Carenado Cirrus SR22GTSx vs Alabeo Diamond DA40
FSX. I want to begin this article by stating something that is both obvious and important. Because this review will act as a comparison between two products, the chances are high that a winner will emerge. However, my choice of a winner will be highly subjective, based upon how the products perform on what is becoming a somewhat outdated computer system, and also heavily-influenced by personal taste. If you fly both products on a newer system, and have different preferences when it comes to personal taste, you will potentially find yourself drawn to a different choice of winner.
With that out of the way, today we present two products that really are kissing cousins. In real life the aircraft they represent basically go after the same market as clear competitors, but in the flight sim world, the subjects of this review are offered by sister companies. So, if they are children of sisters, that makes them cousins, right? The aircraft are the Cirrus SR22 GTSX Turbo from Carenado, and the Diamond DA40 from Alabeo, and we’re about to put them through their paces in FSX.
I can remember clearly my introduction to both the Cirrus and Diamond brands in real life. Cirrus came to my attention because they started putting adverts in aviation magazines that showed things like closed hanger doors, with the promise that something was going to appear out of the hanger that would revolutionize the general aviation scene. It was a classic case of building both curiosity and anticipation, and I saw it again with the pre-release of the movie “The Secret” a decade later. I ended up buying the movie, but the Cirrus was a wee bit out of my budget!
Diamond entered my awareness when I was living in the Greater Toronto Area in the 90’s and happened to go to an aviation show. In the static display there was a brand new Katana, built by a company I’d not heard of, just an hour down the road in London, Ontario. I thought it was drop-dead gorgeous. In fact, I was so taken by the aircraft that I decided to take pilot lessons, something I had not done since my teenage back in the UK.
As it turned out, I ended up training on a Warrior out of Burlington Airpark, only because I did not fancy battling city traffic to get to the Toronto Island Airport to fly the Katana. However, the Katana always managed to attract me, and I would fly it on more than a few occasions over the years, even producing a version for FS2000 through my company “The VIP Group.”
Well, many years have passed since those halcyon days of both pilot training and VIP Group production. In real life, the Cirrus and Diamond product ranges have expanded, and technological advance is also clearly seen in the FS world too, back in the VIP days we could never have imagined products that looked as beautiful as both the SR-22 from Carenado and the DA40 from Alabeo.
A History Lesson
The aircraft that put Cirrus on the map was the SR20. Marketed as a five-seater, it is worth noting that pictures normally show a child in the fifth seat, so from a practical level, seating for four adults might be more comfortably pleasing! The aircraft first flew in early 1995, and it was the first production general aviation machine to offer a parachute for the entire airframe. Another major selling point was the innovative Avidyne glass cockpit, although early variants also offered the traditional “steam” six-pack.
The SR20 evolved into the SR22 which first flew in 2001. The SR22 had a larger wing, more powerful engine, and would eventually be offered only with a full suite of Garmin avionics. The Cirrus has consistently been a strong seller, and if one considers the parachute and glass instruments, you could say the company lived up to their intention of revolutionizing the industry.
The Diamond DA40 first flew in 1997, building on the success of the DA20 Katana. While the Katana was (and is) strictly a two seater, the DA40 is a larger four-seat development, resulting in a totally different aircraft. Unlike the Cirrus, the aircraft features a T-tail design, making it clearly identifiable from its Cirrus rival even in a cursory glance. Over the years a number of engine choices have been available, from the Rotax 914 through to fuel-injected Lycomings, and even a turbo diesel option. As with the Cirrus, early variants offered traditional mechanical instruments with the option of glass, and also like the Cirrus, the current production models are glass-only equipped.
In terms of performance, the Cirrus is typically faster because the engine choices offer more horsepower. The Continental engine in a new Cirrus will make use of 310 hp to bring a cruise speed in excess of 180 knots, whereas a Lycoming equipped DA40 might cruise at 150 knots with a “mere” 180 hp up front. Also, a Cirrus will climb up to a service ceiling of 17,500 ft (or more), while the Diamond will stay a thousand feet below it. The Cirrus claims greater range too, and a better climb rate, but either aircraft simply shines when compared to earlier-generation Cessnas, Pipers, Beechcraft and the like.
The Flight Sim World
In the flight sim world, both the Cirrus and Diamond have been produced by other companies prior to the release of the products we are reviewing. Eaglesoft have offered a comprehensive range of Cirrus aircraft for years, and even today you can select from the SR22 SE Turbo, the SR22 GTS, and the SR20 GTS. These products claim to offer a detailed representation of the Avidyne Entegra Avionics suite, and they feature a fully-working CAPS (parachute) system. In the case of the SR22 SE Turbo, the company is now also offering a version for P3DV2. While visually showing their age just a bit (especially in the VC when compared to the visual finesse of the Carenado version), it can be argued they are more comprehensive in terms of systems.
The Diamond DA40 is also well-covered in the FS commercial world. Lionheart and Iris each have their versions of the DA40 XLS, while Abacus stands alone in offering the diesel variant. Each of these releases will reflect the product-quality philosophy of their creator, and each will have their own strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of this article is not to compare the Alabeo version with these competitors, but it is worth mentioning that they exist, to give the reader some choice. An interesting point here is that only the Alabeo version offers the DA40 with traditional instruments. The others mentioned above are glass-only instrument packages.
I’ve mentioned that my computer is getting a bit old. It’s only an i5 machine, so I’ve decided to test these aircraft in an environment that hopefully does not tax the processing power of the system. I’m using FSX for these tests, and I’m flying out of St. Just airport, Land’s End, England. Options include Horizon’s photo-realistic scenery combined with UK Airfields from UK2000, and also the Revolution-X autogen from Just Flight. I have elected to use simple clouds instead of detailed, and have limited my frames to 18fps. Not everyone has the latest and greatest whizzbang systems, so I hope this review will prove useful.
Every first impression of an aircraft typically begins by walking up to it and then around it. Case in point was my first look at a Katana mentioned earlier. I can also remember walking round a DC-3 at Inverness airport with my Dad, and I well recall how amazed he was at the size and presence of the old Dakota. And so we begin by taking a look at our two contenders from the outside.
To make for the purest comparison, I’m looking at the bare white versions of both the Cirrus and the Diamond. And here’s where an interesting reality becomes patently obvious. When it comes to capturing the look of an aircraft, Carenado and Alabeo have got it nailed. I know they are sister companies, but I sometimes wonder if the same designers cross over from platform to platform according to what they are working on, because the design philosophy results in sheer perfection. Whether you are looking around the Carenado Cirrus or the Alabeo Diamond, they are both sparkling examples of the best looking exteriors in the FS world. Other people may disagree with me, but that is my honest personal opinion.
So, since it no longer becomes a matter of looking for faults in the FSX design, because both are brilliant, it literally comes down to comparing the designs of the original real-life aircraft with each other, and that surely is the highest compliment you can pay to Carenado and Alabeo.
The Cirrus has a purposeful stance to it. From the three-blade prop to the traditional low-slung tail, it looks sturdy, muscular and almost masculine. It’s an athletic-looking aircraft, and even in the bare white it looks great. On the other hand, there’s a different feel to the Diamond. A two-blade prop sits up front, and there are blended winglets at the end of those almost sailplane-like wings. The larger glass area makes it look less powerful and more curvacious, yes, that’s it…. If the Cirrus suggests masculinity, the Diamond has a feminine quality to the design. The Cirrus impresses with its presence, while the Diamond allures with its gracefulness. Take a look at the following comparison shots and see if you agree with me on that. Cirrus is on the left, Diamond on the right. (Click on any image to see a larger version).
While we’re on the subject of the outside views, this is a good time to mention that each aircraft is provided with six colour schemes.
The Cirrus comes in:
- Base white
- Sky blue/white N8872B
- Red/white N2452Z
- Silver N6693C
- Gold/white D-ELCD
- Dark blue/white VH-SLR
The Diamond is offered in:
- Base white
In the Diamond, the colour options are more variations of colour and pattern as opposed to the major body colour changes in the Cirrus, hence only mentioning the registrations in the second list. Here are some more screenshots to illustrate. By the way, notice in the last screenshot of the Diamond when you reach it, there’s the option to remove the wheel fairings in all the liveries, and for this shot I did just that. I prefer it with the fairings.
Into The Cockpit
I don’t know about you, but any time I’m at an airshow, or just walking round an airport ramp, once I’ve been impressed by an aircraft from the outside, I just ache to sit in the cockpit. It’s funny how the Flight Simulation world mimics reality in this way, because having done a walk around, I could not wait to check out the VC in each of these machines. And once again, I hate to sound like a well-worn record, but the folks at Carenado and Alabeo just excel in their VCs.
I’m not talking about systems here, I’m talking about feel. Call it atmosphere if you want, whatever it is, “sitting” in a VC from these two companies is a bit like having a great cup of coffee, after the first sip you just say AHHHHH!
Let’s start by doing something a little different. Instead of jumping right into the VC, let’s use the outside views to get on the wing and look inside from the outside!
Here’s the Cirrus:
And here’s the Diamond:
Instantly, the differences between the two aircraft become obvious. The Cirrus is equipped with glass instruments, and the Diamond is equipped with the traditional “steam” gauges in the main. The instrument panel in the Cirrus seems to sink deep into the cockpit, away from the pilot, while the panel in the Diamond seems to come out from the cockpit towards the pilot. The Cirrus has the side-stick controls, while the Diamond has a stick in the traditional position.
Actually getting in accentuates the differences.
Take a look at the following comparison pictures and then we’ll comment on them. Once more, Cirrus on the left and Diamond on the right.
The first picture is the standard view looking forward in the VC. But here I have to tell you something, because it might look different on your system.
As my primary monitor I use a 32-inch Samsung TV. Flight Simulation with something like that is just amazing! However, to get a sense of reality, I always have my magnification setting in VC mode set to 40%. This is a great balance for me, and it just suits my preference in how things look with the size of screen and the distance I sit from it. But there is a downside! In the case of the Cirrus, the fonts on the glass screens become almost impossible to read at that setting, so if you use a totally different setting, you might find things easier to read than the screenshot suggests.
For the remaining shots in the sequence, I pulled out to 30% zoom. I wanted to give the atmosphere of the two aircraft. Remember how I suggested the exterior of the Cirrus was masculine while the exterior of the Diamond was kinda feminine? Funny thing is this, sitting in the Cirrus makes you feel like you just got into a Jaguar car. The wood, the dark leather, the quality feel… Yes, the boardroom feel of the most feline of automobiles! On the other hand, the interior of the Diamond is somewhat more utilitarian, a bit more plain and essentially rugged. It reminds me of my 2007 Ford Mustang actually, a touch of leather blended with some plain plastic and traditional instruments! What a dichotomy!
So… What are my impressions so far?
Both aircraft look absolutely stunning inside and out. The Masculine, athletic exterior of the Cirrus blends beautifully with the quality Jaguar-like interior. On the other hand, the feminine curves of the Diamond are matched with the no-nonsense sports car interior where luxury seems less important than utility. Each are finished in excellence as far as artwork is concerned, whether outside or inside, these two aircraft represent visual artisanship at its very best. Well done Carenado and Alabeo! I love them both!
Flying the Cirrus
Just a few weeks before I wrote this review, I got to pilot a real-life Cirrus. Now, I do not mean I flew the whole mission, but I did get about ten minutes on the controls. We’d had terrible flooding throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and as the owner of a regional news website, I got to fly round the area to examine the flooding from the air. During that time, the owner of the aircraft asked if I wanted to fly it while he took some pictures for himself.
For those who might enjoy the article, the link is: http://esterhazyonline.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/floodflight/
In the real aircraft, I flew it from the right seat, and the strangest thing was the use of that side control stick. This is something you cannot easily simulate, even with a standard joystick. You see the thing sits at an angle! In straight and level flight, the stick on the right side points out at a 45 degree angle to the left, and with the stick on the left, it points at a 45 degree angle to the right.
This means when I was making a 360 degree orbit around a flood-ravaged town to the right, my right hand was actually having to pull upward to maintain the turn. And when turning left, my hand was pushing down towards the floor. It is rather strange! So, short of mounting a joystick in your home cockpit at a strange angle, this is an aspect of flying the real aircraft that you simply cannot duplicate. That’s no criticism of Carenado of course, but just an interesting curiosity that was very apparent to me when I flew the Carenado model later.
Here’s another couple of shots of C-FJSH before we take the Carenado bird aloft.
OK…. The Carenado one now.
I picked N8872B in the flashy blue and white, and decided to be real lazy. Instead of going through a full start-up process, I hit the autostart button on my throttle controls and the engine fired into life. While there are times I like to fly according to the book, mostly I’m the kind of FS pilot that just wants to get airborne and puddle around over some nice scenery!
I check my VC zoom setting is at 40%, and then I use the combination of CTRL+backspace arrow to move my seating position forward in the VC so I can read the PFD. Here’s the problem when I do that. The canopy window frame all but blocks my view to the left. This makes flying a left hand circuit (traffic pattern) a pain in the behind. But, as they say in French, “C’est la vie!”
I turn my attention to the right hand Garmin screen. This Multi-Function Display combines a ton of navigation options, maps, systems information and check lists that take up 20 pages in the G1000 PDF manual that is supplied with the product. Headings in the manual include:
- Engine page
- Navigation map page
- Traffic map page
- Terrain proximity page
- Waypoint page
- Trip planning page
- Utility page
- GPS status page
- System setup Page
- System status page
- Nearest page
- Checklists page
- Flight Plan
For those who have criticized Carenado in the past for over-simplifying systems, this might go some way to alleviating their discontent. For me, it is overkill today as I just want to fly the sucker! I make a note to self, read the manual and try the stuff out later! (Ah, I can hear some of you complain already! – LOL) So I simply click on the “engine” button at the bottom left of instrument housing, and leave it there for now. Many of you will go far far deeper into the systems than that, and that’s fine of course! Suffice it to say, there’s a lot more to explore!
Easing forward on the grass, I try to turn using rudder pedals. Nothing happens. The real Cirrus has a castering nosewheel, and requires differential braking to turn. You have to do the same in the Carenado model. So with feet on the rudders, and fingers messing with the brakes key on the keyboard, I finally make it to the end of the runway.
At that point I decide to have a good look round the VC. I click buttons here and pull levers there. I smile when a fan switch actually turns on the sound of a fan!, and I just love the ruby red glow of the interior panel lights. The atmosphere in the VC is engaging, there is so much to mess with. I go back and underline my intention to REALLY explore the PFD and MFD in depth at a future time.
I marvel at the details on the PFD, even the non-standard texture of the sky and ground on the instrument display itself, and then glance over at the engine display on the MFD. It begs to be explored, but… another time, another flight! I still have the Diamond to fly this Labour Day!
I set flaps and trim for take off, make a note of the 70 knot rotation speed showing on the PFD, and ease the power forward. All sorts of indicators rise as I move the throttle ahead. On the PFD I see the digital readout for percentage power increase, the fuel flow arrow, engine temperature and PSI readings all similarly rising. Meanwhile, the MFD engine gauges spring into life Needles are moving, green bars are rising and digital numbers are climbing. How engaging do you want it to be? It is up to your own awareness, Carenado have certainly given us plenty to look at. This is a complicated machine in real life and in the sim.
At 60 KIAS I see the small R flash into sight. I ease back on the stick and watch the airspeed slide to 80. I ease into a climb and read 1900 feet per minute already. Flaps up before I forget them please! I trim for 1500 FPM, and ease the power back a bit. I want to treat it like a standard constant speed prop aircraft, but there is no prop lever, it is automatic on the Cirrus. I remember seeing that in the real one too!
I have the aircraft set to high realism, and I find I have to control her all the time. I have turbulence in my weather, and the aircraft demands that you fly her every second. Let her fly you and it will get ahead of you, both in the sim and in reality! I level off at 3000 ft, and make a turn to the left. I do NOT use rudder, and the little dash that functions as the ball on the PFD stays pretty central! Well done Carenado, I noticed this in the real aircraft too.
As I continue the turn, the land is replaced by water ahead of me. I have a haze set, so I have to watch the instruments to stay level. I am showing 110 KIAS, and oops, I am climbing again at 700 FPM. I notice the scratches on the windshield, I like this feature, it really adds to the sense of realism. I ease the power up again and climb to 5000 ft, it does not take long in this bird at 2000 FPM.
I stall her at 69 KIAS. There’s no drama, just a high-pitched whine! Recovery is effortless. I try a spin, but we all know how inept FSX is at duplicating that. I end up in a spiral dive, as red chevrons take over the PFD to remind me I am falling like a brick. Then the engine instruments on the PFD disappear to force me to think about flying instead of monitoring systems! Nice. As I continue to climb again, I take a look at the aircraft from spot view. She is beautiful!
I decide to land and change to the Diamond. On downwind I notice my speed is still 128 KIAS, wow, better extend the leg at this rate! I’m making a right hand circuit to compensate for that big pillar blocking my view to the forward left. Even so, the view feels restricted. Things happen quickly in a Cirrus, the traffic pattern happens quickly! I fight a crosswind on final, it feels real, I’m over the numbers at 75 KIAS, and touch down at 65 KIAS.
OK… Impressions. If my only experience of the Carenado Cirrus was the brief flight I described above, it would probably be something I’d fly a lot. Unfortunately, I have also flown it in conditions that taxed the heck out of my system and turned it into a slideshow. The VC with its very detailed PFD and MFD becomes a performance hog when I even begin to add any kind of detail in the clouds, or fly even close to a built up autogen area, or add traffic. Yes, I know this is related to my old system, but the point is this… There are many other FS aircraft that do not do this to my old system! For that reason, no matter how gorgeous this model is, it will be flown very rarely as long as I have the current computer.
Second thought… One of the most important factors about the launch of the real Cirrus was the introduction of the parachute system. It is NOT modeled on this product. Pull the lever and you are basically kicked out of your flight. That rates a zero out of 10 in my books for realism Carenado. Yes, I know I read in another review that Carenado said it did not really impact the flyability of the aircraft, but come on guys, this was the primary selling feature of the real aircraft when they started to sell it. And let us not forget, Eaglesoft had it YEARS ago. I am a big fan of Carenado, but the performance issues and the apparent apathy in recreating the parachute system are downers for me on this aircraft. Otherwise, it is a beauty in my eyes. Worth buying? Heck yeah!
Flying The Diamond
Unlike the Cirrus, I have no experience of flying a real DA40. Yes, I have piloted the DA20 Katana twice, but that’s not quite the same. My experience will therefore be limited to the simulator.
Sitting in the VC of the Diamond Star (that’s the full name of the DA40) after flying the Cirrus is a bit of a revelation. The visibility is just so much better, and frankly I prefer the older style analogue panel. There’s something comfortingly-familiar about it. Maybe I am old fashioned, but it just feels like I am inside a real aircraft on my computer. Somehow, glass instruments make me feel that I am in a computer on my computer! And here’s something else. While the frame rate is marginally better, there’s a big difference in the smoothness of my panning the view around the cockpit. Clearly, the power robbed by the glass instruments in the Cirrus, is given back with the steam gauges in the Diamond.
I start her up and the engine sounds quite different to the Cirrus. To my ear it is more throaty. The twin Garmin GNS 430’s burst into life, and the only glass instrument, (the engine display system), also displays a rising manifold pressure, RPM and various pressures. Talking about pressures, I have a red warning on the panel. “Fuel Press” it says. I add a bit of throttle, and by 850 RPM the warning flashes out.
There is also an amber warning for “Pitot.” I take the opportunity to look round the VC, find the pitot heater switch, and flip it. The light is gone. While I’m looking at the switches, I notice the fuel pump. I throttle back down and the fuel pressure light comes back on. I switch on the fuel pump and it is gone, while I am still at lower RPM. Ah yes, bet if I read the checklist that little drama would not have taken place!
As a rule, I love the Alabeo VCs even more than those by Carenado. There’s just an additional edge about them, and although I cannot put my finger on it, I feel it at some subliminal level. But in this aircraft I notice a jarring reminder that this is a simulation. Embossed on the control columns is the word “Alabeo.” Heaven’s sakes guys, for a quality presentation that’s just tacky! Please get rid of it!
OK, enough of that. “I allow no negative energy to steal the blessing of this simulation away from me!” I say in my mind! Stay positive! And yes, there’s a lot to love about this one. It reeks of character, and even has a bit of a worn atmosphere about the cockpit. The leather seats look like more than a few backsides have graced them over the years, and the plastic on the side of the cockpit is marked.
Ok, time to fly! And at this point I realize I have not even looked at the documentation that comes with the aircraft. I guess those old gauges are so simple compared to the glass… I pause the sim for a moment and pop into explorer to see what I might find.
Instantly I am reminded that there’s a whole checklist to perform. Well of course, were this a real aircraft on a real flight, I would indeed do things by the book. I have enough hours in my logbook as pilot-in-command of Robins, Pipers and Cessnas to know that! Once again the “Do it some other time” mentality kicks in, and I file it away for future reference. Sometimes you’ve just got to love the simplicity of simming folks!
But I do look at the V speeds. Nosewheel to come off at 59 KIAS… Hell’s bells, could they not have just made it 60? Does the nosewheel shimmy with one more bloody knot on the ground? Hmmm… Sometimes you’ve also got to laugh! Climb out at between 60 KIAS and 67 KIAS depending on the weight, with 2400 RPM and max power, and keep mixture to rich below 5000 ft. What happened to the 3000 ft I was always taught? Oh well… That’s enough to get me in the air anyway.
And what’s this it says… “Operation at high altitudes with the electrical fuel pump OFF may cause vapor bubbles”. Hmmmm, the only bubbles likely to happen on this flight are from me eating too much Pizza earlier! Hee Hee….
Back to the sim.
Before taxy I do a very quick check. Aha, this aircraft does have a prop lever! Prop full fine old buddy, and mixture rich.. etc…. I get cleared to the runway from tower, and brakes off, and we taxy. And wait a minute, what’s this Alabeo? Like the Cirrus, the nosewheel on the real Diamond is castering, not steerable. Yet, I am turning with rudder pedals and no differential brakes? I look outside to check. Yes, when standing still the pedals only deflect the rudder, but when moving forward, the nosewheel steers. Did someone miss something or is it me?
I’m back in the VC now, and moving forward. Somehow, the familiarity of the traditional gauges makes me do things I forgot when overwhelmed with the glass in the Cirrus. I check the instruments in turns on the ground, and make sure the heading is set with the compass. I also check out the cockpit lighting. The red of the Cirrus is replaced with an ice blue in the Diamond, and the actual instrument lights are very bright. I love it!
I am cleared for takeoff on runway 7 at St. Just. I line up and apply power evenly. Immediately I notice how much more sensitive the steering is on this aircraft compared to the Cirrus. I’m really working the rudder pedals to maintain the centreline here! The other thing I notice is a slower acceleration, the difference in horsepower is quite significant, and that translates into more runway used before rotation. I lift off at just above 60 KIAS, and again am struck by what feels like a lackluster climb rate compared to the Cirrus. It’s not that the Diamond is poor, it’s that the Cirrus (in reality) is exceptional in this class!
I ease back slightly in manifold pressure and RPM. The Diamond Star is sedate compared to the Cirrus, but it still needs controlling in the turbulent conditions that still exist for this flight. I decide to keep climbing up to 4000 ft, enjoying the superior visibility as I keep an eye on the altimeter and airspeed. Despite training, I resist the urge to lean the mixture.
At 4000 ft, I trim for around 90 KIAS (although the airspeed is fluctuating wildly in the wind conditions), and decide to stall the beast, as I did with the Cirrus an hour earlier. Prop full fine, mixture still rich, check the area, and the power comes right back. Just under 50 KIAS the stall warning sounds, I let the nose drop, apply a touch of power and recover simply. Now for the attempt at spinning.
As I climb back up to altitude, I reflect on the fact that Canadian student pilots MUST take spinning as part of the license. I think the Americans still consider it too dangerous, but to me, I am glad of the many spins I did in the old Cessna 152. Recovery is second nature, and although I rarely fly in real life these days, I often do spin training in FSX. So here we go again… Will the Diamond out spin the Cirrus? No. I hope Lockheed Martin get on the ball with this aspect of simulated flight dynamics as P3D continues to develop.
Time to head back to the airport… I do a wing-over just for fun, and capture a screenshot while I’m at it.
Then I look at the outside of the aircraft again. What a gorgeously graceful bird she is.
The downwind leg is entered at a mere 80 KIAS this time, and with little fuss I’m over the fence and into the flare. Ground effect is more pronounced I notice, and I seem to float for a while before settling to the grass. Moments later, I’m on the grass, and heading over to park nose-to-nose with the Cirrus I tested earlier in the day. With engines off, the aircraft are positioned so the cousins can bow out from this article with a gentle kiss.
I said at the start of this essay that there would have to be a winner. So is it the Cirrus or the Diamond? You probably know what I am going to say. On my current pedantic, getting old-in-the-tooth system, the winner for me is the Diamond.
Don’t get me wrong, I love both aircraft, and both of them are excellent products! However, there are times when the Cirrus turns FSX into a slideshow, while acceptable frame rates are maintained in the Diamond in the exact same conditions. For me that is the clincher.
At some future date, when a nice new system is sitting under this desk, I will try the two aircraft again, and that system will also be running version 2 of P3D, and I hope it will be a whole new experience.
Till then, I retire the Cirrus to the reserve hanger, and keep the DA40 fully-fueled for its next trip!