class="post-38382 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-creator-focus category-product-guidance category-stormforce-racing-art tag-apex-racing tag-benchmarking tag-direct-drive tag-esl tag-esl-r1 tag-gaming-pc tag-iracing tag-load-cell tag-overclocking tag-pc-benchmarking tag-performance-testing tag-rd tag-racing tag-rennsport tag-rennsport-benchmarks tag-sim-racing tag-sim-rig tag-simulator tag-streaming tag-vr"

Benchmarking iRacing and Rennsport with Apex Racing

Stormforce Gaming proudly operate in partnership with Apex Racing who compete in the 2023 Porsche Tag Heuer eSports Super Cup series and the ESL R1 Rennsport Championship as well as a host of other high profile Sim Racing events across the globe.

Apex Racing Team are one of the UK’s most prolific professional Sim Racing teams featuring a roster of championship winning driving talent. At the start of March 2023, we travelled to Apex Racing HQ to undertake a full day of system testing in a variety of Racing Simulator scenarios. We wanted to put sample systems through their paces in Simulators that the team are competing on.

Apex Racing play a huge part in the UK Sim Racing community offering a bespoke facility in Corby UK that plays host to multiple professional level racing simulators, Esports competition simulators and full broadcast, media and race control facilities. Apex Racing also offer driver training, setup tuition, leagues and a host of other services that bring enormous value to the Sim Racing community through competitive experience.

As Sim Racing enthusiasts ourselves, a visit to Apex really showcases the level that professional Sim Racing has risen to and emphasises how exciting this collaboration is for the Stormforce Gaming range. Every simulator that Apex use includes state of the art VRS simulator components including Direct Drive wheel bases and pro level load cell pedals.

A key element of the partnership between Stormforce Gaming and Apex Racing is research and development. We plan to have every key system within the Apex Racing Simulation suite operating on high performance Stormforce Gaming systems. These systems will be available to buy via Apex Racing as part of a simulator package with built in computing hardware or from Stormforce Gaming as a standalone ‘simulator focussed’ performance system.

Apex are currently competing on a variety of hardware but their main competitive systems use NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB Graphics cards and i5 processors. Whilst these specifications are relatively modern, the demands from modern simulators are always changing. New simulators present new hardware demands and our objective as hardware suppliers for Apex Racing is to ensure that the team has access to the best fitting performance hardware from our key brand partners.

 

The opportunity to work with Apex Racing has given Stormforce Gaming access to valuable feedback from their team members. Having discussions with professional Esports Sim Racing drivers around what their performance targets are is eyeopening. Whenever we have tested simulators on our performance systems, there is always a preference to max out as many key visual settings as possible in a bid to try and maximise immersion.
Immersion is usually shunned for higher performance when it comes to competitive driving. Turning off mirrors, screen reflections, particle effects and other non critical settings can provide fairly substantial performance boosts in Simulations.

 

iRacing is one of the most popular simulators on the market currently and due to the long standing tenure of the Sim as a cornerstone of competitive Esports and competition driving, there is a LOT of information available to us when testing performance. The Apex Racing team all have a huge amount of experience in the Sim and before testing even began we had a raft of valuable information available to us. The team provided guidance on what methods they use to optimise performance in iRacing and our testing was carried out on a single 1080p monitor and triple 1080p monitor configurations. The reasoning behind the single and triple monitor comparison was to check what level of performance drop we would experience when using three screens.
All tests were carried out using a full grid of the same 911 GT3 car on the same track for each test.

Rennsport is an unreleased Simulator still in development. Running on the Unreal Engine 5, the Sim has a huge level of detail already and is gearing up to be one of the top sim titles available when it releases. Apex Racing compete in the ESL R1, a competitive Esports platform that runs on Rennsport where each team offer integral feedback to the Sim developers to assist with realism, balance and overall performance. As Rennsport is not available to the public, the Apex Racing team were able to give us a good level of insight from their competitive driving in the Sim. As Apex will be using Stormforce systems to compete in Rennsport in the future, it was of paramount importance to ensure our system specs would power the sim properly. We were limited to testing on a single 3440 x 1440 monitor for our testing as Rennsport does not currently support triple screens at the time of writing.
Please keep in mind that our testing within Rennsport is carried out alongside Apex Racing for product development purposes only. All testing is carried out on the latest build but performance information is likely to change as development on this simulator progresses closer to launch and official graphics driver support assists in performance optimisation.

Performance Testing Methodology

For both Sims tested:

  • All FPS numbers were generated from the built in FPS counter for both simulators.
  • The low and high FPS numbers were generated on the first lap where traffic on screen was at its highest

For iRacing testing:

  • iRacing ‘Optimised settings’ were a pro driver display configuration used by the Apex Racing team to represent their typical competitive settings.
  • Max Settings was
  • The average FPS was established over a formation lap then 2 more laps to ensure that more realistic load scenarios could be checked.

For Rennsport testing:

  • The average FPS was established over an out lap plus 2 more laps to ensure that FPS counts and performance behaviour was repeatable.
  • We sadly ran out of time to test Rennsport on the 3070 system at any other setting other than what the team were using for competition.
  • No DLSS upscaling technology was enabled for any of our testing within Rennnsport. DLSS options are available within the sim.
  • Rennsport testing was carried out on a practice lap scenario as no AI was available in the early build we were using.

 

For this test we were setting baseline performance figures on both simulators. The system we tested on was similar to the specification that Apex Racing compete on so the numbers we were trying to generate were as close to what the team sees as possible. After much review, we got feedback that the performance on offer was almost in line with their current systems. We observed higher FPS jumps on the single screen iRacing tests with the grouping of FPS results being much tighter when the burden of triple screens were activated.

Rennsport provided us a good baseline of reference in this test. We noticed here that there was a significant FPS drop around the Nürburgring T7 hairpin but this was consistent across all of our testing on each system. This accounts for the FPS low in each of the tests we performed.

 

The 4070Ti testing was what we considered may be the sweet spot for Apex Racing’s performance needs going into the test. iRacing showcased that triple screen performance on the Apex Racing optimised graphics settings was likely more bound to CPU performance. The quantity of cars on the track in our ‘maximum load’ scenario was probably accounting for a lot of CPU resource but also the jump in performance we were expecting between the RTX 3070 and RTX 4070Ti wasn’t quite as stark as we anticipated.

For Rennsport, the 4070Ti provided excellent performance figures. The early build of the Sim showcased itself well across all 4 of the graphics presets with very playable performance figures being present even at Epic settings.

 

The RTX 4080 system we had on hand was always going to provide the best performance but it was critical for us to understand if the extra power that the 4080 offered was really needed. The max FPS on offer in iRacing from the 4080 system wasnt that much higher than the 3070 system we tested, however a key point to note from all of our testing is that the average FPS presented by the 4080 was always the most consistent in iRacing tests. This contributes significantly to the smoothness of visual presentation for the simulator.

On Rennsport the uplift in performance on the RTX 4080 showed a performance bump which was respectable over the 4070Ti but wasn’t as large of a delta as we were expecting. We attributed this to the build for the sim being an early build that perhaps doesnt take advantage of the card as well as it could but also that the screen resolution of 3440X1440 would be playing a big factor in performance scaling. Once Rennsport is capable of running on triple screens, the extra headroom that an RTX 4080 provides will be far more noticeable as the card will be able to take advantage of its higher VRAM capacity on a larger resolution.

 

Conclusions and Further Testing

The testing we carried out has set a clear baseline of performance expectations from the team as well as providing us with valuable metrics for performance that each of the Apex Racing drivers looks for. Whilst their personal graphics settings varied, there was much commonality between the drivers with preferences like mirror quality and other cosmetic settings being disabled in preference of higher framerate output.

Each of the systems we tested gave us valuable data on what Apex Racing need to compete in events as well as how we can develop system specs that will meet their needs. With Apex actively competing in competitions right now, we will continue requesting performance data from them on existing equipment as well as providing evaluation units with different CPU, RAM and Storage configurations to properly evaluate all of the available hardware brands that Stormforce Gaming partners with.

Following on from our day of on site testing, our hardware specialists are now conducting extensive in house testing on a wider variety of hardware configurations to fine tune the hardware setups that Apex Racing will be using in future.

Stormforce Gaming would like to extend our enormous gratitude to Apex Racing for the hospitality shown to us as well as the valuable time dedicated to us by their team, especially Jon Robertson and Alex Simpson who dedicated their day to driving and feedback for us.

 

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Assetto Corsa Competizione running on a Stormforce Prism Gaming System

Stormforce Gaming Sim Racing Systems

Simulation computer systems and peripherals are a great training tool for drivers wanting to race at home…

Racing Simulators have been a staple in any PC Gaming library for years. Advances in high performance desktop gaming systems have allowed Sim developers to create realistic simulations that move away from being ‘just a game’ and into the realm of experiencing realistic physics and force feedback in any type of car imaginable.

In 2020, the popularity of racing simulators exploded with real drivers needing practice and seat time and gamers wanting to expand the capabilities of their gaming setups with a steering wheel and pedal set.

Real world racing teams are even adopting Sim Racing as a proving ground for recruiting talented virtual drivers into their real world racing programs.

The popularity of professional drivers turning to esports events to showcase their driving talent has helped to grow awareness of Sim Racing in the gaming community. In addition to this, motorsports and driving fans have now realised that the thrill of driving any car from the comfort of their homes is a realistic and affordable proposition after seeing F1 stars like Lando Norris and Max Verstappen driving online against eachother.

This popularity and momentum has continued for the last couple of years with Sim racing becoming more popular than ever.

Race GT4 Cars to the limit in Assetto Corsa Competizione

Assetto Corsa Competizione uses Laser Scanned track data to replicate detailed surfaces to maximise feedback and immersion

Sim Racing Covers All Bases

From Rally and Offroad to Karting, Formula and GT racing, there is a Sim Racing title to suit every taste.

Serious drivers looking to utilise the realism of simulation titles to practice their track knowledge and gain valuable seat time have flocked to Sim Racing to keep their skills sharp when real life driving isn’t possible.

In addition, gamers have taken to Sim Racing as an affordable alternative to real life racing as it offers much of the same experience without the cost of fuel, tyres, track time and repair bills! A properly set up simulator is a valuable driver training tool and lets you get seat time and extra practice at a much lower cost than track days and race car maintenance.

Many of the most popular simulators on the market today are often heavily discounted or available in discount bundles. Keep an eye on your favourite game service & store for deals on these titles.

 

Assetto Corsa is the go to simulation software for all types of car enthusiast. With a comprehensive list of vehicles in the base title as well as never ending mod support, Assetto Corsa provides an all encompassing platform for Sim Racers to experience any type of driving they wish. Drifting, Rallying, Road Car racing and track days are all catered for by this vast Sim Racing staple that is less demanding on modern hardware and will run well on most gaming systems.
Most Stormforce Gaming systems will play Assetto Corsa fairly well. A higher end system can also take advantage of the custom shader pack which is a mod for the game that enhances the visuals far in excess of how the game launched. Assetto Corsa is the ideal simulator for virtual reality users also with full VR support and a wealth of mods available that enhance a VR experience.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid Prototypes thunder along the Kemmel Straight in a mixed class race with GT3 cars in Assetto Corsa

Assetto Corsa Competizione has taken the online racing world by storm with competitive GT3 and GT4 racing. ACC is widely regarded as one of the pinnacle simulation titles available today and provides detailed visuals and immersive force feedback even on entry level racing peripherals.
Featuring official tracks and cars from the official Fanatec GT World Challenge, ACC brings GT3, GT4 and single-make series championships with close racing at the focus. For gamers looking for a competitive simulator with a huge player base and plenty of immersion, ACC is a competitive focused challenge for any virtual driver.
ACC is really well optimised and performs well on mid range to high end systems. This title is demanding and does require more powerful systems to run well.

Assetto Corsa Competizione Car Selection

Choose from the full official car roster of the GT World Challenge with stunning visuals that immerse you in the world of GT racing

Dirt Rally is a series of rally simulation titles from Codemasters and is seen as the ultimate off road simulator title. You will need quick reflexes and nerves of steel to blast a wide range of legendary Rally machinery around treacherous stages or test your wits in head to head Rally Cross events. Dirt Rally games give you the opportunity to take part in daily, weekly and mothly time trial challenges with worldwide leader boards to compare your abilities against other drivers. Dirt Rally runs really well on even entry level hardware and doesn’t need a mammoth system to get strong visuals.
Rally fans will love the detailed force feedback even on lower cost steering wheels and the constant evolving weekly challenges provide a new project every week!

Dirt Rally - Jumping Subaru in Finland

Go full send through the forest in Dirt Rally 2.0, one of the most exciting Sim Racing experiences available!

Automobilista 2 (AMS2) provides a real showcase with lifelike physics, handling, visuals and weather elements. Powered by the stunning Madness Engine, AMS2 has a huge range of historic and modern circuits, some of which you wont find on any other Sim Racing title. Visually stunning and scaling well on mid range or higher end hardware, AMS2 gives gamers a platform to drive karts, historic touring cars, stock cars, racing prototypes, formula cars and even racing trucks!

Battle for grip in harsh conditions at Donington Park with realistic weather in Automobilista 2

Formula One (F1) Whilst closer to a game than a full blown simulation, the F1 games from Codemasters still provide an enjoyable and challenging ‘sim like’ experience that is about making Formula One driving accessible. Every game is fully licensed each year to provide the latest tracks and liveries as well as having some interesting career features you typically don’t see in more hardcore simulation titles. F1 has full wheel support and really responsive force feedback that allows Sim drivers to get a lot out of the game. In addition, F1 runs really well on most modern hardware.


iRacing is a subscription based racing simulator with all races hosted on official servers. The title simulates real world cars and tracks with great levels of detail and accuracy. Many serious Sim Racing veterans hold the opinion that iRacing is the pinnacle of online racing due to the enforced code of conduct and rules modelled on real world events. iRacing is a more advanced option for people who have tried out other simulators before. Whilst it is entirely possible to play iRacing with no other Sim experience, it is a service that can be costly to participate in as each car and track is costed separately. If you are serious about racing and want to take the next step into competitive racing then iRacing is definitely worth a try.

Project Cars 1&2 offer a user friendly and visually impressive introduction into Sim Racing. These titles are ageing a little now so don’t need a high performance system to run well either.
Project Cars recently released a 3rd game in their series which saw the title take a more arcade approach to their game and moved away from realism in favour of making Project Cars more accessible. These games are worth a try if you have never tried a simulator before and Project Cars 3 is worth checking out if you are looking for a more casual racing game.

rFactor2, Raceroom, KartKraft are all recommended driving simulators with a host of unique features to offer Sim Racers who are looking for more racing action outside of the usual titles.
All of these games run really well on modern hardware and have excellent compatibility with racing wheels.

 

Stormforce Gaming -Spec Suggestions

1080p Entry Level System – Stormforce Gaming recommends systems from our GTX 1650, GTX 1660 and GTX 1660Ti ranges.

1080p HD – Stormforce Gaming recommends Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060/AMD Radeon RX 6600XT or higher

1440p QHD – Stormforce Gaming recommends Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060Ti/AMD Radeon RX 6700XT or higher

4k UHD – Stormforce Gaming recommends Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070/AMD Radeon RX 6800 or higher

Triple Monitor/Ultrawide/Virtual Reality – Stormforce Gaming recommends Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080/AMD Radeon RX 6800XT or higher

If you have a specific simulator in mind or need a high performance system customising to fit the requirements of your simulator then please contact us for more assistance

 

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Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator is a true innovation in PC Gaming providing newcomers and enthusiasts a rich and vibrant world to explore…

Throughout the history of the PC, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator series has been a mainstay in software innovation and graphical achievement. Since the 1980’s every iteration of the popular program has been met with huge fanfare, pushing the boundaries software capabilities and utilising hardware of every generation to maximise visual impact.

Releasing in August 2020, the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator attempts to provide the most immersive, realistic ‘in game world’ ever created. Leveraging the power of Microsoft’s Bing satellite map data, Flight Simulator provides a 1:1 scale replica of the entire planet for you to explore however you like.

Microsoft Flight Simulator: Standard Edition is available to play on Xbox Game Pass for PC. With over a million people taking to the skies on the first few weeks of launch, players have been exploring the world in all sorts of aircraft.

For Sim fans looking for even more, Deluxe and Premium editions of the simulator are available with additional features through the XBOX app on PC.

Incredibly detailed satellite map data is used to produce stunning real world scenery, cities and airports for you to explore

 

Loaded with an ever expanding variety of aircraft for you to master, Flight Simulator includes a wide scope of planes to suit all ability levels and interests. From the mighty Boeing 747-8 ‘Jumbo Jet’ to the Cessna Citation CJ4 ‘private jet’, you can take to the skies easily in planes of all shapes and sizes.
The larger jets and passenger airliners have higher maximum altitudes which allow you to take in breath-taking scenery from above the clouds, climbing up through realistic cloud cover and cruising with a relaxing view of the horizon.
A comprehensive array of propeller driven planes are also available, some of them providing huge levels of maneuverability and control in the air. Pick a stunt plane and perform loops and tight turns through your local city or take a thrill ride through the Swiss Alps.

The real beauty of this game is the escapism on offer and the ability to fly anywhere you can think of. As a tool for exploring the world, there really isn’t anything more comprehensive than Microsoft Flight Simulator

Wide Variety of Controls

Flight Simulator will Scale with your skill level, set the game controls to ‘easy’ and use a Microsoft XBOX controller with your PC to get going quickly using intuitive controls that let you pilot your aircraft and take a relaxing flight somewhere. Playing on a controller also lets you precisely control the agile planes too, resulting in some really impressive twists and turns.

Keyboard & Mouse gamers can get into flight simulator quickly. Whilst the harder difficulty settings are not ideal for a KB&M control setup, the game is still very playable like this and will allow you to get started without any additional gaming peripherals.

Joystick and flight yoke controls are all supported by Flight Simulator and offer the most realistic and immersive experience in the simulator. With limitless options of customisation, a joystick will give you precision control in any situation.
Simulator veterans and real life pilots will appreciate the incredible level of granular detail in the sim that allow you to recreate the complexities of flying a real aircraft.

Take off from the Hudson River in New York City in an Icon A5 Amphibian aircraft. The scenery in large cities is impressively detailed for maximum immersion.

 

Real World Weather – Real World Air Traffic

Flight Simulator allows you complete control of the time and weather of your flight. You can decide to fly at any time of day and make adjustments to the time, date and weather circumstances whist in the air. This allows you to take in incredible sunrises or put yourself in the middle of a storm to test your flight skills. By default, the weather circumstances use realtime weather data so wherever you are flying in the world, the time of day and weather scenario will be presented as it is in that location. Many Flight Simulator users have been using this revolutionary feature to explore weather events like hurricanes and storms all over the planet.

In addition to complete control of the weather and time, Flight Simulator uses data from real life aircraft to populate airports and the skies with real life aircraft. If you see another plane cruising by on your flight, that plane will be on its flight path in real life too. There isn’t another simulator available with this level of detail and immersion.

Constant development on the title means that the world and presentation of Flight Simulator is always progressing. The developers have announced that Virtual Reality support is coming soon. Putting you in the cockpit of your favourite aircraft so that you can fly around landmarks and points of interest with ease.

System Suggestions & Resolutions

All of the ground breaking features that Flight Simulator offers means that in order to run the game at Ultra Settings, you will need a hefty Gaming System. Stormforce Gaming has a wide range of systems that will offer a Flight Simulator experience for most budgets. The simulator has been labelled as one of the most demanding PC Gaming titles in recent memory so your experience will vary depending on your resolution and the Stormforce Gaming system you use.

The game has a very scalable graphics engine and will work well on lower end hardware but you will be forced to drop your video quality settings to maintain smooth frame rates.

One thing to keep in mind is that Microsoft Flight Simulator is a fairly slow paced game. Usually we suggest that gamers aim for a system that will run a title at 60 frames per second or higher but after many hours of testing, we have found that 35 frames per second or higher in this title offers a very playable and smooth experience. If you can achieve higher than 35FPS on your system then your experience of the simulator will be even better.

  • At 1080p, an RTX 2060 Super would be a baseline for Ultra settings. Lower tier video cards will still run the game but you will need to scale back graphics settings for a smooth experience.
  • Higher resolutions like 1440p can be achieved with higher tier cards like NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super or the new NVIDIA RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 for a smooth experience on Ultra settings.
  • 4k and ultrawide monitor users will require a card like the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super. The new NVIDIA RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT would be the best option for the highest settings at large resolutions.

We recommend a system with at least an AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel i5 processor, 16GB of system memory and an SSD for optimal performance in this title too.

If you need a second opinion or more advice on the best system for you, please reach out to us for more information on how to optimise your Microsoft Flight Simulator experience – Contact Us Here

 

To view the range of Stormforce Gaming systems for Microsoft Flight Simulator – Click Here