will a full hard drive affect speed of fsx?

Pro Member Trainee
djcevera Trainee

intel pentium 4 3.06ghz
1gb ram
nvidea geforce fx go5200 32mb video card
only have 2.19 gb free on my hard drive would such a low amount effect the lag or graphics in fsx or is my system not good enough...

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Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

It will some but not that much.

Run this.

I would go to start/programs/accessories/system tools/disk cleanup/ and run that.
Get rid of all your back restore points and you'll get gigabytes back.
It should leave you one for backup now.

You need a much better video card, your is very old and weak.


Pro Member Trainee
PrimedopefisH Trainee

I agree, 32mb will not cut it. Sounds like you have a Dell machine, and they usually equip their computers with bad video cards.

Check out

ZipZoomFly has a lot of good deals, and it has free shipping on everything which is a huge plus. Get at least a 128mb card, but since your machine has so much potential I would go for a 256 or 512 if you can afford it. Check out the Geforce 7600GT, I personally think that is the best bang for the buck card on the market.

Oh yes, and make sure the card you buy is compatible with your motherboard. You will not be a happy camper if you find out you bought an incompatible card. Good luck!

Pro Member Trainee
djcevera Trainee

unfortunatly i have a laptop is it possible to change my video card?


no, you are stuck with it....laptops are not really ideal for such a massive simulator as FSX.

VonKyrin Guest

Oh. I think I have 2 cents to add to this one. Lol

While, I would tend to agree with the others that your real problem is having only 32 MB of video memory, your actual question was “Can hard drive space affect the speed of FS?” not “What’s the problem with my system?”

So, since no one has directly answered that question, let me take a crack at it. “Can hard drive space affect the speed of FS?” not “What’s the problem with my system?”

So, since no one has directly answered that question, let me take a crack at it.

The answer is: yes.

A full hard drive can affect system performance in a number of ways.

I am not certain how dependent FS-X is on the hard drive. I would assume that it loads as much as it can in memory rather than trying to retrieve it from disk, but I am sure that it still has to go to disk a LOT. It probably does some back ground loading when the simulation is not too busy. If nothing else, I know it can’t store the entire planet in a few Gig of memory, so it must be loading from disk now and then.

That said, the first concern with running out of disk space is that Windows itself bogs down when the drive space falls somewhere less than 5% free. I didn’t see where you stated what the capacity of your drive is. If less than 5% of the drive is empty, be suspicious that this might be slowing the system down even if it’s not the biggest problem. Once you get down to about 1% free space Windows can start acting VERY quirky. One reason might be that Windows is controlling the size of the Swap File dynamically. In other words, Windows is using the hard drive to pretend that the hard drive is memory because you don’t have enough actual memory. If it runs out of hard drive space there, the whole computer is likely to crash.

Another concern is that the more full your hard drive is, the more likely you are to have disk fragmentation. It’s not a certainty, but a fuller hard drive suggests you’ve been using the hard drive for a while. When was the last time it was defrag-ed? Fragmentation can prevent the hard drive from operating at its best speeds because the fragmented data is spread all over the hard drive. Instead of reading the data in one nice straight line, it has to jump physically back and forth to retrieve the data which can have a very noticeable affect on hard drive speed.

And one more way that a full hard drive can affect hard drive speed is the fact that the hard drive stores data in “rings” on a disk. When the drive is reading from the outside ring of the disk it is spinning at the same speed as when it reads from the inner most ring of the disk. Because of this, the outer rings pass considerably more distance/data by the read/write head of the drive than the inner rings can in the same amount of time. So, the outer rings read and write data noticeably faster than when reading and writing data on the inner rings. Not to mention that the inner rings have to use more rings (tracks) than the same amount of data stored on the outer rings (tracks) and changing rings (tracks) slows the process down.

The hard drive will work from the outside in, knowing that it will become slower the more the hard drive fills toward the inside.

So, to summarize, if you want your hard drive to run like a race horse: don’t store anything on it and defrag what is stored on it. And, of course, buy the fastest hard drive you can. In the real world, you will probably have to make compromises. For instance, your budget may not allow for a RAID 10 hard drive array dedicated just to playing FS-X. Not to mention you may want to have other programs on your computer besides JUST FS-X. So, it’s usually a matter of compromise. Just remember, the fuller the hard drive, the slower it will be. Maybe it’s time for some “spring cleaning” to remove any unwanted/unneeded files. Internet cache and cookies are a good place to start after emptying the recycle bin.

Certain utility programs like those from Symantic Corporation will defrag a hard drive and look for files that aren’t used very often, but you should be able to do most of what you need to do without buying any special programs. The programs just make it easier; especially if you don’t know what you are doing.

And definitely don’t forget to defrag the hard drive.

A fast hard drive is not very helpful if it isn’t being used. And memory is always MUCH faster than using a hard drive. I don’t know exactly how they programmed FS-X. I can only imagine that it would be hard to give FS-X all the memory it wants. Memory is where you are likely to see the biggest improvement (Graphics card memory AND system memory). However, improving the hard drive speed is still likely to help and might be an improvement that can be made without spending any money.

VonKyrin Guest

I wasn’t paying close enough attention when reading these posts; you did basically ask “What’s the bottleneck in my system?” I apologize for not reading closely enough.

But I wanted to add that graphics card memory is faster than system memory. One reason is that it is dedicated to graphics so it’s never too busy to work on a graphics problem. Also, it is physically closer to the graphics processor ( a separate processor dedicated solely to graphics) and, so it is faster for the graphics processor to access since it is closer.

So, even though 1 Gig of system memory sounds pretty reasonable, 32 Meg of Graphics memory is a suggested minimum for FS-X. And suggested minimums are usually ABSOLUTE minimums. In other words, if your system doesn’t meet up to this, don’t expect it to even be “playable”. So, since yours is on the verge of too little (graphics card wise), you should expect that you will have to cut back all graphics settings as low as possible. And possibly curb back most other settings as well. Definitely try turning any music off (that one really helped me). And maybe check the realism settings for anything above minimum. If you can get it to run nicely on minimum settings, you might find that you can turn some of the settings back up and still get good performance.

As a comparison, here’s what I’m running and how my system is performing:
Pentium 4 (3.16 Ghz if I remember right)
Dual 75 Gig Raptor drives (mine are almost full too so I sympathize with trying to find hard drive space)
One drive has Windows and FS-X is on the other drive (but both drives are full)
512 MB Graphics Card
2 Gig system memory
Old MS Sidewinder Joystick

When I first installed, it ran fine. Then when I plugged in the Sidewinder Joystick it choked and started stuttering like crazy. Did everything I could to get it to straighten up but in the end the main thing that helped was turning off the music in FS-X. (This is likely a conflict between my joystick and sound system).

Now it runs find on high realism and high graphics settings. I don’t have most of the graphics settings on 100% but most of them are high. I still notice the computer getting a bit behind when I rapidly switch camera views. Other than that, the speed is acceptable. I’m considering trying to up the graphics settings a bit more.

Also, I’m flying in West Texas and New Mexico, which is rather desolate. That may help the simulation because it doesn’t have to draw near as many cars and other aircraft as if I were flying around Southern California.

Speaking of which, so far I haven’t seen any worthwhile sites in FS-X New Mexico yet. I’ve looked for a few things but haven’t seen them. Sites worth seeing that seem to be absent are:

The Very Large Array of Telescopes (featured in the movie Contact I believe)
Lincoln (Ghost Town - home of Billy the Kid)
Sierra Blanca (ski resort) (heck the entire town of Ruidoso seems missing. The only way I know is the roads are there but no buildings.)
The Valley of Fires ( I think that’s what it’s called. It’s an ancient Lava flow.)

If anyone knows of anything worth seeing in NM in FS-X, let me know.

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