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Matrox Parhelia Review - Page 12 of 21

MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR 2002

Flight simulator games are a much different animal than the traditional ones benchmarked in most reviews. Why? Because, framerates tend to hover around ~30 frames per second due to the extreme strain these games place on the central processor. Hence, they tend to play similarly across different graphics accelerators.

One thing that can be looked at is the degree of quality that antialiasing brings to the table. Flight simulation titles seem to exaggerate jaggies in the worst possible way, so an effective antialiasing implementation can make an incredible difference to the gamer.

It should be pointed out that this title is based on DirectX 7. As a result, you're completely limited to a maximum resolution of 1920x480. As I mentioned earlier, there's no workaround for this, but it has been corrected in DirectX 8.

SETTINGS

Flight Simulator 2002 was tested using the following settings:

  • Surround Gaming - 1920x480 resolution
  • Normal - 1024x768 resolution
  • Trilinear filtering forced via driver
  • 16X FAA enabled where noted
  • In-game graphics settings at maximum quality

SCREENSHOTS

Once again, have a look at the screenshots to assess the difference that Surround Gaming provides over a typical resolution setting.

Normal Surround
Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge

PERFORMANCE

The expectation here is that performance should be constant across the board.

Flight Simulator 2002 Performance

Test Mode Average Frame Rate
Normal 32
Surround Gaming 29

As expected, there's really no difference between the two configurations due to the fact that we're severely CPU bound. You could say that enabling Surround Gaming has a minimal impact on performance.

When looking at the antialiasing aspect of the screenshots, you can spot areas where FAA is not being applied to the plane. It's not nearly as evident when actually playing the game, but can be spotted nonetheless. Going back to what I said earlier, this is one of the unfortunate aspects of FAA. When it works you can make the argument that it cannot be touched by the competition. But when it doesn't you can spot the imperfections. For example, when you're getting ready to takeoff the lines on the runway don't get antialiased at all and it jumps out at you. Other times you would really have to look hard.

I think it's safe to say that Flight Simulator buffs would really enjoy using the Parhelia. As of this time, the Parhelia supports Flight Simulator 2002 and Combat Flight Simulator. There are some other flight simulator games that will also be supported in the very near future as well, but those titles have not been publicly disclosed.

Next Page: Aliens versus Predator 2


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Last Updated on November 16, 2002

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