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  1. #1
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    I am currently running FS9 with a medium to low range dual core PC. I would like to go to FSX during the next two following months, and maybe keep the old one as a client ( ? )

    I was wondering which would be the optimum hardware setup for a dedicated FSX PC.

    Thanks

    Nick

  2. #2
    500+ This must be a daytime job Sean Nixon's Avatar
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Nick

    As always, there are so many variables involved in putting together a new PC, especially one which will be taxed to the limit (with FSX).

    If the budget is generous, get an i7, the 950 is the fastest affordable at the moment, the 970, 975 and 980X are 3 times more expensive. Put it with a good mobo, you can't go wrong with a current Gigabyte or Asus X58 motherboard, some nice fast DDR3 RAM and one of the new Crucial C300 SSD's for Windows 7 and FSX. I'm not sure about video cards. I've not done much research into that area with FSX, but I gather although Nvidia have lost their way recently, they may hold the edge for FSX performance.

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  4. #3
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Hi...
    2 Nvida GTX470's in SLi will do the trick and will be at rather god price level.
    If still to expensive start of with 1 card and buy the otherone later.
    You of course need Mother board that supports SLi
    Still the CPU/RAM and fast storage are moore important than graphics i FSX if you want
    smooth high frames.

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  6. #4
    150+ Forum Groupie Atomic_Sheep's Avatar
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Quote Originally Posted by bigsweede View Post
    Hi...
    2 Nvida GTX470's in SLi will do the trick and will be at rather god price level.
    If still to expensive start of with 1 card and buy the otherone later.
    You of course need Mother board that supports SLi
    Still the CPU/RAM and fast storage are moore important than graphics i FSX if you want
    smooth high frames.
    FSX doesnt recognise SLI, which is why a GTX 295 ran as fast as a GTX 260.

    CPU wise, its cheaper to get a 920/930 and overclock... I"ve got my 930 to 4Ghz, but even with that, I can't have all the sliders maxed, no boat traffic for example. Don't worry about fancy RAM either... waste of money for almost no obvious gain... get the stock standard DD3.

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  8. #5
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Thanks to all,

    So from what you say, let me conclude...
    a. quad core (no need for maximum), as high as possible Ghz s ( > 3Ghz ),
    b. no need for fancy RAM ( 4 Gbs minimum I guest right ? )
    c. and as far as graphics... no need for SLI setup, a dual (I would prefer triple but I do not know if that can happen ) 1GBs GT Nvidia setup is fine.

    Am I close ?

    Thanks

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    150+ Forum Groupie Atomic_Sheep's Avatar
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    All quad cores as far as I know are triple channel, so you need a minimum of 3 memory sticks (well minimum is one stick but I don't think anyone will go with just 2Gb so really, your minimum is 3 sticks... goes, 1, 3, 6 as opposed to the good old dual channel which was 1, 2, 4, 8 etc) i.e. your minimum will be 6Gb and yes, 6Gb will be enough. You'll always be able to upgrade to 12Gb like I have later but at the moment, with current applications, I rarely go over 6Gb so you're safe with 6Gb for a while yet.

    c.) not sure what you're saying here. You can get as many video cards as your motherboard will take, FSX will only recognise one of them. But then you can use the SLI setup for other stuff obviously just that FSX wont see them. I also suggest getting the biggest video card memory wise you can get. A 2Gb would be perfect, if you're doing multiple monitor setups then you'll need it. I've got 890 or something MB and it's constantly getting maxed out at 1920x1024 (but I've got ORBX which is pretty hefty scenery but even without it, I can see my video card struggling when panning quickly which isn't an issue if you're just using cockpit view). The higher the resolution, the more memory you need... more monitors = higher resolution (well... bigger total resolution). I don't know how much a 5 monitor setup (9600x1280 or so) will need, but I'm guessing it's in the vicinity of 5Gb but that's a guess and I'm not sure whether it will actually need that much, but basically a GTX 285 has sufficed people with ORBX and that's a 1Gb), so really, since FSX doesn't take SLI, the only solution is to run multiple beefy computers... the way I see it, you'd need at least 2 of these computers we've been talking about to run it on something like 5 displays of that size.

    Hopefully Microsoft Flight addresses the SLI issues which means you'll be able to save a lot of money and just get SLI, so in all honesty, I'd wait for that to come out and see what's what with that.

    Anyway, you really gotta just figure it out for yourself i.e. what you need, what you'll be using etc, I can give you my experiences but you'll need a bit more tweaking and playing around with various setups to get what you want... which is why you always want to get stuff with headroom so you don't' have to play around with it too much.

    Basically, to sum up, video card wise... my GTX 260 SuperOverclocked edition is fine for stock standard FSX on just one 1920x1024 monitor, not amazing, but it will do. Give you 20FPS in the most demanding stock scenery without too many problems... CPU wise, price/performance wise, the 920/930 is the best bang for the buck. All intel i7s are the same chip. The way the select them to be badges as 920/930 or 950 whatever is when they are made, they test them to see their quality basically. The best chips are branded as 950 (I can't remember what the best one is so we'll go with 950) then it goes down to the worst ones of the batch 920/930. So really... a 950 is just a factory over clocked 920 and during over clocking, you won't generally be able to over clock the 950s to much more than the 920... maybe 200mhz or something. It's all very chip dependent. But all a 950 says is... I'm a better quality chip which means I'm able to run at higher frequencies easier but as I said, overall, they will all start hitting brick walls at around 4-4.2 Ghz and after that you gotta start cranking the voltages quite a bit... and the temps will follow. It's the temps that limit over clockablity. Anyway... have a look at over clockers forums... some great threads there explaining how it all works.

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  11. #7
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Hi Nick,

    I have been building a new pc for fsx in the last weeks and did some research before i went along, maybe you can profit from the things i learned.

    how my setup now is you can see at http://tweakers.net/gallery/377829#tab:inventaris

    The things that are most important imo are the disk, mobo and the processor, with next in line the power unit and the case you build it in.

    Biggest mistake i made was buying the triple channel 6gig 2000mhz ddr3 rimms, forget about it!
    Buy some good stable triple channel 1333 mhz rimms at half the price and you will almost get the same benchmark as with the 2000mhz...

    If you want to overclock, and in my case that was the idea, buy a good solid full tower case with fans and lots of room to play in, it will surelly
    bring you the airflow you need to get your system cooled down and the simplicity to add and customize items.

    The cooler that is a must for overclocking is a personal one i think,
    i bought the Prolimatech Megahalems CPU Cooler
    with a 720rpm coolermaster fan that is absolute silent!
    There are many very good cooling devices for the i7. buy the one you like and suits your case.

    At this moment with prices going down for the i7 4core bloomfield the I7 950 is a best buy, you can overclock it like the 920 and 930 but you get a
    better temperature out of the cores (lower)

    A good and fast Mobo is also important, i bought the new asrock 6 extreme because it has sata 600 and it can handle 2000mhz speeds and if i want to upgrade
    to a 6 core i7 when prices go down i dont need a new mobo. but you can cut on the budget with a good, fast and cheaper gigabyte or asus wich is maybe an even better buy.

    For fsx a fast disk is one of the things you should not cut your budget on.
    The intel ssd is for the OS and the 2 wd caviars in raid0 for fsx but you can go even faster and smoother by buying a fast ssd for fsx (i should have done that)

    The videocard i used is the radeon 5770 flex 1 gig wich has 3 active ports to connect monitors or beamers but watch out! these are digital ports!
    you can not connect more then one analog monitor or beamer on this card!!!
    My plan was to connect my 3 beamers or analog lcd screens in the MIP on this card but... i did not read the specs good enough
    It is fast enough though i think when you have digital devices, i ran 100+ fps with fsx sp1 and sp2 installed and even Kai Tak scenery with a good rate on the sliders brought me 30+ fps easy.

    30fps is my max setting at the moment and i am fine with that, with this setting i dont get any stutters and it runs smooth as silk on a stable 4.2 GIG OC with temps around 50 celcius.

    Just my 2 cents...

    Wil.

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  13. #8
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Hi all.

    Not wishing to seem contrary (he says, before then going on to be exactly that - sorry!), but I've seen the statement the FSX doesn't 'do' SLI before and it isn't really true.

    SLI is implemented in the graphics driver. If you turn it on with, say, two cards, then one card will usually do half the lines in one frame with the other doing the other half. You can tweak the specifics of the mode being used from the driver control panel. FSX doesn't need to know or care that two cards are doing the rendering, it just calls into the driver as usual and lo - it works. This is why you can also leave AA turned off in the FSX graphics dialog but then force it on at the display driver level, because it's the driver settings that count. So SLI does work with FSX - I used to use a GeForce GX2 card (two cards in a single-plug package) and turned on SLI routinely for all games including Flight Simulator.

    However, you rarely see any performance gain from using SLI in FSX, and this is because FSX is almost always CPU-bound, not GPU-bound. Even a relatively old graphics card can drive FSX at high resolutions at decent frame rates provided the CPU usage is low. Indeed, I've seen some people argue that since newer graphics cards require more CPU cycles for their drivers - not a problem for games that are primarily GPU-bound - you should ideally use an older generation card for maximum FSX performance. Only when the drawing and filling of polygons becomes the most demanding task in rendering a particular frame (which very rarely happens, I would guess) will SLI get you there quicker.

    The only way Microsoft could improve this in MS Flight would be to go properly multi-core, taking advantage of all the CPU cycles available, and thus make generating the graphics the most expensive task, as it used to be back in the days when CPU power vastly outweighed graphics card power and adding a capable 3D card would speed things up nicely. Even then I doubt there's enough raw power over the common two cores at standard clocks (<3GHz) to max out an enhanced sim. We're still stuck at the edge of the performance envelope. A simulator that enabled tasks to be spread across multiple machines in a network, like commercial simulators, is the way forward, I believe.

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  15. #9
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    I agree with neilh ....

    I'm doing the same with my focus being primarily on CPU speed and I'm aiming to overclock for the fastest CPU and motherboard combination I can. After that, given I play other games / use other applications that will appreciate an upper echelon graphics card[s] I'll be trying to play the 'Future Proofing Vs. Cost control' game .

    Nick in case you wish for comparison



    Good luck with your decisions.

    jack
    If it's ain't broken, break it and then fix it !

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  17. #10
    500+ This must be a daytime job Nick1150's Avatar
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    Re: FSX optimum PC hardware setup ???

    Thanks to all,

    That was very useful

    Actually, I am looking the SLI solution very seriously during the last weeks... I am not an expert in this field (the opposite I would say), so I am looking at the final result, graphics wise, meaning that a multiple SLI solution could double the PC price, and with that $$$ I would except at least double FPS, but from what I can see that is not the case here. So for me everything in the end of the day is about cost...

    Anyway, I plan on building an i7 PC during Xmas 2010 dedicated for FSX only....

    I am closer now to make a decision with the help of Jack, Neilh and Wil

    Thanks guys

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