need advice to build a new system....

Discussion in 'Processors and motherboards Intel' started by cgexx, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. cgexx

    cgexx Member

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    Hi guys, I need some of you guys suggestion to put together a new system from scratch for FSX .. iam presently running FS9 on my aged P4 2.8 socket 478 , Asus P4P800 , ATI 3870 AGP 512MB , Sblive 5.1, 2.0 GB of DDR ram, 19 samsung flat screen and I would like to get another PC to be able to run FSX in any case decently. If you could provide me with some assistance on which processor , hard drive, graphic card, sound card, ram and monitor I should look into , that would be great
     
  2. DmZ

    DmZ Master Guru

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    Ah, a fellow Flight Sim geek :)

    The truth is there is no PC that can run FSX at max settings. ACES Studio really screwed up because they designed FSX to be future proof... Except based on the wrong assumption we would have 4.0 GHz CPUs by now (FSX was released in 2006). This didn't happen as CPUs became multicore, but at much lower speeds.

    However, that being said... FSX is a very CPU dependent game.

    Therefore, I suggest you get the fastest DUAL CORE processor you can afford. I recommend the Core 2 Duo E8600 (3.3 GHz). Core 2 Duo Wolfdales are the top of the line for gaming. Also, FSX isn't really optimized for mutlicores even though Aces claims it is with SP1 and SP2. So, having the fastest single core (in a dual core configuration) will benefit you more than four slower clocked cores in a Quad Core configuration. In other words, stick with a fast(er) Dual Core for FSX.

    You also want the fastest RAM you can buy. Currently this means 1066 rated DDR2 RAM (533 MHz). DDR3 RAM is just too expensive right now to justify its use in FSX, in my opinion. You want about 4 Gigs of RAM for FSX because the more RAM present the less it has to load data from the hard drive. Be aware, if you use more than 3 Gigs of RAM, you will need to switch to a 64-bit OS to take full advantage of it. I have run FSX on Vista 64-bit and it is incredibly fast in terms of loading flights/scenery and would recommend Vista x64 for FSX. Plus, you get the DX10 mode with Vista as well (DX10 doesn't work with all addons; DX9 is still the official code path).

    As far as the video card goes... This depends entirely on what resolution(s) you plan to fly at. For anything higher than 1280x1024, you are going to want the top of the line Nvidia (GTX 290), or ATI (HD 4870) series. You want one with a large amount of VRAM. Think 1 Gigabyte if you can afford it because FSX has high resolution terrain textures along with whatever frame buffers are needed for AA, AF and how many pixels you play at.

    Be sure to get a powerful enough PSU (600 Watt) to power the new cards as well.

    Moving on to hard drives...

    A good SATA II hard drive... Preferably one that is 500-600 Gigs... Is ideal for FSX. FSX itself is 13 Gigabytes installed. Add another 1.5 Gigs for the Acceleration Expansion pack, and anywhere from 40 to 100 Gigs for aircraft addons and scenery packages. For example, Ultimate Terrain X takes 3 Gigs alone. AI Aircraft addons can also eat up space as well (3, 4 Gigs). You can get a SATA II 600 Gig hard drive for $60 on newegg. Stick with known brands like Western Digital and Seagate. Ideally, if you can, get two hard drives. One for FSX and one for your OS and other programs, addons. This will help improve load times for certain addons that aren't installed directly into FSX, but that load up when you use them (Flight Environment X is one such addon; Orbx AU FTX is another).

    As far as mother boards go... Anything that will accommodate some of the specs already listed (1066 MHz DDR2 RAM x4); Intel CPU; etc.

    I hope this is a good foundation for you to start checking out hardware. If you need any more advice, let me know as FSX and MSFS is pretty much the only real game I play any more.
     
  3. cgexx

    cgexx Member

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    Thx DMZ for your time…. Iam simming since flightsim 98 came out on the shelves, same here this is the only game iam playing the most of my time. I run FS9 on XP home , fly when I can on vatsim , have tested fsx demo and found out rather quickly that this is not gonna work out for me and my aged system. LOL… Question: should I have 2 drives , one with xp and the other one for vista?
    One for FSX and one for my OS would be a good plan too, how do you set this up?iam so used to xp it is not gonna be easy to switch for vista…lol.. is vista pretty stable?
    As for the video cards is it preferable to go with 2 (4850x2) or one would be good enough?
    ATI or NVIDIA?
    As for soundcard ?
    Any motherboard in mind?
    I like to switch to a 22 monitor…would it be too big? (presently I own a samsung 19 )
    Again thx for your help.
     
  4. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    System Requirements

    Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2 / Vista
    PC with 1 GHz equivalent or higher processor
    256 MB of system RAM for Windows XP SP2 / 512 MB Vista
    14 GB available hard disk space
    DVD-ROM drive
    32 MB DirectX 9 compatible video card required
    Sound card, speakers or headphones required for audio
    Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
    56.6 Kbps or better modem for online play


    Where's the futureproofing??? According to it's requirements it will run on a RadeonX series or higher, or GeForce4 or higher. Lists a 1ghz processor (which is nearing 10 years old now and quad core processors were out in 2006). 256mb of ram....can't remember the last time I ran a system below 2gb of ram. Seems there was no intent to "futureproof" the game. I also personally know people running this same game on AMD Sempron processors with integrated graphics and 1gb ram with no issues what so ever. Also, FSX doesn't support Dx10 so you'd see absolutely no graphical improvements from running it on Windows Vista as far as DirectX is concerned. (For Dx10 to have any effect, the game would have to be designed for Dx10....but FSX was only designed for Dx9, which means the Dx10 "features" would be completely inactive during gameplay.)
     

  5. CPC_RedDawn

    CPC_RedDawn Ancient Guru

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    Nope Nope Nope.

    If you want to play FSX at any decent settings then you will NEED a Quad core CPU. Go for a Q6600 G0. Get a decent cooler and overclock that beast to 3.6GHz.

    Make sure you have at the bear minimum 2GB RAM (4GB recommended).

    And go for a gpu that has enough horsepower something like a GTX260 or a 4870. These should have enough juice to run the game at decent settings.

    Like many other people said this game is heavily CPU dependent. My friend has this game and he too had a Dual-core clocked it to 4.2GHz and the game ran crap for him. He then switched to a Quad core and the game jumped up at least 20fps and he had only applied a small overclock to the chip.
     
  6. DmZ

    DmZ Master Guru

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    It seems there is conflicting advice being given here.

    I can only speak from my personal experience, so keep that in mind as you read.

    First, those minimum specs MS listed are just plain WRONG. There is no way in hell anybody could run FSX on the minimum required specs. By future proofing I mean even high end $5000+ rigs are having trouble running FSX with every single slider cranked up (to the right). There is something inherently wrong with the code and a majority of flight simmers know this and is why FSX was more or less a failure (most simmers bought it, tried to run it, got subpar performance, but then could not return it and went back to FS2004).

    Also, it depends on what resolution people are running at. People might be running them on Sempron processors (I highly doubt this), but at what resolution? 1024x768? What is their average FPS?

    Even though you don't need 100 FPS for a civilian (non-combat) flight sim, FSX is notorious for dipping into the single digits even on Quad Core rigs because it is not optimized that well. FSX is (code-wise) just a bunch of updates patched together dating back to FS98. It's not native code that was built from the ground up to take advantage of multicore systems and other modern features like off-loading the graphics to the video card.

    Also, there ARE DX10 features in the game if you install Service Pack 2, or the Acceleration Expansion pack. Again, have some of you even played this game?

    Now, getting back to Cgexx...

    ATI makes superior cards (right now), but the game was "optimized" for Nvidia because it uses compressed DTX textures and Nvidia can decompress these slightly faster than ATI. So, this is a matter of personal preference because either company makes quality components at the level you should be looking at (1 Gig or more VRAM). I would advise against a multiGPU (like the 4870x2) because they have a lot of problems and a lot of people end up regretting buying them. Again, FSX is more CPU dependent than GPU in this regard. Save the money and put it toward a faster CPU.

    Sound card really doesn't matter. Of course, if you want to get an X-Fi Sound Blaster (Creative Labs) you can... But I have a five year old Sound Blaster Audigy 2 and it does just fine in every single game I have including FSX. I would save the money and just get a decent sound card, but if you prefer, you could get a top-of-the-line one, but be aware Creative Labs has not been making very good drivers, or cards the last few years. I would strongly advise you to look at other companies and compare price and performance to Creative before making a decision.

    As far as motherboards go...

    Like I said, this comes down to personal preference. I would advise AGAINST getting a SLI, or Crossfire board because FSX does not use any multi-GPU technology whatsoever. This is what I meant about the game lacking any modern features and going SLI/Crossfire for this one game would be a waste because it doesn't use it.

    I have a 22" LCD (1680x1050) and it is perfect for most games, but especially for FSX because of the increased FOV you get when in the virtual cockpit and exterior views. FSX also has multi-monitor support built in, so you can also increase your FOV if you go triple head (three monitors hooked up to one hub acting as one large monitor). However, this is why you need a powerful video card to power all these pixels. This is also why I QUESTION whenever people claim they are running FSX with all sliders turned up. What RESOLUTION are they running at? Anything higher than 1280x1024 and FSX starts to chug depending on hardware in my experience...
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  7. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    I just got done running FSX on a Q6600 (as CPC_RedDawn recommended), 3.5gb DDR2-800 and a 512mb Radeon HD4850 at 1680x1050 with "Ultra High" graphics settings and the game was 100% completely smooth. nVidia also does provide an SLI profile for FSX. (saw it with the 175.16 drivers and highly doubt they removed it since) I have also personally ran FSX on an AMD Athlon64 3200+ (socket 754) with 2gb DDR-400 and a GeForce 6800 at 1024x768 and had it run smooth as glass. Higher resolutions will require a better video card, but at 1680x1050 the game will run VERY smooth on a Q6600 with 3gb ram and an HD4850.
     
  8. cgexx

    cgexx Member

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    hi DMZ

    now are you still running FS9 on your system sometimes.... it must be smooth as silk if you compare it to FSX?
    would it be a good idea to have XP and VISTA on two different drives? just in case...
     
  9. DSK

    DSK Banned

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    GPU:
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    Processor - Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
    Motherboard - Asus P5Q Pro
    Ram - 4GB of Corsair XMS 800mhz
    Graphics card -ATI HD 4850 (512MB)
    Harddrive - Samsung Spinpoint F1 500GB
    Monitor - Dell E228WFP 22-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor

    i posted this like a day ago on your thread in the general hardware section.
     
  10. DmZ

    DmZ Master Guru

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    Yes, I am also running FS9 on my system and it is very smooth. FS2004 is officially over 5 years old (released in 2003), but it still looks good for a Flight Sim and has a huge library of addons as you know.

    Here is the big difference between FS9 and FSX:

    FSX puts more emphasis on VFR flying with the improved virtual world. Everything is more realistic (animated) and the terrain is much higher resolution below FL100. FSX concentrates more on GA than commercial aircraft. I believe ACES studio did this because MS wanted more casual flight simmers to come to FSX, and GA aircraft are easier to learn to fly than a complicated jetliner like a B737, or A320.

    This design decision deals directly with the amount of CPU power FSX uses in comparison to FS9. ACES made a trade off at the design level where more of the CPU cycles go to rendering the realistic terrain and other things (like moving cars, animals, boats, airport ground traffic, etc.) rather than to simulating complex systems and subsystems you find on more sophisticated aircraft like a 747, or Airbus 380.

    This trade off (imbalance) becomes important to serious flight simmers who use expensive payware addons like PMDG, Level-D and Wilco/Pilot in Command that simulate the more complex systems the default FSX planes do not have.

    In my opinion, this is where I think there is a huge disparity between who is running FSX and why they are getting pretty good performance.

    Meaning, I can run FSX well with the default aircraft that are very simple and don't replicate very many systems... But if I switch to something more realistic like the PMDG MD-11 X, or 747 X... Then my frame rates take a HUGE hit because the CPU is having to devote additional cycles not just to the numerous systems being simulated, but also the improved terrain and virtual world being rendered on top of that.

    This is something simmers new to FSX should be made aware of because it will determine whether or not you move solely to FSX (regardless of hardware), or if you keep FS9 installed along side FSX, for more realistic flying with complex payware addons and just use FSX for VFR and lite aircraft flights.

    In my opinion and experience... Vista isn't as bad as a lot of people claim it is as long as you have the hardware to run it properly. A Quad Core, or Core 2 Duo and 4 Gigs of RAM is more than enough, and probably the IDEAL system to run Vista on... So, you should have no problems if you choose to use it. As stated, for FSX there is the benefit of more memory (higher than 2 Gigs) and the DX10 features you can only access with Vista, and a DX10 card.

    I recommend Vista Business x64 if you do decide on Vista. Vista Business is the equivalent of XP Pro, but without the bloated Media Center Vista Ultimate ships with. It is rock solid and ideal for FSX in my experience.

    As far as having two partitions, or separate hard drives... That is up to you.

    I would go with two partitions vs. two hard drives because like I stated above, you want to put FSX on its own drive and then have the other drive for your OS (whatever/how many other that is) and other programs. You can also do a RAID array, but this is only if you know what you're doing and absolutely want/need redundant backup (it has been documented there is no real speed increase with RAID arrays vs. conventional setups).

    As stated, everybody's experience with FSX is going to be different... And the main thing you should keep in mind is what kind of virtual pilot are you?

    If you are more into GA and low-altitude VFR... Then FSX is the way to go. If you are more into high level commercial airline flight then FS9 is still the preferred version among the FS community because it doesn't take so many CPU cycles to deliver the smooth and robust performance the expensive payware addons need to function properly.
     

  11. cgexx

    cgexx Member

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    hi DMZ.... just wondering if i should actually acquire a new PC or instead if i would upgrade the one that i have…..mostly like I said in a previous post running FS9 simulator….. which part of my system should i modify to get a decent one? Presently testing Mark06 with this system it gave me 3800… thx for your recommendation…would it be cheaper to upgrade?

    these are my specifications: XP home
    Processor: INTEL P4 2.80/
    Mainboard: ASUS P4P800
    Memory: 2G dimm DDR
    PSU: THERMALTAKE 600W

    Videocard: RADEON 3850 AGP 512mb Catacy..8-11

    Soundcard: SB LIVE 5.1

    HD: WDC 1600 160G 7200 rpm ATA100

    Network adapter: 3COM 3C 450 fast Ethernet adapter

    Monitor: SAMSUNG LCD 19”

    Keyboard: Logitech wireless bundled up with mouse

    Case: Cooler master aluminium
     

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