I am not totally new to the idea of building PCs.. I've been doing it for some time.. I am thinking of replacing my new machine as it is getting a little tired when running some of the latest software. One of my interests in particular which was very difficult for my current machine was running the latest version of Flight Simulator (FSX).
My current spec is..
AMD 64+ 3500
1GB DDR (can't remember the speed)
ATI X800 XT PE 256MB
Standard SATA drives..
Typical res for games is 1600x1200.. my current machine barely runs FSX at all.. even with low level settings..
I am looking at building a new machine, but since FSX is probably the one package I will use most, I need this to run well, I have been reluctant to shell out on a new machine, with so many reports of devistatingly bad performance from FSX even with top spec machines worth well over £1500, it seems even with the most up to date hardware struggles..
Does anyone know.. of a current system specification (is 4GB ram overkill?.. is an intel extreme overkill?) that would achieve good frame rates in this game? I've heard the game is very much CPU intensive (not sure how true that is) as well as GFX card intensive... Looking at the charts on this site.. 23fps seems to be the maximum you can get!? I am after recommendations for specs.. or is it worth me waiting for some future hardware that can do better to show up?
Any help appreciated.. I really don't know what to do..
Well, I think the first thing you have to look at is whether or not the game can work with multiple processing cores. If it can than you can look into dual and quad-core CPUs. And for now I'd say you could get away with an 8800GTS and have some pretty decent fps.
On the RAM, I'd say that 4GB with a 64bit OS might not be overkill considering that now everything is becoming very RAM-consuming and most software is finally getting to the 64bit side of programming.
FSX service pack 1 was a nice surprise. Besides including support for dual or quad core CPUs they also cleaned up some of the other performance hogs. Guess-timates that most people saw a 20-30% performance increase seem about right. If you want an insider's look at the changes: FSX SP1 changes explained
Bottom line is that the SP1 didnt give a huge boost to FPS but it does use multi core CPUs to run more smoothly.
Even with FPS in the high to mid 20s the game plays well. FPS isnt as important to FSX as it would be in fast-twitch FPS games. And if you want a few extra FPS you can always back off just a touch on the Ultra Quality options.
The THG Video charts do seem "stuck" on ~mid-20s FPS. And thats all mid - to - top range video cards at all resolutions from 1024x768 through 1920x1200. Not many games show a 8600GT peforming the same as a 8800Ultra at 1280x1024 resolution! That just demonstrates that FSX IS CPU-limited - not GPU limited. If they used FSX for a CPU benchmark you'd see the performance scale with increased CPU speed.
FSX with the SP1 can load 4 cores at 100%
Even with my 3Ghz Q6600 and gts at 14x10, the game hammeres my sys.
Its cpu bound so gfx card doesnt rly make a diff.
Just get the most expensive cpu with the most cores u can afford.
I had a e6600 2.4Ghs Dual Core and just got a Q9550 and only noticed about a 15% increase and still hammers my computer. I have a 8800Gt and with the Q9550 I used a friends 8800Gt in SLI and it didn't make a difference at all. I just read from someone that he has a Q6600 with a GTX 260 and he said his is flighin fast on all maxed out. That would then mean it is a GPU friendly game as well as CPU.
I have a AMD Phenom II 955 (quad core 3.2 Ghz), 2 Gigs 1066 Mhz ram and a ATI HD 4870 video card. FSX runs pretty smooth on medium settings and looks awesome. Its a pretty cheap setup. When I turn up the settings it seems like large airports and clouds realy bog it down, but its still playable. All 4 cores work, and the CPU rarely goes over about 70% utilization - so I think something else is limiting it.
Note - my ASUS M3A78 has a built in audio chipset that I disabled in the bios and replaced with a "sound blaster live" PCI sound card. For some reason FSX locks up, restarts the PC, freezes, BSOD, etc... whenever I have the built in sound card enabled.