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Fluid Flight Sim PC and more. Help please on best equipment

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October 13, 2006 11:26:40 PM

Hello and thanks for the help in advance.

I am upgrading my pc from a 1.1 ghz AMD running 5 monitors using Matrox G-450 and G-200. It has seen its day.

I want to fly again with Flight Simulator, and have very fluid motion at max settings. I want to record and edit video to DVD, do Photoshop work, and multi-camera home surveillance. OC to > 3ghz.
I want 3 PCI slots and 2 IDE.

Would this be my best solution, price not much restricted?

Intel x6800
Asus P5W DH Deluxe
Corsair XMS2 2x1GB
Antec 550w power
eVGA 7950GT PCIe - 2 monitors
Matrox G-200 PCI - 3 monitors (possible upgrade to PCIe Matrox for 4 monitors)
Conexant 4 port video capture card - PCI
Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum - PCI
WD 150Gig Raptor 10K - OS and Programs
Seagate Barracuda 320gig - Data


Thanks! :?
October 13, 2006 11:44:59 PM

I was going to approach this as just a powerful gaming rig as I was comming into your post, but then as I read it I see you are taking this very seriously. I'll still give you my opinions from a general gaming perspective as far as they go. From what I can see, you need power. The processor you have chosen is the most powerful available right now. I think you will know your video requirements better than I will as I have never set up anything with more than 2 screens and you have been running with 5.

The Audigy card is legacy? If it is, it should be fine. If not, you should consider the newer X-Fi cards. Your HD selections are for performance (the Raptor) and vor value/performance (the Seagate 320 Barracuda - the 7200.10 right?) and so are good choices for a person with the money to spend. The PSU should do for the build, but doesn't leave you much for the future, but that is down to whether you want to re-build or simply upgrade to a new GPU down the line and how far away that is.

You can probably get just as good RAM for less with a different brand, like G.Skill.
October 14, 2006 12:25:10 AM

Thanks for the input Robo...

Yes the Seagate is the new perpendicular 7200.10 I'll be getting 2 of them using 1 for data backup.

I chose the Corsair memory because of the DDR2 800, decent timings 4-4-4-12, and it is on sale at the Egg.

I don't know how the system will perform with the Matrox G-200 driving the secondary monitors. Flight Sim might need something better. I think the G-200 only has 8 meg per monitor. Could I just shut off this card while using FS as to not bottleneck the playback?

Thanks!
Related resources
October 14, 2006 1:32:03 AM

8O [/total amazement]

WOW. what do you do for a living, if you don't mind me asking? money-is-not-important supercomputer, home surveillance... are you a billionaire?
October 14, 2006 2:21:51 AM

edited
October 14, 2006 2:43:54 AM

wow, well hey, its cool that you were open about all that. you may wanna like edit it or something so you don't *get raped* or whatever, you know those crazy online stalkers and what not... j/k.

it sounds like your machine will kick butt at all you do... and that wedding thing is like the greatest idea ever! i bet its quite lucritive. man, i wish i was awesome like that... coming up with masterful ideas... being able to afford all that pretty hardware.... :cry: 

best of luck!
October 14, 2006 2:55:14 AM

Hey thanks for the well wishes.

Anyway I was just looking for some advice from anyone using 3 or more monitors. Will the Matrox G-200 in the PCI slot slow down the overall system so that Flight Sim will be a slug ?

I'm hoping the x6800 will overcome any bottlenecks. Or should I look for a PCI-e x1, x4, x8, card that can handle 4 monitors ?

regards,

jkl
October 17, 2006 8:56:32 PM

Thats one hell of a system but i would recommend reading a few Flightsim sites and see what users of FSX (presuming you`re going with that) are saying. Theres has been a lot of talk amongst the FS community about the resources FSX needs. I have a 6300 overclocked to 2GHZ and its still nowhere near satisfactory and thats with my sliders in the middle.

Depends how seriously you take the hobby of course, guessing by your rig...very serious! :lol:  Would be interested to hear how FSX runs on such a system.
October 17, 2006 9:42:39 PM

Quote:
8O [/total amazement]

WOW. what do you do for a living, if you don't mind me asking? money-is-not-important supercomputer, home surveillance... are you a billionaire?


I seriously don't think a billionaire but probably well off. He's coming from a 1.1g machine where most users usually update every year or so, and a surveillance setup can be bought for $150. If I was a billionaire I would certaintly have the best of everything, at all times :D 

In regarding to FSX Deluxe which is the flight sim you'll want, and actually releases today in stores, check this link for a good review. Make sure to read his other reviews at page bottom

http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/review/fsxprev/fsxprev.htm

This will give you an idea what your system will need to run this program well. It's definetely a high end sim that will test the highly build machines.

On my 64 3400 with 800xl, 2g ram I had to run this sim at low to medium settings, which takes a lot of the extras FSX provides out. Max all settings, and it was very choppy
October 17, 2006 10:48:38 PM

Quote:
Hey thanks for the well wishes.

Anyway I was just looking for some advice from anyone using 3 or more monitors. Will the Matrox G-200 in the PCI slot slow down the overall system so that Flight Sim will be a slug ?

I'm hoping the x6800 will overcome any bottlenecks. Or should I look for a PCI-e x1, x4, x8, card that can handle 4 monitors ?

regards,

jkl


You've got a good overall machine there. I would suggest one of the Matrox PCI-e boards such as the G550 PCI-e for faster, more fluid screens. It has 32 meg, so should provide a good boost over the 8 meg that the G 200 has. Check it out and see if it fits you machine, requirements.

Also, on the sound card, you might consider stepping up to an X-Fi card. The Audigy 2 was a great card for its time, but has been well surpassed, quality wise. I don't think the Intel 6800 will bottleneck you, and it is good for some great overclocks if you want even more speed.
October 18, 2006 12:14:10 AM

Hi,

Thanks for the advice. I'll be searching the Flight Sim forums for more help with multi-monitors. It might be easier to cut back to 4 monitors and use the Asus second PCI-e slot with a dual DVI card.

Matrox has a cute splitter that can output to 3 monitors. Will be analyzing that option.

I just want a max setting and fluid Flight Sim. I haven't seen the FS-x package yet, but I bet it is bloated and needs horsepower. I am still with FS-2003, but haven't flown for a while because it just chokes my machine now that I have these 5 monitors running.

Might keep my Sound Blaster Live! for right now. I like the front panel jack setup. If it doesn't sound right I'll replace it.

My big hangup right now is that the quad cores are coming out next month and when they are released the x6800 price will drop significantly. Hmmm jump in now with a 6700 or ignore pricing and jump on the x6800.

I also read the quad-core CPU speed is lower than the 2.93ghz of the x6800, and the apps aren't optimized to use the quad cores. I just hate computers because they lose value soooohhhh quickly. When to jump in.....when to jump in..... ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.....hehehehe

Might pop for another WD 10K Raptor and use RAID 0. I'm sure this will help with realtime Video recording (one of my main requirements).
a b C Monitor
a b K Overclocking
October 18, 2006 12:41:42 AM

Is there any reason your old system can't be used as a dedicated home surveillance system and networked into the new PC?

You might want to consider bumping up the PSU from the 550w to the 650w model.

I'm guessing you'll be tempted to jump for a new DX10 video card before too much longer? The DX10 patch to FSX will be out as soon as Windows Vista consumer editions ship - probably near the end of January.

What monitor(s) & resolution(s) will you be using for FSX?
October 18, 2006 12:44:48 AM

Hey Rutkus,

I would think twice about the supposed X6800 Price drop...

Typically the EE versions of the chips do not drop significantly... They will typically consider the X6800 just part of the EE line...

It might drop given their new pricing schemes "not sure".

My guess is (from trended info) that if the price does drop it will drop very little. Its EE moniker almost guarantees it...


Boy do I hope that I am wrong. :) 
October 18, 2006 3:16:29 AM

Hi,

Well...I am using a second computer for video surveillance. Got 1 camera on my main PC and 1 camera on a second. I network both together and transmit the one on port 80 and the other on 5190. With a x6800 I should be able to add other cameras. I use Active Webcam.

I dunno on the resolutions to use with FS. Sometimes I crank it up to max 1600x1200??? normally for general use I am at 1024x768. It has been so long since I was able to fly. I miss it.

I'm using a 21inch Sony CRT for my main monitor and the other 4 are 19" swivel Samsungs. Two are horizontal and 2 are vertical. Works great for multi-tasking and reference.

I read the quad core will price around $1200. I would think the x6800 will drop into the 6/7 hundred dollar range. I know what you mean about the EE pricing. The AMD and Intel EEs are holding their prices even though the price bottom is dropping with all the others.

Anyone have the November date for the quad release?

I already bought the Antec 550w supply. I suppose I could use it on another PC. I seem to blow 'em out about once every 2 years. :) 
October 18, 2006 4:18:14 AM

the X6800 with a msrp of $999(retailing at 1100 or so now) will not drop in price at all, it will stick with that price until they aren't produced anymore just like all other EE versions from Intel, they just don't change in price, for example...

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 Presler 3.73GHz for $999 could get beat by any Core 2 Duo, that including the lowest priced one at (E6300) at $183

My advice would be to wait for quad core, you will be paying a very similar price for the for both processors and at that price point 100 extra bucks doesn't mean much, the C2Q will be able to overclock to 2.93Ghz(X6800 levels) and higher so don't worry about its lower stock clock speed, and the benefit of 4 cores in the future will be awesome and great for video editing also
October 18, 2006 4:29:01 AM

Quote:
I read the quad core will price around $1200. I would think the x6800 will drop into the 6/7 hundred dollar range. I know what you mean about the EE pricing. The AMD and Intel EEs are holding their prices even though the price bottom is dropping with all the others.

Anyone have the November date for the quad release?quote]

Got bad news on the pricing of the 6800's and such. Intel recorded a 35% drop in revenues because of its price war with AMD. Its stock also took a beating. Some have accused Intel of selling the C2D's under cost in order to gain market share, which it has, but its backfiring on them because the more they sell, the more they loose money. AMD seems to be holding out better, in part because its cpu's were lower cost to start with. Will know more about that later. Right now, my best guess is that the Intel cpu's will start to rise in price before too long. Otherwise they are really going to take some bad hits in the stock prices and their corporate accounts.

Last I read, the November release for the quads was a bit iffy. It might still happen, but there probably will be a delay. This is a case where I'll believe it when I see it, and not a second sooner.
October 18, 2006 6:57:07 AM

Rutkus, you may want to check out this post HERE
It appears, while FSX will run happily on a dual core processor it doesn`t appear to take much advantage of the 2 cores. I discovered this after i exited my flightsim and found that one of the cores had been sitting there almost at idle. Not sure if this is something which will be fixed in Vista?
October 18, 2006 7:58:35 AM

if you really want to run the last version of FS (the one which works great on XP and even better on vista) at full settings, you have to wait some time,
the FS series is always written for future technology, i mean currently the hardware isn't strong enough to do this.
also because of the nature of FS, far open sights, lots of controls of the airplane, lots of textures,... so, don't expect to go full settings right away.

question? do you fly virtual airlining? if so, which company?
October 18, 2006 6:22:01 PM

In the same article you are referencing they also said that C2D pricing was solidified. They also said they would keep around the P4D series as a low cost entry point until next year when the surplus is sold off.. This all while prepping for the 45nm transition...

Nowhere in the article did it say they were losing money on the procs (just not making as much margin as before). And I have yet to see any reference where AMD is making chips for cheaper... Given the information available right now I would have to say it points to the contrary...
October 18, 2006 6:24:45 PM

As a follow on... They have always released the EE series at a price point @ or near 1K... They have traditionally remained at that price point until the final sell off where in fact they often go up because they can no longer be easily found and people are still wanting to pick them up to make the best of the system they currently have.

If any price points were to move I would tend to think the lower to mid range would move... The 6300, 6400, 6600, and 6700 all could go up by $25.00 accross the board and I think you would find very few who would be upset about it...
October 18, 2006 7:05:08 PM

Quote:
As a follow on... They have always released the EE series at a price point @ or near 1K... They have traditionally remained at that price point until the final sell off where in fact they often go up because they can no longer be easily found and people are still wanting to pick them up to make the best of the system they currently have.

If any price points were to move I would tend to think the lower to mid range would move... The 6300, 6400, 6600, and 6700 all could go up by $25.00 accross the board and I think you would find very few who would be upset about it...


In the main, I agree. The 6800 is already selling at a fairly high price, so shouldn't change much, if at all. Mainly, I don't think its going to fall in price. As you wrote, the main rises to expect will be in the lower to mid-range cpu's. I think the rise may be more than $25.00, but who knows for sure? The market and resellers will determine that.

The reason that I said "some have accused" was because of doubt in the claims. I suppose I should have been more explicit that such were doubtful claims. Accusations can run wild at times and it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. At the same time, Intel, and for that matter AMD as well, has not been making as much profit margin as it is used to, and that hurts overall operations.

For the moment, as consumers, I think we should enjoy the price war and take every advantage that we can afford. Just as the price wars among the ram companies are winding down and ram is going up in price again, I would guess that the cpu price war will end and cpu prices will rise.

For myself, I face a hard economic question. Do I buy a new 939 processor while they're cheap and upgrade my present system, or do I save up a bunch of money and buy an all new system; cpu, motherboard, DDR2 ram, etc. An FX 60 is about $600. Going all new, whether AMD or Intel would run $1500-$2000. The 939 is dying, while the others are beginning their life cycles. To top that off, so much new hardware is just around the corner. It can give me a headache just thinking about it.
October 18, 2006 7:38:19 PM

I for one find it very hard to invest in older tech...

The other day I had to buy a new vid card for my aging P4 3.0 and I found it difficult because I knew the card would only be used in that system since AGP is now getting old...

I sucked it up.... Got an X1300 for $59.00 and left it at that...

Back OT....

Rutkus,

Ever think like you said of cutting back to four monitors and running multiple ATIs of NVIDIAs NOT in Crossfire/SLI? ATIs Hydra works pretty well for dual head but I am not sure how the two dual DVI cards will play nice with each other...
October 18, 2006 8:02:27 PM

If your budget can stretch to a projector flight sim immersion will benefit from a 10ft+ screen. Mmmmm.
October 18, 2006 8:54:14 PM

I currently project on a 118" screen :D  :D  :D  :D 

Gotta Love it.... Unreal Tournament (my favorite game) is awesome on an HDTV quality projector.... I am only running 720P but it still looks awesome...
October 18, 2006 10:48:16 PM

Wow games on a huge HD screen....awesome....

So I'm a little bummed. Seems like Flight Sim is so bloated that no matter what I get now is not powerful enough for really fluid flight. I suppose uSoft will have to re-write the app to allow parallel processing utililizing the multiple cores.

But I'll have to jump in because of video editing and camera surveillance. Looks like a x6800 coming.

I suppose going to a 512 meg video card won't do to much for Flight Sim either. I could just wait for the DX-10 cards to come out next month.

Ohhhhh... the procrastination on making a purchase only to watch money vanish when these parts purchased today become obsolete in just a few weeks. :cry: 
October 18, 2006 11:10:22 PM

You might be suprised at how cheap the 118" setup can be...

I am shooting on a DIY screen that I dare anyone to say does not look awesome... The 720P DLP projectors (most not as good as the one I have now because they are using a DC2 derived chip instead of the DC3) are running anywhere from $1500 (not as likely) to around $3500 (much more likely). Then all you need is a computer a DVI or HDMI or HDMI-DVI cable and powerstrip (the app not the device)...

Of course you will need a wall too.. My screen solution really only cost me $30.00 as a trial on my part. I figured for $30.00 I would try it and I would not be out much if it did not work.. $30.00 bucks well spent..

The only problem with my setup because it is DIY is rejection of ambient lighting.. the more expensive screens do very well with this and allow alot of light to be on while viewing/playing. I watch/play with the lights low anyways so no matter for me..
October 30, 2006 8:42:41 PM

Currently running fsx on an E6600 @ 3.2GHZ, vid is x1900xt 256mb vid memory, with 2x1gb system ram.

As a study ran memtest utility during flight (tip from the web, not my original idea). Discovered vid memory demand rose to over 400mb during flight with full autogen. With my system, that means borrowing system ram.

I would highly recommend 512mb of video ram, had I known what I know now, I would have gone with 512.

And regarding dual core...folks are providing interesting comments, but my sense differs. I do agree that fsx doesn't make a constant use of the 2nd core. HOWEVER....just watch both cores go to work during a flight.
One core is active as the main core....nearly 90% entire time...sometimes 100%. The other core spikes....0%...then 30%....then 0%....then 15%.

Its getting used, just not as much. I suspect those processing activities would cause impact to fluidity if it was required to be shared on a single core.

Enjoy!

Bob
October 30, 2006 10:06:13 PM

Quote:
Currently running fsx on an E6600 @ 3.2GHZ, vid is x1900xt 256mb vid memory, with 2x1gb system ram.

As a study ran memtest utility during flight (tip from the web, not my original idea). Discovered vid memory demand rose to over 400mb during flight with full autogen. With my system, that means borrowing system ram.

I would highly recommend 512mb of video ram, had I known what I know now, I would have gone with 512.

And regarding dual core...folks are providing interesting comments, but my sense differs. I do agree that fsx doesn't make a constant use of the 2nd core. HOWEVER....just watch both cores go to work during a flight.
One core is active as the main core....nearly 90% entire time...sometimes 100%. The other core spikes....0%...then 30%....then 0%....then 15%.

Its getting used, just not as much. I suspect those processing activities would cause impact to fluidity if it was required to be shared on a single core.

Enjoy!

Bob


i didn't know memtest showed the amount of video memory used? are you sure its video memory and not just your regular RAM?
November 26, 2006 2:25:34 AM

Go PCI-X 100/133 and PCIe x4/x8.

Get a Xeon 5300 series machine if money isn't an issue.
8 cores, 2 sockets, heap of L2 cache, 2 x 1333 FSBs, 16 GB ECC FB-DIMMs, 7 - 14 HDDs in RAID-5/6.

You won't need to replace it for a long time, so price/longtivity ratio will be heaps good.
!