is a necessity!!!! JK

Thanks again,

Glenn

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Can I assume that you are satisfied with the framerates?

They're respectable enough -- not as fast as the nVidia Ti 4600 I was using before, but then with that I only had a resolution of 1280 x 1024.

How fast a system are you using for the 3D view parhelia?

P4 2.4GHz with 512Mb memory.

It appears you are happy with the card

I've just acquired a 256Mb version, which I've used to replace the 128Mb version, and it is now driving 3 18" TFTs. I'm preparing for FS9 which will support the 3840 x 1024 resolution I can now handle! I've moved the older 128Mb Parhelia to another PC where it is driving the three small 15" TFTs, with separate Project Magenta instrument panels on each. This is possible with the Parhelia -- it is the first consumer card to support multiple accelerated OpenGL windows. By doing this I've freed up two old delapidated PCs which were helping (poorly) with the PM instruments.

Yes, you could say I'm happy with the card. One day soon I shall be happy with the drivers too!

Regards,

Pete

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Could you please check that with the Project Magenta displays you can turn line and font smoothing on with the Parhelia? Thank you :)

Can you tell me how to do that? The parameters in the PFD.INI totally confuse me I'm afraid. These are the only relevant ones I can find. What should I do with them?

Quality=Lo

PolySmooth=Off

SmoothLineWidth=1

PolyDither=Off

BitmapSmooth=Off

FontFactor=1

NavFontFactor=1

FontQuality=0

What's the best things to set here? Bear in mind I am running this on an Athlon 700MHz. Three copies of PFD.EXE are running simultaneously, each with a graphics frame rate of 33.

WideClient tends to keep to the FS frame rate with no problem, but I am getting some jerky behaviour on ONE of the PFD displays at a time -- I think there are problems with them all trying to get WideClient's attention at the same time. I'm working on optimising just the WideClient timeslicing at present, I'm sure I can sort it with some small timing changes. The service from WideServer is not at all jerky and only one of three PFD instances act jerkily at a time.

Whilst I have your attention, could you help with another matter entirely, please? In order to run the Parhelia I have had to upgrade from Win98SE to WinXP Home -- Matrox don't provide Parhelia drivers for Win98. But now I cannot access files/folders on that PC on my Network. I don't understand what is going on. I've been through all the File Sharing stuff on it. I thought XP would operate the LAN okay -- the other two copies of XP I have running are fine and I cannot see any difference in any of the settings. It took me all day yesterday and I got no where. WideFs is okay, it's just the file sharing.

Thanks,

Pete

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The simplest way is to go in the glass cockpit OpenGL menu (CTRL+M if needed) and enable font and line smoothing here.

Oh, it's a Menu item? I didn't realise that. I'll check. I can't use that PC for PFD at this moment -- having installed WinXP I've just converted from FAT32 to NTFS (using Partition Magic) and now PFD needs a new Key. I'm sending off for one now...

Before that I got rid of the jerkiness by setting "UserTimer=On" in all three copies of PFD that I'm running. before, on an nVidia card, and with only the one PFD.EXE running, I found it smoother with "UseTimer=Off", but it looks like the PFD code needs to relinquish the processor via UseTimer in order to allow the other copies of itself to get regular time slots.

For XP, I suppose you are using IP, did you disable the firewall on this one machine?

I had the same problems (or so I thought) on two machines. One is XP Home the other XP Professional (I had to go to Pro because I was using Win2000 pro on it before).

I managed to sort the Home one out by copying ALL of the Advanced properties in the TCP/IP section of the Network properties -- I think the stumbling block was probably the "NetBIOS over TCP/IP" option which wasn't selected, but it might have been one of the other things.

But I have EXACTLY the same selections on my XP Pro system AND no firewall, yet, whilst that PC can share files on all the other PCs, none of the others can see files on it. They all simply say it is inaccessible. Odd. Something different in XP Professional perhaps? Any ideas please?

Regards,

Pete

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Yes Peter, there is a difference with XP Pro, I thought it was a Home machine like the others...

Check if you have "simple file sharing" enabled, go to the control panel, folder options, view tab and the last option in the advanced settings. Sharing should then work as with the Home edition.

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Check if you have "simple file sharing" enabled, go to the control panel, folder options, view tab and the last option in the advanced settings. Sharing should then work as with the Home edition.

Ah .. thanks. Now we're getting somewhere. The other PCs now don't say that it is inaccessible! They then asked for a User Name and Password. I had to go back to the XP Pro PC and re-enable the drive sharing that I'd already enabled before!

Why do they bury these options in such obscure and apparently unrelated places?

Thanks! It all works (again) now!

Pete

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Could you please check that with the Project Magenta displays you can turn line and font smoothing on with the Parhelia? Thank you :)

Okay. I've tried this now. They seem to be interlinked. If I turn on Font Smoothing, Line Smoothing comes on any way. If I turn off Line smoothing, font smoothing turns off too. they act as one option.

Other odd things. When I first tried it, the whole right hand part of the PFD (the VSI scale and indications, including vlaues above an below) just disappeared, and the display frame rate sank from 30-34 on each of the three windows to about 11-16.

This seems to be solved by going back into the Menu and disabling line Smoothing (not Font smoothing, which menu item seems non-operative -- though they BOTH switch off together). This brings back the missing parts of the PFD. THEN re-enabling font or Line smoothing makes it all work, the whole PFD, and at about 21-26 fps on all three, not too bad.

BUT, and here's the catch. If I close them all down and start them all up again with this smoothing on, they come back with the partial PFD display and poorer frame rates. Each time I load up, I have to CTRL M to enable the Menu, switch off, then switch on the smoothing, then CTRL M to turn the menu back off.

That is intolerable, so I'll do without smoothing. Seems some attention is needed to this area of PM? I doubt if Enrico will be reading this, he doesn't like Forums, so could you copy him please?

Best regards,

Pete

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Peter,

That problem had been reported to me with the Parhelia, that is why I asked you to test. It is a problem with the drivers, what it needs is the attention of Matrox, and they did not answer to the other persons having this trouble.

What you could do is send the opengl.txt file in the Glass Cockpit folder to Enrico, but it is a shame, it sure doesn't look good without the smoothing options, I guess I will again stay clear from the card until Matrox fix their drivers, if ever...

Thank you for testing!

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That problem had been reported to me with the Parhelia, that is why I asked you to test. It is a problem with the drivers, what it needs is the attention of Matrox, and they did not answer to the other persons having this trouble.

How can the lack of drawing of part of the image be a driver problem? I don't understand? Everything else is working.

but it is a shame, it sure doesn't look good without the smoothing options, I guess I will again stay clear from the card

I've NEVER been able to use the smoothing options in any case. On my Athlon 700 (the one I'm using now), but with the GeForce II Ultra I had on there before, those options cut the graphics frame rate from around 80 down to 10 or so and everything ran very jerky. On the other PC (now disused thanks to the Parhelia) which was an AMD 450 MHz PC using an nVidia MX card, switching those options on consistently caused the PFD display to hang or crash. I tried to sort all this out with Enrico a number of times, but it never got resolved so I ALWAYS ran without smoothing.

To me, the new fonts looks horribly thick and too bold with smothing enabled in any case. Without the smoothing some characters are badly formed, but at least everything runs smoothly and is very readable.

Regards,

Pete

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