To answer some speculation and questions I’ve seen on the forums regarding X-Plane and multiple cores:
- X-Plane 8 and 9 will use up to four cores to “shift” the scenery coordinate system when scenery needs loading. This shift causes a pause in both X-Plane 8 and 9, but it is a relatively short pause.
- X-Plane 8 and 9 will use a second core to build 3-d geometry out of road, forest, facade, and airport definition data while you fly, as you move through the loaded scenery area. This is particularly important to smooth flight when there is a lot of 3-d enabled.
- X-Plane 8 and 9 will use a second core to do some of the work of loading textures from disk while you fly. (Right after a scenery shift happens, over time new textures are loaded in.) Some of that texture load is still done on the main thread. Texture compression is done on the main thread, which can cause stuttering. (I expect to address this in the future, but authors can use DDS textures now in v9 to simply not do the compression at all and make everything faster.)
- X-Plane 9 will load new DSFs into memory on a second core. Loading new DSFs takes the vast majority of scenery load time, thus flight with X-Plane 9 and a dual-core machine is a lot smoother than it was in v8. This is a big win for the dual-core machine and is new to v9.
All of our new work on the sim keeps multi-core in mind. We know that more and more users will have multiple cores and that we’re leaving performance on the table if we can’t distribute rendering load across two cores.
So the important points here I think are:
- X-Plane 9 significantly uses a second core.
- Use of the second core has grown significantly over time, and will increase in the future.
- I like to use bullet points way too much in my blogs and emails.