Flight Simulator 2004 & Matrox G550 ??

Ctein Guest

I was given a copy of Flight Simulator 2004- A Century of Flight for my birthday. I can't tell from the box if my graphics card is supported.

I'm running Win2K, SP4 with 2 Gig RAM. I have DirectX 9.0b installed and DirectDraw Acceleration and DirectDraw 3D (software) Acceleration are enabled. My video card is a Matrox G550, which has 32 meg of RAM on board, but no hardware 3D acceleration.

The game box says that for video I need "8 MB/ 3D DirectX 9.0 or later." Do I need a 3D-hardware accelerated card (which the G550 is not) or simply software 3D support?

I know that 3D hardware makes everything better <g>, just wanna know if I can play the darn thing before I open the box and so can't return it.

(BTW, Microsoft won't help me unless I provide the Product Identification Number. The only way I can get that number is to open the box. Or they say I can pay $35 to get my question answered. We are NOT amused...)

Thanks for your help!

pax / Ctein

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Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Not being familiar with that card at all you can read this post and draw your conclusions from it.


By the way, your DirectX is an older version, 9.0c has been out quite a while.

Let us know your decision if you will and if you keep it how you like it. Good luck.


Ctein Guest

Dear RM,

Thanks for your very prompt reply! You're better than Microsoft! (no I don't mean that to be damning with faint praise <VBG>)

The G550 is a slightly more powerful version of the G450. More RAM than Whitney's and a 2x2 pixel/texture pipe instead of a 2x1, so it renders about 50% faster. But otherwise it's identical-- same processor/chip set, etc. So, if the G450 turned out to work for Whitney (which is how I read that thread), I can't see any reason the G550 wouldn't work as well.

Anyone here disagree with that assessment (or my reading of the thread)?

Thanks for the pointer on DirectX-- I'll grab the newer version.

On a related matter, anyone here have an opinion on the Matrox P650 and 750 cards for games? (They have hardware 2D/3D.) I like Matrox cards for their general stability-- 99% of what I need this computer for is photographic work, and I don't want to compromise that just to play a few more games. Or spend $400 or so to get "the best of both worlds."


Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

A potted plant is faster then MS. 🙄

Matrox P650 -Only a 64mb card.

Matrox P750 -Still a 64mb but the price seems to indicate that it's a worthwhile card.

I saw your site, beautiful work, both new and restoration. I wouldn't sacrifice my work computer for the sim, obviously I don't have to tell you that. If a better card will still do your work as you like it then go for it for the sims sake.

If you have decided on keeping FS9, try it with your present card and see what FPS (Frames Per Second) you get in different areas, intensive graphic (major airports) and over barren areas, Alaska tundra. Clouds will give you a major FPS hit so keep them as low as possible. Leave everything else at the default settings until you see how they are then you can adjust them.
To get the FPS as you are in the airport hit "Shift+Z" two or three times, you'll get 2 lines of red information at the top of the screen, the second line will have the fps that you are getting and what you are "locked" at.
Leave that up and see how it goes.


Ctein Guest

Dear RM,

I'm making a mild effort to beat up Microsoft about this policy ; I am not entirely without resources <bwahahahaha>.

Meanwhile I successfully installed and ran FS9 under Win2K SP4 on an Athlon 1900+ system with 2 GB RAM and a Matrox 32MB G550 card. Using the game defaults, which were for medium low quality on everything and 600x800 pixel x 32 bit display, I got frame rates that varied from a low of 12-13 fps to over 25 fps. That's eminently playable. Especially for a newbie.

For what it's worth, kicking all the display quality settings up to highest had less effect on frame rate than I thought, maybe a 25-30% drop. Increasing the screen res was another matter; rates dropped almost in proportion to the number of pixels (not quite that bad).

If I get really hooked on this, I'll look into buying a better Matrox card. If one doesn't want Surround Gaming or triple display capability, the P650 is something of a bargain, only 25% more expensive than the card I have, but with hardware graphic support -- 50% faster 2D rendering and 3.3X faster 3D rendering. Another 25% gets one the 750, but it's not much faster, just gets you the 3-display and surround support. 'Course the primo card is the Parhelia, but heckovalotta bucks for the 128 meg version and terrifying for the 256 meg.

For those who might care about detailed specs, here's a link to Matrox's table'o'features:


Thanks so much for the kind words on my photography work! Yeah, I can't compromise that for my love of games. I've always considered it a shame that the standard PC / OS won't support more than one video card. Good graphic arts cards and good gaming cards aren't expensive. Cards that do both well are very much so. Sigh.

Thanks for the handholding and help. Now I gotta go install that no-CD patch and find the time to learn to fly.

pax / Ctein

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

For that card those FPS reading are fantastic, I'm very pleased to see that they are so high.
Maxing them out will give you a FPS hit but flying at that resolution should help quite a bit.

Shut down the textures, water, shadows and reflection, cut clouds and traffic as low as you can stand to look at it and that will free up the cards resources for better FPS. Scenery and autogen eat it up also but how can you resist that "eye candy" they offer.

A better card, your hooked, I knew you would be, this sim (FS9) is very addictive. I don't know what type of aircraft you like to fly, it may take you a while to figure that out but whatever they are you'll find different ways to enjoy them.
I'm a "tail-dragger" and I love to fly the vintage aircraft, most of our members fly "big iron", the commercial jets.
Whatever you choose...enjoy!

There are two cracks, one for the sim out of the box and one if you load the patch from MS, I never loaded the patch.



Ctein Guest

Dear RM,

Thanks for the alert about the update patch. Since I haven't done any modifications or third-party additions to Flight Simulator yet, I downloaded it and will install it before messing around with anything else.


pax / Ctein

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Follow it step by step or it won't work properly. With the "patch" you'll need the no-cd 9.1.


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