Saying Goodbye to P3D…For now
My current gaming machine is just a little over 4 years old. Amazingly, it still runs really well. When I built it back in 2018, I used the latest and greatest components I could. Amazingly (once again), the machine performs well with the current simulation based games I enjoy playing. This even includes the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. Anyway, I designed the machine to use a 1 TB NVMe SSD as the main drive along with a few SSD’s. At the time of the initial build, I was running P3Dv4 and it was installed on the NVMe drive.
When P3Dv5 released, I knew it would be several weeks before all the add-ons would catch up, so I installed it on the largest SSD (500 GB). I ran both versions of P3D for several month with this intention of eventually doing a complete OS reset, then locate P3Dv5 to the NVMe drive. Before that happened, MSFS released and I kicked the can down the road and delayed the OS reset and just uninstalled P3Dv4 to free up enough space on the NVMe drive for MSFS.
For the first 18 months of the life of MSFS, I really only used it for GA flying. But all that changed once the Fenix A320 and the PMDG 737-700 released a few months ago. Since that timeframe, I’ve only used P3D a few times. Meanwhile I was adding more 3rd party airport sceneries to MSFS and as a result watching the available space on the NVMe drive get lower and lower.
On Thursday, I purchased and attempted to install the new GSX Pro from FSDreamteam. Like many others, I ran into issues immediately after installing. After reading forum threads and Discord messages, I finally gave up and decided to go to bed and sleep on it. Oddly enough, I woke up fairly early this morning and decided it was time to refresh the OS and essentially make the move to MSFS 100% and for now, give P3D the BIG Heave Ho.
Now, while GSX Pro has some challenges and some of the issues experienced on the first day appear to be related to their download servers….but I believe my own issues were a combination of having remnants of P3Dv4, along with P3Dv5 and MSFS. While it should certainly be possible for everything to live in harmony…something was wrong and I felt just doing a Windows 10 reset was my absolute best option. Like I said, the available space on my main SSD was becoming a serious issue.
It’s been a long day and I’m not 100% done. But I’ve managed to get Windows 10 reset, fully patched with all updated hardware drivers installed. The most time consuming part of the entire process has been reinstalling MSFS. That took the better part of two hours just to download then apply the updates. Next getting the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737-700 installed and finally all the add-on airports reinstalled. I even took time to get the AIG liveries along with VATSIM model matching installed. (That’s also a very time consuming process, but I had these things backed up so I didn’t have to start from scratch). One of the last items I installed was GSX Pro and it installed without issue and works as perfectly has it can at this point in time. I’ll explain more about this in a future blog post.
As for the future of P3Dv5. For now it will remain uninstalled. To be honest, and I’ve said this before in other blog postings, I really only have time for short-haul flights. While I do love the PMDG 777, 747 and the QualityWings 787, I really don’t have the time to enjoy them to their full potential. Not to mention, (and I’ve also said this before) that the eye-candy factor is seriously lacking in P3Dv5 compared to MSFS.
Possible Final Thoughts about P3D
My interest in P3D really didn’t start until Lockheed Martin released version 3 in 2015. I had dabbled briefly with version 2, but didn’t officially leave FSX behind until v3. At that time most of the 3rd party developers were getting more seriously involved with Prepar3D and it just seemed like the right time to move over. Of course, when P3Dv4 arrived in 2017 that officially ushered in the 64 bit compatibility we had all been dreaming of. Finally one could get the true potential from the sim without fear of the dreaded OOM errors which were quickly followed by at CTD.
When Prepar3D version 5 was released on April 14, 2020 we were in the early stages of the COVID Pandemic and I was working from home. At this time we knew about the new Microsoft Flight Simulator and I seriously contemplated just staying on v4 knowing/believing MSFS would be the future. But after a few weeks I finally pulled the trigger and purchased P3Dv5. After all, I felt it could be at least a year (if not longer) before MSFS would be at a point where study level aircraft would be available and I wanted to experience the latest and greatest for whatever period of time it might be before making the move to MSFS.
Getting into P3Dv5 from a financial perspective was really only the cost of the sim. Again, to the best of my memory….99% of the add-ons I had been using in P3Dv4 were made available with P3Dv5 installers at no cost and I certainly got my monies worth out of v5. All-in-all, as a hard-core flight simulation enthusiast I’m thankful to Lockheed Martin for making P3D available after Microsoft abandoned us. While I tried XPlane sometime before P3Dv4, but having been such a long-time Microsoft Simmer I just couldn’t get into it. In any event, at the time Prepar3D v5 was “As Real As It Gets”.
I know many simmers discount MSFS. Especially around the flight modeling. But for me, this is a minor issue and is almost a non-issue with the Fenix and PMDG aircraft we have today. I believe these issues will all evolve in time and MSFS WILL BE the very best home flight simulation platform.
Just a little over 24 hours later and the rebuild is done. I completed my first test flight in the Fenix A320 from TPA to CLT. No major issues. I actually learned something today which I was not aware of with MSFS. But all the settings including graphic settings, sim settings and controller settings/bindings are all saved in the cloud. So when you reinstall MSFS, all these settings that often require lots of testing and tweaking to get things the way they were are just the same as before. This saved lots of times and no doubt allowed me to get my first flight in much quicker.
Thankfully I landed just when I did as 5 minutes after I shut down my engines and filed my PIREP, my electricity went out. Thankfully my sim machine is on a UPS and I was able to safely shut down. But my plans for flight #2 will have to wait a bit. Until then….thanks for reading.
Until next time…
Happy Flying!!! (Once power is restored)