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  1. #1
    300+ Forum Addict Shawn's Avatar
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    Hello everyone, do you think this will work?

    I want to build a generic simulator using a single PC and multiple monitors for the outside view and guages. The plan is to use a Digital Triplehead2Go and three 19" monitors for the forward view, two more 19" monitors for the left and right views and two 19" monitors to display guages. We have a rather decent budget for this project and plan to build a very fast computer to run FSX on. I was hoping to get some advice as to whether or not this is going to work and what issues we might have to overcome. Here are the specs for the PC we plan to build.

    QX9650 Intel Core 2 Extreme processor 3.0 GHz 12MB Cache 1333MHz FSB
    or (QX9770 Penryn processor ) if this processor was available at the time of the build we would go with it.

    Asus P5E3 Maximus Extreme X38 chipset, 1600Mhz FSB Motherboard
    If the X48 chipset boards are available at the time of the build that is what we would use.

    (Three) - NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra Black Pearl, 768 MB

    Corsair 4096MB PC128000 DDR3 1600MHz memory

    Two - 150GB Western Digital/Raptor drive/10K in Raid0 configuration

    Cooler Master Stacker 830 Evolution Case.

    PC Power Turbo-Cool 1200 Power Supply

    (Seven)- LG L1953T-BF 19 LCD Monitor 1280 X 1024 resolution

    Windows Vista 64-Bit Edition


    I am brand new to the forums and have been very impressed with site so far, what you guys are building at home is really very impressive. I have been designing aircraft and scenery for fs9 and FSX for 5 years now but this will be my first attempt a building a proper simulator, I'm really looking forward to getting to work on it...

  2. #2
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor AndyT's Avatar
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    Smile

    Hi Shawn,

    That looks pretty good, but I would go with actual guages instead of having them on a screen. Use your monitors for outside views.

    You might find you have problems with framerates using so many monitors on one PC, even with the Penryn CPU. FSX is processor bound and that machine will really give it a huge boost, but that is a lot of video to pull off one machine. It can be done however, so keep us apprised on your progress.
    God's in command, I'm just the Pilot.
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  3. #3
    Boeing 777 Builder


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    Hi Shawn and welcome to the forums,

    I'd say that system should do it! The only thing I would suggest is that you might consider using 2 x TH2GO's for the outside views (you can happily configure one in Dual only mode) to give the 5 screens off one card, then use a second card for panel monitors. You can then do away with the third vid card reducing power and resources drain on the system (every little bit helps with FSX even with a belly-buster system like yours!). You also might consider widescreens for the outside view instead of standard just for that wider immersive feel.

    I'm running a Q6600 with 4Gb RAM and two PCIe cards with a total of 5 screens (3 via a TH2GO) on Vista64 and am getting good rates in FSX so I doubt you'll have any problem. Make sure to get a good defrag program as well, even with Raptor RAID's. I use Ultimate Defrag and swear by it.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Ken.
    Opencockpits | Aerosim Solutions | Sim-Avionics | P3D | FDS | FTX | AS16 | PPL | Kennair


  4. #4
    300+ Forum Addict Shawn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick reply Andy and Kennair, part of the reason we decided to use monitors to display guages was so that we could upgrade the cockpit to the Garmin G1000 diplay as or when required. The cockpit will be built to simulate a generic twin engine, turbo prop and having the ability to quickly change the guage layout would be nice. I was hoping that with mid range sliders, no AI traffic, visibility set to 10 miles and no weather that we might see solid, and smooth frame rates in the 25-30 range? but maybe that's wishful thinking? My initial thinking was that having three high end vid cards would help to lessen the load on the computer and on each individual card, but you think one card would have the power required to run the three seperate visual displays Kennair? Money isn't our first consideration with this project which I know isn't usually the case but I don't want to invest in anything we don't really need...

  5. #5
    Boeing 777 Builder


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    Shawn,

    I have a very similar philosophy for my sim build as I would like to eventually run a Garmin-like display to replicate the Honeywell Primus glass cockpit being used in the Pilatus Next Gen cockpit. I have high hopes for the Mindstar G1000 when it incorporates turbo-prop functions promised later this year. As well as that, I am more than happy with software replicated gauges as I customize all my aircraft panels so that it fits in with my screens and cockpit in general.

    As for all those screens and frame rates, I have mine locked at 30 and get 25-30 in most areas flying the complex Flight1 PC12X. At high demand airports like Sydney, I'm getting mid teens. Not great but certainly flyable.

    Multiple high powered video cards is something of an issue, but having researched others much wiser and smarter than I, subsequent cards don't add much to the muscle of your system but simply add extra ports. The main crunching is done by the main card (in PCIE slot #1). So, the consensus is to install a good primary card but the second (or third) can be a lower quality. I have an 8800GT 512mb main card and a 8500GT 512mb second.

    As Andy said, FS is mainly concerned with CPU grunt, followed by system RAM and then Video. There's a lot of expectations when it comes to upgrades and high version numbers that doesn't necessarily translate into noticable gains. For instance, the latest CPU will cost over $1000 and might give you 5-10 FPS increase over your $250 Quad core (up to you whether that's value for money). There is some very interesting reading on this whole subject over at the Hardware forum at Avsim (look for posts by NicN and RESET_MCP_ALT). If money is no object all well and good, but you could spend $10,000 on a system and still not be able to max out your sliders. How you set up the hardware and software plays a huge role.

    I would go mid-range with the ability to upgrade when costs come down.

    Ken.
    Opencockpits | Aerosim Solutions | Sim-Avionics | P3D | FDS | FTX | AS16 | PPL | Kennair


  6. Thanks Shawn thanked for this post
  7. #6
    300+ Forum Addict Shawn's Avatar
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    I just had a look at you website Ken, nice work on your simulator. What you've built is almost exactly what I have in mind for our project and seeing what you have running with good results certainly boosts my confidence. The main reason we are going with 19" monitors was to keep the cockpit small (we don't have alot of office space) and the fact that the Triplehead2Go requires a 1280X1024 resolution which is a farely common native resolution on 19" monitors, actually I don't remember seeing any larger monitors with that native resolution. I have found that trying to use anything but the monitors native resolution causes a rather big performance hit.

    I've been researching this project for about 6 months and I'm taking notes so I really appreciate the great advice. I can't believe I just found this website thought obviously I wasn't doing my research properly...

  8. #7
    Boeing 777 Builder


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    Often the best is left til last

    The TH2GO has a max widescreen resolution option of 3840 x 768 (3 x 1280x768 ). Yes there is some degradation when running LCD's out of their native resolution but I must say I couldn't pick it in FS. Text is another matter however. You can set the native res in windows but set the above res in FS if you like (although there can be some issues when running FS in a different res than Windows), however I've done this with no problems. 5 x 19" standard monitors will give you a great feel however so the widescreen issue is probably a moot point in your case. I plan, eventually, to install 3 x 22" widescreen LCD's.

    Ken.
    Opencockpits | Aerosim Solutions | Sim-Avionics | P3D | FDS | FTX | AS16 | PPL | Kennair


  9. #8
    300+ Forum Addict Shawn's Avatar
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    Hi Ken

    You suggested using two TH2GO's on one card to display the forward view and left and right views. With the second TH2GO in dual mode would it not display the same view across both monitors? instead of a seperate 90 degree left and right view?

    I noticed the issue with using native resolution on my laptop, it's native resolution is 1920X1200 and when I try to run it at anything different the quality of the display is significantly reduced. I'm sure it's different from computer to computer...

  10. #9
    Boeing 777 Builder


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    Shawn,

    The TH2GO simply allows you to have more monitors, what you display on each one is up to you. You can span across all of them, or use each one independantly, or a combination. So in your case, use the first TH2GO to span the forward outside view across 3 monitors, then open two new views displaying Left & Right and drag them respectively to their corresponding monitor i.e. 2nd TH2GO in dual mode Left & Right.

    Obviously you need to do this in windowed mode, then save your flight so you don't have to keep doing this every time you fly. Yes you'll need to investigate the resolution issue when you get your new system built to see if it is an issue for you.

    Ken.
    Opencockpits | Aerosim Solutions | Sim-Avionics | P3D | FDS | FTX | AS16 | PPL | Kennair


  11. #10
    300+ Forum Addict Shawn's Avatar
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    I was hoping to avoid having to use FSX in windowed mode, so I think we are going to try the three graphics cards option with one TH2Go. With the three cards installed we can always experiment with other options and remove one card if we find we don't need it.

    I have heard though, that trying to run FSX on multiple displays in full screen mode can cause some serious performance issues? Can anyone confirm this?

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