I work for one of the big FS addon developers and I made something of a tweakguide for our customers who were getting bad performance in FSX on our forum... thought maybe this could help some of you:
For those of you coming from other games where 60+ FPS is the norm, just understand that we've never had that in FS unfortunately... I wish we did and there's a million reasons why we don't, but somewhere around 20-30FPS is considered optimal for the FS engine. Fortunately it's a game that doesn't really require a high framerate most of the time to look convincing unless you're talking about doing low-level stunt maneuvers or something. For what I use it for (mostly airliner IFR simulation), it's fine. The MS devs are working on ways to improve performance though and we should see a marked improvement when the patch(es) flow forth... Try out my guide though, I'm getting around 20FPS most of the time and looks far far superior to FS2004 even with all the addons I have for the older version.
Btw, to whoever posted the link to the Matterhorn screenshot in X-Plane, that was really misleading. That's taken using a 17GB terrain mesh addon that you have to buy separately from the game. Similar products exist for FS as well (check out http://www.fsgenesis.net
) - that is NOT how that area will look in the default X-Plane. FSX supports insanely high terrain mesh and texture resolution values for the future and will likely look even better than that shot as soon as we have the hardware to run it. Default FSX terrain is 38m mesh (some 76m outside the US) and 1m texture resolution by the way, so don't set your sliders any higher than that...