1. Player-made skins: I find that these are the most common reason for the "mini-warp" or "screen freeze" when getting near another aircraft. Your PC is loading the texture and creating a cached file for EACH skin that you see. Currently there are over 500 skins and there are constantly more being added. Each time you see one of those 500+ skins for the first time - you'll get a pause / screen freeze / stutter while it loads for the first time. Also note after each release / patch you'll have these stutters/mini-warps the first time you see a new skin as it loads / creates cache.
Recommendation: Go to Options > Graphic Detail > Click the check box for Disable other planes skins. Also, disable the Automatic downloading of skins if it isn't already. That is located in the Hanger page of the Clipboard under the plane selection list.
Secondary Recommendation: If you use skins, Only chose a few skins that you want. Maybe keep just the top 5-10 plane skins that you like the best on your favorite rides in your skins folder. Then disable the auto downloading of skins, and then enable the display other planes skins in the graphic options page.
2. Video Card settings:
********These next settings have the biggest impact on framerate that I've noticed, especially around trees, smoke, or when in a GV**************
-ATI CARDS: In the Catalyst Control Center, there is an option for ADAPTIVE ANTI ALIASING. This is the setting that controls anti-aliasing on transparency / alpha textures. TURN THIS OFF.
-NVIDIA CARDS: The setting for TRANSPARENCY ANTI-ALIASING Should be turned OFF. Not on MULTISAMPLE / SUPERSAMPLE
ANTI-ALIASING: I haven't noticed much of a performance hit from AA.
At home I have an ATI Card and run it at 2X AA, but also have "Temporal Anti aliasing" Enabled.
At work i run 4x AA.
Recommendation: Start with Anti-Aliasing disabled, fly around for a few hours, if all seems good - try turning it on to 2x. At the most 4x would be all that you need as there is really no-visible difference between 4x and 16x.
Here's how I set up ACES HIGH to get the best performance.
1: Set default texture size to 512.
2: Make sure Adaptive / Transparency Anti-aliasing is OFF in your video card settings.
3: Turn off Anti-Aliasing in your video card settings.
4: Set in game graphic options to default.
5: Disable other players Skins in graphics options.
From here, if the game plays well you can start increasing the settings to get the most out of your system.
For me, and how i like to play I would increase these settings in this order: (you may have a different priority on what you think is important. Feel free to experiment) This is just guide for you to see how I set up my PCs for Aces High, nothing is set in stone here.
1: Extend ground vis range in the graphics options tab of Aces High to 3 miles
If that causes a performance hit, set it back to default and go to step two.
2: Increase Anti-aliasing setting to 2x (temporal AA on if using an ATI card).
If that cause a performance hit turn it off.
3: try to load the hi-res pack and increase my texture size to 1024.
If that cause a performance hit, go back to 512 textures.
4: If everything is rocking after that, I would finally try to add some player made skins.
If those are causing problems "disable other players skins" in the graphics options.
Now if you've tried the settings and see no increase in performance, then you should first look at decreasing texture size to 256, and then 128 if that doesn't help. Also Skuzzy has an excellent write up on the Bulletin Board under TECHNICAL SUPPORT, entitled "Hints and Tips" Which will help with background processes / resources management.