Ok I broke down and got FSX a while back and tried it out. Once loaded it looked like crap. Grainy textures, p*ss poor fps, etc. What was all the hype about? Even after trying some of the tweaks out there with low file size clouds and all.
So I un-installed it, it noticably slowed other things down, got a long time wanted upgrade of a better graphics card, got through problems associated with that, and now like the look of a much improved FS9!
I think I am now ready to try FSX again but will use it as a table leveler if it looks no better. To all those folks who post FSX pics of nice crisp textures and still get a smoothness better than a 10 cent crank up picture show, what are some things I need to get there? Is my machine just too weak (specs below)? Is it a matter of fiddling? I don't want the installation to alter the graphic settings I laboriously achieved that make FS9 look so good. There are certainly some nice things only in FSX so I will try to make this work one more time.
There, I'm done.